A little over four years ago, while visiting Phil Rhudy at Independent Brewing Company in Bel Air, I met Aaron Hopkins, Independent’s head brewer at the time. During our conversation, Phil and Aaron talked about Aaron’s new business: Chesapeake Malting Company, a soon-to-be supplier of malt to Maryland breweries! Not long after that meeting, Aaron left Independent Brewing and opened Chesapeake Malting along with his father. As a farming family, opening a malt farm was both exciting and new for the Hopkins, but also familiar territory for these life-long farmers.
But Aaron had another dream: to open his own brewery, a dream that came true last July when Hopkins Farm Brewery opened in Havre de Grace. I sat down with Aaron this week in their rustic and inviting tap room and talked about his journey into brewing, starting off with attending the University of Delaware as an Agri-Business major.
A few months later, Aaron Hopkins and his follow Agri-Business majors had to decide on a senior project. And then destiny took its course.
After graduation, Aaron jumped back into a bartending job he had through college and spend time working with his dad on their farm. And Aaron kept thinking about brewing beer.
As it turned out, on the day of his tour, the brewery was especially busy because they were short staffed. Aaron said that if they ever needed help, he’d be glad to do volunteer work. The next day, DuClaw called, taking Aaron up on his offer to do volunteer work, a move that led to a part-time paid position and gave Aaron the chance to get to know some of the brewers while he continued doing a lot of basic jobs. He then decided he wanted to learn more and enrolled in a two-semester course on brewing in Washington state. When he returned home between semesters, he got a call from DuClaw offering him a full-time position in production. And although he wasn’t brewing, the job gave Aaron the chance to learn from the DuClaw Brewing team.
Next week, Aaron tells us about his move from DuClaw Brewing to Independent Brewing and the steps he started taking to open Hopkins Farm Brewery. Until then, make a visit to Hopkins Farm Brewery in Havre de Grace and enjoy some great beer while taking in the beauty of the Hopkins Farm!
100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy