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Owner Curt Cameron admits it: a year ago, Thomas Hooker Brewing Co. was not exactly the hottest Connecticut beer brand around.

“We weren’t the new guy anymore, we were the old guys,” Cameron says.

The brewery had been started in the 1990s, prehistory in Connecticut-beer years, and though sales were good, it didn’t have the same cachet as many of the new breweries that have sprung up in the state in recent years. That changed last December, when the brewery released #NoFilter, its take on the explosively popular New England IPA style. It’s an unfiltered variant on traditional IPAs characterized by lots of hop flavor but low hop bitterness.

The beer hit the Connecticut beverage scene with the force of a tsunami (at least on social media).

There were lines at the brewery in Bloomfield on can-release days, and the hashtag-adorned cans disappeared from liquor store shelves. It was also dubbed Best Beer in this magazine’s Best of Connecticut feature in September.

“I think this beer reintroduced us to a lot of drinkers and they started trying our other beers and going ‘Wow, these are all good,’” Cameron says. He compares it to “a music group that has a hit song — it’s not like they just started making good music, they’ve always been making good music.”

The release of #NoFilter was only the beginning of what has been a whirlwind year for one of the elder statesmen of Connecticut brewing. Over the summer the brewery opened Thomas Hooker at Colt in Hartford, a satellite location for the main brewery in Bloomfield, giving the brand a physical presence in Connecticut’s capital city — the same city founded by the brewery’s namesake, Thomas Hooker.

Thomas Hooker at Colt features a test brewing facility that will be used by Hooker to brew small batches of new and experimental beers. It is housed in the sprawling South Armory part of the former Colt factory in Hartford, that is now a bustling multi-use development with residential spaces, business units and the still-in-development Coltsville National Historic Park.

On a recent afternoon at the new brewery, Cameron pours a glass of #NoFilter and hands it to me. The taproom is open and industrial chic, with large wrought-iron candelabras and a blue ceiling dotted with stars inspired by the iconic blue onion dome on top of the factory, visible from Interstate 91. Outside there is a patio with hanging lights with a great view of Hartford’s skyline; it’s also where a monthly Pints and Pups night is held.

In addition to beer, there’s a full bar with cocktails, and food is available to order from a restaurant next door. Visitors can also bring their own food.

Cameron’s enthusiasm is palpable as he talks about the history of the Colt factory. The bar top was made with wood found on the property that had previously served as a backdrop for a target range, and bullet shells can still be seen embedded in it, a simultaneously fascinating and chilling reminder of the weapons once made here. There are old advertising prints and photos, and posters of movie stars holding Colt guns.

Speaking of history, Thomas Hooker started in 1996 as the Trout Brook Brew Pub in Hartford. Ultimately it would take the name Thomas Hooker because that was also the name of one of its most popular beers. Cameron purchased the brewery in 2006. Soon afterward he shut down the restaurant side of the business and converted it from a brewpub to a distributing brewery, moving it to Bloomfield in 2007.

At the time, Connecticut beer did not have the prestige it does today. Shortly after purchasing the brewery, Cameron walked into a local bar and asked why it didn’t have Thomas Hooker on tap. When the bartender asked where it was from, Cameron said “Hartford” with pride. The bartender responded, “If it’s from Hartford it can’t be any good.”

That inspired Cameron to make Connecticut beer something locals would be proud to associate with. Not only has his brewery successfully put to rest such thoughts, but so have more and more new breweries that have popped up across the state, a fact Cameron couldn’t be happier about.

With a clear sense of pride, he notes that brewers at Hog River Brewing Co. in Hartford, New Park Brewing in West Hartford and other new breweries in Connecticut started out working at Thomas Hooker. “There’s a lot of brewers in Connecticut who have worked for me, so either I’m a big jerk, or a good source of training,” he says with a laugh.

Thomas Hooker’s brewery at Mohegan Sun recently closed (a larger national brewery replaced it) but Thomas Hooker at Colt has more than replaced that much smaller, less-fun satellite location. For the new year, Cameron and brewer Jeff Pasquale, who joined the company a few years ago, are working on some exciting-sounding new beers.

During my visit at Colt, beyond #NoFilter, offerings included a limited-release, New England-style IPA called Brite Tank 16, as well as the refreshing Heff It, a hefeweizen, and the surprisingly delicious Chocolate Truffle Stout made in collaboration with Connecticut’s own Munson’s Chocolates. There was also Nectar of the Goats, the pale ale brewed in honor of the Hartford Yard Goats and sold at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

As for #NoFilter, Cameron says the brewery would like to make it more widely available, but it’s an expensive and difficult beer to produce.

“We’re not trying to limit this, we just can’t make enough of it,” he says. He adds that the beer uses a tremendous amount of hops: “160 pounds for a 40-barrel batch [and] out of a 40-barrel batch we’re only getting 32 barrels.”

Over the next year, the brewery will ramp up production of #NoFilter. In the meantime, if you can’t find it, there’s plenty of other Hooker beers to enjoy and a great new space in downtown Hartford to enjoy them in.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University