Over the past year or so, Bellingham’s beer community has grown exponentially. More and more breweries are getting announced, some are expanding, and now Bellingham even hosts a non-profit brewery! With a growing trend of making places “cool” and “hip,” it can be a breath of fresh air to have somewhere like Wander Brewing that trades a feeling of pretentiousness for authenticity.

Brewing Station

The clear difference that sets Wander apart from every other brewery is its open concept; there’s no separation between the tap room and the brewing hall. With Wander, what you see is what you get, and what you get is some pretty spectacular brews. As owners Chad and Colleen put it, “We want people to be in the brewery, not at the brewery.”  While other places in town may have a window peeking into the brewing station, Wander actually puts you behind the scenes where all that stands between the beer your drinking and where it got made is a small metal gate. “Our goal isn’t to be a sports bar or a music venue, we’re a brewery first and foremost.” Wander Brewing is a reflection of who Chad and Colleen are: laid back, easy going, and authentic. Things are kept very low key at Wander Brewing and that’s something that’s not seen often enough.

“We want people to be in the brewery, not at the brewery.”

In a time where location and social media reign king, Wander Brewing found success in subtlety. On their opening day, Chad and Colleen had people approaching them saying they had no idea Wander was even coming onto the scene. Because Wander is tucked away outside downtown and not in a “prime” location, it didn’t have the same hype advantage as other breweries. You couldn’t drive past Wander every day and watch its development; you had to discover it. However, that didn’t stop Wander Brewing from finding success. In fact, Wander doubled its capacity in just eight months and went from a two person staff to a now ten person staff. Wander’s success is little to no surprise; it’s such a unique and relaxed environment that it’s bound to create a fan base.

Wander Brewing’s story begins with Chad and Colleen’s move to San Francisco from the Midwest. This was their first exposure to a big craft brewing scene and they fell in love with it. While traveling all over the world, they began writing their business plan for Wander. Once they returned to the states, Chad and Colleen moved out to Seattle where Chad attended brewing school. When looking for the right town to settle in, Chad and Colleen were looking for that perfect mix of busy city and small town. After returning to Bellingham for numerous weekend getaways, Chad and Colleen landed on Bellingham to build Wander Brewing.

Since relocating to Bellingham, Chad and Colleen have fallen in love with its community. In fact, one of the reasons why they’re so pleased to have a larger staff is because it means they have the time and manpower to do more for the community and give back. One example that you can see coming up is their 2nd annual Wander to Wander 1k to benefit the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center which takes place during Bellingham Beer Week.

A fraction of the barrels on hand

Aging barrels

So what should you be in the lookout for from Wander? Well, now that they’ve passed the year mark, you should expect to see more barrel aged beers coming out more frequently. The next to be released will be the Emissary Imperial Stout, aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels followed by the release of their first mixed fermentation barrel aged beer. In addition to the release of barrel-aged beers, Wander will be releasing their Fresh Hop and Pumpfest Pumpkin beer in the next coming months. Wander is growing into their expansion and we’re going to be seeing a lot of delicious brews from it. Get excited.