Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hooker's Watermelon Ale With Mark, Lori, Madeline, and Vernon


So last night Dominique and I went out with friends of ours, Mark and Lori, who own both Mexican Radio's (NYC and Hudson, NY). We went out for sushi, and then decided to go to the Madalin Hotel for dessert and drinks. Tivoli is a small town with about five restaurants, and every one of them was hopping last night. The Madalin was especially hoppin'! With the Clinton wedding in town, the place was awash with guests looking for something to do on a Friday night. As we walked past the many folks eating on the front porch, the most amazing sight was watching Madeline Albright and Vernon Jordan having dinner!

Of course Albright and Jordan were not the first famous people to stay at the Madalin. Mikhail Baryshnikov also stayed there once. The Madalin Hotel is a beautifully restored historic landmark in the heart of Tivoli NY on the beautiful Hudson River. The hotel, built in 1909, was completely restored by its new owners in 2006, and takes its name from the old name of the Village at the turn of the century, Madalin. This turn-of-the-century building has an ornately carved nineteen foot bar and an intimate, softly lit dining room. Tasteful and lovely.

I was still amazed by the dynamic duo supping, when, as we walked through the bar, I decided I wanted a beer, and decided to take a look at the ornate tap pulls of the draft beer. One immediately caught my attention. Hooker Brewing Watermelon Ale. I'm not usually this adventurous, but I thought, what the hell!

Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, located in Bloomfield, is Connecticut's local brewery with a national reputation. They are currently in their second decade of producing great quality craft beers in Hartford County. They offer eleven unique beers (7 ales and 4 lagers) that are highly respected and recognized for consistency and quality. Recently 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, Connecticut has a small brewer with a huge reputation. In short, Hooker makes great beers. Some are for serious beer drinkers. But their seasonal beers are always a hoot.
Thomas Hooker Brewery gets its name from the great colonial leader of the 1600's and founder of Hartford, Rev. Thomas Hooker (1586-1657). In 1636, Thomas Hooker led 100 of his congregation west to found the new English settlement at Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford gets its name from Hertford, England, the birthplace of one of Hooker's assistants, Rev. Samuel Stone.


Watermelon Ale is a very light, crisp ale that's been hit with a touch of watermelon essence. It smells almost like someone squeezed fresh watermelon juice into a glass. Maybe a hint of Jolly Rancher watermelon in there too. I wrinkled my face as I took my first sip. It was very good. On a warm summer night, it was incredibly refreshing. Something very, very different.

Availability: Seasonal, May 1st - August 31st
Malts: Canadian 2-Row, Carapilis, Wheat Malt
Hops: Bittering (Saaz), Flavor (Saaz, Cascade), Aroma (Saaz, Cascade)
Original Gravity: 1.048
Finishing Gravity: 1.010
Alcohol: 4.8%

Anyway, we all had a great night. Super conversation, and lots of fun to drink and taste. After a while, we finished our drinks and desserts, and walked back out. Madeline and Vernon were gone. I was disappointed, but then again, but I was content having had my Hooker's Watermelon Ale. It was a good night.