Brewvine: Hop Lot
For this week’s Brewvine, Whitney Amann and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson take us to Hop Lot, where you won’t just find good beer and food but also a unique setting.
“Whenever I’m talking to guests during the summer time they’ll say ‘Oh my gosh, what do you guys do in the wintertime? Do you go on vacation for 3 months?’ No we’re still open seven days a week and you really should stop by here in the wintertime and experience the igloos and experience the beer garden for what it is,” said co-owner Drew Lutke. “I’m telling you the trees out there right now, just the backdrop is worth visiting and seeing this.”
What started out as a creative way to solve a seating problem has turned into an experience that craft brew lovers can’t get enough of.
“We just needed more seating, we had no idea that it was going to kind of takeoff but one of the things we like to think of ourselves as doing is embracing our surroundings,” he said. “So being surrounded by these tall maple trees and pine trees in the back it’s just a great setting. Throw these igloos into the mix, we’re getting people from all over the state just wanting to come up here and kind of experience that.”
Once you reserve your snowy shelter, they have some frosty beers on tap for you to enjoy in this winter wonderland.
“This is our Great Oatdoorsman, it’s an oatmeal stout 6-6.5% right now,” said Lutke. “It’s got chocolate, espresso and vanilla in here so it’s nice and smooth. Pretty rich beer but it will go down nice and smooth too. This is one of my favorites. We also just tapped our Leelanau Vienna lager it’s called Leelanau Lager. This has some toasted notes to it. It’s slightly sweet but finishes nice and clean and crisp.”
But beer isn’t the only thing drawing their customers out into the cold.
It’s the overall experience.
Pair that with weekly food and drink specials, and free all you can eat s’mores and hot chocolate for the kids on Sunday, and Hop Lot has been a big hit.
Their goal is to help everyone embrace everything Northern Michigan winter has to offer.
“Before cabin fever sets in just get out. Again whether it’s us or just this area that we’re living in here. We like to think of ourselves as a little escape for people,” he said. “Whether you live in Traverse City, you live on the Peninsula, or you’re from down state, we want you to be in that vacation mindset and just enjoy all four seasons. There’s plenty to do, plenty to see, these igloos are going to keep you nice and warm too.”