In der Brewhaus
"Der Brewhaus" is the traditional German term for the 5 critical vessels in a brewery. Our brewery was designed by us and fabricated locally to support the flexible needs of a farm-based brewery.
The brewhouse has (list 5 vessels here?) is a dual kettle 5 barrel rig that runs on electrically generated steam. This allows for the production of clean, flavor-stable beers that are easy on the palate. The Wooly Pig brewhouse allows for small 5 bbl batch production but is capable of brewing at the same rate as a 10 bbl system, thanks to..... Some (who?) may consider it a very traditional brewhouse and others may think it cutting edge. Either way it is designed to make great beer.
The brewhaus vessels as well as the fermentors are all clad in hard wood planking harvested from the farm and its surroundings. The wood was carefully chosen for its rot resistance, a trait vital in the steamy, splashy brewery. Each species has a distinct look: the sunny Red Mulberry, bronzy and lustrous Black Cherry, dark and smoky Black Walnut, syrupy Honey Locust, and green and grainy Sassafras.
Don’t worry; all the trees were downed, dying, or safety hazards.
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Brewery owner. Brewmaster.
Farmer. Pig manager. Visionary.
Craftsman. Team player. And janitorial lead.
Given the number of hats he wears, just call him Kevin.
Raising wooly pigs and running a brewery simultaneously on the same land doesn’t sound all that compatible. But once you get to know the team, it will make perfect sense. Kevin Ely, a former brewmaster of Salt Lake City’s Uinta Brewing Company, a top-50 craft brewery in the U.S. by volume, holds a degree in brewing science from UC Davis. In short, he knows how to brew good beer.
But about those pigs? That’s a story that is best told over a beer.
Meet the Malenkes. It’s a family affair.
Kevin’s wife, Jael Malenke, grew up less than a mile from the site of the Wooly Pig Farm Brewery. She and her beer-loving family have been involved from day one, helping plan, build, and run the brewery and tend the 90-acre farm that surrounds it. This eclectic and talented bunch includes:
- Jael Malenke, a biologist-turned-businesswoman and mother of Astrid and Soren
- Aaron Malenke, a farmer and fix-it-man, and his wife Lauren Malenke, a large animal veterinarian
- Todd Malenke, a blacksmith artist and carpenter, and Patti Malenke, museum curator and grandma extraordinaire
- Nate Malenke, a blacksmith knife-maker, and his wife Lucy Bryan Malenke, a writer and college professor
It takes a great team to make great beer, and this team is united by love for each other, dedication to the land, and a shared quest for the next great brew.