Get Yourself a Hooker: a Tour of Thomas Hooker Brewing

I was lucky enough to be able to pay a visit to the Thomas Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield Connecticut this past week and it was definitely a trip well worth the while. One I can recommend to anyone who finds themselves in the greater-Hartford area.

Thomas Hooker
Outside the brewery

Thomas Hooker — which began in 1997 as the brewing arm of the Trout Brook Brew Pub — was bought a little more than a year ago by the current ownership; lead by president Curt Cameron and brewmaster Jay Ramos. Since acquiring the brewery, Curt & Jay have moved the brewery from a small-scale operation in Hartford to the current 8,000 square foot facility in Bloomfield and expanded distribution to included New York City and Eastern Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Maine. The result has been a nearly 100% growth, being named as the 73rd best brewer in the world by RateBeer.com, and ranked number 15 in the top 50 American Micro Breweries by the Beer Advocate.

Thomas Hooker
Curt pouring samples

While at the brewery, I was lucky enough to sample five of the company’s ten beers – the American Pale Ale, their Octoberfest, the Munich-style Lager, the Watermelon Ale, and the Liberator Doppelbock. All were delicious but I was especially struck by the Octoberfest, and apparently I wasn’t the only one – Curt had just found out a few days prior to my visit that their Octoberfest was named the best Octoberfest in the world out of 24 beers sampled (including those from this year’s official Octoberfest in Germany) by the New York Times. Says The Times,

The No. 1 beer, Octoberfest from Thomas Hooker, was beautifully balanced with each flavor component melding into a delicious, refreshing whole. If you ponder each sip, as we did in our tasting, you might remark on the malt aromas or the way the bitterness of the hops contributes to a clean, crisp feeling in the mouth after you swallow. But if you are polishing off a bottle at a party, or simply having a conversation with a friend or watching a ballgame, you would simply notice how enjoyable the beer was and reach for another.

While some so called “beer elitists” have called Curt “an asshole” (see, toldya so 😉 ) we had a great time and Curt, Jay and Steve (their new assistant brewer whom they stole from Allagash here in Portland) were very generous hosts. If you live in the area or are ever nearby on business, definitely pay their brewery a visit – check the place out, pick up a growler (for a very affordable $10) or a t-shirt (all of which had clever “hooker” puns on them) and try a few free samples.

Thomas Hooker
Jay and Steve hard at work

Thanks again for having me Gentlemen, congrats on the recent successes and I wish you many more to come! Cheers!

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One comment

  1. I went to take a tour of the brewery about a year ago. Great top notch tour and a great bunch of guys.

    Ashley 🙂

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