Anyone who has made the pilgrimage to Carrboro, North Carolina, USA, one of the great hooping meccas, is familiar with the Weaver Street Market. It is inextricably linked with hooping, both for the locals who hoop there regularly, as well as for visiting hoopers. Over the years hundreds of people have hooped on the lawn in front of the Weave and in celebration of its twenty fifty anniversary, the Weaver Street Market teamed up with Fullsteam, a local brewery in Durham, to create a special limited edition beer called Hula Hoop Rye IPA. It’s a spicy hoppy beer made with North Carolina rye, crunchy granola, and pungent hops and in this exclusive interview, Hooping.org spoke with Sean Lilly Wilson, the founder of Fullsteam Brewery, to find out all about how Hula Hoop beer came to be.
As a local resident, Sean shops at the Weaver Street Market so he associates it with the hoopers who are often seen under the trees in front. In addition, his sister-in-law Mimi Lilly is a hooper in Oxford, Mississippi, USA, as are both of Sean’s daughters, 16-year-old Ella and 13-year-old Sophie. When he came up with the idea for a hula hoop themed beer for the Weaver Street anniversary he wanted to keep it light and fun, but he also wanted it to be true to Weaver Street’s local identity. “I wasn’t sure how Weaver Street would respond to our pitch,” he said, “but luckily they have a great sense of humor about themselves too.”
He found another way to integrate some more local flavor into the label design with a recent news story. Earlier this summer, there were reports of bear sightings in Carrboro. Fullsteam incorporated this into the label for their Hula Hoop beer which features illustrations of twenty five different hula hooping bears, all drawn by Sean’s daughter Ella. The cast of suspects includes Hairy Styles the singing bear, Shark who has been known to swipe hula hoops out of the back of Volvo station wagons, and Murphy who was found hooping after a Polyphonic Spree show. You can visit the Fullsteam website to vote for the bear you think was spotted in Carrboro. The bear with the most votes will be revealed on November 1st.
The launch for Hula Hoop Rye IPA was held at the Weaver Street Market. Laura Pyatt, the events manager at Fullsteam and a fellow hooper, suggested a hoop off, but if there’s one thing hoopers love besides hooping, it’s beer. Everyone was so busy sampling the new beer that the hoop off never materialized. When asked about his inspiration for the beer’s flavor profile, Sean said that creating an IPA was “a no brainer.” Since the Hula Hoop beer was a celebration of a local institution, Fullsteam opted to use all North Carolina ingredients. They wanted a spicy flavor instead of citrus, and it was lightened with granola for a fun twist. Hula Hoop Rye IPA is a limited edition beer so if you’re in North Carolina in the next few months, you can taste it at the the Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, at the Fullsteam Tavern in Durham, and at independent stores.
Although there is no official merchandise being sold for Hula Hoop Rye IPA, hooping.org has teamed up with Fullsteam for a very special giveaway. Ten lucky hooping.org readers will receive the only Hula Hoop Rye IPA stickers created especially for this contest! All you need to do to be eligible is visit the Fullsteam website to vote for which bear you think is the guilty party and then leave a comment below telling us which bear you voted for. On Friday, October 18, ten people will be selected at random. Good luck!
Natasha “Hoopsie Daisy” Young is an Assistant Editor here at Hooping.org. She has performed in many venues with a long list of incredible talent from Benny Benassi to Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden and has taught classes everywhere from Clif Bar to Lululemon to Hoopcamp. She’s been sharing the hoop love online for years and you can find out more about her at HoopsieDaisy.com.