10 Questions For...

Jules Gray

Hop Hideout/Sheffield Beer Week

1) Where are you based and what makes it such a great place to live?

I’m based in Sheffield and have been back here since around 2012. I’ve had the pleasure of living in a number of great cities including Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham – moving around for work really. I came to Sheffield to study from ‘up North’, loved the city but left for work opportunity.

I met my partner, Will, in Birmingham, whilst working for a big brewery. I was becoming more unhappy being there for various reasons and we both wanted to settle somewhere nearer lots of green spaces. Sheffield is a really creative place with a good music, arts and beer scene plus it’s a very outdoors city, great for cycling, running, climbing and more. It’s gone through some tough times but there’s definitely more investment coming into the city and bigger companies locating offices here. So can’t wait to see what happens in the next five years.

We started Hop Hideout together at the end of 2013 and I started Sheffield Beer Week back in 2015 as a way to celebrate indie beer and businesses in the city and give back to the community. Sheffield’s a hub of independent businesses and creative networks and really vibrant, plus we love a good party here – with the likes of Tramlines and Sheffield Documentary Film Festival both great examples.

2) Tell us more about Hop Hideout and what have you got coming up this year that’s super exciting?

Hop Hideout started around the end of 2013 as a pop-up beer shop to see if the idea would work. It felt like the new wave resurgence in micro/craft brewing and it was an area we were both really excited by. I had been working for a large multi-national brewery and wanted to move to a more independent and what I saw as exciting part of the beer scene.

I had been writing a regular beer column for a local magazine and just felt really enthused about starting my own indie beer business. Hop Hideout has grown organically from that starting point. We now stock over 400 beers, run a tasting room (so basically a micro-pub) offering, have five draught taps and host lots of events.

We’ve had meet the brewers with Northern Monk (think we may have even hosted the first one with Brian at the brewing helm in January 2014), Cloudwater, Mad Hatter and more; hosted writers like Pete Brown and we run Mikkeller Running Club’s Sheffield chapter too.

I’m very excited to be welcoming beer historian Ron Pattison to Sheffield on July 1st for a Scottish beer talk – I’ve also hooked up a brew day for a special Sheffield Beer Week collaboration, which I can’t wait to happen. The Deya meet the brewer, coming up in October, is an interesting one too as they seem to have come from nowhere in the last six months to acclaimed juicy beer producers.

Last year we celebrated our third birthday and had the pleasure of collaborating on three beers. We had a Thai inspired wheat beer with Elusive and Cheshire Brewhouse, then a Watermelon Berliner Weisse with Northern Monk and artwork by Tom J Newell (he painted the front of Hop Hideout too) and the final release was a beer and snack pairing. We decorated Hop Hideout inspired by a mad hatters tea party theme for our actual birthday weekend (November) and launched the tonka bean Mad Hatter Brewing beer with the dark chocolate covered Karkli snack. So many good memories from that weekend and it was great to share with our beery fiend customers.

3) What if push comes to shove is your favourite all time Sheffield/Yorkshire bar, brewery and beer?

It’s always a difficult one to answer, especially Yorkshire, it’s huge and full of good stuff!

In Sheffield I’m keen on lots of places for different reasons – for drinkies Picture House Social (always good bands and DJs), Bath Hotel, Shakespeare’s, Rutland and brewery/beer wise, to get the taste-buds going Ashover’s ‘Elderflower Sour’. Yorkshire brewing wise – Magic Rock are stand out at the moment, Salty Kiss and Cannonball are go-to beers.

Jules Gray Sheffield Beer week
Hop-Hideout-Craft-Beer-Shop Sheffield beer
Sheffield beer shop Hop Hideout
4) What are the top few places people anyone visiting Sheffield right now should head to for great beer, food, good times? What would be the perfect Sheffield day?
The Abbeydale Road area is fast becoming a great all day beering and food destination. Start off at the bottom of London Road at The Beer Engine for a beer (they have tapas too if you fancy), Yama Sushi for ramen/sushi, walk up to The Picture House Social for more drinks, maybe even a cocktail and arancini, then Hop Hideout for juicy sharing bottles of beer and finish at The Broadfield for a tasty ale and pork pie/pickle combination.
5) Who do you personally think is doing the most interesting things in UK/European beer right now and who should be on our radar?
I’m interested to see where the koelschip and sour/wild beers are headed for the UK. Burning Sky and Wild Beer have both installed koelschip recently and I’m excited to see where they both take things. Of course these beers won’t be quickly available – it’s about time and care, a real investment but could deliver great beers in the next few years.
6) Who do you think is doing the most interesting beer things worldwide right now?

I love what Fonta Flora, in North Carolina, are doing. They celebrate local agriculture and ingredients in that ‘farm to table’ ideology – foraging and sourcing local ingredients for their beers. They use lots of mixed fermentations. I’ve tried their beers when over for Mikkeller Beer Celebration the last few years and been absolutely blown away by the layers of flavours and ingenuity of ingredient use. I’d love to go visit them one day.

Wild-Beer-Co-Sleeping-Lemons-Gin-70cl Sheffield beer shop Hop Hideout
Sheffield beer Hop Hideout Jules and Will
Mikkeller-Drink'in-Berliner-Yuzu Sheffield beer shop Hop Hideout
7) You’ve recently been to Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen but where else would be your favourite beer destination/adventure if you could choose to head somewhere on holiday?
I really want to visit Carnivale Brettanomyces festival in Amsterdam as I’ve still not managed to go. It’s all about funky cultures – I interviewed one of the organisers back in 2015 on my personal blog
Amsterdam’s a fun city to explore, head over to our shop blog for a hit list!
8) What are your favourite tunes to have on whilst enjoying beer?

We Funk Radio and Dam-Funk podcasts! They play the music I enjoy – soulful leanings, 80s boogie, funk, hip-hop, spaced-out oscillations. Get the dancing shoes on I say.

9) What is one awesome discovery you’d like to share with our YEAST BERLINERS that you’ve found out on your own beer journey? 

Beer is people. I’ve heard Garrett Oliver, of Brooklyn Brewery, talk at various events and it’s something he’s said that really struck a chord. Hugs and beer pair nicely too.

10) Finally – where can people find you at next and more information about Hop Hideout and Sheffield Beer Week?
We’re hopefully heading down to the Beavertown Extravaganza for beer and good times – say hello if you’re there Friday (@HopHideout), we’re friendly beer geeks like everybody else.
Shop wise we’re really focused on our mail order service this year, including a subscription style club, trying to develop that really. We currently ship out across Mainland UK, from here 
Otherwise if you’re ever visiting Sheffield call by for a beer and say hello. Sheffield Beer Week will gear back up planning from September but I’ve a few exciting ideas already on the table. I want to focus on a bit of back to basics and the four core ingredients of beer.
I’ve hopefully secured a few streams of funding for 2018 and I’m excited to channel this into the beer week. Last year was such a big year in terms of unique offerings and breweries involved – we even had our own Untappd badge and Island Records Sheffield Beer Week playlist.
Jonny Q
JONNY Q Big cheese at YEAST BERLIN... Lover of food, drinker of great craft beer. Slowly moving from a steady diet of IPAs to a love of stouts and the dark side. Can usually be found travelling somewhere to treat all 5 senses at once and trying to make life as exciting as possible. QOTSA and big classic HipHop fan!

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.