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Thomas Hooker is Iconic Connecticut Brewery With Big Plans

Information on some new beers coming out of Hooker Brewing Company.

 

Re-posted from my blog: Malted Musings.

When most Connecticut residents think of Thomas Hooker Brewery Company, they probably think of their flagship beer: Hooker Blonde Ale. This stellar lower ABV brew has sweet taste, low clinginess on the palate, and is just an overall fantastic summer/gateway beer.

However, Hooker isn't content with being regarded as just a gateway beer (especially since their Liberator Dopplebock just won gold in the Great International Beer Fest in Providence, RI). Over a few pints at Eli Cannon's Taproom I've recently discussed Thomas Hooker's plans to unleash a pantheon of super-high quality beers onto the CT market in the close future.

 This rapid expansion is spurned on by a newer tasting room and some major brewery upgrades that Hooker put in. The new tasting room has been open for around 6 months now and features two full bars with eight total taps. The Visitor Center is upfront and boasts around 12k square feet which can play host to a variety of events and celebrations. Hooker is also preparing four 50-barrel tanks, which will increase their production yield by 14,000 bottles (roughly).

 What do all these extra bottles of beer mean? It means that Hooker has a lot more freedom to pursue unique, higher-end beers and to expand the brand's already impressive lineup with more complex and creative beer. One that will be ready fairly soon is a cross-over with some CT vineyards. Hooker brewer Stephen Andrews told me that they aged a saison in Chardonay barrels to pipe in some vanilla and oakiness. This will be an intense beer that should have a great body to fortify you in the dead of the winter, and should be available sometime in the next month.

 Andrews and Corporate Culture Director Lisa Bielawski continued to say that Hooker has always focused on providing "something for everyone." To expand this idea, Hooker wants to reach beyond the initial styles they brewed and start providing complex beers for the high-end crowd (a nice way of saying beer nerds, like me!), or for anyone who wants to try something a little more out of the ordinary.

 Many collaboration ideas that Hooker have are with a variety of CT businesses, not just other breweries. Andrews let me know that the Munson's Truffle Chocolate Stout and the the upcoming CT Winery Saison are just the beginning. As Bielawski put it, Hooker is focused on celebrating all things CT through its beer. They have no real plans to produce beer far beyond CT and would rather spend most of their time focusing on their home state. This philosophy has served them well: even with the recent tasting room and vat expansion, Hooker is bursting at the seams! If you want to check out their wares themselves, stop by the 1st and 3rd Friday (5-8) and Saturday (12-5) of the month. As Bielawski put it, it's always a fun time and they've been consistently packed for years now.

 Other beers that are coming to CT in 2012 include Old Marley Barely Wine, a low ABV session-style IPA, and a double chocolate stout. My advice?  Keep your eye on Hooker and get ready for some super-high quality beers coming your way soon! Also, follow me on BloggerTwitter, and Facebook for more tasting notes and news from the beer world!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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