This content was originally published by The Hop Review, a digital magazine that joined the Hop Culture family in March 2020.
This piece was written by Jack Muldowney.
The Hop Review, 2012-2020
In 2012, we set out to log our homebrew recipes somewhere for our own internal reference. A bare-bones website and a dozen or so poorly made IPAs and brown ales later, we’d started ‘The Hop Review.’ And it didn’t take long before we began to realize that documenting our beer interests would be better served by talking directly to the folks who…actually made the stuff well.
Eight years later, THR has been able to cultivate a small (but impressively dedicated) team of contributors, conduct over 150 feature interviews, publish weekly content, travel and write about beer culture in dozens of countries across the globe, host events from the small-bottle-share-type to the festival-sized, partner with incredible personalities, and best of all: meet some of the most inspiring and passionate people in beer–many of whom we have been fortunate enough to call our friends.
It’s also thanks to The Hop Review that I’ve been able to truly learn, adapting my palate from the ‘hoppier-the-better’ offerings to almost all beer styles–and to find appreciation in what it took to arrive at that finished product. I’ve been able to cultivate some of the connections we’ve made into actual full-fledged clients via my design business, Studio Malt. Heck, I even married my wife at one of our favorite breweries thanks to the relationships we’ve made (shout out to Whiner Beer!).
In these eight years, Chicago’s brewery landscape has changed. Craft beer has changed. Gimmicks, tricks and trends have changed. Beer has changed. And to be frank, it always will. It’ll continue to evolve, innovate, circle back–and we will still be fans. We’ll just be a bit more appreciative throughout it all. So, thanks to everyone who’s helped us get this far.
We owe ya a beer.
– Jack Muldowney
2012 feels like a lifetime ago. Looking back, beer (and everything for that matter) seemed much simpler. I’d belly up to the bar, peruse the list of five or so local choices, and pick whichever was the hoppiest. I’d been raised by a hop lover, and that’s as far as I was willing to venture. It wasn’t until we started talking to people—the folks who served it, sold it, (and eventually) brewed it, did I discover there was a whole lot more out there.
During the eight years The Hop Review has been part of my life, I’ve got to know parts of Chicago–and the country–that I never would have visited otherwise. I’ve tried more styles of beer than I knew existed not that long ago. And most importantly, I’ve come across some of the most welcoming, friendly people one could ever hope to sit down and have a beer with. Many of these people are still friends today, so much so that I was inspired to ditch my profitable but wholly uninspiring marketing career to jump into pedaling beer for a living.
For me, the beer adventure feels like it’s just getting started. The Hop Review and all the people who helped Jack and I pull it together over the years is drawing to a close, but there’s so much more out there to explore. When not at home with the family, you’re equally likely to see me at Collective Arts events around the Midwest, or simply occupying a barstool at a brewery or dive recommended by a friend. When you do, be sure to say hey.
So, while this might be the end of our content publication on the website, we’ll no doubt still be active in the beer scene here in Chicago and across the Midwest. We’ll still be managing our social media presence periodically and documenting our own beer travels. We’ll also continue to house our content at this URL for as long as we possibly can…
And, of course, you’ll still be able to spot us in taprooms and pubs wherever great beer is sold. And if you do see us, be sure to say ‘hey,’ and clink pints. We’re truly so grateful for everything that THR has provided us. And thank you all for supporting this little side project of ours these past eight years.
‘Til next time.