There’s something brewing on Compo Hill.
And not Bud Lite. We’re talking award-winning beer.
Jonathan Healey is Compo Hill Brewery’s brewmaster. Just a few homes up from Elvira’s, he creates great-tasting (and less filling) beers right in his garage.
There’s Compo Hill Mischief Night — Jonathan’s seasonal pumpkin ale.
Compo Saison Vin — a Belgian specialty ale.
Compo Hill Kona Porter. Compo Storm du Zin. And many, many others.
If an idea for a beer pops into Jonathan’s head, pretty soon it’s poured down his throat.
And the throats of his lucky, craft artisinal beer-obsessed friends.
Jonathan — a Westport native — attended Long Lots, Coleytown Middle School and Staples. He graduated from Suffield Academy in 1993.
At Arizona State, and then as a young professional — he’s marketing director for Gathering of the Vibes and the new Capitol Theater in New York, and owns a video production company — Jonathan drank microbrews. In 2005, some friends got into Belgian beers. “They were beer geeks,” he explains. “They planned their vacations around beers.”
They introduced Jonathan into “beer culture.” Eventually he made his way to craft artisanal beers — “one step beyond microbrews.”
A few years ago, he began brewing at home. But boiling powders wasn’t his thing. Soon, he graduated to all-grain brewing.
He learned everything about Westport water. (“It’s great for brewing,” he says.) He experimented with ingredients, methods, tastes. He joined a home brew club in Westchester.
But most of all, he brewed.
“I really enjoy watching people drink my beer,” Jonathan says. “It’s like being a chef. Your creations make people happy.”
People are certainly happy at his two big annual bashes. One is the 4th of July — the fireworks are just around the bend, at Compo — while the other is an open house. He has 7 different taps, 7 different styles of beer, and many, many satisfied friends.
Earlier this month Jonathan submitted 9 entries in the Southern New England Regional Homebrew Competition. He earned 2 silver medals — in the Specialty and Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer categories — plus one 3rd (European amber lager) and an honorable mention (Belgian and French ale).
He also won the coveted Novice Award — a “Rookie of the Year” honor for 1st-time entrants.
“It was a great learning experience,” Jonathan says. “Even the beers that didn’t win scored high.”
Clearly, Compo Hill Brewery is getting a buzz far beyond Jonathan Healey’s garage.