What do Costa Rica and Hudson, Wisconsin have in common? Ethan Mollet, that’s what. Ethan started out at Hop & Barrel as a cellarman and has quickly worked his way into Assistant Brewer. He is original from the Green Bay area, and currently resides in River Falls. He previously lived in the Twin 7 years prior to that – a true “Minnesconsin”! Before coming to Hop & Barrel, Ethan worked as an assistant brewer at Swinging Bridge Brewery in River Falls, WI. They worked on a collab together with us, and the rest is history!
How did you learn about Hop & Barrel?
Working at Swinging Bridge, my boss at the time knew them pretty well. So I’ve known the guys even before Hop & Barrel opened. I came over and checked the place out, and that’s when the magic happened.
Why craft beer and brewing?
I’ve always loved cooking. I started brewing when I was 21 because beer was expensive and there was nothing good in craft beer that time. I wanted to try doing my own thing and that’s how I got into it! From there I’ve been lucky enough to keep happening upon situations that keep it a huge part of my life.
I studied pre-vet at the U of M and worked at the same animal hospital as Katie Eells. It was a complete coincidence that we both decided to move to River Falls to become brewers separately. We’ve known each other for many years. Somewhere along that road I also decided to pursue Fishers and Wildlife which is the same background as Chad, the main brewer here at Hop & Barrel. It was with that background that I learned a lot about water quality and environmental which goes along with the idea of brewing and keeping it clean. I even took some yeast classes (I wish I would’ve paid more attention!) In the future I would like to learn more in the lab with Katie.
What does a typical day for you look like?
I check the tanks for quality and overall beer taste, I also check temp and gravity – basically just make sure everything is headed in the right direction. I help track the brewing on a day to day basis. We are going to start double brew days in the near future, so when that happens Chad and I will split days so there is more regular hours for everyone.
What’s it like being a part of the Hop & Barrel team?
The guys are great and very relaxed. They are pretty chill and nerdy, which is what I consider myself. They take a lot of things with a grain of salt and not to be too serious. It’s a real family atmosphere and welcoming which is really nice.
What is your favorite Hop & Barrel beer?
Chad’s Pale Ale with mosaic was fantastic, but I only got to try a little before it was gone!e Minnesconsin is current favorite, it is easy drinking and delicious, especially this time of year.
Do you consider yourself more ‘Minne’ or more “sconsin”?
That is a tough questions! Are we talking Packers vs Vikings? Where I am living? I would call myself both, a true Minnesconsin. There are things I love about WI, but I do consider myself a transplant Minnesotan.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I do some woodworking, recently started attending more shows. I used to play Rugby in St. Paul, but too many injuries! I also enjoy hiking and camping. I have a gray kitty names Lexington, he is 14. He likes to jump on you and hang out.
What is something people may not know about you?
I’m an open book – ask me anything and I’ll let you know! So we asked him three either/or’s:
• Milk / Dark / or White chocolate? Dark for sure.
• Paperback book or E-book? Paperback book
• Netflix or Hulu? Well, neither have King of the Hill so…