Two new Bellingham breweries getting closer to opening

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 4, 2014 

Wander Brewing

Chad Kuehl, co-owner of Wander Brewing, tends to a recent brew in the mash lauter tun for their sixth batch of beer, which will be a California common, Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at Wander Brewing. Owners Chad and Colleen Kuehl plan on expanding to also include a retail space at the 1807 Dean Ave location where it will be 1/3 retail and 2/3 retail

MATT MCDONALD — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

BELLINGHAM - As the weather continues to improve and people begin wandering around more often, local craft beer enthusiasts will soon find a couple of new neighborhood breweries to try out.

The owners of Wander Brewing and Aslan Brewing are busy making beer and hope to have their breweries open to the public later this spring.

Chad and Colleen Kuehl are aiming for a late April or early May opening at Wander, which is at 1807 Dean Ave., in a warehouse near the Ohio Street and Cornwall Avenue intersection.

Aslan Brewing is going in at 1330 N. Forest St., in the former Signs Plus building. According to its Facebook page, Aslan is aiming for an end of April opening.

For the Kuehls, the plan is to focus on the beer and go with a business model similar to Kulshan Brewery in Sunnyland neighborhood. That includes inviting food trucks to park nearby and allowing people to bring in their own food.

"We'll leave the food to the professionals," Chad Kuehl said. "We want to concentrate on making beer."

Customers at Wander also will get a chance to see the beer being made. Tables will be on the east side of the space, while the beer equipment is on the west side.

The plan is to have 10 beers on tap at Wander, along with cider and root beer. The beers will include ales and lagers; Chad Kuehl said he's looking into making a variety of Belgian beers. They also plan to have a barrel-aging program for some of the beers.

Wander beers will be available in kegs and growlers, and will be on tap in local bars and restaurants. After getting established, they plan to bottle the beer.

The business name Wander comes from the fact the Kuehls did plenty of traveling before settling in Bellingham. Chad Kuehl has a background in brewing, including working at Hilliard's brewery in Seattle

"We just fell in love with this community," Colleen Kuehl said. "We hope to start giving back to the community after we are open. (Giving back) is critical to us, and we've already had a lot of help."

Much of the furniture will be made from repurposed wood from other parts of the county, including the old Birchwood Elementary School.

Aslan Brewing is going for a brew pub format, serving a variety of Aslan-made beers and having a 150-seat restaurant. It will be a place where craft beer fans can watch the brewing process. Aslan's founder is Jack Lamb.

The two new breweries come at a time when craft beer is growing in Bellingham. Boundary Bay Brewing is currently expanding, while Kulshan and Chuckanut Brewery each recently added capacity.

Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2269.

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