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Rebuilding Hopskeller Brewing Company

Hopskeller Brewing Company is one of thirty stops on the 2022 St. Louis Pizza Passport

When I first moved to the loo, one thing was clear. The community knows pizza. I'm determined to try them all. I decided to expand my reach over to Waterloo, Illinois, where I quickly learned that at Hopskeller Brewing Company. This place means more than just a good slice.  

“Sometimes, I still feel like its a dream five, six years later,” said Matthew Schweizer, owner of Hopskeller Brewing Company. “I remember the technician after we finished the first brew here, he asked me how does it feel and he says being a professional brewer, very cool, little exhausting but very cool.”

For Schweizer, his passion started in the classroom. The Waterloo Local returned home to teach high school history, but while attending a school fundraiser, the teacher brought yet another passion of his to the table, home brewing.

“My principal at the time let me have a stand, and the mayor actually approached me after and asked if I have any interest in starting a brewery,” Schweizer said.

With the support from the town, he decided to take a risk and change his career completely. 

“For me, that reality check was having to tell my principal that I will not be teaching next year, like this is real. We are disembarking the boat and turning around, this is a big commitment.”

Located in downtown Waterloo, Illinois, the brewery offers a wide array of seasonal ales and lagers along with the food.

The menu has everything from wood fired pizzas, soft beef, pretzels, hot dogs, brats, crab cakes, salads and beyond. Well, the menu is a must try. It also is the love behind the doors at Hopskeller that makes this place so special.

“I remember the call had gone to the mayor, we were eating breakfast, and he looks like he had seen a ghost and I got what’s up and he said the roof collapsed and I say oh that kind of fire,” explained Schweizer.

Only one month after opening, the brewery caught fire, leaving little to remain. But Schweitzer's dream would not stop there.

“Okay, guess we are rebuilding, because again there is not that second option, everyday is very different with fires and Covid-19 you get thrown a lot of curve balls, but that is any business. Everyday is completely different, you can be brewing to cooking to taxes,” Schweizer said.

Nearly one year of rebuilding brought the local Waterloo staple back into action. Now, Hopskeller is more than a brewery. It's a gathering place for laughter, discussion and the heartwarming joy of beer with friends. 

And for Schweitzer, that really is the best part.

“They are having their wedding receptions here, taking out their parents to an anniversary, you are a part of that memory,” Schweizer said. 

Hopskeller Brewing Company is one of thirty stops on the 2022 St. Louis Pizza Passport. For more information, visit thepizzapassport.org.

 

 

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