Hello fellow snobs!
I hope this post finds you well – and by well I mean with a tasty beverage in hand.
Recently the snobs went down to Woodruff Brewing Company to meet with some of the brewers, check out what they do and for just some general beer-camaraderie. Many of us know Woodruff Brewing Company as the Downtown Grill & Brewery – after all, it’s the same place and it’s in the old Woodruff building. Don’t be confused, it’s all the same magical place. If you haven’t visited, this is a pretty cool old building. Originally an old general store, the dining area has two floors with the second overlooking the first. The hardwood is aged, worn and carries the patina that only history brings. Right in the heart of the restaurant resides a mash tun and boil kettle that while they look like polished decorations, they are very much a working part of this brewery.
Currently Woodruff brews 3-4 times a week and this is where it all starts. Below the main floor of the dining area is where grain is kept, milled and removed and also where the fermentation and holding tanks live. When the bartender pulls on the handle upstairs, the glycol cooled holding tanks downstairs send the beer up into your pint glass.
When we arrived we immediately met Tommy Higdon (pictured on the left) who has five years brewing at Woodruff under his belt. Tommy took us downstairs into the brew house to meet brewer Dave Ohmer (pictured below) who first cut his teeth on big brewing at Woodruff nine years ago under the instruction of Al Krusen. After a few minutes with these guys you can immediately tell they are passionate about what they do. Dave walked us through the brew process and while this isn’t something new to us the two-floor system was something that particularly intrigued me. First, they start with only top notch grains, crack ’em open and use a small tube fed conveyor to move them up to the second floor where they are deposited into the mash tun and there the process begins of creating the wort that will eventually head to the boil kettle and then back downstairs again to the fermentors. The spent grains are sent down a chute to a container a local farmer picks up to feed to his livestock. The wort moves downstairs as well to a fermentation tank for a spell before being filtered and sent over to a holding tank. It’s that holding tank that sends the beer up for a second time to be enjoyed.
Woodruff Brewing Company currently has seven beers on tap; the White Mule Ale (Pale Ale), State Street Stout, New World Porter, Downtown Nut Brown Ale, Alt, Woodruff IPA and Downtown Blonde Ale (Kolsch). The IPA and Downtown Blonde Ale are the crowd favorites and the holding tanks that these two live in are known to be drained within mere days of being filled.
Dave told us that Woodruff Brewery’s brewing philosophy is, “Good beer, traditional beer, on a consistent basis.” These guys certainly live up to that and do it with a smile on their faces. We could tell they love what they do and are proud of the beer they make.
If you haven’t checked them out be sure to get by there for a pint or two and dinner while you’re at it. This snob has become quite partial to their Alt but I don’t think you’ll be dissapointed with any choice you make.