When Hopskeller Brewing Co. was forced to close its doors following a serious fire last October, brewmaster and operating partner Matthew Schweizer pledged to rebuild.
Now, he's making good on his promise: the brewery reopens at 116 E. Third Street in Waterloo, Illinois, at 4pm today.
A former history teacher, Schweizer opened Hopskeller last September after more than a year of renovations to the 160-year-old building. Less than a month after opening, the building caught fire. Schweizer says the fire was largely contained to the kitchen area – the entire kitchen needed to be gutted – but the brewery suffered some losses as well: the brewing equipment was destroyed, and the brewpub suffered smoke and fire damage.
"During reconstruction, many of the issues that naturally arise from being in a historic building started to show themselves, so we fixed those issues during the past year," he says.
Hopskeller's footprint will be the same, but the brewhouse has now expanded from a 7-barrel to a 10-barrel system. "Even in that one month, it was clear we were going to need to do that sooner than later anyway, so we took the opportunity to expand while the brewhouse was cleared out," Schweizer says. The patio is also completed and features additional seating, but Schweizer says the original, historic portion of the building will be identical.
When the brewery reopens today, look for Hopskeller's Pale Mild Ale, Raspberry Wheat, IPA, Northern English Brown Ale, a Pale Ale made with estate-grown malt from a small farm in Oregon, and Illinois Common, which is based off the historic Kentucky Common style.
Hopskeller Brewing Co., 116 E. Third St., Waterloo, Illinois, 314.458.4713, hopskellerbrewing.com