A Town Hall Meeting with Brewer Mike Hoops

In anticipation of Town Hall’s Anniversary Week, we rap with Town Hall Brewery’s Mike Hoops.

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Photos by Aaron Davidson

Name: Mike Hoops
Hometown: Glencoe, MN
Works at: Town Hall Brewery, 1430 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454
Turn-Ons: Integrity, a daybreak in the woods, and ladies driving motorcycles
Turn-Offs: Gutterballs, brewery floors, -20°F

The Growler: What’s in your fridge right now?

Mike Hoops: Summit Sága, Schell’s Hefeweizen, New Glarus fruit beers, various hard ciders, Coors Banquet, Pilsner Urqell, some Belgian sours.

G: Other than Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, where is your favorite place to put one back?

MH: Nearly any dive bar that has clean beer lines and a good bourbon selection.

G: What was your path to brewing professionally?

MH: Like many I started as an avid homebrewing geek, which led to knocking on brewery doors until one opened. I worked for free until I was offered the head brewer position at an upstart brewpub—Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth. An Internet search for used brewery equipment and a truck trip to Colorado was all it took and we had an operating brewery. Three years and a little wanderlust later, I landed in Minneapolis at Town Hall Brewery. My formal brewing training was Brewlab located at the University of Sunderland in the U.K.

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G: Who has been your biggest individual influence in brewing?

MH: I had a couple brewers that shared their knowledge and taught me the Brewer’s Code to which I still subscribe. Bob Dromeshauser, who took his passion for beer to commercial status as one of the original founders of Lake Superior in Duluth, MN, in 1994. He later left the company and no longer brews beer. The other who took me under his wing was Ken Jones of Glenwood Canyon Brewing in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He graciously offered assistance for the first few years of my brewing career. When I asked Ken how I could ever repay him for what he had done for me, he simply stated, “Do it for someone else someday.” Ken is still with Glenwood Canyon Brewing. Watching the pioneers (the Sierra Nevadas, New Belgiums, Anchors, Alaskans, etc.) do it right has also been instrumental in my belief of what brewing is.

G: What are your other passions in life?

MH: I love crafting beer and when I am not in the brewery most of my passions lie outdoors. I love touring the open road on my adventure bike, fishing with my lady, making maple syrup, just to name a few. Harvesting wild rice is the next thing on my list.

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G: What would you be doing if you weren’t brewing professionally?

MH: I would probably be working in GIS (Geographic Information Systems). My college degree is in geography and international relations and I had aspirations of being an international cartographer although working for the DNR or USGS also had appeal.

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About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the managing editor, writer, and photographer at The Growler Magazine. His column "Now Open (Or Damn Close) keeps you up to date on the newest breweries in Minnesota.