Hooküm Brewing Company is Ridgefield through and through.
Hooküm, which opened last summer and is the city’s first downtown brewery, is owned by Nathan and Rachel Hipple, Ridgefield High School sweethearts who have been married for 19 years and counting.
The couple held onto a fondness for their hometown and jumped at the opportunity to wade into the beer business when it presented itself downtown last year.
“I actually had been brewing beer for a while with a buddy of mine and a building became available so they jumped at the opportunity,” Nathan Hipple said. “Been goin’ at it since.”
During the warmer days, there is outdoor patio seating available. Inside, you can have a seat at one of the tables or at the bar; TVs are scattered around the walls displaying various sporting events.
Nathan Hipple brews a variety of beers, whether it be his own Hooküm elixirs or collaborations with other local breweries.
Currently, Hooküm has 11 beers on tap, one of those being a collaboration, and another one being a guest beer. Their most popular beer, according to Nathan Hipple, is the “Front Yard Bliss” IPA. If you prefer ciders, Hooküm offers two: “One Tree Lemon Basil” and “One Tree Caramel Cinnamon.” Beers on tap cost $5 while ciders on tap cost $6.
While Hooküm Brewing Company does not make food in-house, they have partnerships for food with three nearby restaurants: End Of The Road Grill, Vinnie’s Pizza, and El Rancho Viejo. The restaurants receive an order after it’s been rung up at Hooküm. Once the food is done, if the restaurant isn’t busy someone will walk it over, otherwise, the Hooküm patron walks over and grabs it.
While her husband is busy brewing up batches of suds, Rachel Hipple runs the day-to-day operations.
While it can be stressful owning a business, according to Rachel Hipple, it has drawn them closer together in many ways.
“This business has made Nathan and I stronger,” she said. “All of these little projects brought us closer. Some people it would tear apart, but we talk a lot. Sometimes we even wish we could stop thinking about the business, but that doesn’t happen right now.”
The Hipple family was quick to note their hometown community’s support as they took on the tall task of starting and running a brewery.
“My favorite experience has been the ribbon cutting. We had a lot of friends and family come out,” Nathan Hipple said when asked what his favorite memory of the young business is so far. “It’s so cool to see people you haven’t seen in a really long time since it’s in Ridgefield and Rachel and I both grew up here.”
“I used to coach volleyball at the middle school and a lot of my former players are now old enough to drink so they’ve come in,” Hooküm Rachel Hipple added when asked what she enjoys about running the brewery.
And, according to Nathan Hipple, the support hasn’t dwindled in the subsequent months.
“Whether it’s first-timers or repeat customers, everybody seems to think that it’s kind of a melting pot for people in Ridgefield,” he said. “They can meet up with folks they haven’t seen in a long time.”
In the future, Nathan and Rachel Hipple hope to have Hooküm Brewing Company grow into a more sustainable business. Currently, the Hipples have some family members that work part-time at Hooküm, but they hope to grow the staff in time.