This took place about two weeks ago... I give you Exhibit A. The Whaler Ale tap found at a bar down in New Haven. Being a CT native and a strong support of local beer and the former NHL Hockey team the Hartford Whalers, this instantly appealed to me. And why wouldn't it? At almost any sporting event in CT, at some point, there's one person that starts a "Let's Go Whalers" chant. For those that don't know, the team was moved back in 1997 to North Carolina and became the Carolina Hurricanes. Since then, local supporters have fought to get a team back to CT, but have come up short. Recently, the AHL team formerly known as the Hartford Wolfpack (affiliate to the New York Rangers), was re-branded, the Connecticut Whale. There is CLEARLY a strong backing for the Whalers... they haven't been a team since 1997 and there are still die-hard supporters everywhere in CT.
That being said...
My girlfriend and I were down in New Haven a few weeks ago and came across this tap. Local beer... Whalers... gotta love it. Neither of us have seen nor heard of this beer so we were both interested in where it came from. When I asked the bartender, he instantly replied that it was from the Hooker Brewery. Skeptical but thirsty, I ordered a pint. I'm on the Hooker mailing list... and try and support them as best I can... how could I have never ever HEARD of this? I took a picture of the cool green Whale tap and posted it to Facebook.
Within minutes, to my surprise I received a few comments WARNING me of this beer. One person commented... "Don't do it! It's a Budweiser product!" In fact, when this person first came across this tap, the bartender refused to tell her that the Whaler Ale is in fact a Bud product until she first tried it. Hmmmm... Now, I was REALLY skeptical that this came out of the Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield, CT. As a member of the CT Beer Trail, I begun to do a little research on their site as well. Come to find out, that someone had the same question a few months ago. Along this post, someone was insistent that this beer was out of the Harpoon Brewery.
A sneaky bartender... Hooker... Harpoon... Budweiser... ? Something just didn't add up.
I mean, if this IS in fact from a local brewery, why is it so difficult to find out where its brewed? We should certainly give credit, where credit is due. It's really a no-brainer... Local Whaler supporters + Local CT breweries = SUPPORT! Unless its not local...
The day after we had the Whaler Ale, my girlfriend found a very interesting article online that claimed, the Whaler Ale is not local, but in fact the Budweiser American Ale simply re-branded to tug on the Heartstrings of CT natives. ARE YOU SERIOUS?? How could a company stoop so low.
Now, nothing has been proven... yet. But several reports btw articles and personal accounts have backed the claim that it is a Bud product, which is sad. I even sent some "Backwash" to our friends at the Beercoasters Podcast to see if they can shed some light on the subject. If this ends up being the case, I'm shocked that someone would let this happen. We have some fantastic breweries in the state of CT including, Hooker, New England Brew, Willimantic Brew, Olde Burnside, City Steam, Cottrell... and the list goes on. I'm sure that ANY one of them would have JUMPED at the opportunity to be the official brewery of the Whaler Ale. Support local economy too? It would have been a perfect combination.
So I urge you all, be careful what you are ordering when you find yourself out in the CT beer scene. Don't be afraid to ASK, if you aren't sure who brews the beer. Be smart out there. Because if it looks local... appears to be local... and even tastes like it could be local simply because its different... it may NOT be.
Tread softly Beer411 Family.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Beer says, "You can't handle the truth!"
Hey Beer411 Family... I feel distant. Seems as though I've been doing more research than writing. Time to sit down and have a little family chat. This is only for your own good. Trust me, you'll thank me later. Learn from mistakes I've made, so you don't do the same...
Posted by Tony Leone at Sunday, August 07, 2011