The state of sour beer made in the Appalachian region keeps getting sweeter. A nice chunk of that betterment can be attributed to Wicked Weed Brewing Company.If you thought that the Funkatorium was nice (and it certainly is), wait until you get a look at Wicked Weed’s new barrel house, now in development. The company announced this week that it is expanding again, this time with a 57,000 square-foot barrel house and wild/sour ale brewery, which should be fully operational by fall.
Barrel house for sour, wild, brett
The new facility, located in South Asheville, will be dedicated to the production of sour ales, brettanomyces farmhouse ales, and spontaneous fermented ales.
Sitting on 17 acres, the temperature-controlled facility will house a custom 30-barrel brew house dedicated to brewing sour and wild beers. The robust barrel program will include wine barrels, spirit barrels, puncheons, 90-hectoliter (2,500 gallon) oak foeders, and several custom designed horizontal fermenters.
The new site will also house a training facility dedicated to the education and training of Wicked Weed’s staff, sales team, retailers, and distributors. The company’s administrative offices will also be housed there.
Capacity to double
Down the road, Wicked Weed plans to host tours of the barrel house, but currently there are no plans to open it to the public. The brewery expects its current sour, brettanomyces farmhouse, and spontaneous beer production of 4,000 barrels a year to increase and potentially double as they move into this new facility.
“The goal of this expansion is not just to increase our production of these beers,” explains Walt Dickinson, Owner and Head Blender. “Having more space to focus on process and room to move will help us continue to refine our craft and evolve as a brewery.
“As a brand we felt it was important for us to grow both of our programs in parallel because Wicked Weed is best represented when craft enthusiasts can have access to the full scope of beers that we can produce.”
Experimentation has begun
In addition to an increase in sour and wild beer production, brewery owners say the much-needed space will grant Wicked Weed the opportunity for further experimentation with style and process.
This winter, Wicked Weed reports it already started experimentation with traditional Lambic-style spontaneous fermentation. Richard Kilcullen, Head of Sour Production, reports that he and Walt Dickinson have discussed several new fermentation concepts and are anxious to get working.
“Having this kind of space opens us up to all kinds of possibilities,” he says.
Renovation of the new facility has started and Wicked Weed expects to be moving its corporate offices to the location as early as this July. They hope to have the brewery operational at the new facility by early fall.
(This article relied on information contained in a Wicked Weed Brewing Company news release.)