Update: Sadly, as of 2014 Hops Restaurant & Breweries have closed their doors in Colorado, and most of the U.S. According to their website, there is one location left in Virginia. So pour out one for your former homie, y’all, and read our article to relive those Hop memories.
Hops Restaurant and Brewery
Say what you will about brewpub chains, but I have a soft spot for Hops Restaurant and Brewery.
Founded in Clearwater, Florida, not far from my hometown, this was probably the first real brewpub I visited. Even before I was legal to drink the beer, I was fascinated to know that they made it on site. As I grew older, I enjoyed many Clearwater Light beers over dinner with the family, and when beer wouldn’t cut it, they made delightful ice cream drinks! Lets not also forget those honey butter croissants they give you just for walking in the door! Who wouldn’t fall in love with all of that? It was a favorite for our family and brings back lots of fun and happy memories.
Unfortunately, Hops Restaurant and Brewery has seemingly had a rough time of it lately. There are only two remaining in Colorado, and we had lunch at the Hops in Littleton on Sunday. Not much has changed, and that’s probably both good and bad for Hops. Good, because it still feels like the same place I remember from years back, and bad, well, for the same reason. With all the new brewpubs and gastropubs around, it’s easy to move on to new, snazzier places, and it seems like many have.
But you know what we discovered on our visit? Hops Restaurant and Brewery is still pretty good. Sure, chain brewpubs tend to brew safer beers that will appeal to the masses, but they’re still not half bad. I had their summer seasonal, the Hang Ten Summer Wheat, and Jeff had the Thoroughbred Red. I was impressed, they were both pretty good beers. It’s nice to see they still brew on site, and at this location, they even sell bombers of some of their beers. The food was also good and the croissants, well, they’re still there too. It was like a blast from the past. I may not get here very often, but I do feel good knowing Hops is still out there for me if I need a little reminiscing.
Until next time Hops, don’t change a thing.