Have you been to Wander Brewing yet? If not, you better get on over there. They are one of Bellingham’s newest breweries and Owner/Brewer Chad Kuehl has been impressing Bellingham ever since their doors opened. Everything from their popular Correspondent Foreign Extra Stout to their Washington Uncommon California Common has been receiving rave reviews and awards!

Chad was kind enough to answer some questions about his Wine Barrel Project. They’ll be coming your way soon, so we wanted some insight.

Chad, what exactly are these wine barrel brews you’re working on? Tell me about them.

There are a variety of barrels. Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Syrah.

Where did you get the wine barrels?

The Bourbon and Rye ones are from Kentucky and the others are all from WA wine country.

Can you give us a breakdown of the stats you’re aiming for with this beer? (ABV, IBUs, etc.)

They will vary depending on the project but most will be high ABV…up to around 10%. No crazy hop bombs, we are not big on barrel aged IPAs. Most of the beers are either big dark beers (Imperial versions of our stout and porter) or Belgian styles.

How many barrels do you plan to produce of this style and will this be a one off, or a regular thing?

Hard to say how much because we will be releasing the barrels when they tell us they are ready. They are currently sleeping and we don’t plan to wake them until they tell us they are ready. We have sample ports drilled in each barrel, which essentially is a stainless steel nail in a drilled out hole (when removed we can then sample the barrel without disturbing them). We currently have 20 barrels total and each holds 55+/- gallons. The overall barrel project will be ongoing continuously at Wander.

Chad, you’re a hell of a brewer. Have you ever brewed anything that tasted bad? Like, say, when you were 14 or something?

I think every brewer has brewed a bad beer at one point or another. So far we have been very happy with every beer we have produced but there is always room for tweaking and improving from batch to batch. If we are not happy with a beer we will dump it. Period. All 620 gallons!

What is Wander Brewing‘s spirit animal?

We don’t have a spirit animal. We are a brewery, not a tech startup. Breweries have dogs. Ours is named Jangbu Juan Carlos and he is a blue healer mutt (inspiration for our Global Mutt Baltic Porter). He is not a big people person but loves Wander passionately.

I currently have the Wander On The Spot IPA on tap at my house. It’s delectable. How does that make you feel?

That makes me feel good. Wait till you try the Pumpfestbier this weekend!