Hooker beer, people, Thomas Hooker Brewing Company: get your heads out of the gutter. Seriously.
But, let’s start off this post with some straightforward, honest talk: we tried Hooker’s Watermelon Ale a few years ago and didn’t love it. Because of that, a lot of time went by before we tried another Hooker. That is, until we happened upon their Chocolate Truffle Stout which we featured in our guide to CT porters and stouts. That beer we just adored in all its chocolatey lusciousness. Well, that helped open our eyes a bit to Thomas Hooker Brewery.
And, wouldn’t you know it, we got a nice message from Gerard at the brewery, asking if we wanted to meet up to talk Hooker and try out some of their latest beer. Who are we to refuse the chance to try out an entire array of Hookers from Bloomfield? We of course said yes, took down some of their newest brews as well as a few classics that are back, and have lots of thoughts to share with you:
Beer/Style: Octoberfest Lager
Hops/Malts: Canadian 2-Row, Munich Light, Carapils, Caramunich I, Wheat Malt; Spalt, Hallertau, and Saaz hops.
Untappd/Beer Advocate Rating: 3.4/3.94
Notes: The Hooker Octoberfest pours out a dark golden brown and has a malty smell to start. On first sip, that malty taste definitely comes through nicely. It’s a nicely balanced beer that’s sessionable and ultra-drinkable. Also, it has a nutty finish with just a tad bit bitter finish. Definitely dug this one, which actually pulled in a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival and took home two golds at the Great International Beer Festival.
Beer/Style: Tenacious Belgian Style IPA (New)
Hops/Malts: 2-Row, Vienna, Caramunich 1 +2, and Candy Sugar; Amarillo and Citra hops.
Untappd/Beer Advocate Rating: 3.5/3.78
Notes: Belgian Style IPAs are becoming pretty popular lately, so it’s only right that some CT breweries get in on the action. This one has some nice maltiness to it with a little juice coming from the Citra, and it’s light on the Belgian yeast, not making it the central focus. It’s deceivingly light for a 6.5% beer and finishes nicely with a smooth wheaty finish. We really liked this one, but we know some people don’t think that the two styles should be mixed.
Beer/Style: Defiance Double India Pale Lager (New)
Hops/Malts: Pilsner, Carahell, and Vienna Malt; dry hopped with Citra and Azacca
Untappd/Beer Advocate Rating: 3.7/3.96
Notes: Like the previous two brews, Defiance has a nice and malty backbone. This one, though, has a delicious alcoholy kick at the finish. The hops are definitely there, but aren’t out of control. If you’re looking for an IPA alternative, this is a nice choice.
Beer: Imperial Porter
Hops/Malts: Premium Pale, Munich, English Crystal, Carapils, Chocolate Wheat, Black Patent; English Fuggles and East Kent Goldings
Untappd/Beer Advocate Rating: 3.7/4.08
Notes: The Hooker Imperial Porter pours out a dark dark brown that’s nearly ready to breach black. There’s some smoky dark chocolate flavors going on here. Also, there’s hints of burnt malt and toastiness to it going on, which might not be everyone’s jam, but we can dig it. The finish is warm and slightly boozy . . . maybe because it’s almost 9%? We can appreciate it, but it’s not the kind of beer that you’d want to drink all night because the burnt smokiness flavor is pretty dominant.
Beer/Style: Honey Berry Happiness Ale (New Summer/Fall Seasonal)
Hops/Malts: 2-Row, Carapils, and Wheat; Saaz and Cascade hops
Untappd/Beer Advocate Rating: 3.2/3.04
Notes: This is a pretty light and easy drinking kinda beer. Like you could drink it all day kinda beer, like a lawnmower kinda beer. There’s a fruity berry undertone (natural berry flavors were added) with a clean finish. There’s a slight sweetness, too, which is refreshing, coming from local Stonewall Apiary honey.
Beer: Liberator Doppelbock Lager
Hops/Malts: Munich, Vienna, Moravian, and other Dark Roasted Malts
Untappd/Beer Advocate Rating: 3.59/4.21
Notes: Liberator pours out dark brown in color and has a boozy smell to it. Right away, some big, bold malty flavors hit you on first taste. There are also some caramel notes and even a little bourbon barrel coming through. The finish is slightly boozy. All in all, we can see why they call this the liberator: it will definitely free ya.
Beer: Hop Meadow IPA
Hops/Malts: Cascade, Centennial, and Zythos
Untappd/Beer Advocate Rating: 3.4/3.91
Notes: Hop Meadow pours out a golden brown with some foamy head. It has a clean, fresh smell to it. As you sip, you definitely get some light malts and the hops start to kick in near the end. You get some nice citrusy notes with a little bit of pineyness, but it all remains not too hop heavy despite the IBUs.