An award-winning former Fitger's brewer is opening a 'boutique brewery'

Dave Hoops was the award-winning master brewer at Fitger's Brewhouse.

"Don't brew scared."

That's award-winning brewer Dave Hoops' motto for the "boutique brewery" he's opening in Duluth this spring.

The former Fitger's Brewhouse master brewer says he's doing Hoops Brewing "the way I dreamed of doing it," a news release says. That means having 15-30 different styles of beer on tap in the taproom, which is planned for Canal Park.

"Don’t brew scared means brew whatever you want, don’t be afraid to push the envelope, really far, on any style. Have fun with it." Hoops told The Growler, with the publication noting Hoops is fascinated with German lagers and has experience brewing sour beers.

Where can I get the new beers?

The brewhouse and 250-seat taproom will take up 9,000 square foot of a historic 1880s brick-and-exposed-timber warehouse on the edge of Lake Superior (325 Lake Ave. S.), the release says. The brewery won't serve food, but people can bring some. It will also sell to-go crowlers (32-ounce cans of beer) – a first for the Duluth area. Hoops Brewery will have very limited distribution to select retailers in Duluth and Minneapolis.

“It’s the best model for me. I don’t need to sell my beer in a five-state area. I just want to brew beer the way I’ve done it for 20 years” Hoops told

Hoops is teaming with another veteran

Hoops is bringing 25 years of experience to this new project. He most recently helped start Bev-Craft, a craft beer think tank, after leaving Fitger's Brewhouse last fall. He's won six Great American Beer Festival medals (including three as the master brewer at Fitger's), was a founding member of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, serves as a judge for the Brewers Association, and is a beer columnist.

But he's not the only one heading Hoops Brewing. Melissa Rainville, who worked with Hoops at Fitger's, will be the head brewer.

“She has a very similar philosophy to me, and I’m fortunate to have her” Hoops told

Renville, who began her career at Flat Earth Brewing Company in St. Paul in 2010, was formally trained at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, the release says.

Friday's news has many Minnesotans excited.

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