HopLore Brewing makes Old Leesburg Mill a destination again
The Old Leesburg Mill was once a destination for farmers to trade stories while grinding their grain into feed. A century later, grain there is milled and brewed into beer for HopLore Brewing Company, a destination for friends to relax and connect over a pint.
Built in 1905, this historic building in Leesburg, IN, most recently housed a mercantile with a coffee shop, five-and-dime store and bakery. HopLore founders Stefan King and Joe Hull purchased the property in January 2017 with a goal to build community around good beer and food.
King has lived in Leesburg for 13 years and was working as a bar manager when he reconnected with Hull, a friend from high school and a homebrewer. “I’m a beer geek,” says King, who was excited to try Hull’s homebrews. They were good, and after only a few conversations, HopLore was born.
HopLore’s name serves as a nod and a wink to Hull’s background in biotechnology and cellular biology, and a desire to be scientific in his approach to brewing.
“I’m always critiquing the product,” Hull said. “I start with a flavor profile in mind, and I know the flavor components of the ingredients.” In the end, Hull says, his beers are usually on point.
After purchasing the building, Hull worked as head brewer for South Bend Brew Werks. There he improved his brewing skills and tested recipes while he and King worked to open HopLore.
King says the relationship between the two breweries was highly beneficial. “It’s the camaraderie in the brewing industry that has allowed us to get up and running in the way that we have,” says King.
In October, Hull visited Tin Man Brewing in Kokomo, IN, to collaborate on an oatmeal stout recipe. When it’s ready, Hull says, HopLore will keep half of the batch to serve at the mill.
HopLore has a few mainstay beers on tap, including Outskirts Cream Ale, Biere de Saison, Magic Powder Session IPA and Glockenstyle Honey Amber. Every Thursday, a new or experimental recipe is released, like Brian’s Milkshake, a New England–style IPA brewed with lactose and raspberries; Freakin’ Wired Vanilla Cold Brew porter; and Morning Wood, a red ale made with fresh Chinook hops from Morning Wood Farms in Oswego, IN.
HopLore features 22 taps, including a handful of guest taps curated by King, as well as wine and cider. “I could never imagine owning a place that only served the beer we produce,” says King. But more important, he says, is the guest experience, and having knowledgeable bartenders to steer guests to the right beer and food selection.
HopLore’s menu features smoked meats sourced from local farms. “Right now, our menu is leaning more toward tacos,” King says, including a brisket taco with pickled red onion and bleu cheese cream sauce with cranberry and walnuts, a smoked pork belly taco with sweet molasses kale slaw and whiskey-habanero sauce, and a vegetarian smoked black bean taco with pear salsa, onion, mint and cilantro.
The brewery features original wood floors and a rustic feel, with games available for patrons to play together. HopLore is family friendly and offers a full menu and an outdoor patio for warmer months.
“A lot of what we do is about community,” King says. “We want HopLore to be not just a place people go to have a drink, but to support local causes, give people a place to build friendships and have a setting that lends itself to that.”
100 S. Old State Rd. 15