Drink and Be Merry | Planet Ryan - Republic-Times | News

Drink and Be Merry | Planet Ryan

By on February 3, 2016 at 8:05 am

Friends, do you realize how lucky we are to have two amazing new breweries opening right here in Waterloo this year? I would have been ecstatic with one, but two? That’s simply incredible!

I consider myself extremely lucky to know the owners of both Stubborn German Brewing Company and Hopskeller Brewing Company. They both brew mouth-watering, delicious beer – the kind that will instantly make you forget all the bad beer choices you’ve ever made. For as young as they are, both brewers craft such top quality beer that you’d seriously think they’ve been doing it for a lifetime.

I first met Matt Schweizer, founder and brewmaster of Hopskeller, when I saw him unloading furniture from his vehicle across the street from me when I lived in Columbia. I didn’t realize at first that he was a teacher at Gibault High School, but would later learn that after seeing him in the Republic-Times on numerous occasions for his amazing work with technology at the school.

We didn’t talk frequently when we were neighbors, but like clockwork, Matt would go for a nightly walk and every time he would pass my place and I was outside, he’d greet me and we’d have a quick chat about the weather. Little did I know at the time that I was talking to a future local brewing legend.

At one point, he stopped by the Republic-Times office to do an interview with our reporter and was generous enough to let us sample some of his finest creations. To this day, I still remember how tasty they all were — especially the darker beer. It was a fun day at the office, that’s for sure.

Matt’s a heck of a guy and it’s incredible to see the kind of support he’s rallied from the local community to make his dream a reality. I wish him the best of luck and he can certainly count on my support when Hopskeller opens its doors to the public for the first time.

Then there’s Chris Rahn, the brilliant brewer of fine beer behind Stubborn German Brewing Company and owner of Rahn’s Hometown Auto Repair. His wife (and brains of the operation), Tammy Rahn, is as ambitious and clever as Chris.

And they’re literally two of the nicest people on the planet.

I’m serious – ask anyone who has ever dealt with Chris and Tammy at their shop. These two might be the only people in America who have figured out what it means to provide top-notch, stellar customer service time and time again.
I had the pleasure of first meeting Chris and Tammy while attending Waterloo High School nearly 20 years ago. Chris was in my class and I truly remember him as being one of the nicest guys around. He always had a smile on his face and I don’t recall a single incident of him being anything but a great guy.

Needless to say, I was beyond excited when I found out he had a dream of taking his remarkable brewing skills public by launching his own brewery. After watching him run his successful auto repair shop over the past several years, it only stands to reason that Stubborn German is geared to be one of the hottest Waterloo hangouts for decades to come.

And isn’t “Stubborn German” the greatest name you’ve ever heard of for a business?

I’m beyond proud to say I’m friends with Chris and Tammy and I, for one, can’t wait to someday head over to Stubborn German with my grandchildren and tell them stories about the old days.

Not that I think you’ll need it, but I wish you all the best of luck.


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Ryan Ledendecker

Ryan is a biweekly columnist for the Republic-Times newspaper. When he's not working, he enjoys a good movie, bass fishing, and CrossFit.