Local brewmaster Dave Hoops to open brewery in Canal Park


Local brewmaster Dave Hoops is opening his own brewery in Canal Park.

“I’m of the philosophy that there are a lot of great breweries around, and I’m thinking of more of a local destination,” Hoops said Friday.

Called Hoops Brewing, the small-scale brewery and 250-seat taproom will take over the former Timber Lodge Steakhouse space at 325 S. Lake Ave.

With construction already underway at the 9,000-square-foot space, the goal is to open Hoops Brewing next spring.

“March would be awesome,” Hoops said.

A brewer since the 1990s, Hoops has won awards as lead brewer for Pyramid Brewery in California and as master brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse, a job he held for 17 years. He also helped found the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, is a consultant with industry group Bev-Craft and writes a column for the News Tribune.

But this will mark his first foray into owning a brewery.

“I’m more gray than I was when I started,” Hoops joked, “but I’m surrounding myself with amazing people, so I’m not too concerned.”

Hoops has tapped fellow Fitger’s alum Melissa Rainville to be head brewer.

Hoops Brewing will host between 15 and 30 beers at a time and will let folks bring in food rather than provide a restaurant in-house.

“My goal is to provide some beer that almost any beer drinker would like,” Hoops said. “Then I like to brew my own way with some funky, fun stuff.”

He said drinkers can expect everything from lagers to barleywines and fruit, barrel-aged and other specialty brews. The beer will have limited distribution in the Twin Ports and the Twin Cities.

Hoops also plans to sell beer in crowlers — tall aluminum cans that are filled-to-order at the brewery and capped to go, much like glass growlers.

The brewery has been in the works since February, though it’s a natural projection of Hoops’ career in beer.

“I’ve always wanted to build a boutique brewery and I’m doing this the way I dreamed of doing it,” Hoops said.

When Hoops Brewing opens, it will join the Twin Ports’ growing brewery scene featuring Lake Superior, Fitger’s, Dubh Linn, Carmody’s, Canal Park, Bent Paddle, Blacklist and Superior’s Thirsty Pagan.

Blacklist hopes to open its new taproom — at 120 E. Superior St. — by December.

The future home of Hoops Brewing inside the Waterfront Plaza building housed the Timber Lodge Steakhouse for 20 years. It officially closed in April.

Timber Lodge’s owner cited a lack of parking as one of the reasons for shutting down; Hoops said he sees his brewery as a place to stop through between other visits in Canal Park and the area.

Written by Brooks Johnson as published by the Duluth News Tribune.