This article is sponsored by the "Farm to Glass" Short Film Documentary Premier at New Glory Brewing on September 9th, 2014. Pre-sale tickets still available!

El Dorado Hills Taps Deeper Into Craft Brew at the Hop House

8/22/2014

Driving up Highway 50 Eastbound from Sacramento, reminds me of all the summer trips up to Lake Tahoe, however, this trip I am heading up to the newly opened bar and grill called Hop House in El Dorado Hills. Situated in the El Dorado Hills Town Center, a vibrant and mixed-use retail and restaurant complex, Hop House with its outdoor patio and plaza, looks out over a small lake. The Hop House sign ushers me inside, with its signature hop emblem embedded in their logo. 

Photo credit: Scott Scoville

Photo credit: Scott Scoville

I am met at the bar by Jason Enyeart, owner of Hop House, as he prepares for the bar and grill to open. Enyeart smiles when asked about their soft opening the previous night, saying, “It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally here.” Enyeart has worked 7 days a week for months, overseeing renovations and handling the logistics from beginning to end. Enyeart is meticulously involved, and doesn’t miss a beat when walking me through his brewhouse, exclaiming about all the features of the bar and grill. From the brick facade to the reclaimed lumber and wood walls, from the artistic chalk colored murals to the eye popping “Hop House” light bulb sign in the dining area, it doesn't disappoint on esthetics. Long handmade wooden tables line the brewhouse, communal in style, ushering the masses to break bread and share brew. It is not pretentious, but casual, and that’s exactly what Enyeart is trying to create, saying “Customers can expect a casual place, with good food, and good craft beer.” 

It is not pretentious, but casual, and that’s exactly what Enyeart is trying to create

Photo credit: Scott Scoville

Photo credit: Scott Scoville

Enyeart is a restaurateur at heart, working his way through the ranks of the hospitality industry. Enyeart grew up watching his father, owner of a nightclub and his mother, a restaurant waitress. He didn’t happen into the industry, but instead he was born into it. Starting as a busboy, Enyeart worked his way up the chain, finally breaking into management years later. Enyeart, was most recently a General Manager at Roseville’s Sammy’s Rockin Island Bar & Grill, a Sammy Hagar restaurant, and talks about his experience. Enyeart said, “I’ve learned a lot about the restaurant business from Sammy Hagar, I’ve got his number in my phone if I need advise.” Enyeart had also been an assistent manager at El Paseo in Mill Valley (San Francisco-Bay Area), owned by Hagar and celebrity chef Tyler Florence. Enyeart reiterated in our interview how much he has learned not just through his experiences, but by people such as Hagar and Florence coming along side him.

Hop House with its 12 taps and growing bottle list, show variety in Enyearts vision for beer. From Knee Deep Brewing Co. to Alpine Brewing Co., Enyeart talks about his plan for rotating taps with an American and Belgian craft beer influence. When asked what his favorite brew is, Enyeart looked over at the bar and stated, “Heretic’s Evil Twin!” With that, Enyeart grabs a stemmed glass, placing it up to the tap and pulls back on Heretic’s tap handle.

Photo credit: Scott Scoville

Photo credit: Scott Scoville

I talked to the owner of the Fairfield based Heretic Brewing Co., Jamil Zainasheff. Zainasheff distributes to numerous bars in El Dorado Hills, including Bistro 33, Relish Burger Bar, Art of Cigar, and AJI Japanese Bistro. When asked about the popularity of his brews, Zainasheff recounted this years CA State Fair Commercial Brewer's Competition, stating, "The Evil Twin is one of the more popular beers, and even took home the Silver Prize (IPA Category) at the fair." Zainasheff talked about how there is a heightened awareness amongst craft beer drinkers, yearning to become more educated on beers. And in reference to the micro brew explosion, he stated "85% of breweries produce less than 400 barrels annually," a statistic that reflects the greater Sacramento and Nor Cal beer scene, but also lends credence to the potential for even more growth in the future.

Public perception is everything, and El Dorado Hills is changing. Enyeart’s passion for where he lives goes beyond just Hop House, saying, “El Dorado Hills is giving Folsom residents a reason to come up the hill.” Enyeart is referring to the influx of craft beer centered eateries and pubs in El Dorado Hills, from 36 Handles to Relish Burger Bar, and lest we forget, Mraz Brewing Co., a growing in popularity brewery. I spoke with Mike Mraz, owner and head brewmaster of Mraz Brewing Co. and he talked about the beer centric shift in El Dorado Hills, saying, “The consumer is becoming more educated on craft beer.” Mraz continued, stating “The beer scene in El Dorado Hills is only going to get bigger.” Richard Righton, owner of the popular 36 Handles and Relish Burger Bar, further emphasized the shift in El Dorado Hills from “wine town to beer town.” Righton said, "Craft beer in El Dorado Hills is growing every year," and he highlighted the economic benefits of more planned residential housing and hotels bringing more people into the pubs.
Both Mraz and Righton talked about the growth, and the hope that people will come up the hill from Sacramento and Folsom to experience the beer scene in El Dorado Hills. 

Righton emphasized the shift in El Dorado Hills from “wine town to beer town”

El Dorado Hills, known for its fine dining and wine, has now created a place for craft beer enthusiasts and the like. Enyeart spoke on his vision for Hop House, saying, “We will be open late. There are a lot of retailers and restaurant workers that don’t have anywhere to gather after their shift. Why not here!” It didn’t take long for that concept to take root, as a few employees from Sellands Market Cafe meandered over after their shift for some craft brew the night of the soft opening. Enyeart is creating community, and it starts with the people you see everyday. 

Photo credit: Scott Scoville

Photo credit: Scott Scoville

We continued toward the back of the house, touring the kitchen, and meeting the chef. Chef Tyler Mort, prepares the craft beer centered food, with a passion and creativity that excites. Enyeart and Mort worked for Hagar, and when Hop House was close to open, there was never a question. Mort was quick to talk about his Grilled Cheese with veal chorizo, cheddar and swiss cheeses with bacon and local heirloom tomatoes. While the variety of grilled cheeses on the menu don't disappoint, Hop House also offers burgers, sliders (coming soon), and salads, including small plates and sides. 

Hop House will be open on weekdays from 11AM-12AM and weekends from 10AM-2AM, featuring live music and entertainment. Enyeart was also quick to announce plans for a grand opening party within the next month, a date yet to be determined. You can find Hop House at 4364 Town Center Blvd. #128, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762.

Cheers, and drink local!

Scott Scoville