Sam Hoffman’s passion for beer started at a young age, but such regard for making quality beer has led to 15 years of success, as owner of Red Lodge Ales (RLA) Brewing Company and Sam’s Tap Room. To celebrate its 15th Anniversary, RLA hosted a fourcourse dinner with beer pairings, including the unveiling of the 2000th batch of beer, and a slide show, which documented the history of RLA. On June 28, about 75 guests, who enjoy local beer, including Hoffman’s supportive family and dedicated employees gathered at RLA’s beer garden to learn about the rise of RLA, and celebrate 15 years of hard work with good beer, friends and food. Like many college students, Hoffman’s interest in beer began at this time. However, after visiting Germany in his twenties, he b e c a m e i n s p i r e d a n d “gained appreciation of what beer could be.” Shortly after buying his first homebrew pot, and learning from a few mistakes, like forgetting to add the hops, he found his calling and decided Red Lodge needed a brewery. “At the time, I was home brewing and the other jobs in the area were not as fulfilling. I enjoy drinking beer and making it, so I just felt like I had to do this,” Hoffman explained.
In 1998, Hoffman put his commercial brewery plan into affect and opened H&H Brewing in downtown Red Lodge. Realizing its great potential, by 2000 the brewery had already outgrown the facilities, thus the company moved its location to the old tap room. In 2009, the current brewery and Tap Room were completed and Hoffman and his crew continue to create uniquely, inspired craft beers.
To celebrate the Anniversary, RLA’s introduced its 2000th batch of beer, the Geunther Drei Hop, a German-inspired IPA. Brew Master, Justin Moore explained the six-week process of making the beer, mixing classic techniques with modern ingredients. “We took an old style recipe and used old style techniques. We fermented and aged the beer in wooden barrels, a technique used in the 17 and 18 hundreds and combined it with some of the best new world ingredients,” Moore said. Though admitting to a few nerves before unveiling the beer, Moore takes pride in his craft and is grateful Hoffman allows and encourages creativity in beer making. “Sam’s a great boss and I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.
I am lucky that we are able to try new things and take inspiration from what people like.” However, Moore must fear not as the guests received it with high regard. Once the beer was poured, one audience member shouted, “It’s delicious.” To end the evening, guests toasted Hoffman and thanked him for bringing craft beers to Red Lodge and surrounding areas.