The Hopskeller story starts with Matt Schweizer and a home-brew showing in Waterloo, Illinois. Noticing his popularity, several local civil and business leaders requested that Matt's home-brews, inspired by his experiences living in Northern England and the Pacific Northwest, become the basis of Waterloo's brewery.
While Hopskeller Brewing Company may have started out as the flight of fancy of Matt Schweizer, that dream came closer than ever to becoming a reality at Monroe County's annual "Taste of the Region" festival in February of 2014. Matt, at that time a 29-year old history teacher and a homebrewer with 7 years of experience, had presented beers at contests, taught beer history and brewing lessons to enraptured (inebriated?) audiences, and served his beers at more private gatherings and parties than anyone would care to count. Matt's sampling booth at the Taste of the Region seemed to get everyone thinking and, even better, talking: Why can't I buy your beers? You should really look into starting something here in town. We've been dying to get something like that here in Waterloo.
A few hours (and many gallons of beer) later, and before anyone knew it Matt -- along with a group of business and civic leaders put together at the behest of the city of Waterloo -- was drawing up business plans with the Waterloo residents who wanted to see this thing happen... all the while, sharing, sharing, and sharing loads of beer with anyone who could drink.
Before long, Matt and his partners began to attract community members who wanted to volunteer their time and expertise to the project; together with these locals and with well-wishers throughout the Saint Louis area and beyond, Hopskeller is set to become a major staple of the downtown Waterloo experience!
The sights and history of our building...
The building which we occupy was originally a 2-story home built in 1854, with additions made in 1872 and in 1910, the latter of which is now the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. It is believed that the original home held 4 rooms on the first floor, in addition to an exterior summer kitchen and cistern (the foundations of which were both uncovered during the construction of the brewhouse). Throughout its history, the original home was primarily residential, and by the 1920s was a mixed-use property that held a variety of apartments and offices. Prior to Hopskeller’s creation, the home housed the Echoes of the Past antique store.
Within Hopskeller today, you will find a variety of unique architectural features that tie together history from St. Louis, the Metro East, and Southern Illinois. Much of the wood and corrugated tin throughout the brewpub came from barns and homesteads throughout Monroe and Randolph County. The bar and pizza counters were constructed on-site from collections of old doors, some dating back into the Victorian era. The stamped tin on the ceiling above the bar comes from Collinsville High School and is dated between 1908- 1910, and the chandeliers on the first and second floor were originally from The Royal Dump dinner theater restaurant in St. Louis.
The true jewel of our architecture, however, is the mezzanine that overlooks the bar. Constructed of massive pine wood beams taken from the old American Furnace Company factory (built 1942) in Red Bud, Illinois, and lined with iron railing taken from the old McKinley Bridge in Saint Louis (built 1910), the mezzanine has quickly become a beloved destination.
We hope you enjoy your time with us, both inside our historic pub and outside on our patio, funded in large part by generous donations from friends, family, and the larger community – both in Waterloo and across three continents.
in the Press
Jun 02, 2017 - Undaunted by Fire Damage, Waterloo Brewery Eyes Reopening
Oct 13, 2017 - After a Devastating Fire, Hopskeller Brewing Co. Reopens
Oct 13, 2017 - Hopskeller Brewing Co. Reopens After Fire
Nov 8, 2017 - Hopskeller Brewing Co. Returns to Waterloo in Full Force