HopLore Brewing, located in the Leesburg Mill building, opened its doors recently and response to the new venture has been positive. I had the chance to interview Stefan King, one of the partners in HopLore, and talked with him about his experience. Find out how and why they got started, learn about their food offerings and of course, get the lowdown on their beer.
How did you decide to start HopLore and why was the Leesburg Mill building chosen?
“My business partner and I came up with the idea along with a third party that chose not to move forward. We spent quite a bit of time working from conception to open to create what I feel is set up to not only a great brewery/brewpub but also one of the best craft beer destinations in Kosciusko county. We selected the mill based on a few requirements that were difficult to find. 1/ space to brew sizeable batches of beer and plenty of floor space for customers. and 2/ plenty of parking. Those two things were hard to find in the same package. We ultimately fell in love with the mill due to its history and set up. We felt that it was almost coming full circle from a feed mill in the early nineteen hundreds to a brewery today again utilizing grains. We also were looking for a location that was a destination and someone coming through our doors knows what they should expect. We are also hoping that this is the start of something for the town of Leesburg and a possible rebirth to the downtown.”
Did you have experience in the beer/brewing industry previously?
“My business partner has been brewing for about 5 years now and has a background previous to that in fermentation on a scientific level.”
Besides the beers brewed onsite, what other drink and/or food options will be offered?
“We have about 10 guest taps(outside breweries) in addition to 10-12 of our own brews. We also offer some bottled beer options and wines for those that are not beer drinkers. Our menu is smoked meat centric but we have food options for vegan and gluten free diets as well. We like to do food that is on a familiar pallet but done a little bit differently.”
How many different brews do you plan to offer initially?
“We started with about 6 (Outskirts Cream Ale, Glock’nstyle Honey Amber, Flytrap DIPA, Hop Lorenzo IPA, Brains on Gluten Wheat, and Magic Powder Session IPA). We currently have 13 on tap and other than about 4 core brews they change almost weekly.”
Will tours be available?
“Yes for private events. Our bar room literally sits in the brewery so people sit about 12 feet away from ‘where the magic happens.'”
What will the days and hours of operation be?
“We are open Wednesday and Thursday 4pm-10pm, Friday 4pm-12am, Saturday 12pm-12am and Sunday 12pm-8pm.”
Besides yourself, who else is involved in HopLore?
“My business partner is Joseph Hull who is head brewer/and brewing operations manager. I am CEO/taproom manager. We have put together a small but mighty staff that has significant beer knowledge as well. I always say that in this setting we are only bartenders half the time, the other half is spent educating about what beer can be.”
What kind of experience do you envision visitors having when they visit HopLore and what do you hope they gain from the experience?
“We are in what is referred to as a “craft beer desert” which means with HopLore being the first of its kind in the area, we hope that people take away that beer is more than something to drink just to drink something. So many are used to drinking beer with very little flavor. Walking in and experiencing beers that range from hoppy to smoky to fruity and everywhere in between hopefully gives an individual an opportunity to see beer as something to experience much like many view wine. Also, one of my favorite parts of the experience is that we do not have TVs. Experiencing HopLore is about being social and enjoying great brews at the same time. We have games set around people sitting at tables can play. My favorite thing about being on my side of the bar is seeing strangers that just happen to sit down near each other strike up a common ground and make new friends. My desire is that our patrons appreciate that same aspect.”
You can get social with HopLore Brewing on their Facebook page.