This episode is the first of the Great Beer Adventure’s brief brewery bio road trip series. I was headed to a podcast conference and decided to split up the drive by visiting Hanging Hills Brewing Company in Hartford Connecticut.
I strapped on my custom one man podcasting harness and sat down with Joe Ploof and Brian Cox, the founders of Hanging Hill Brewing. The Connecticut craft scene has been very welcoming with around 45 customers. They plan to saturate Connecticut before establishing a small foothold in New York and spreading out to Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Piercing Vermont’s beer scene is a feat both Joe and Brian admit is tough, but it’s a goal they’ll both drink to.
Hanging Hills Origin Story
Brian and Joe were both aspiring homebrewers that attended the American Brewers Guild in Middlebury Vermont to escape dissatisfaction with their professions. They met at beer school and rented a house in Sacramento and drank their faces off with 14 other guys. Joe showed up at the house in the early hour of the morning, and Brian was the only one up. The seed for Hanging Hills was planted then, but the duo started taking the concept of their brewery seriously when Brian took over the head brewer position at Overshores Brewing. Things started to take off even more after they added Scott Stauffer, their Chief Operations Officer. They’ve batted around an idea of a beer called “The Stauff” with a label featuring Scott in a Baywatch bathing suit and a sixtel thrown on his shoulder.
Hanging Hills Beer
First Beer Memories
Brian – dad drank lots of German imports, but they would make a point to find Great Lakes when they went to Cleveland. Sierra was what they drank from the national level.
Joe – Joe didn’t really seek out craft beer until moving just south of Seattle. He came across an entire wall dedicated to Craft Beer in a Saveway. Growing up on the east coast, Joe immediately realized something was going on across the country that had completely missed where he grew up. The idea that beer could be more than just to get you drunk, and his first intentional craft purchase was New Belgium’s Fat Tire.