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  • Writer's pictureLa Nouvelle Orléanaise

Maison Høps, a passion for hops

© Clément Boulard

I got to know Maison Høps - located at 5, Place Louis XI - the year it opened, in 2019. I was attracted by the Scandinavian style of the shop and the flashy colours of the cans and bottles. I had the opportunity to go back there several times, and I am never disappointed by the choice of beers on offer – yet I am far from being "a beer geek". The reason? All beers are carefully selected by Maxime, the manager, from independent craft brewers from France and abroad (mostly from Europe).

The other asset of the shop is the waitresses: Carol-Ann and Anaïs are pros and have style. This team, mostly female, breaks the rules and prejudices according to which beer is a "guy's drink". It seems that I am not the only one to appreciate it, as evidenced by the often crowded terrace. Maxime even renovated and fitted out the first floor of the building to have more indoor seating on cool or rainy days. In order to learn more about his history and what his business offers, I wanted to meet him on July 27. Now, let me share our interview with you.

Maxime, surrounded by Carol-Ann & Anaïs

LNO: Maxime, have you always worked in the beer business?

Maxime: Absolutely not! Before embarking on entrepreneurship, I was an engineer in the railway industry in Paris. I changed profession on the one hand because my job no longer suited me, on the other hand because I wanted to leave Paris. In reality, it was gradual; it was my passion for beer that led to this career change.

LNO: What did you do to live out your passion?

Maxime: In 2012, a friend and I participated in a wine tasting workshop. We then realised that this type of workshop did not exist for beer. Together, and with the help of a beer expert, we led beer tasting workshops in kitchens, art galleries... until 2016. Indeed, it became more and more difficult for me to do everything at once: between my work as an engineer, workshops and family life, I had to make a choice. I stopped the workshops but I matured the project to open my own business.

LNO: Why did you move to Orléans?

Maxime: There are different reasons for this choice. First, my wife is from Orléans; We have family there. Then, it is a dynamic city, a city where I felt that my project could take root. Another important criterion is the proximity between Orléans and Paris, which allows my wife to continue working in the capital.

LNO: Wasn't it too risky? Beer has long had a bad image...

Maxime: Yes, that's true, but mentalities have changed a lot since 2012, the year I launched tasting workshops. The quality of French beer has also improved considerably, so much so that 50% of the beers we offer are French. We make sure to select beers made by independent breweries and regularly renew the offer.

LNO: And there seems to be originality too!

Maxime: Yes. We try to break the codes in all areas! First, we want every customer to be able to find the beer that will give them the most pleasure. This involves taking risks, especially by offering craft beers. We find lager, stout and amber, but the taste does not necessarily correspond to the idea we have of it... We also have a range of IPA beers (India Pale Ale: very hoppy beers), sour (with a fruity taste), or beers brewed with roasted malt with beautiful notes of coffee and cocoa.

Next, we want to show that canned beer is not a low-end beer. On the contrary, aromas are better preserved than in glass.

Finally, we want to break gender stereotypes: a woman can like a very hoppy beer, and a man can like a fruity beer. Customer advice is essential.

LNO: Do you have your own brand?

Maxime: Once or several times a year, we brew beer in collaboration with our favourite brewer of the moment. This year, we offer our customers our brand new beer: "Le Malt Aimé", brewed by Craig Allan, a Scot living in Picardy.

"Le Malt Aimé" beer

LNO: Have you taken over the beer tasting workshops? Maxime: Yes, we offer beer-tasting workshops on Saturdays. During the workshops, guests enjoy dishes paired with the beer on offer. Everything is home-made with local products. It is possible to register for a workshop on our website. LNO: Do you host events? Maxime: We have already hosted concerts. Also, several times a month, we receive French or foreign brewers so that our customers can meet directly with the producers. LNO: Have you created collaborations in and around Orléans? Maxime: We collaborate with the gourmet restaurant Maga – temporarily closed until September. We develop their beer menu while they select the wines we offer on the menu. We also participated in the Festival de Loire in 2021 and we will participate again this year.

La Nouvelle-Orléanaise Find Maison Høps on Instagram and Facebook, as well as on its website.

The shop is open Tuesday to Friday from 3 pm to 10 pm and Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm.

Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health, consume in moderation.


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