Winchester Brew Works

Month: September 2016

By in beer 0

Beers, Cheers and Words of Wisdom from Bonnie

Today I sat down with Bonnie not to have a Winchester Brew Works beer but to uncover the magic that goes on behind the scenes here at the brewery. In our interview I chose to focus the question into three groups: The Woman (Bonnie), The Beer, and The Legacy. Amiss laughter, brewing tips, and chair painting I discovered that Bonnie is not just the owner of Winchester Brew Works. Rather she is a artist who’s canvas is an empty fermenter and countless bags of grain. Her art does not hang on a wall, it flows from the taps here at WBW for us to enjoy nearly every day!

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The Woman

Matt: “Aside from being WBW’s head brewer, what occupies your time?”

Bonnie: “You mean what used to occupy my time! *laughter* Really, anything outdoors. I love hiking and camping. Oh, live music is another favorite and if the two should combine that’s pretty awesome, so outdoor music festivals are great!”

Bonnie: “The art of the craft is another of my favorite things. It is probably why we did most of the tasting room ourselves. I mean my mother was an artist so we were always finishing things, doing projects here and there.”

Matt: “Well, the artist attributes seem to have been passed on and at work here!”

Matt: “Before the development and opening of WBW what did you do?”

Bonnie: ” I had a few different roles in the pharmaceutical field. I worked for a large pharmaceutical company entering into their technical sector. There I did a lot of data analysis for the HPV vaccine.”

Matt: “Wow! That is quite of an accomplishment but I am assuming you didn’t stop there.”

Bonnie: “Right. I was interested in the development of the project opposed to the final result. So I moved on to skid lead engineer and then shift manager. I would write procedures, forms for filtration, develop training processes and teach those processes to workers in my section.”

Matt: “Very interesting. You said you enjoyed ‘the development of the project opposed final result’, could you elaborate on that a little?”

Bonnie: Sure! Essentially I enjoy developing projects from the ground up, like a building for example, I’d rather be the engineer building the structure as opposed to the corporate advisor running it. I guess that’s another reason why I wanted to open my own business.

Matt: “Well with that in mind, did you take any of your knowledge from your last job to here?”

Bonnie: “Yes, there is a lot of regulation here and at my old job. I am good at reading through code so I can catch everything I need to in the regulation. There are many shared technical aspects and quite honestly the equipment here is child’s play compared to pharmecudical division!” *laughter*

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The Beer 

Matt: “Alright, I think it’s time to discuss the development of your art. Do you remember your first home brew?”

Bonnie: “I think so, it has been awhile! It was an all-grain IPA from Brooklyn Brew Shop (home brew kit company). We conditioned the bottles with honey just to add a little flair. It was pretty good especially after a haitus from home brewing when we moved from VA. From there we went to 5 gallons and kept developing more unique recipes. It really makes you feel like a mad scientist!”

Matt: “So, what are your favorite types of beer?”

Bonnie: “I really like IPAs, malty beers like porters and browns are also a big hit with me!”

Matt: “How did you start your brewing career?”

Bonnie: “Chemical engineering and pharmaceutical manufacturing were a big help. Essentially those experiences allowed me to teach myself a bit faster. Honestly, brewing is something that you can really teach yourself as long as you have a basic knowledge of chemistry and a refined palate. Determining that you have a bad beer is one of the most important things you can do during the brewing process.”

Matt: “Is it difficult to craft new recipes?”

Bonnie: “No, it is my favorite part! The pilot batch is the hardest part. We put in a lot of hours of work for only 15 gallons but it is very important to our process.”

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The Legacy 

Matt: “What inspired you to open WBW?”

Bonnie: “Brew tasting seeing other people do it was what really started it all. We noticed that there was an untapped market in Winchester meaning we would have a higher success rate. At the time it was the next step to grow as family and friends!”

Matt: “How did you find the location for the brewery?”

Bonnie: “The internet! We started looking for a spot in 2014 and we knew what we wanted! It had to be in old town, if not we were going to take it as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. After the finding our present location we were a little hesitant. It seemed a bit out of our range so we decided to look at a number of other spaces but nothing seemed to fit. We needed parking for food trucks and noticed the north end of the walking mall just felt right. Our present location kept sitting vacant, so we finally jumped on it!”

Matt: “I know this is a question you keep getting but I have to know. Do you ever plan on expanding?”

Bonnie: “Our goal is NOT to take over the beer world. We want to your local beer maker. It would be nice to master what we are doing right now with the tasting room. We just hired staff and we are completing small projects around the brewery. This is not to say I don’t have plans but you’ll just have to stay tuned!” *laughter*

Matt: “What is the hardest part of running WBW?”

Bonnie: “Dealing with stress of owning a business. I just want everyone to appreciate what we have created and the welcoming atmosphere that we provide. Honestly, the realization that everything is in my hands is still a bit jarring to me.”

 

Matt: “Well, thank you for your time and answers Bonnie!”

Bonnie: “Of course, I hope this lets people have a bit of insight into our world, the wonderful world of Winchester Brew Works!”

 

I hope you enjoyed my chat with Bonnie! Stay tuned loyal patrons and beer lovers for the rest of the interview series! I will be sitting down with Holly and the rest of the WBW gang in the coming weeks!