Open for business!

Well, if you haven’t heard yet, it’s official!  Hopfields “softly” opened their doors to the public on November 22nd.  It was a whirlwind day filled with so much anticipation, excitement and a crap-load of nerves, but they did it!  Bay and Lindsay greeted heaps of curious guests – from students to professors to beer connoisseurs and friends   – all who’ve been waiting patiently for the new Austin haunt to open up and all who came and left with smiles on their faces.   Since then, there’s been a steady stream of guests, some who’ve already established themselves as regulars, some who are coming in to see what all the buzz is about and still others who just happen to be in the neighborhood.

I suppose the public’s verdict is still out on whether or not Hopfields has met everyone’s expectations (although, from what I’ve seen so far, people are rather happy), but as a friend of the Anthons who’s seen this project develop from an idea to a full-blown realized dream, I can say unequivocally that they have absolutely outdone themselves.  Hopfields has been an undeniable labor of love, heart and soul, and this shines through from every single detail in the once barren shell of a space the cozy bar now calls home.

So, what should you order when you find yourself wandering in for a drink and some nosh?   For lunch – go for the buttered ham and cheese baguette and a glass of white.  Add some camembert if you’re feeling extra hungry.  For dinnertime eats and drinks – you can’t go wrong with a side of hand-cut fries, Spanish olives and the salad niçoise that beats just about any salad niçoise I’ve ever had in Paree (just say no to canned tuna).  Oh, and a glass of Tripel Karmeliet to wash it all down while you chat with your friends about how much you loved that beer when you visited Belgium.   Whatever you do, don’t get too comfy in that corner spot with the funky lights hanging over the table – that’s my spot!

Hope to see you there soon!  ~ Sarah

If you haven’t made it in yet, here’s a tiny peek of what you’re missing.

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Way overdue for an update

Well, it’s finally on its way. After many weeks of gathering necessary information, panel schedules and tradespeople reviews, our “mandatory” first City rejection, corrections and resubmittal. After days spent clicking “Refresh” on the City of Austin website waiting for all 7 approvals, slowly and one by one they changed from “In Review” to “Approved” and the final approval came in yesterday afternoon! We expect our freshly printed building permit to be delivered to us today or Thursday. I felt like an expectant 50’s papa and boy, now I feel like handing out cigars!

Those weeks stuck in city permitting have not been idle, though. We’ve been meeting with tradespeople, vendors, etc. trying to line everything up perfectly for that sprint to the finish line that is Opening Day. My husband/co-owner, Bay, and I have debated everything from kitchen layout to paint colors to brass vs. stainless steel drain pans (brass won). There is literally nothing in Hopfields that wasn’t carefully chosen. This is a true labor of love.

As far as construction goes, last week we built the frame for our bar and picked up some beautiful reclaimed oak to apply over the bar “skeleton.” The week before that we went out to Round Top, a gigantic biannual antiques fair that goes for miles and miles, displaying antiques and curio from all over the world. We scored some beautiful things, one of which is a large hutch that will serve as our back bar.

All our lighting has been delivered, correct and in one piece, which is great since they all had ~6 week lead times. We’ve collected all our dishware and almost all our furniture. It’s interesting (and a little daunting!) to see all our furnishings, lighting, and whatnot all piled around the storage area. I keep trying to envision what it will look like when it’s all put together. There are still many details to settle but the main ingredients are all here and are looking very nice.

xo, lindsay

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Beer cocktails

I’ve been a beer lover for a while now, and I can’t recall ever not liking at least some kind of beer.   When I lived in France, my beer-loving tastebuds were at a loss over how few beers there were on tap at bars and how dire the selection of beer was all across the country.  Even in Irish pubs, the fanciest beers around were Kilkhenny, Guinness and Grimbergen.  Not awful beers, but you try living in a place with only the same 3 beers ever on tap and you’ll understand how spoiled we really are here in the good, old US of A.

So, with a totally uninspiring selection of beer, I wasn’t all that surprised when I found out that people were resorting to drinking “beer cocktails.”  I did, admittedly, drop my jaw and cringe my nose the first time I ever saw a bartender add red syrup to a pint of beer and then spray in something from his carbonated tap.  But, then I realized that (even in a beer-forsaken city) sometimes non-beer-drinkers just need a little nudge to fall over into the vast and often intimidating world of beer.  And, besides that, some of those mixes are actually pretty good.  So much so, that I even found myself changing things up a bit, ordering the occasional panaché instead of the usual bottle of Leffe Brune.

In preparation for the approaching Hopfields opening, Bay and Lindsay have been having fun mixing up some beer cocktails, and they’ve held a few tastings with friends to experiment with combining beer and non-beer substances.  Here are a few of the beer mixes we’ve been playing around with:

Panaché (Shandy) – beer with a pour of sparkling lemonade

Monaco – same as a panaché with a bit of grenadine syrup added in (pink beer!)

Tango – beer with a splash grenadine syrup

Michelada – beer with a bit of spicy bloody mary mix, worcestershire and hot sauce

Black Velvet – Guinness (or other stout beer) with champagne

So, what’s your take on “beer cocktails,” and what else are you brave enough to mix into your beer?

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Logo love

So, did y’all see our new logo?  We unveiled it on Facebook earlier this month along with the typeface and tag-line and would love to know what you think.

For a little background, in choosing our logo, we really wanted to showcase the spirit of what we hope to convey at Hopfields; that is, a casual, but beautifully curated home-away-from home for beer purists, beer newbies and beerdoes alike, but also a convivial space for people who just love to share interesting conversation over a table of good grub.

We thought the idea of a penny farther holding a big, fat hop was both indicative of the mix of French-inspired food and beer we’ll be serving, and emblematic of the informal and friendly atmosphere we’re aiming to create.  In a nutshell, we wanted Austinites to feel like they’re dropping in for a drink at a friend’s place, but getting the service and amenities you’d expect from a refined, yet unpretentious watering hole.  Do you get that feeling?


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Beer tasting: Russian River Brewing Co.

Like a true friend, Jonathan came back from a recent trip to the West Coast with a suitcase full of beer to share with his beer-lusting buddies on his return.  In the middle of all of the expected chaos that comes with opening a new bar,  a bag full of hard-to-get beer was more than a welcome reprieve.

In typical Anthon fashion, the front porch was opened up for friends to join in on another round of beer tasting.  This time, all of the beer came from the small but increasingly popular Russian River Brewing Co. of Santa Rosa, CA.  Bay has been dying to get his hands on these beers with a very limited distribution from this craft brewery, so this tasting was a real treat.  Testers were handed out and of course, everyone seemed to have an opinion on each of the five brews.

Here are the beers and some comments that were thrown out about each:

  • Sanctification – a sour blonde with lemongrass and copper aromas, a citrusy taste and a consistent tangy finish
  • Supplication – an amber-colored sour ale that smelled like the ocean to some, sweet like pineapples to others and made someone else think about chewing bubble gum; the tastes were all over the map, from lemon, to sourdough to raisins and even goat cheese!  (I’m definitely intrigued about this one.)
  • Consecration – yet another sour ale, but with a dark molasses and chocolate smell and a rich, tannic taste
  • Blind Pig – a golden IPA that smelled like pine and tree sap, and tasted as earthy as it smelled, imparting a hint of rosemary and a bitter finish
  • Pliny the Elder – a light gold double IPA that smelled like wet hay, but had all the marks of a well-balanced IPA, denoting a myriad of lovely hoppy flavors

Have you tasted any of these beers?  We’d love to hear what you think of them and how they compare with the tasting notes we made.  Let us know what you think about them in the comments.

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Pouring soon

If you passed by 3110 Guadalupe Street recently, you may have noticed this sign hanging up in the window of the future Hopfields.

A few of us gathered together at the new home of Hopfields last week to cover up the windows and put up a sign to build some suspense before all the magic starts to happen.  We painted and cut and taped through the night as we tried hard to imagine what the place will look like once the construction is done, the windows are uncovered and the fruits of this labor of love are finally revealed.

As you can see, it took a group effort to cover up all the windows, and you’d be surprised how hard it is get the entire Hopfields concept across in a succint way and in a space-limited window display.  In the end, we kept it simple and decided that “craft beer, French style street food, and savory drinks” sums it all up pretty well.

But, we didn’t spend all of our time covering up windows.  This is going to be a pub, after all, so Bay took a moment to introduce us to a few different beers by way of a beer tasting. In between sips, we munched on palate-cleansing wafers and ginger beer and tried to determine our favorites of the bunch.

 Hey, this is hard work, folks.  But someone’s gotta do it.
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Big deal

The Austin American Statesman published a snippet about Hopfields’ location in their Real Estate section on Wednesday.  The small piece is already generating some interest in the business and we couldn’t be happier!  In case you missed it, here’s how it read:

Cul Sec leased 1,524 square feet of space for a Hopfields gastropub at 3110 Guadalupe St. Janet Wise and John Kesner of Stanberry Commercial represented the tenant, and Jim Rourke and Jason Faludi of Aquila Commercial represented the landlord.

In other news, the Anthons finalized some very important design elements for their new gastropub this week, so it seems the wheels keep turning.  I can’t wait for construction to start so I can share some new pictures with you!  Stay tuned.


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