You can't always be blessed with a decent Uber driver when you're traveling through the city, especially when you're in unfamiliar territory... Let's just say one of those not-so-blessed moments happened to us on our trip to Way Beer's brewery, located just outside of Curitiba, in Pinhais, Brazil. In spite of that minor setback, we managed to make it there in one piece with plenty of time to spare. Karla had been in contact with the co-Founder, Alejandro Winocur, in the weeks leading up to our trip, but never got a confirmation on when he would be at the brewery. We decided to take our chances and go anyways. And let's just say that our persistence totally paid off.
Upon walking up to the premises, we were a bit weary if we were even in the right place because we didn't see too many cars in the parking lot. We walked through an open garage door into a giant warehouse filled with wooden barrels and to our left was a small bottle shop. It was in that moment that we realized we were in the right place. After browsing through their bottle selection and merchandise, we talked to the cashier about getting a tour of the facility. Unfortunately, she told us that we had actually missed all of the scheduled tours for the day. We then explained our situation to her and she ended up making an exception for us by giving us our own private tour, which I must say was pretty damn sweet.
Way Beer was founded in 2010 by Alessandro Oliveira and Alejandro Winocur with just four employees and started off by only selling draft beer. Needless to say, they've amped things up a bit since then. They now distribute to over 300 bars in Brazil and ten in the U.S. They also have a bottling/canning program and there are now five partners invested in the brewery. These guys aren't playing around anymore and they have ambitious plans for the future. Currently, the brewery has nine 2000-liter, two 6000-liter, and multiple 1000-liter tanks operating in the brewhouse. They mainly use Brazilian, German, and Belgium malts in their beers. Having already collaborated with Jester King, Stillwater, and Arizona Wilderness, the tour guide explained to us that they have much more in store for us. While we were there, they were in the process of brewing Against the Cacau, a chocolate and Chinese honey orange brown ale collaboration with Against the Grain Brewery from Kentucky. Keep an eye out for this one. It's supposedly being distributed to the U.S. market.
Our guide then explained to us that the brewery has a barrel aging program that primarily utilizes barrels made from Brazilian wood. The brewery also conducts simple water and pH analysis on site, as well as studies on the fermentation process. For more complex analysis they send samples to an offsite laboratory. If you've ever had the chance to drink any of Way Beer's bottles, you may have noticed that their labels are printed directly on the glass rather than on paper labels. The reason why they do this is because of the strict regulations imposed by the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry that require all bottles of beer to be pasteurized prior to distribution. During the pasteurization process, traditional paper labels tend to fall off of the bottles. It's kind of a silly rule that shouldn't apply to the beer industry, but they have to adhere to it regardless. Kegs, on the other hand, are not required to be pasteurized. Like I said, kind of a silly and outdated rule. Anyways, the brewery also announced that they will be increasing the size of the bottles for their Sour Me Not beer series, which is totally a win for us. As our tour was coming to an end, the guide walked us over to a little tap bar that rewards the tour attendees with two complimentary beers of their choice. They also offer crowler fills at the tap bar for anyone that makes the trek over to the brewery. As we drank our first beers, the guide mentioned to us that Alejandro was actually in the building and may have just finished up with his meeting. She went upstairs to his office to check on him and came back down a few minutes later to deliver us the good news. He was done for the day and was going to join us for some beers and a conversation.
After Alejandro made his way down the stairs to join us and we introduced ourselves, he immediately poured himself a beer and asked us if we like Northeast Style IPAs. Of course, I naturally answered him with a "hell yeah man". He then casually walked over to the tanks and poured us all glasses of their Northeast Style IPA called "Sou Feia, Mas Tô Na Moda" directly out of the conditioning tank. Literally the freshest IPA we've ever had. The name of the beer translates to "I'm ugly, but I'm trendy" and they totally nailed it. We then chatted with Alejandro a bit about his travels to Miami, as well as his recent trip to Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen, which is definitely on our to-do list. The last time Alejandro visited Miami, he actually stopped by our favorite craft beer hang out spot, Boxelder Craft Beer Market. The owner of Boxelder (and our friend whether he likes it or no), Adam Quinn Darnell, is actually the person who reached out to Alejandro in the first place to inform him of our visit to Brazil. Anyways, after talking about beer and future plans with Alejandro for a while, it was about time for us to leave, but before doing so he let us pick out a few beers to take back home to Miami. And while we were on the subject of Miami, he decided to let us in on a little secret. Way Beer is planning on collaborating with Miami's very own J. Wakefield Brewing. Definitely something that we will be looking forward to in the future and you should too.
Rua Pérola, 331 - Pinhais - PR - BR
+55 41 3653 8853 | +55 41 3033 4460