This is one in an occasional series of 7 Sips interviews, where we sit down for a pint and seven questions with someone active in the local craft beer community. Today we catch up with Terry Hackler, a longtime guitarist and homebrewer who opened Twelve String Brewing in the Spokane Valley in December 2011.
Q: It seems like there’s never a dull moment at Twelve String. What’s on the front burner these days that you can tell us about?
A: We’re growing like crazy. For 2015, our production will easily be more than double than in 2014. This year we’ll be at 1,300 or 1,400 barrels, which is about our capacity. Whenever we have an empty tank, we brew into it. We’re brewing four days a week, sometimes we brew five days a week, depending on the fermenter schedule.
We’re continuing to search for a (larger) new location. We have a couple of things that we’re looking at very seriously, that I can’t really expand on at this point, that have really good potential. One location in particular that we’re really, really serious about, we’ll know the outcome of that in about two weeks or so. We’ll be in the Valley, hopefully we’ll be within a mile or two of where we are now. We think that will keep our core customers coming, and hopefully gain a lot.
We’re expanding the barrel-aging in big ways. We’ve got somewhere around 48 or 50 barrels full right now. And we have more barrels coming – we’re developing relationships with lots of barrel brokers around, so we have a source for Cruzan rum barrels now, direct from Jamaica. And from another source, I think we’re going to get some gin barrels. We’ve got whiskey barrels, two different kinds of bourbon barrels, rum barrels, tequila barrels, cognac barrels, wine barrels. So that’s turning into a bigger and bigger thing.
And we’re working on bottling. We added another fermenter, which was supposed to pick up some of the slack and allow us to brew enough beer for bottling, but wholesale keg sales have been so huge lately that now we’re not quite sure where we’re going to get the beer to bottle. What we’ll more than likely do initially is do some smaller runs, and have it available for sale in the taproom and maybe a very few select places around town.
Q: What have been your favorite combinations of beers and barrels so far?
A: My favorites are the dark beers we’ve aged in whiskey barrels and bourbon barrels. I like that combination the best, although way back when we aged our Spring Reverb (pale) in a four times used Dry Fly barrel, and that one was delicious. The tequila barrel-aged stuff is weird, you either love it or you hate it. The tequila Mango Mambo, at the Washington Brewers Festival coming up, we’ll go through four or five half-barrels of that by the five-ounce pour – it’s ridiculous. People line up 200 feet for that beer. It’s good, it’s not necessarily my favorite one, but it’s fun. … That (festival) will be the debut of the rum barrel-aged imperial coconut porter. I’m really happy with where that’s gone.
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