Category: tap rooms

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:


Fair State Mirror Universe Review

Haze is all the craze right now and Fair State Brewing seems to be embracing (sorry Niko) this trend. Their collaboration with Modern Times out of San Diego called Spirit Foul was a hit so it’s no wonder they’re going forward with this popular IPA style. Throw in a Star Trek reference and you have my attention. Here are my thoughts on Mirror Universe.

Like all hazy IPAs this looks like grapefruit juice in a fancy glass. Pineapple and papaya come through in the nose and in the flavor but the level of bitterness is very low. This feels like a mouthful of juice, similar to drinking a mimosa. Overall a nice version of the style and very similar to Spirit Foul which is still their best hazy IPA.

Modist is still the local darling when it comes to this style, but don’t sleep on Fair State. They seem to do everything pretty damn well. Grab a four pack of Mirror Universe if you don’t believe me.


Minnesota Beer Industry Loses a Great Friend and Ambassador

“What do you think of the beer?” That was a phrase I was used to hearing from one of the biggest supporters of Bad Weather Brewing and the local beer scene in general. This was Greg Carpenter, father of Zac, who is one of the founders of Bad Weather Brewing. His smile was infectious and his passion for all things beer was enormous.

Sadly Greg passed away last Tuesday leaving heavy hearts around the brewery and the industry. There are so many interactions that we’d had that I’ll never forget. One of my favorites was at an arcade event held at the brewery last summer. Bad Weather had just released their first Helles Lager. We talked about this style of beer which we agreed was underrepresented here in the Twin Cities and how brewer Andy Ruhland had done such a great job executing this. He was so proud to talk about the brewery that he helped bring to life from the ground up.

Greg always supported my writing and genuinely cared about what was going on in the beer world. For that, I am forever grateful. I’m proud to have called him a friend and my love and condolences go out to Zac and the Bad Weather Brewing family.


Brew Day at Surly: $pice Boyz Lager Beer Camp Collaboration with Sierra Nevada

Last Friday I had a rare opportunity to spend the day at Surly for a brew day with Michael Palmer from Sierra Nevada for their Beer Camp collaboration. The beer is called $pice Boyz, a lager infused with ginger and cayenne—aged on oak, and appearing on tap at the Surly Beer Hall. The Sierra Nevada version was brewed a couple months ago and will be released in the Beer Camp 12 pack. Their version was simply named Ginger Lager.

“All three of us came up with the idea for this beer” says Surly co-head brewer Jerrod Johnson. “We wanted to make a beer that would age well. We figured all the other folks would be making bigger beers, and we wanted to make something more sessionable.”

Ben Smith is the other co-head brewer at Surly and he was excited to work with Sierra Nevada on this project. “Their [Sierra Nevada] hospitality is second to none. Everyone there is a professional, and it was cool to see” says Smith. We wanna be stewards of the industry and it was a great experience.” He reiterated what Jerrod said about wanting to make something that was easy to drink. “We made some assumptions about what the others were going to do. They were doing sippers. Let’s make something simple but unique.” Jerrod and I have always wanted to do a ginger beer.”

How did this all come together? Well, it started when I ran into Michael, Jerrod, Ben, and Josh Lemke (brewer at Surly) at Grumpy’s in Northeast last Thursday evening. They suggested that I come in for a brew day at the Brooklyn Center Brewery. You don’t pass up an opportunity to brew with two of the best breweries out there.

The brew day began with a Red Bull courtesy of Josh. He mashed in while Ben and Jerrod held a meeting in back. Mike joined Josh and I on the brew deck and performed the ceremonial adding of the hops.

Ben and Jerrod joined in while we chatted about brewing and all the fun new beers that Surly has coming. Ben, Michael, and I sampled some of those beers to see how they were coming along.

Then it was back to the brew deck where we checked in on the boil. Josh was busy monitoring the progress of the batch. I chatted with Jerrod before he had to skip over to Surly MSP for a meeting.

Ben and I then bellied up in the old taproom and talked about Sierra Nevada, the collaboration beer, and life in general. He tells me that the Surly version of the beer will be a taproom only release starting in June and that the SN version will be included in the Beer Camp 12 pack, also in June.

Back out in the brewery Josh was manning the kettle and also took some time to change up the music in the brewery. Heavy metal would be the music of choice. Ben joined him on the deck to perform another hop addition while I was “busy” SnapChatting the process.

The crew then broke for lunch and that’s where my day there ended. The experience was fantastic, and the Surly brewing team is group of true professionals that know exactly what they’re doing. It almost seemed too easy. I guess that’s what you’d expect from one of the most respected breweries here in the country.

One thing is certain, you’re gonna want to stop in at the Surly Beer Hall in June for the $pice Boyz release. Just make sure you don’t break out in full Spice Girl mode….That would just be awkward.


Dangerous Man and Electric Fetus Collaborate on Single Hop IPA Record Store Day Beer

A few years ago, Electric Fetus owner Aaron Meyerring was trying to bring in some more stuff to sell for Record Store Day—a day that kicks off the spring/summer festivities here and around the country. He decided that he wanted to work with a local brewery and Dangerous Man stepped right up. “They’re great people over there and it’s been a great partnership” he says. The record store sells some Dangerous man merchandise and the brewery makes an exclusive beer for this day. Unfortunately, they can’t serve it at the south Minneapolis retailer, but if you bring your Electric Fetus receipt in to the brewery you’ll get a dollar off a pint of the beer.

Meyerring wishes they could serve the beer but notes that they don’t want to take away from what Record Store Day is about. “We didn’t want to make Record Store Day a beer fest or anything like that” he says. The beer itself is Single Hop IPA brewed with Eureka hops. Vinyl collector and Dangerous Man Operations Manager Hilari Bandow describes the flavor of the beer. “Black Currants, pine, dark fruits, slight citrus and herbal notes from the hops blanket the aroma and flavors of this ale. Crisp, clean simple malts round out the backbone to keep the balance all in check.”

New merch at the store will include some official Prince (a known supporter of Electric Fetus) merchandise not available anywhere else in the world. A year ago Aaron had the opportunity to attend Prince’s last show in Atlanta. “We got call saying Prince would like you to come to his show in Atlanta. It was an opportunity you can’t pass up.”

An opportunity he’s sure to remember for the rest of his days.

Here’s the schedule for Saturday:

Music schedule:
10:00 a.m. – DJ Jake Rudh of Transmission
Noon – Marah in the Mainsail
1:30 p.m. – Sims
3:00 p.m. – Flipp
4:30 p.m. – Monica LaPlante

Peace Coffee will be on hand outside the store before we open.
Heggies Pizza will have breakfast pizza for those in line, starting at 7 a.m.
Glam Doll Donuts will have tasty treats inside at 9 a.m.
Natedogs and Chef Shack Ranch Minneapolis food trucks will be on site behind the store starting at 10 a.m.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Relax in the Red Bull Sound Select lounge behind the store and check out the rockin’ kids’ craft area in the lounge…
DJ FunSize spins tunes
Cool activities for kids including projects recycling old vinyl, design your own album cover and more!
Warner Music Group will be here with posters and other free goodies behind the store.

Pick up your coupon for the special Electric Fetus Record Store Day beer at Dangerous Man Brewing Co all day Saturday.

Thanks to these additional sponsors:
Twin Town Guitars, Audioengine

Check out the list of Record Store Day exclusives here in PDF or web form:
We can’t guarantee what we’ll have, but we’ve tried to get in as many as possible.