Meet the Brewer-Wander Brewing
Chad & Colleen Kuehl-Wander Brewing
Chad Kuehl: Founder, Owner and Head Brewer at Wander Brewing in Bellingham.
Hometown: Eldridge, Iowa.
Favorite Beer: The Willows Inn Loganita Farmhouse Ale. Located on nearby Lummi Island, Willows Inn is a historic lodge with a restaurant that has received national and international acclaim, but this story is about beer.
Chad and his wife Collen worked with the staff at Willows Inn to visualize and develop a beer. Chad says it was very rewarding to conceptualize a beer that represented what it is they do at the brewery, what they do at Willows Inn, and also embodies the environment that surrounds both. They sourced unmalted wheat from local farmers on Lummi Island as well as malt smoked with peat sourced from the Olympic Peninsula. Chad says he appreciates that it is a truly provincial beer.
Beyond the Beer: He enjoys getting outside with Colleen after a long day of brewery work. Along with their brewdogs, Jangbu and Moksha, the couple loves to explore and take advantage of the area’s many mountains, forests, rivers and other waterways.
Brewing Pedigree: American Brewers Guild, Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering Diploma 2011; Hilliard’s Beer 2011-2013; Wander Brewing since 2013.
His Story: Chad and Colleen were initially turned on to craft beer while living in San Francisco as young adults. Their apartment was very near the Rogue Ales Public House, so good beer was easy to find. They soon found themselves homebrewing in their apartment and touring the breweries of Northern California on the weekends.
Then they decided to wander. Not just a vacation overseas or a roadtrip across America, but instead they set out on a worldwide adventure. The couple took a year off to backpack around the world. Somewhere out there, around a campfire in some exotic, distant land, they decided that beer was their future.
When the adventure ended, Chad and Colleen returned to the United States and Chad applied for the American Brewers Guild, one of the nation’s top brewing schools for the craft brewing industry. Following a short stint in Denver, they ended up in Seattle.
After a few years balancing a desk job with brewing studies and work at Hilliard’s Beer in Ballard, the couple decided to open their brewery in Bellingham. They sold their house in Ballard and moved north. Nine months later, in May 2014, Wander Brewing was born.
I like to think that Wander Brewing was actually born around a campfire somewhere in Africa or South America.