Brewer's Spotlight: Barrel Brothers
Welcome to Yakima Valley Hop's Brewer's Spotlight!
A series from Yakima Valley Hops, featuring a new brewery monthly.
Our May Spotlight is with Barrel Brothers!
Wes Deal the Co-Founder & brewmaster / Jason Thedorf the production manager.
By Arielle Doyle, Outside Sales & Account Manager at Yakima Valley Hops.
If you live in the Santa Rosa area and haven’t visited Barrell Brothers Brewing, what are you doing with yourself?! Not only are they brewing innovative tasty beers, but they also offer seltzer, non-alcoholic beer, and ready to drink spirit-based cocktails as well- there’s an offering for everyone! Their innovative style of brewing is what really sets them apart from the herd. Not to mention, they’re downright delightful people. Barrel Brothers is one of our longest standing accounts, a relationship we value immensely and enjoy quite a bit.
We asked Wes Deal, the Co-Founder and Brewmaster, and Jason Thedorf, the Production Manager at Barrel, some questions, and here is what they had to say:
How did your brewery get started?
My Father-in-law sold his boat, so we decided to make beer instead. Some industry experience and education along the way didn't hurt. Needless to say, we have learned a lot since our inception and also adapted to changing preferences.
What's unique about your brewery?
Our breadth of offerings: Craft beer, craft NA beer, seltzer, ready to drink spirit-based cocktails, and some of the most consistently ridiculously named beers.
How would you describe your company culture?
“We firmly believe if you aren’t having fun at work, or life in general, you should probably be doing something else. When it comes to making beer, we’re having a blast and just trying not to suck.”
Who spearheads the innovation?
BrewMaster Wes. Innovation with the goal of micro-disruption within our market is an ongoing strategy. Innovation comes from connecting dots in this dynamic industry that others haven't seen yet.
Is there a recipe you could share with us?
Sure: Barrel Brothers Light Lager:
German Bock lager
Polished production processing.
How would you describe your beer/brewing style?
Process before ingredients, complete elimination of voodoo brewing. Unafraid to make mistakes.
What is your flagship beer?
We have 6 flagships: German Pils, WC IPA, WC IIPA, Mexican style lager, hazy IPA, Porter.
What are your favorite hops to brew with? Bittering? Flavor? Aroma?
Bittering is usually CTZ or Northern brewer depending on style. Flavor and aroma, anything that is exceptionally expressive and functional in our process. We use a lot of Azacca, Simcoe, El Dorado, Mosaic.
What are your top 3 hops and why?
The name Fuggles is fun to say, but with regard to use, Saaz is incredible in pilsners, Goldings are super sweet and complementary in English ales, and Sabro is downright unique.
Top 3 styles of beer to brew?
Craft lighter lagers, anything that we plan to dealcolyze with our vacuum distillation equipment, and recipes that we have never brewed before.
Do you have any upcoming releases or events?
Always, we are releasing 3 new beers this week: Match-Light lager, Boats and Haze hazy IPA, and Trends Mango-strawberry smoothie seltzer.
What social causes is your company passionate about?
Reducing food waste, sustainability not just from a manufacturing perspective but also by tightly controlling our releases so they are never out of code and always ready for immediate consumption. We also believe that the best benefit we can give our employees is by surrounding them with other hard working and talented people in a collectively positive working environment.
How does your brewery stay involved in your local community?
We have a tight network of teachers, law enforcement, service providers, and neighbors that we strive to support when we can through donations and advertising, they have more than supported us throughout the years. We enjoy using beer as our currency to support these segments.
What are some challenges you have faced or are currently facing as a brewery?
There are significantly competitive forces to the industry. Stagnation is not an option; timely innovation is key to longevity. Incremental organic growth has been our key to success, while being good stewards of our capital.
What needs do you have that aren't currently being met?
We have been searching for someone with the ability to break down boxes before putting them in the recycling dumpster, but it hasn't happened yet. The dumpster still seems to be clogged full of fully erected boxes every week.
Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
Craft beer will be blurred even more significantly with beer, seltzer, and spirits. Legislation is changing that is continuing to deregulate spirits. The beverage industry as a whole isbooming. Brewers will have their hands on anything that can be put in a can. At some point the pendulum will swing back and the purity of craft beer will return, hopefully in something greater than as a nostalgia product.
If you find yourself in the Santa Rosa area, stop by their brewery and enjoy a refreshing ice-cold brew, or any other wet drink they offeror that matter. Hey, maybe you can even break down some cardboard boxes while you’re at it- tempt me with a good time.
- Arielle Doyle