Avondale Estates brewery The Lost Druid crafts exceptional beers and community connections.
Interview by Lizzy James | Photos Courtesy The Lost Druid
The Lost Druid‘s commitment to community, diverse beer offerings, and innovative concepts like its distillery have made it a unique and beloved fixture in Avondale Estates. Whether you’re seeking a delightful brew, delicious food, or a welcoming space to connect with friends, The Lost Druid is a must- visit destination. We recently had the chance to catch up with The Lost Druid Founder, Robert Hopek, to learn more about the experience the brewery is bringing to the local craft beer scene.
How did you get involved in the craft beer industry?
The Lost Druid Brewery is the brainchild of myself, Robert, and my wife, Stacia. Prior to venturing into the brewing industry, I was involved in the world of technology entrepreneurship, working with breweries and restaurants along the way. My passion for brewing began 23 years ago when I started home brewing. When Senate Bill 85 (SB85) passed in 2017, allowing for more favorable business models, we saw the opportunity to bring our vision to life. I handle the brewery and distillery operations, while Stacia manages the taproom, kitchen, events, and general operations.
What is the story behind your name?
The name “The Lost Druid” has a personal and spiritual connection for me. During a conversation with an old friend, who had created a Druid character in Dungeons & Dragons, the term “Lost Druid” was born. The notion of a Druid’s connection to nature resonated with me, given my love for the natural world. As I delved deeper into Druid history, I discovered several beer- related associations, reinforcing our decision to adopt the name. It also holds significance for me personally, as I was born on the Winter Solstice, a significant day for the Druids.
Why did you choose Avondale Estates as the location for your brewery?
We scouted various locations in Atlanta but wanted to build something different and community-oriented. Avondale Estates caught our attention as a city undergoing revitalization, with ambitious city plans on the horizon. We wanted to contribute to the community’s growth and become a local fixture. Avondale Estates offered the foot traffic we desired, allowing us to create a welcoming taproom-centric environment where people could connect over great food and beer. The city and its residents have been incredibly supportive throughout our journey, and we’re thrilled to witness Avondale Estates flourish.
What has community support been like since opening your doors?
The support from our community has been nothing short of amazing. We’re grateful to see familiar faces returning week after week, turning their visits into full- day experiences, enjoying meals, and savoring our beverages in the company of friends and family. Our taproom has become a place where people gather, creating an extended family-like atmosphere. The true test of our community support came during the challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The friends and families we had already connected with stepped up to support us, ensuring our survival. Their generosity has played a vital role in our continued success.
What sets you apart from other Georgia breweries?
The passage of SB85 in 2017 allowed us to embrace a taproom-centric model, offering a wide variety of beer styles and delicious food on-site. We aimed to create an inclusive space that caters to everyone’s tastes. Being the first brewery in Georgia built from the ground up with a kitchen was a significant milestone for us. We take pride in offering small plates that complement our brews, allowing our patrons to enjoy a complete sensory experience. Our emphasis on variety, community engagement, and pioneering unique concepts, like our distillery, distinguishes us from other breweries in Georgia.
Tell us a little bit about your brewing team.
Our “hands-on” brewing team primarily consists of myself and our lead brewer, Michael Aube. However, we involve several members of our staff, including Sarah, Anthony, and Kay, in various brewing activities. Michael oversees the day-to-day brewing operations, enabling me to focus on expanding our spirits business.
What is your best seller in the taproom?
At The Lost Druid, we don’t have a single flagship beer as we focus on offering a wide range of styles. However, recently, our Kolsch “Reaper of Souls” and Classic-American lager “Revival” have been quite popular. Nevertheless, we’ve brewed nearly 400 different beers over the past four years. Our “tarts” (sours), IPAs, and fruit-forward hard seltzers have always garnered attention. With 25 taps of variety, there’s always something new to discover.
If you could recommend a seasonal beer for readers to try, what would it be?
Unlike larger breweries, we don’t adhere strictly to seasonal releases. While we do emphasize certain styles during specific seasons, we encourage our patrons to follow their preferences. If you desire a strong Imperial Stout during summer or a light, crisp lager in the cold of winter, we fully support your choices. Our menu reflects the belief that a good beer can be enjoyed at any time, catering to diverse palates.
Where can readers find your beer besides the taproom?
We have a limited number of kegs available for distribution to other craft beer establishments throughout Georgia, from Lake Allatoona to Savannah. While we don’t currently sell cans or bottles in the retail market, you can find our beer at various beer festivals and events. We work hard to accommodate inquiries from bars, restaurants, and growler shops, ensuring our beer reaches enthusiasts beyond our taproom.
Do you currently host any events in your taproom?
Absolutely! We host a range of events to engage with our community. Every Wednesday, we have Team Trivia, which was rated among the top 10 in Atlanta by EATER. Additionally, we organize a stitching and conversation meetup twice a month and offer live music performances weekly. Throughout the year, we host both public and private events, including school fundraisers and special appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus during Avondale’s Winter Wanderland event.
Any upcoming news or events that the community should know about?
We’re excited to celebrate our fourth anniversary in June. Additionally, we recently introduced new terpene- infused spirits, which are available in cocktails, on the rocks, and for purchase in bottles. Our first bourbon is also now available. Furthermore, AvondALE Day, returning in October, commemorates Avondale Estates being named the Best Small Town beer scene in 2021 and 2022. This event showcases the craft beer venues in the neighborhood and offers visitors a collectible glass.