The sausage party is over.
When the new Widmer pub re-opens on Wednesday, the focus will be on the small-batch beer coming out of the 10-barrel innovation brewery. The remodel will be ongoing through next spring, and will put the brewing process on display, they say. When the pub partially re-opens this Wednesday the space will be open for bar hours, from 3 to 10 pm on weekdays and noon to 10 pm on weekend days.
The food menu will be "light snacks only."
A few of the details are intriguing, specifically the company's vow to expand its small-batch barrel aging capabilities, to host more events including live music and to expand and improve its brewery tour. Those changes won't be fully implemented until a grand re-opening in Spring 2018.
Personally? I'm actually kind of stoked for these changes. I liked the old tasting room, which earned a starred review in last year's Beer Guide, but there are plenty of great spots in this city to get food, and I always want to see big breweries like Widmer do as much small-batch stuff as they can.
I'll never forget when we named the company's excellent milk stout one of the 10 best beers in the state a couple years ago and I asked when the next year's batch would be out, only to be told that it wasn't on the brewing schedule for the next year. On one hand, sure, breweries don't have to care what critics think and brewing is a process that involves lots of planning. On the other hand, the beer also won a medal at GABF, which means it's probably something worth brewing once a year. Today's breweries need space to react and experiment—when brewers try something that catches their interest, they should be able to play around with a similar recipe in the next few months, not the next few years.
Also, Widmer says it's bringing back its summer beer garden, which is great news as that space was a real treat this summer.