By Susan Hayes
Thomas Hooker Brewery
16 Tobey Rd.
Bloomfield, CT 06002
Hours: Friday Night Happy Hour- 5-8pm every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month
Saturday Tours and Tastings – 12pm-5pm every Saturday
Website | Directory
Aptly named for the founder of Hartford, Thomas Hooker Brewery may be the small batch brew house to put Hartford beer on the map! With distribution reaching down to New York City and Eastern Pennsylvania and as far north as Maine, Thomas Hooker is making a run on the micro brew market in the Northeast. Boston does not have a corner on quality beer named for a historic figure. Hooker beer just may be on the brink of something big. I have attended a few events as of late, like the Wadsworth Atheneum’s first Thursday get-together and a Hooker truck was there serving up their tasty mainstays, as well as their seasonal offerings. They have been making themselves visible and I felt like a visit to the brewery was in order.
Every first and third Friday, the Bloomfield brewery hosts a happy hour from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. with the proceeds going toward The Village for Families and Children. This seemed like an ideal time to visit. When I pulled up to the brewery, which is located in a rather unremarkable industrial section of town, cars lined the road. This event draws all sorts of folks, the classic happy hour crowd, loyal regulars and on the evening I attended, a group from what may have been a stag party. There are hipsters, artsy types and beer drinkers of every age! For a $10 admission price, you get to try whatever beers they have on tap that night from a rather small plastic cup. But there is no limit, so my third taste of the delicious hoppy IPA was perfectly legal.
Along with the autumnal favorite, Oktoberfest and the summery fruit-infused Watermelon ale, I tried the infinitely drinkable Blonde ale and the Irish Red. I enjoyed the offerings and plan to purchase the beer at any number of local retail establishments where it is available. They were selling slices of pizza from Harry’s Pizza in West Hartford, but ran out rather quickly so alternate dinner plans may be necessary. Up front, in the visitor’s center, the walls are lined with information about the brewery, framed medals they have been awarded and all sorts of humorous photo shopped news clips about the “celebrities” who have drunk the beer or visited the brewery. Someone clever inhabits their marketing department! You can buy shirts and gear as well as a howler to fill with your favorite selection. Be prepared for the “Hooker” jokes, as they take full advantage of the double entendre in their merchandising. On your way out, you turn in your plastic cup for a pint glass to take home adorned with their logo.
If Friday night happy hour is just not doable, the brewery is open every Saturday from 12pm-5pm for tastings and tours. For a reasonable five dollars, you can taste whatever is on tap that day and tour the facility. Perhaps you can pick up a unique holiday gift for the beer lover on your list.
The brewery’s web site is the wealth of information you need, and includes details about events and happenings, as well as, where to buy their products. Don’t miss out on seasonal favorites like the winter nor’easter! Maybe drinking one will prevent us from living through so many winter storms here in Connecticut this year or make them more tolerable! Like all forward thinking companies you can follow the brewery on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates. Look no further than Thomas Hooker Brewery for a unique happy hour experience with a welcoming vibe or a selection of fine beers to serve at your holiday celebrations.
Susan Hayes works at a local High School in her spare time, but her true passion lies in culinary pursuits, cooking, gardening, blogging and discovering new dining spots. Her work can be found at http://www.blackcatcookingchronicles.blogspot.com.