A Visit to Hopping Gnome Brewing in Wichita, Kansas

In our last issue of Gnome News, I highlighted some of the best gnome-themed restaurants and breweries around the country. Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to visit one of these amazing places!

To visit family and friends for Christmas, I embarked on a cross-country road trip from Arizona to Georgia and Illinois with my husband and pup. A quick look at a map revealed that we would be traveling near Wichita, Kansas, which is the home of Hopping Gnome Brewing!

It was a clear and chilly Wednesday night when we rolled into town after driving for over eight hours. Hopping Gnome Brewery is located in the Douglas Design District of Wichita and got its start with a Kickstarter campaign a few years ago. I was a bit disappointed to learn that the owners, Torrey and Stacy Lattin, aren’t gnome collectors or as obsessed with gnomes as me. Instead, the inspiration for the brewery’s name came from a gnome giveaway from a Kansas City Royals All Star game. “How about Hopping Gnome? You know like hops, and gnomes are known for drinking?” Torrey asked his wife.

Regardless, this brewery really embraces its gnome theme and is completely decked out with gnome décor and gnome-inspired merchandise. The illuminated sign outside instantly welcomes all gnome lovers, and there’s a long row of gnomes waiting to meet you inside near the ceiling. Pages of Wil Huygen’s iconic book, Gnomes, are displayed at the bar, and gnome artwork adorns the walls.  Since it was the holiday season, there was also a Christmas tree decorated with gnomes.

All of the beer glasses feature the brewery’s gnome logo, which made the delicious brews taste even better. We ordered a flight of beers to sample each and every one. My two favorites were the Barrel Aged Coffee Stout and the Rollergirl RyePA.

The brewery doesn’t serve food (other than some tasty free popcorn), so we ordered a couple pizzas from Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria next door. I highly recommend the Mushroom Medley with sautéed cremini, white, and shiitake mushrooms!

I spent several hours at the Hopping Gnome, taking a million pictures and chatting with the staff about all things gnome-related. The brewery also has free Wi-Fi (the password is GnomeBeer1) and some fun card games and board games to play. To savor all these fond memories, I visited the brewery’s little merchandise section to stock up on gnome gear – a t-shirt and beanie hat that I wear pretty much every day now.

So, if you ever find yourself in Kansas, make sure to stop by the Hopping Gnome and say hello! The brewery is open Wednesdays through Sundays and is well worth the trip!

Gnome-Themed Breweries & Restaurants Worth Visiting in the U.S.

As we continue to travel around the country we have noticed lots of businesses have begun adopting gnome themes. Obviously, this is awesome! Obviously, we are big craft beer fans, and we’re certainly not one to turn down a delicious meal!

So, here are the gnome-themed breweries and restaurants that we’ve come across so far. After all, there’s really nothing better than dining and drinking with your little red-hatted companions!

Hopping Gnome Brewing is based in the up-and-coming Douglas Design District of Wichita, Kansas. Using a 5 BBL brewing system, 8 fermenter vessels, and 2 Brite beer tanks, this brewery has many styles of beer on tap. It offers brewery tours each month and hosts lots of fun events throughout the week, including art shows, local food vendors, coloring book nights, and yoga classes.

There’s another gnome-themed brewery in the Sharpsburg area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania worth checking out. It’s called the Dancing Gnome, which specializes in hop-heavy styles of beer and often has food trucks onsite. Like Hopping Gnome, this brewery sells fun gnome-themed merchandise, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats.

If you’re traveling through Fort Wayne, Indiana, make sure to stop by The Hoppy Gnome, a restaurant with a diverse menu and that serves locally brewed beer from the GnomeTown Brewing Co. Their fun logo is a gnome hat over a hop bud, and there’s even a kids’ food menu so you can bring your little ones along for a gnomish adventure.

The Happy Gnome in St. Paul, Minnesota describes its experience as a craft beer exploration and culinary adventure. There are 89 beer taps with different breweries featured every month, and the chef creates fresh and delicious fare for lunch, happy hour, dinner, dessert, and Sunday brunch. Another exciting destination for gnome lovers is Denver, Colorado, where The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery is located.

Not into beer? No worries! There are some great gnome-themed restaurants around the country for you to enjoy.

For example, the Gnome Café serves healthy vegan cuisine downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Platypus and Gnome, located in Wilmington, North Carolina, is also vegan/vegetarian-friendly but serves American favorites like burgers too.

Have you discovered a gnome-themed restaurant or bar that didn’t make our list? Share with us in the comment section below so we can stop in next time we’re in town!

How Australia’s “Gnomesville” Became an International Sensation

Not many people have heard of Wellington Mill or Dardanup, tiny towns south of Perth on the great island continent of Australia. That was, anyway, until a group of gnomes decided to take up residence here and capture the imagination of people all over the world!

It’s a mystery how Gnomesville originally began. Some rumors say that a gnome-repairwoman started the trend to decorate a section of road, while others believe that a gnome was left behind to “stand guard” at a dangerous traffic intersection. Originally seen as a form of protest art, it’s much more of a tourist attraction today. There have been over 7,000 gnomes that call Gnomesville home, and this population is growing by the day.

The gnomes’ population grew so much that they threatened to distract drivers passing by. But they were promptly moved back a bit to habitats for everyone’s safety. Just like any population center, there are good gnomes and bad gnomes here. Some play professional football, others are partying, some are flying planes, and a few are being punished in a fenced-in detention center.

It’s a surreal and blissful spectacle full of bad puns (E.T. phone gnome!), political advocacy, and pure silliness. Gnomesville has been around since the 1990s and has suffered from floods, storms, and vandalism. But the resilient gnomes have persevered, and new ones are being added to the collection by local and international visitors. Meanwhile, local news stations and bloggers from the region continue to cover the happenings at Gnomesville with a sense of wonder and childlike enthusiasm.

Gnomesville is located on the Eastern Junction Roundabout of Wellington Mill Road and Ferguson Road in Wellington Mill, Western Australia 6236. I have yet to travel to Australia and see Gnomesville for myself, but I hope to in the near future! In the meantime, you can keep up with what the red-hatted ones are doing by following their website and Facebook page.

If you’ve visited the gnomes of Gnomesville, please share your thoughts and photos with us!

The Strange Connection Between Opossums, Brazilian Folklore & Gnomes

Opossums, Brazilian folklore, and gnomes seem like three very different topics that should never be in the same sentence…let alone in a gnome newsletter. Right? Wrong! This gnome story takes us into the mysterious lands of the Amazon Rain Forest to make a scientific discovery of gnomish proportions.

A few months ago, a friend forwarded me a National Geographic article, titled “New Redheaded Opossum Named After Magical Gnome.” As a lover of both animals and gnomes, my interest was instantly piqued. A biologist in Brazil discovered a new species of opossum, but what makes this discovery so interesting is that the marsupial is named after a gnome.

The new opossum is called Monodelphis saci, and saci (pronounced sah-SEE) is a word that comes straight out of Brazilian folklore. Before this, I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about Brazilian folklore. But if gnomes were in it, I figured that I’d better broaden my horizons and learn something new!

Hunter-gatherer tribes roamed the lands of Brazil hundreds of years ago, passing folklore and tales down from one generation to the next. By way of colonization, these myths and legends changed shape and were influenced by African, Portuguese, Polish, and German settlers over time.

One such legends is about a Brazilian gnome known as a saci who wears a magical red cap. Saci Pererê is depicted as a gnome-like boy with one leg who is mischievous and even a bit of a con artist. In fact, his red hat helps him disappear and reappear whenever he likes! The legend says that your wish will be granted if you can grab the saci’s hat. But there’s a catch. The saci’s hat has a terrible smell that you may never be able to get off your hands!

All of this goes to show that gnomes don’t’ just exist in American, British, and German cultures…but diverse cultures from all around the world!

But back to that newly discovered opossum…

The Monodelphis saci species has a reddish head that resembles that hat that Saci Pererê wears in those epic Brazilian tales. Fortunately, the gnomish opossums are thriving in the wild and at no risk of extinction. Like all opossum species, they are nocturnal and able to adapt in a wide variety of conditions. Sounds a bit like our beloved gnomes, don’t you think?

I hope this story helps you remember how beautifully gnomes and animals live in harmony in our natural environment. What other animals remind you of gnomes?

An Interview with Jan McCarthy, Creative Author of Gnome Novels

If you’re anything like me, you love to read…especially if those books feature GNOMES as the heroes. I recently met a UK-based author named Jan McCarthy who has written a series of gnome novels published on Amazon. Her husband’s gnome garden inspired her to write about gnomes, and Jan has even created her own Gnomish language. Here’s an example: Breganti ash, muntili! (Translates as May your clan flourish, friend of gnomes!)

To better understand Jan’s connection to gnomes and how she writes about them, I asked her a few questions to learn more!

1.) Can you tell me about your husband’s gnome garden and why it inspired you to write about gnomes?

“Terry and I took over a community garden and one of the features was a spiral herb garden. He hadn’t had his own garden for a number of years, having worked as a chef in the Canary Islands, and straight away insisted on gnomes being added! We began with the four Blackthorn brothers and others were added whenever we found them or received them as gifts. They all have tree clans, special talents and unique characters.”

2.) What is it about gnomes that makes them such wonderful characters in your books?

“My gnome characters have a tremendous closeness to each other and to the natural environment. They know how to live the good life, yet at the same to “walk the humble walk” as they tread the earth. They are wise, funny, brave and resourceful.”

3.) How did you create the Gnomish language, and why is it important that gnomes have their own language in your books?

“When I wrote the first chapter of The Great and The Small in which hero Archie Prescott gets to hear the gnomes speak, they naturally spoke English a little awkwardly, which added to their charm. That prompted me to think that they must be Gnomish speakers. Gnomish is important, because it is something that illustrates their distinctive culture and history, I think. For example, when they say farewell, their word is ‘Flabbaaray’ but to express emotion at parting, they can stretch the word out: ‘Flabbaaaaaaaraaaaaaay!’ Thus, they can keep control over their emotions, but let the person they are parting from know how sad they are.”

4.) What is one challenge that you’ve come across while writing about gnomes?

“Ha! I love this question! It’s remembering the relationships and interactions and things in their belief system across all my books. I’ve had to write all that down so I don’t make mistakes. Also, showing how they – especially the younger gnomes under 500 years old – develop in their use of English and learn to use digital technology!”

5.) Anything else you’d like to add?

“I often imagine I’m speaking to one of my gnomes – Nigel Blackthorn especially – when I’m working on plot, and funnily enough in real life too! Faced with a problem or a conundrum, I ask Nigel (who is a rigorous thinker and doesn’t put up with any nonsense or excuses) what I should do. Funny how real your characters can become when you invest in them.”

You can learn more about Jan and her work on her website, www.janmccarthyauthor.com, and her Amazon page, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-McCarthy/e/B013YN8BSC. As a final fascinating note, there are no female gnomes in Jan’s version of events. She explains the lack of lady gnomes in her books like this:

“Gnomes mate with their clan tree by means of a tiny tree root into their tummy button. The tall hat is an incubator for the gnomeling, which grows out of the top of the father gnome’s head. A bit like the goddess Minerva. It occurred to me that a gnome wouldn’t wear a tall hat to look taller or more important.”