The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, August 11, 2021 1:00 am

Hop River hires award-winning head brewer


There's a new face in the tap room at Hop River Brewing Co.

The Harrison Street brewery, just north of downtown, recently welcomed Iain Wilson as its new brewer.

“We are honored to have such a decorated professional brewer, bringing so much passion for beer to Fort Wayne,” Hop River's Mary Corinne Lowenstein says.

Originally from Scotland, Wilson has been brewing for more than 20 years. He worked at several breweries in Scotland before moving to the United States in 2005 to work at Rock Bottom Brewery in Orland Park, Illinois. He has a bachelor of science in chemistry and a post-graduate diploma in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Among his accomplishments are nabbing more than 35 medals, including winning a gold at the World Beer Cup and medals from GABF, Indiana State Fair Brewer's Cup, Festival of Barrel Aged Beers and Illinois Beer Festival Competition. Wilson is most known for brewing true-to-style beers, such as Hefeweizen, Kolsch, Irish-Style Red Ale and Belgian-Style Strong Pale Ale.

“I'm excited for the opportunity to be creative, bringing all of my experience to help grow (Hop River),” Wilson says. “There's a huge potential that seems untapped.”

With a new head brewer, Lowenstein says Hop River's goal is to continue offering its flagship beers and focus on true-to-style beers. However, Wilson will have the opportunity to explore his creative recipe box.

“He brings a large amount of brewing and organizational experience with him,” she says. “We look forward to so many collaboration opportunities within our four walls, as well as regionally.”

Searching for a head brewer can be more than just posting a job ad on social media. For Hop River, the management was intentional about where the opening was posted. They used local firm Gladieux Consulting during the process to make sure the head brewer was best for Hop River.

“We took our search to heart and put our best foot forward,” Lowenstein says. “ ... (We wanted to make sure) we found a head brewer that brought passion and a personality that would be a good fit and grow with us as a team. “

Dupont update

Sit down – there's more to the development on Dupont Road than Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.

Echo Development Inc. announced that it has acquired about eight acres of land at the northeast corner of DuPont and Diebold roads.

The development will include a Freddy's location, which I first shared in last week's column. However, the mixed use space will also include a sit-down restaurant.

“We envision this project being somewhere they can have lunch, run a quick errand, meet friends for coffee, or take their families for a special dinner,” Echo Development Principal Jon Boyajian says in a written statement.

Although Echo Development is in active discussions with the Allen County Department of Planning Services, a project timeline has not yet been established.

Passport program

The Indiana Foodways Alliance has launched a new program to encourage people to try Hoosier restaurants, including in northeast Indiana.

The Indiana Culinary Trails Passport includes 21 trails, such as the Between the Buns and Coffee & Tea Room. Each trail has restaurants to visit and a description of why they made the list.

Mad Anthony Brewing is among the local passport stops. In the region, restaurants such as 6 Autumns Food & Spirits in Angola, Clay's Family Restaurant in Fremont and Country Heritage Winery in LaOtto are also stops.

You can sign up for the Indiana Culinary Trails passport at Participants will receive a text with their passport, and they can check in at participating businesses via GPS.

Around town

• Time Corners will soon be home to a new restaurant. Signs are up for Thai Metta Restaurant, and permits for heating and electrical have also been filed with the Allen County Building Department. The location, 5970 W. Jefferson Blvd., was once a Chinese buffet.

• A coffee shop recently opened in Leo-Cedarville. Perks Peak, 9715 St. Joseph St., serves specialty coffee from Olympia Roasters, frozen lemonade, cold brew, espresso drinks and bakery items. Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Bahn Mi Pho Shop, 1925 Fairfield Ave., announced it will temporarily close Thursdays. The change in hours is in response to the current staffing shortage. 

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email or call 461-8304 at least two weeks before event or desired publication.

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