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one well

One Well Brewing is making more room for its customers.

The Milwood neighborhood staple, located at 4213 Portage St., Kalamazoo, MI, has reached a lease agreement to expand into the space adjacent to their current tap room. The new addition – previously occupied by Snap Fitness – will more than double their seating capacity and provide an opportunity for larger events and gatherings.

“Heck yes!”, exclaimed T.J. Waldofsky, co-owner of One Well Brewing. “The ability to double our seating capacity is going to give our customers an even better experience and allow us to explore more fun and creative things that we haven’t been able to do in our current space.”

Chris O’Neill, co-owner and Director of Brewing Operations, also spoke enthusiastically about the project. “This is an awesome opportunity for us to do a lot of things that we weren’t able to do with such a small footprint. We’re hoping to add to our pinball and arcade game collection and bring back a lot of the hands-on activities that we had to get rid of when we outgrew our current space.”

The news of the tap room expansion comes in parallel to the announcement of One Well’s recent purchase of a 10,000 square foot facility in Kalamazoo that will primarily be used to produce more beer to meet the demand of their tap room and distribution sales. They also hope that this new facility will allow them to increase accessibility to canning and bottling products for stores, bars and restaurants.

one well

Nestled in Kalamazoo’s Milwood neighborhood is a local brewery named One Well Brewing. When you pull into the parking lot of a small strip mall you may be unsure of what to expect. Once you step inside, however, you’ll find yourself surrounded by locals and visitors of the friendly neighborhood enjoying great beer while playing cards and board games. You may also notice that all of the brewery’s guests are being distracted away from their devices by the great atmosphere One Well provides for its patrons.

Since One Well opened their doors in November of 2014, co-owners Chris O’Neill and T.J. Waldofsky have created a brewery with a great reputation. They want to work together with the other local breweries to provide their city with some of the most delicious craft beer in Michigan.

As O’Neill explained, “Kalamazoo is a destination for beer now and we’re part of that destination experience.”

Open for less than 2 years, One Well has already exceeded their volume expectations. As a result, they have decided to expand to a system that can brew five times as much as their current 3-barrel system. This expansion is requiring One Well to invest in a new production facility in Kalamazoo.

The expansion will allow them to brew and house more of their popular beers without taking away from opportunity for new creations. One Well has also found a way to use the expansion to diversify their cooperative relationship with the other local breweries.

one well“If we can take the cooperativeness to the next level, we’re not only going to help everybody else, we’re going to help ourselves,” Waldofsky said as he described the plans for their new development.

After always being limited to brewing small batches of their essential beers and constantly lacking storage space, One Well plans to fully utilize their new facility and its new 15-barrel system.

One Well would like to try to provide small breweries the opportunity to rent their large brew system, allowing them to brew their popular beers on a larger scale. These breweries would also have the option to warehouse their beer at One Well’s brewing facility.

“As cooperative as everyone is already, if you have the capacity to let someone else use your equipment as well, it seems like something you would want to do. If we’re going to share hops and grains anyway, we might as well share tanks too. And we should have plenty of extra space to work with at the new facility. So in the off time when we’re not using our system, if we can offer it out to someone else, it seems like that would benefit.” said O’Neill.

Now after being open for over a year and a half, One Well Brewing has surpassed their expectations and continue to make a name for themselves in the area. They have grown to become a diverse and cooperative brewery with the intentions to brew great beer and create a great place for both locals and visitors of Kalamazoo.

 

Photography: Steph Harding

The 18th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival took place at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti on Friday and Saturday. Over 100 breweries gathered to deliver 932 brews for the celebration of our state’s wildly popular beer culture.

Hot and steamy weather didn’t discourage the thousands of exuberant attendees. Shade trees and numerous water stations helped folks keep their cool as temperature soared. Thankfully, rain held off until after official festival hours on Saturday.

Lines to enter the park began forming well before the gate opening times. Enthusiast Members of the Guild gained entry to the festival grounds an hour before the rest of the crowd, giving them a head start on the high-demand specialty beers that didn’t last long.

Within mere minutes of the early opening, members had descended on the Witch’s Hat booth creating lines 50 people deep, all hoping for a shot at tasting the brewery’s coveted Night Fury Imperial Stout variations.

“On Friday they were gone within an hour,” said Nancy Haas, owning partner.

Many breweries offered up sours, goses and other unique thirst quenchers for those who wanted something lighter.

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One Well Brewing from Kalamazoo brought a blonde jalpeño brew, Xalapa, that managed to have all the flavor and aroma of the hot pepper without the expected spicy heat. It was a surprisingly refreshing creation. Sliced jalapeños were available as garnish for those who wanted to amp it up.

“I never brew anything I know I’m not going to like,” said co-founder and brewer Chris O’Neill, who created the recipe.

His beers have gained a following, leading the company to explore expansion options less than a year after opening.

“Right now we brew four batches a week on average and we’re going to have to do more especially if we want to get into distribution. We’re already looking for expansion places,” O’Neill said.

Another intriguing strange brew was Cotton Brewing Company‘s The Cat’s Meow, a wheat beer with a subtle hint of earthy mint derived from catnip.

Arbor Brewing Company stood out from the crowd with its beer-dispensing vintage firetruck. As impressive as the restored truck’s appearance was, the real attraction for many fans was the larger than usual list of sour beer offerings. Velvet Hammer 9, usually only available at the microbrewery one day a year, was served to those who were quick enough to score it during the timed releases.