The two 90-barrel fermenters were trucked over in dramatic fashion. Same for the brite tank (used to hold beer after fermentation), the new whirlpool system and the giant grain silo.
That means more beer for all now that the giant equipment is in place at Third Space Brewing, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave.
The equipment is the “physical expansion of capacity,” said Andy Gehl, who started Third Space with brewmaster Kevin Wright.
Third Space was producing 3,500 barrels of beer, but thanks to the new equipment, it’s on track to brew 7,000 barrels a year.
The goal is to meet the growing demand created in January when Third Space signed with Beechwood Sales and Service to distribute beer to seven counties in southeastern Wisconsin.
“We needed the expansion to keep up with that,” Gehl said. Expansion was always part of the plan, Gehl said, but “this expansion came a little faster than we expected.”
Gehl said the brewery has had requests from Madison, the Appleton area, Green Bay and Door County for Third Space beers such as Unite the Clans Scottish ale, which won gold at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.
The new equipment also gives the brewery some freedom for additional innovation by using smaller tanks for small-batch beers or short-term batches that might be sold only in the taproom. It will be the chance for the brewery to see “what new styles are exciting to people,” he said.
“We want to be innovating,” Gehl said. Look for “new fun IPAs or one-off barrel-aged beers. People may see some cool things coming out from us in the future.”
The brewery, which is expecting delivery of a five-barrel pilot system this month, did not have a commercial-grade system to produce research and development beers.
Additionally, Third Space is looking for expanded warehouse space to store empty cans and kegs.
“It’s one of the many reasons we located down here,” Gehl said of the Menomonee Valley location. “We knew that when we expanded here there would be a place to expand.”
Next up, the brewery will release Barrel-aged Red, White & Blue starting at 11 a.m. on June 30. Red, White & Blue is part of Third Space’s In the Spirit Barrel-Aged Series — this one with three variations of a fruited kettle-aged sour beer.
- Red was aged in pinot noir, Oloroso Sherry and tawny port barrels, with cherries and raspberries added.
- White was aged in California chardonnay and French Sauternes barrels, with apricots and peaches added.
- Blue was aged in brandy, pinot noir, and port/bourbon barrels (a port barrel that then aged bourbon), with blueberries and blackberries added.
Red, White & Blue will be available on tap and in bottles.