Category: Hoops Brewing

Hoops Brewing set to Celebrate Two Years

Things were going to be different for Dave Hoops as he set out to start his own brewery after years of concocting beers over at Fitger’s Brewhouse and a year on his own as a consultant. His approach was different from many of his peers. His dream brewery was one that started small and would continue to grow only as he saw fit. Two years later he has few regrets, and is set to celebrate a second anniversary with an event called HoopLa 2 on Saturday, June 29th.

The brewery exists in Canal Park and has a reputation with locals as a place where they can bring their families and check out a hockey game, or as a place to relax after a hard day of work. “We’ve been happy with our beers and the heavy community support. Pop ups are huge right now and were some of the first to do that up here in Duluth. There’s been very little turnover here and we’ve received so much support from this community” Hoops says.

The first two years didn’t come without challenges though. “Limited distribution has been tough. I’ve turned down so many opportunities because we just don’t have the beer. We’re the only independent brewery left in the north and growing slow is a challenge” he says. But slowly he plans to increase their distribution footprint and possibly make their way into 12 oz. cans. Plans for a barrel program are in place, and you may even see some “true” sours coming out of the brewhouse.

Dave had been brewing at Fitger’s Brewhouse for nearly 17 years when decided it was time to leave back in 2015. He knew that there was a big risk in opening his own brewery, especially all the responsibility that comes with it. “The difference is that the brewing part is fun, but owning a brewery consists of putting out fires, stress, bills, and drama. On the plus side, every day is different and I don’t have a boss. My talents are now being used in the front of the house too” he states. Trendy beers are not something he gets excited about despite the rapid growth and popularity of breweries in the northland and across Minnesota. “I don’t like being ridiculed for not making a pop tart sour beer. Let’s make beer that we’re proud of. I think it’s important to support each other” he says.

The Duluth scene has grown quite a bit and Hoops attributes much of this to the community and the fantastic beer festival coming up in late July called All Pints North. He calls it the “center point” of our summer. “It rivals Madison and it’s the most beautiful beer fest in Minnesota. I love hosting all the breweries when they come into town” he says. Just call him what he is, the ambassador for quality beer here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

If you’d like to check either or both of these events. The details can be found below.

HoopLa 2
Free on Saturday, June 29th starting at noon.
Featuring live music from Father Hennepin , food from New Scenic Cafe, games, prizes, raffles, and beer specials throughout the day.

All Pints North
$45 on Saturday, July 27th from 3 pm until 7 pm.
Featuring 2 oz. pours of Minnesota beer, live music, food trucks, and a beautiful view of the water from Bayfront Park. Grab tickets here: https://www.tempotickets.com/AllPintsNorth2019

Cheers!

The Land of 10,000 Beers (and more)

“Four and three and two and one, when I’m on the mic, the suckers run…” Hoops Brewing’s Dave Hoops raps with the audience in the Land of 10,000 Beers.

In case you live under a rock, the Minnesota State Fair starts today in St. Paul. Years ago, I had an office on Energy Park Drive and always cringed as the Fair approached. We usually had a flood of last minute creative and print work for a few big clients and the traffic always sucked. I’ve never understood why people choose to travel to or from the fair during rush hour. You’re smarter than that people!
Looking for some food and beverage updates? HeavyTable (Twitter) has you covered.
Thirsty? Here are a few suggestions.
Land of 10,000 Beers
The Land of 10,000 Beer exhibit, courtesy of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild returns to the Ag/Horticulture Building for a 6th year with 300 beers from nearly 70 Minnesota breweries and brewpubs. Try all 300! Or maybe not. This year they’ve revamped the flight categories to align more-closely with Brewers Association beer categories: Crisp and Clean, Malty and Sweet, Dark and Roasty, Hoppy and Bitter and Fruity, and Spicy Tart and Funky. Our friends at Better Beer Society are also curating a “Blue Ribbon Flight” with hand-selected flights from our favorite nerds, BBS’ certified cicerones.

New this year is a refreshed rotation of beer flight categories that align with the Brewers Association of beer categories: visitors to the exhibit can select among different flights of beers — Crisp and Clean, Malty and Sweet, Dark and Roasty, Hoppy and Bitter and Fruity, Spicy Tart and Funky. Also new, the Guild’s partner, the Better Beer Society (BBS), is curating the “Better Beer Society Blue Ribbon Flight” comprised of beers selected by BBS’ certified cicerones.

In addition to the beer, the Guild offers daily education programs at 3 and 6pm on weekdays and noon, 3pm and 6pm on weekends.  And if you want to step up your edumacation, BBS’ cicerones will also be conducting Fair food and beer pairing ideas.

Ballpark Cafe
This is a required stop in my book. The Ballpark Cafe has been slinging good beer longer than some of you have even cared. Along with some State Fair classics like Summit Oktoberfest, Lift Bridge Mini Donut and Steel Toe Size 7, the Ballpark Cafe also offers up a variety of beers from Bauhaus, Bent Brewstillery, Bent Paddle, Castle Danger, EastLake, Excelsior, Hoops Brewing, Indeed, Modist and Surly. You can also check out some ciders from Sweetland Orchard and an IPA from War Pigs (3 Floyds, Mikkeller).

Other Beers to Seek Out

Insight Duke of Cuke – Insight’s light lager infused with cucumber. (Lulu’s Public House)

Barley John’s Pickle Beer – Dry-hopped with fresh dill, horseradish and spices. Garnished with a dill pickle and havarti dill cheese. (Giggles)

Mini Donut Beer from Lift Bridge – this State Fair classic is a real treat. We’ve often joked that State Fair beers occasionally “jump the shark,” and this was the first. We really only need one of these per year, but still can’t help but enjoying it. (Ballpark Cafe)

Freehouse Caramel Apple π  -It’s like a little shot of apple pie. Much like Fair food, once a year is enough… but you may as well enjoy it while it’s there. (Blue Barn)

 Bad Weather Lemon Sunshine – a Limoncello-inspired ale brewed with lemons and lemon zest. (Mancini’s)

Summit Lazy Slipper – a Kolsch style beer brewed with ingredients sourced in Minnesota.  (Shanghaied Henri’s)

Follow this link for a list of all of the State Fair specialty beverages. Enjoy!

Hoops Brewing Set to Open Brewery in Canal Park Next Spring

hoops-brewingIt’s happening….The longtime head brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse is realizing a dream, a vision he’s had for a while will come to fruition in the form of a new brewery located in Canal Park. Hoops Brewing is aiming for a March/April 2017 opening date for their 9,000 square foot brewery and beer hall. The model? Something similar to what Dangerous Man did in Northeast back in 2013. “I have all this admiration for Dangerous Man. I give a lot of credit to Rob and Sarah over there” he says. Crowlers were chosen as the preferred package that will go out in limited distribution because Dave doesn’t like growlers.

Some breweries choose to have a wide distribution such as Surly, Bauhaus, Indeed and Bent Paddle. Hoops respects that model but points out that he wants to do things his way. “It’s the best model for me. I don’t need to sell my beer in a five state area. I just want to brew beer the way I’ve done it for 20 years” he said. Much of that time was spent running Fitger’s Brewhouse where he churned out award winning beers. Everything from lagers to wheatwines, using a wide variety of hops and malts.

Dave Hoops at Fitger's Brewhouse

Look at that baby face!

He pegged Melissa Rainville as his head brewer, someone he was very familiar with working at the Duluth brewpub. “She has a very similar philosophy to me, and I’m fortunate to have her” according to Hoops. He explains that she’ll have a lot of say with the types of beers they will create which will include everything from lagers to barrel-aged beers. He hopes to attract everyone, from the local community to tourists, and especially the hockey community—a community he proudly belongs to.

There won’t be a kitchen on-site, but he plans to have menus available from local establishments and he even expects to have a runner system where they will make sure that food ordered to the beer hall is delivered to his customers.

Hoops learned about the space (formerly Timber Lodge Steak House) being available last February and he insists that BevCraft (a consulting firm he’s a part of) was a big reason he secured the space. “They were huge in every aspect of this project” he proclaims. The space itself will seat around 250 people and with areas where one can watch a hockey game on the big screen, or areas with no televisions where people can socialize.

Photo: Tim Nelson

Photo: Tim Nelson

If one thing is certain, he’s proud to be local and he wants the place to be a big part of the community of Duluth. “This is my dream, and I’m going all in.”

That three-hour drive is looking better than ever.