Wise Man Brewing to Open Jan. 28 in Winston-Salem
“It was a wise man who first brewed beer.”
And that’s how you get a name like Wise Man Brewing for your newly opened bar and beer garden. That plus years of putting a PhD in Chemistry to work in producing first home then commercial craft beers.
This coming Saturday, Jan. 28, Wise Man Brewing will open the doors to customers in Winston-Salem, just on the edge of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Operating out of the recently converted Angelos Brothers building, they will be offering a great selection of brewed-on premises beers along with a New South retro look in a friendly and informal setting.
The 15-BBL brewery and taproom is located near the intersection of N. Main and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Taproom Manager Harvey Williams explained that Wise Man started out a couple of years ago as head brewer Sam Victory decided to make the move from pharmaceutical chemistry to the much more fun world of professional brewing. Victory had been a home brewer for years and found that not just he but many others enjoyed the fruits of his hobby.
Partnering up with Mike Beverly and Jason Morehead, Victory purchased the old Angelo Brothers building (on Angelo Bros. Street) and the work began.
“The building is about 90 years-old,” Williams said, “and the business they ran was like the Costco of its day – they sold everything at wholesale pricing. You might be able to get appliances one day or cartons of cigarettes the next. The business closed, though, and the building had sat unused for 10 years before we started working on it.”
And work, they have. It’s taken 16 months so far just on the reconstruction and remodeling work. While they did try to keep as much of the building as possible, some changes had to be made, Williams explained.
This is the latest in a string of new businesses that are helping to revitalize Winston-Salem. “We are so excited to have Wise Man Brewing in downtown Winston-Salem. This new business is going to be a wonderful addition to our city and be a great resource for everyone who loves quality craft beer made right here in North Carolina,” said Jason Thiel, President of Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership.
Brewing equipment is large and the two floors at the rear of the building had to be turned into one. The vats, when filled with beer in process, can weigh up to 30,000 lbs. and that meant even the concrete floor of that part of the building had to be replaced, reinforced and reworked.
Now that area features 11 different brewing devices and holding tanks, gleaming with stainless steel and a mirror smooth concrete floor. One of the tanks, though, doesn’t shine like the rest as it is a very old style piece of equipment – a foeder. Williams explained that a foeder is an American white oak wood vat for fermenting beer that offers some interesting opportunities for brewing. In it, they will be using a strain of yeast called brettanomyces, a non-spore forming genus of yeast, that had fallen out of favor because it can produce sour beers. Sours, however, are growing in popularity and making one in house is a special opportunity. Because that strain of yeast is hard to get out of a brewing system once it gets in, the “brett” will only be used in the wooden vat.
The brewery area is separated from the taproom by a long wall made up of the glass-paned windows that were salvaged from the building remodel. It gives a great view of the brewing process and on one window, there’s even a nicely etched chart where you can see what is being brewed up in each of the vats.
Other ingredients will be sourced from all over including places such as Germany and France, as well as Wisconsin which produces some of the best brewing materials in the country. They’ll also be getting into the local supply as well, bringing in some of their ingredients from Epiphany Malt in Raleigh, a small company but one that is making its mark in the craft beer field.
“We’ve made a decision to not open with a set of flagship beers,” Williams said. “Part of the excitement of doing craft beers is trying new things. However, if we develop some that turn out to be crowd favorites, we’ll make sure they’re available as part of our rotation.”
Another fun part of creating beers is having the right to name them. Keeping with the wise men of all stripes theme that runs through the brewery, each of their starting beers will feature great names with either a story or a quote behind them. Here’s a quick look at what they will have on tap for opening night:
Scoop Dogg – This cream ale harkens back to the imminent wise man and rapper Snoop Dogg’s statement that when he retired he wanted to open an ice cream parlor named “Scoop Dogg”. Snoop actually signed the building during his last appearance in Winston-Salem, but the City decided it was graffiti and requested that it be painted over.
Mountain Calling – A West Coast-style IPA that harkens to John Muir’s quote, “The mountains are calling and I must go.”
Satisfy My Soul – A tropical stout inspired by the lyrics of the late Bob Marley.
Tickled Earth – A dark farmhouse inspired by Douglas Jerrold’s quote “If you tickle the earth with a hoe, she laughs with a good harvest.”
In all, there will be 16 beers on tap and two ciders (from regional Bull City Ciders out of Lexington.) There are also 10 employees on hand, beer scholars all, who will be happy to bring you up to speed not just on how craft beers are made but how to find and enjoy the ones that fit you best. It’s a place that makes sure that the all the beers have a good head on their shoulders.
Wine by the glass or bottle will be available as well as soft drinks, including some that are locally made. While Wise Man doesn’t serve food, they are partnering with several local food trucks that will cycle through from day to day. Patrons are welcome to enjoy the food at either indoor or outdoor tables.
The brewery will host trivia nights on Mondays and plans are in the works for yoga Tuesdays. Other activities and events will be added as they develop. Pinball, giant Jenga and giant Connect Four are also on tap, along with great conversation.
Williams wanted to make sure that potential visitors knew the location was both family and dog friendly. They will be open seven days a week: Monday to Wednesday 4 pm to 10 pm, Thursday 4 pm to midnight, Friday 2 pm to midnight, Saturday noon to midnight and Sunday noon to 10 am.
For more information, please check out their website at wisemanbrewing.com.