Thomas Hooker Liberator Dopplebock

Even though I named this blog Hoppy Boston the intention was always to focus on craft beer from around New England. While I’ve reviewed many beers from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island (along with Massachusetts of course), this is my first review from Connecticut. I spent nearly two years living in CT and it seems that the craft beer scene was just taking off when I moved away. While there are many exciting breweries starting up in the state (many of whom I hope start distributing to MA), one old standby is the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company. Named for the founder of Hartford, Thomas Hooker has been brewing ales and lagers in Bloomflied CT since 2003. They produce a range of year-round and seasonal brews that are distributed to most of the Northeast. One of Thomas Hooker’s most popular year-round beers is Liberator, a German-style Dopplebock. Dopplebocks are typically dark and higher in alcohol, but have a clean finish and lighter mouthfeel due to the cold fermenting lager yeast. Liberator mixes Bavarian Lager yeast with traditional European hops and a range of dark malts.

Thomas Hooker LiberatorThomas Hooker Liberator Dopplebock pours cola brown with a solid but quickly dissipating off-white head. The smell is mostly dark malts, with scents of chocolate, brown sugar and toasted bread. The taste is also very malt forward, milk chocolate, caramel, roasted barley and a little coffee flavor. There is a touch of hops in the backbone that don’t contribute much flavor, but keep the beer from being overly sweet. The beer is pretty light in body and easy to drink for a malt-forward dark beer – you don’t get that heavy mouthfeel that accompanies some big stouts and porters. Despite this lighter mouthfeel, Liberator comes in at a full 8.5% ABV, so this isn’t a light beer by any measure. The finish is very clean, just a hint of malt sweetness in the aftertaste. This is a great winter into spring beer, rich and full enough for the cold yet easier to drink than some heavy winter beers. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

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