Image by Chrys Rynearson
If you've driven on I-526 in the last couple of months, you may have noticed some new construction close to Exit 28. Westbrook Brewing, the area's newest and Mount Pleasant's only brewery, is moving right along.
While it looks large from the road, you don't get a sense for the magnitude of the site until you're inside. The sprawling, 18k square foot space will play home to this $2.1M purpose-built brewery. The founder, Edward Westbrook, was cool enough to let us come by and take the above video of the gargantuan tanks being delivered. Big ups to Chrys Rynearson for capturing & editing the action.
As you enter, the tanks will line the left wall, settled in order of brewing operations, eventually all connected by plumbing to allow the brews to move through the stages of production. A canning and/or bottling line will go along the back wall. Although initial releases will be kegged, Edward's looking at canning his year-round brews, something that craft brewers are continuing to latch onto and something we've written about before.
The right side of the building contains a cold-storage room, and an extremely exciting (although currently empty) barrel room. That room will hopefully one day be filled with all manner of barrels for aging future beers, from wine to whiskey to bourbon to plain old oak, although it's tough to predict what will be available beforehand. There's also a tasting room closest to the entrance on the right, which will contain an oval-shaped bar and a glass back wall so you can watch the brewing in action from the comfort of your bar stool. Once they open, tasting room hours should cover Friday evening and mid-day Saturday and Sunday.
Edward's been profiled by the City Paper and P&C already, check those pieces out for some backstory. As of our visit, he has settled on three definite year-round brews that should be available for the October opening: a Saison brewed with lemongrass and ginger, a Belgian Pale Ale made with a significant amount of German malt, and lastly a hoppy West Coast IPA. That last one is an interesting departure in the lineup versus the two Belgian-inspired offerings, but it should test his versatility and prevent the operation from being pigeon-holed out of the gate.
Seasonals and one-offs are in the works too, and will most likely be packaged in 750 mL bottles, but nothing is set in stone just yet. The good news is that the tasting room will double as the testing room for those beers, giving thirsty patrons a chance to try test batches and provide input.
Westbrook Brewing (under construction) is located at 510 Ridge Road in Mount Pleasant. Keep your eyes peeled here for updates, and cross your fingers for a soft opening in October.