Back East Brewing Company
Yes, there are now two breweries in Bloomfield: Thomas Hooker and Back East. Hooker is, I think, the biggest brewery in the state but they now need to keep watch over their shoulder with Back East a few miles away.
Lucky for me, both are less than 15 minutes away from my house. It’s not fair, really, to compare the two since Hooker has been at this for many years (even longer if you consider the old Trout Brook Brewing which begat Hooker) and Back East has been a commercial brewery for all of 3 weeks at the time of this writing (July 2012). Although I can say that after getting to know Ed, Tony and speaking with their brewmaster Mike, these guys have it together.
Oh, and the beers I’ve tasted so far have already convinced me that I’ll be stopping by Back East on my way home from work a lot.
Back East’s two co-owners, cousins Ed and Tony, have a simple philosophy: Brew very high-quality beer, don’t contract it out, don’t futz around with wacky flavors, be very customer friendly and listen to a lot of Led Zeppelin. As you see from their beer list, they also aren’t too high on wacky names for their beer. They’re just about the beer. I’m on board with all that and look forward to their success in the future.
Quick late 2012 update: Half a year into their venture, Back East has made quite a name for themselves in short order. Through tireless work, Back East seems to be doing high-end beer dinners at Max’s one day, a tap takeover at Taqueria Tavern the next, followed by a cooking competition at Vito’s as soon as you catch your breath. It’s amazing to watch these new breweries grow through social media in our new world.
I’m also lucky to have become friendly with Tony from the brewery. Like most craft brewers, he’s a good dude and deserves your patronage. These guys are in it for the long haul and I’m excited to see what the next year (and beyond) bring them.