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Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Breakout Brewer: Wander Brewing -

Most of Wan­der Brew­ing’s beers are draft-only, avail­able in the brew­ery tast­ing room and at select ac­counts in Washington State. Beers in the Wan­der Bar­rel Pro­ject are bot­tled in very small batches, and ev­ery cou­ple of months the brew­ery cans a small batch of beer via mo­bile canning for tast­ing room– only re­leases. of cider-like,” says Chad. “They at­ten­u­ated out highly to yield this dry, cider-for­ward Brett-y-ness, so we said, “Okay, now we’ll go and build a 20-bar­rel cool­ship and see if any­thing hap­pens.”

Wan­der’s first cool­ship beers are cur­rently ma­tur­ing in bar­rels, and could be for a cou­ple years. “We’re just be­ing pa­tient,” Chad says.

Pa­tience is a big part of Wan­der’s business model, Colleen says. “We’re tak­ing risks on beers that might not pay off fi­nan­cially but make us cre­atively happy. Our big­gest fo­cus isn’t mak­ing money or grow­ing as large as pos­si­ble—it’s beer. We’re fo­cused on the beer styles.”

Not to men­tion Wan­der is tapped out at just over 2,000 bar­rels in an­nual pro­duc­tion, Chad jokes. “And we are as big as we want to be right now. For us, growth looks like grow­ing up with our com­mu­nity, strength­en­ing our re­la­tion­ships with em­ploy­ees, and con­stantly im­prov­ing our qual­ity. Some­times I see the mas­sive growth in the craft-beer in­dus­try, and I won­der how brew­eries can fo­cus on growth out­side of vol­ume be­cause they keep ex­pand­ing and mov­ing. We just built this space out 3 years ago. We’re happy where we are.”

Wan­der’s build­ing is truly en­chant­ing—a his­toric ship-build­ing ware­house with lots of nat­u­ral light, tall ceil­ings, and bright turquoise walls. On clear days, the doors are open to a com­fort­able out­side pa­tio, and fresh smells of earth and salt waft into the tast­ing room. “You can smell the ocean around here,” says Chad. “You can smell the moun­tains; you can smell the trees.”

Dur­ing the spring­time, the tem­per­a­ture and cli­mate in Belling­ham are per­fect for cool­ing wort in the cool­ship, Chad says. “This is a very out­doorsy town, and peo­ple here have a strong sense of place and the en­vi­ron­ment. I want to make beer that tastes like Belling­ham.”

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