You may have heard: Berkeley neighborhood’s favorite pizza and craft beer bar has announced a brewery in planning. That’s right, Hops & Pie has decided to grow from creating delicious pizza to also crafting some excellent beer.
After sitting down with Drew and Leah Watson, owners and operators of Hops & Pie, I learned that this new endeavor has always been in the plan for the restaurant. According to the couple, they never planned on expanding the restaurant, but they had to, out of necessity. Now that the expansion is complete and things are starting to “run like a well oiled machine,” says Drew, “it is time for that next step.”
So what are the details behind the brewery? Well, currently, many things are still undecided. They have a September 1st deadline to decide whether to do a small 3-5 barrel system in the garage attached to the restaurant, or to go with a larger 10-15 barrel system, somewhere offsite in the Berkeley neighborhood. According to Drew, “we hope to be pouring our first beer by September 2013.”
They still plan to have at least 14 guest taps, if not more. “There will always be guest handles.” Says Drew, “Living in San Diego, we always saw breweries with guest handles. We never knew of taprooms without.”
But what will their handles be pouring? According to Drew, “The full gamut.” The future brewer, (name not yet revealed), is a physicist by trade and a well-seasoned home brewer. “It’s going to get weird,” says Drew with a laugh. “We plan to do a fair amount of barrel aging in whiskey and sour barrels, and do some open fermentation. He [future brewer] is a scientist, and he is going to be like a mad scientist.”
What has the reaction been thus far? “95% good, but a few have been turned off, but I get it” says Drew, “Its about the love of beer for us. Not about handles in the city, not about production, it is about the product. We love that neighborhood…and why we want the brewery.”