Hop Springs is More Than Just a Brewery—It’s an Experience
If you build it, they will come. And thanks to a new addition on the Rutherford County brew scene, there’s even more to get beer lovers out of their houses than ever before.
Hop Springs Beer Park was a glimmer of an idea a few years ago when Derrick Morse and Mark Jones met. The pair started talking about the concept of going big when Morse worked at Cool Springs Brewing, but the launch of Mantra Artisan Ales with Maneet Chauhan and Chad Frost in 2015 pushed the larger vision on the backburner until last year.
Though the brewery’s official grand opening just took place, it actually opened its taproom doors to the public over the winter months. Since then, it’s already found its footing in keeping locals entertained with regularly rotating events like Americana Sunday, Yoga + Beer and Triple Threat, a classic rock band from Murfreesboro. The beer park, which is open seven days a week, is jam-packed with other musical acts, as well.
Last weekend was the first large-scale event on the property: the multi-day WMOT 895 Fest, an Americana music event held on May 31 and June 1 at Hops Springs.
"We will have a rock stage, an 18-wheeler with full lights, speakers and more down in the valley as part of 895 Fest,”David Winker, general manager for Life is Brewing, says. “It’s the 50th anniversary of the Roots station WMOT, MTSU’s public radio station, and there will be a hospitality village with plenty of Southern comfort as well as international and local food favorites featured in the parking lot, plus music on Friday night and from 11am to 11pm on Saturday.”
Hop Springs’ parent company Life is Brewing has three brands that operate beneath it: Mantra Artisan Ales, Steel Barrel Brewing Co. and Humulus Project. Life is Brewing also makes nonalcoholic beverages like cola, root beer and black cherry.
Not interested in beer? There’s still something for you at Hop Springs with a nine-hole disc golf course, a 5K walking trail that will incorporate tree and plant identifications and a lot of wide open green space. The pet-friendly venue that frequently draws in canines (and their people) is also adding two enclosed dog parks in the near future.
"We are a destination for the local community, the state and tourists. We really wanted to take this 83 acres and create an all-day destination for all ages,” Winker says.
The timing of Hop Springs’ debut could not have been more apropos to the launch of MTSU’s Fermentation Science program either, which was added to the university’s roster of majors back in 2017. The program has proven popular with the students enrolled, all of whom are given internship opportunities at the Hops Springs facilities. There is a classroom and sensory lab on-site in partnership with the university to further expand the exposure of the students to the business and a whole host of fermentation processes including cheeses, kombucha and food products.
A big focus of Hop Springs will be unique events that engages the public and gives locals a reason to come back time and time again, as well as draw in tourists passing through the area. The events venue already has its first festival on tap, as well as a car show and 50s cover band scheduled for June, a three-day Woodstock-esque festival on the docket for August and a fire-and-ice-themed festival on the lineup for Labor Day weekend.
Once production begins at Hop Springs, Mantra’s current facility in Franklin will become a dedicated space for brewing sours.