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Co-op brew corner

Co-op Brew Corner: Seasonal Wanders

Local craft brewing is exploding. According to the American Brewers Association, there were at least 5,000 breweries in the United States at the December 2016, and at least 350 in Washington State alone.

In a climate of competitive brewing, fermentation is personal for Colleen and Chad Kuehl.  In October 2013, the wife and husband team opened Wander Brewing, and embraced beer in its familiar and unfamiliar forms. Wander’s brews are anything but ordinary.  While they respect and produce traditional ale styles, such as their Belgian homage Wanderale Belgian Blond, they also blur guidelines and explore mixed fermentations by blending and barrel aging ales through the evolving Wander Barrel Project.

In an ongoing effort to support local vendors, we now offer Wander’s quality bottled brews for sale in our Co-op Building, and on tap at our Third Street Cafe. Browse the shelves of our Beer and Cider Department to discover some local treats, such as:

Peach Sour Millie – 4.8% alcohol by volume / low IBU bitterness – unlike some breweries, Wander offers a year-long series of Sour Millie, a rotating style of sour ale. Their springtime highlights the tart, earthy flavors of peaches with malted barley and a smooth, slightly spicy hop essence.  Peach Millie pours glowing, hazy amber.  It’s a juicy, cloudy, seasonal treat made with real stone fruit puree. Pleasantly tart, Peach Millie has a flavor reminiscent of a Kombucha tea. Pair it with: toast with Delice de Bourgogne triple cream brie and Quinn Raspberry Pepper Jelly, or CURED smoked salmon and crème fraiche. Wander Peach Sour Millie is $6.49 per 500 ml.

Global Mutt Baltic Porter – 7% alcohol by volume / 34 IBU – made with judicious additions of cocoa and coffee, this is an award-winning brew in an unusual style.  Inspired by the higher alcohol, sweet porter style of the Baltics and Eastern Europe, Wander’s dark Global Mutt is a global effort. It’s made from coffee sourced directly from farming co-ops in Brazil, fair trade cocoa nibs from the Democratic Republic of Congo, organic, fair trade chocolate from Theo’s Chocolate, water from Bellingham, Yakima hops and specialty European barley malt. The result: it tastes slightly sweet but also smoky and dry, with undertones of cocoa and roasted hazelnut. Pair it with: CRUST + CRUMBS confections: Bittersweet Chocolate Toffee or Pumpkin Spice Brittle. Wander Global Mutt is $6.49 per 500 ml.

Wanderale Belgian Blond – 6% alcohol by volume / 22 IBU – a flagship ale that focuses on the fruity flavors of Belgian abbey yeast with moderate aromatic hops and flowery, earthiness.  This example of a classic style is made with a new world sensibility:  West Coast hops meet old European ale strains. A Bronze Medal Winner at the 2016 Washington State Beer Awards, Wanderale is smooth, with tropical flavors of custard and pear on the finish. Use its spicy flavors to make Belgian ale soup or beer batter for frying vegetables or fish.  Pair it with: spicy BBQ chicken wings, CURED All Meat take-n-bake Pizza or Thai curry dishes.  Wanderale Belgian Blond is $5.99 per 500 ml.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.