Loading...
 

content

First Draft with Hop Alley Brewpub's Brandon Hintz

A report from Atlanta's OTP beer scene

Hop Alley Brewpub opened in Alpharetta in June, serving up five house-made beers alongside guest drafts and bottles from the likes of Delirium Nocturnum, 21st Amendment, and Alpharetta local Jekyll Brewing. There are even a few infusion cocktails on the menu (think bourbon and vodka infused with the likes of cherry Starburst and bacon). Currently, Hintz is working on the early stages of a barrel program and hopes to unveil a revamped food menu in the near future, too. Hop Alley's dynamic environment seems to suit him well. "One thing with brewing at SweetWater was I got sick of brewing the same thing over and over," Hintz says. "I'm trying to do something different with each beer I brew. If I can have it my way, I'd turn the pub into a Belgian bar, with nothing but Belgian beers and the occasional German lager and IPA."

Describe your first beer experience.

I remember in middle school stealing beers from my dad's beer fridge, but my first real beer experience came from my wife, which was Guinness. My wife and I were friends growing up, and I remember going over there when I was 16 and she was drinking that. I had my first sip and spit it down the drain. I thought it was terrible and that she was nuts for drinking that garbage. What really got me into the craft beer market was SweetWater IPA. I was probably 19 at the time and loved it.

How did you progress from homebrewer to SweetWater employee?

About six years ago, my wife bought me a homebrew kit. I brewed a hefeweizen, thought it was cool, but didn't take much satisfaction from it since it was someone else's recipe. So I jumped in headfirst, bought all the equipment, and started making my own recipes. At first, a lot of beer went down the drain, but it was an awesome learning experience. I was brewing two or three times a week, just to see what flavors I could get out of certain ingredients.

From there, I got with a homebrew club, which met at a local brewery in Iowa. We got the opportunity to work with the brewery and brew some of our beers and learn the bigger equipment and the cellaring side. My wife wanted to get back to Georgia, so when I heard SweetWater was looking for brewers, I applied. A couple weeks later I was flying down for an interview, couple weeks after that I got the job and we moved back. I worked for SweetWater for about two years, which gained me a lot of knowledge, especially on the cellaring side. I worked with some smart guys there, and still tap them for knowledge when I need it.

Where is your favorite place to drink a beer?

Anywhere, really, as long as the beer is good and I'm enjoying it with friends and family. But, if I'd choose one or two places, both would be in Wisconsin: Lambeau Field — I'm a die-hard Packer fan — and Romans' Pub in Milwaukee.

What has your clientele been like so far?

I am amazed at the Belgian beer drinkers in the area. Right now for our guest beer, we are selling a keg a week of Liefmans Cuvée-Brut and Rince Cochon, along with going through multiple cases of bottled beers.

What's the biggest misconception you hear about the OTP beer world?

"There's an OTP beer world?" That's what I hear the most. But between us, Jekyll, and Cherry Street, I believe we'll turn that around and hopefully make our area a beer destination.

What do you hope for the future of Georgia's craft beer scene?

Get rid of all the restrictive laws for breweries and brewpubs. If we can get that done the scene would explode. There are certain areas that are known for their beer: Portland, Wisconsin, San Diego, Asheville. I hope Atlanta will be on that list.

More By This Writer

First Draft with Cameron Alme Article

Tuesday August 22, 2017 04:45 pm EDT

Before he made beer his career, Cameron Alme considered skateboarding and bass guitar. After "reluctantly" attending Georgia State University, he still didn't know what he wanted out of life, but did know he enjoyed hanging out in local brewery tasting rooms.

Born in Roswell and raised in Marietta, Alme says his family got "out of the East Cobb suburbia as much as they could, to give us some...

| more...

First Draft with Lenox Mercedes Article

The High Gravity Hip Hop founder seeks to bridge the divide between hip-hop and craft breweries
Wednesday May 10, 2017 10:00 am EDT

First Draft with Carey Charles Article

The Second Self beer peddler and industry jack-of-all-trades talks past, present and future
Monday February 27, 2017 05:00 pm EST

First Draft with Nathan Berrong Article

Three Taverns' brand cultivator talks turning points, drinking games, and putting sour beers in cans
Thursday January 26, 2017 06:00 pm EST

First Draft with Dan Fontaine Article

The Southeast's Guinness Brewery Ambassador talks dream jobs, podcasts, and the future of Georgia beer
Wednesday November 30, 2016 04:00 pm EST
Search for more by Austin L. Ray