Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sapwood Cellars: Maryland Brewery in Planning!

I’m founding Sapwood Cellars, a brewery in Maryland, with my friend and fellow homebrewer Scott Janish! We'll produce a spectrum of barrel-aged bottle-conditioned mixed-fermentation beers along with fresh hoppy ales for onsite consumption. I’ll post occasional updates to The Mad Fermentationist along with the usually scheduled homebrewing content. However, if you don't want to miss a single development, sign-up for the email list at Sapwood Cellars or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Expect a wide range of beers, especially releases that evolve from batch-to-batch with a focus on experimentation, local ingredients, and education. We’ll be almost as open about the Sapwood Cellars beers as we are about our homebrews. You’ll get to read about both our thought and brewing processes as always, with the added fun of tasting the results!

I never had a long-term plan for brewing because it was a hobby. I liked drinking beer, so I took a homebrewing class my senior year at Carnegie Mellon. I enjoyed brewing, so I started a blog. I had fun blogging, so I wrote a book. I’ve had a couple offers to brew professionally over the years, but none of them were tempting enough for me quit my day job. Founding a brewery comes with extra headaches and risks beyond brewing, but ownership will allow me to brew with fewer compromises. At first we’ll be more like professional homebrewers, rather than the next large regional craft brewery, but we’ll follow the brewery where it takes us!

Partnering with Scott makes the numerous tasks and significant risks manageable. When we first met I was impressed by his IPAs, and we bonded over hop oil calculators. His deep-dives into mouthfeel, hop chemistry, and a variety of other topics on his eponymous blog continue to impress. I got lucky and he'd been quietly considering opening a brewery on his own right before I floated the idea of teaming up last summer.

In February, while I was recording The Sour Hour, I mentioned the brewery because I assumed we’d have a logo and polished website by the time the episodes aired in late-April... our placeholder splash page is up, a logo is in the works, and it’s only late-May. Given the uncertainty of our timeline, I’m not going to guess at when we’ll be brewing or serving beer but we're charging ahead on all fronts!

Head over to Scott’s blog to read his side of the story!

Drinking NEIPA at NHC Baltimore.


Sapwood Cellars

Our Story
Sapwood Cellars is a Maryland brewery-in-planning dually focused on barrel-aged mixed-fermented beers and fresh hoppy ales. Founded by two passionate homebrewing ultra-nerds, we share a love of brewing science, local ingredients, and the craft of beer production. You may have read our blogs, magazine articles, or book on American sour beers, but likely haven’t tasted our beer. Follow along as we continue to brew peculiar beers, with the added enjoyment of drinking the results!

Expect beers that are balanced, drinkable, and highly aromatic without tongue-scraping bitterness from hops or piercing sourness from mixed-fermentation. Beer should be a pleasure to savor, not a challenge to conquer.

Sign-up for email updates to keep tabs on our progress, learn about opportunities to help, and be the first to know when beer is available!

Our Name
All wood first starts as Sapwood, which is the delicate new growth just under the bark. It plays an integral part of a tree’s maturation by carrying water between the leaves and roots, carefully distributing built-up reserves to the roots and leaves as the seasons demand. Eventually, Sapwood hardens into the heartwood of which barrels are made. Sapwood ties together the two sides of our production: Sap for the fresh IPAs and Wood for the acidic barrel-aged beers. Cellar is the brewer’s term for the fermentation space but also evokes the cool quiet resting place of barrels.

Who We Are
Mike Tonsmeire - [email protected]

A homebrewer since 2005, Michael writes The Mad Fermentationist blog and the Advanced Brewing columnist for Brew Your Own Magazine. His book, American Sour Beers (Brewer’s Publications, 2014) is a resource for homebrewers and craft brewers alike. He worked as a consultant for Modern Times and a dozen other craft breweries.

Scott Janish - [email protected]

A homebrewer since 2012, Scott writes for his own hop-focused blog, ScottJanish.com, with a focus on academic research and applying the latest science to brewing.


Matt P. said...

Congrats! As a Rockville resident, I couldn't be more excited to have the new brewery (hopefully) just a stone's throw away. Can't wait until you're up and running to try the beers!

Anonymous said...

Congrats and good luck Hope you are in MOCO please keep us posted

Andrei said...

congrats, mike and scott! can't wait for you to totally dominate the local brewing scene... i just hope i can try one of your beers before you sell out to ABinBev.

and for eternally optimistic MoCo residents: i suspect that this venture will end up in Howard, Anne Arundal or Baltimore county unfortunately. MoCo just isn't friendly to brewers, not worth the hassle of setting up there :(

Tom said...

Congrats. This is probably not a bad time to start a company and leave federal government service.

Gino baltimore said...

North west Baltimore county needs something. Can't wait