Timing is everything (part 2)

So here it is. This is the whole reason for my trip to Ann Arbor.  My hunt for the elusive A2 Beer Wench has brought me to her home turf.  And what happens, to my ultimate chagrin, my hopes, my dreams, denied…

Instead I am greeted by a perplexed brewer (Oliver) who berates me with such questions as “Who are you?” “Why are you here?” and “Can’t you just leave me alone?”.  I may be paraphrasing the meeting a bit, but in my mind, ya, thats how it happened. 

I finally made it out to Wolverine State Brewing Co.  I dare say the trip was worth it.  After introductions between myself and Oliver, he took me around the place.  Something you learn about breweries, they are always in a state of expansion.  Wolverine is no exception to this.  They currently sit at capacity of roughly 1200 barrells a year, but they are getting ready for the next jump up to roughly 3000. 

The capacity for a brewery has less to do with the size of their mash tun, and almost everything to do with their fermenter space.  In a brewery that pretty much specializes in lagers, that is even more important.  Lager takes longer to ferment and then condition than ale.  This means you need to have good cellar management to ensure the beer is flowing through the brewhouse in a timely manner.  Mind you when you make great beer like Wolverine, the customers clamoring for more helps too. 

This is a major part of their current expansion.  Their new glycol unit.  Planning is always important.  They will be able to grow beyond their next stage with this unit.

The heart and soul of the brewery.  This 10 barrel brew system came from Wolfrock Brewing Company out of Keystone Colorado. 

If you keep up on special projects at Wolverine you already know what this is.  But why they would hide it in a corner is beyond me.  Or maybe they just want to keep it away from nosey people like me. 

It may not look like much, but this little bottling machine lets them bottle a case a minute. 

After moving through the brew house we finally ended up in the tasting room.  Sadly my camera didn’t want to cooperate for too much in here but I will say they have a nice set up (I mean to say they have foosball and thats all that really matters after beer anyway). 

Right at this spot there is a great view into the brew house itself.  

I ended up with a quick sampling of the Gulo line.  My personal favorite is the Gulo Red (I am such a sucker for reds and ambers).  All in all, it was a pretty good day.  Hopefully on my next trip over I will be able to catch up with the Wench. 

Join me now as we raise our pints in toasting their continued growth…

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