Former Fitger’s Brewer Dave Hoops Announces Hoops Brewing

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors
Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Dave Hoops (above), former master brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse, is building a brewery and 250-seat taproom in Canal Park called Hoops Brewing. It is slated to open spring of 2017. This is significant news for a couple of reasons: first, Hoops’s credentials as a brewer are about as solid as they come, and second, this move looks as though it may help take the burgeoning Duluth beer-scene from “punching above its weight class” to “road-trip destination.” The full press release follows:

Acclaimed brewer Dave Hoops has announced plans to build a brewery and taproom in the Canal Park district of Duluth, Minn. Hoops has nearly 25 years of brewing experience, was a founding member of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, is a beer columnist, serves as a beer judge for the Brewers Association, and has won six medals at the Great American Beer Festival—three as Lead Brewer at Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley, CA and three as Master Brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse. Hoops currently works as a consultant for Bev-Craft, a craft beer think tank based out of Superior, Wis.

The brewery will operate a small system geared toward serving the on-site 250-seat beer hall. In total, Hoops will occupy a 9,000-square-foot space inside a historic 1880s brick-and-exposed-timber warehouse on the water’s edge of the Duluth Harbor (325 Lake Ave. S). Hoops Brewing is expected to open its doors in spring of 2017.

Hoops Brewing will be brewer-driven with the maxim Don’t brew scared. “I’ve always wanted to build a boutique brewery and I’m doing this the way I dreamed of doing it,” says Hoops.

Hoops expects to pour 15 to 30 different styles of beers at a time, allowing him to make something for everyone, from easy drinkers to beers with intense character. The beer hall will not include a restaurant but there will be take-in food options from neighboring eateries. Beer will be sold to-go in crowlers (the first Twin Ports brewery to do so) and there will be limited distribution to select Duluth and Minneapolis retailers. The beer hall is expected to serve as a popular pre- and post-activity stop for those enjoying nearby attractions and events.

Melissa Rainville has been appointed as the Head Brewer, continuing a collaboration between the two that began at Fitger’s Brewhouse. Rainville began brewing in 2010 at Saint Paul’s Flat Earth Brewing Company. She holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. In 2015 she received the Minneapolis-St. Paul District Master Brewers Association of the Americas scholarship and completed the MBAA Brewing and Malting Science Course in Madison, Wis. She also recently completed the MBAA Brewery Engineering and Utilities Course in St. Paul, Minn.