Several years in the making, Wise Man Brewing finally opened its doors on Jan. 28 at noon. Even by then, the crowd numbered in the double digits, the giant Jenga was already stacked several feet high and glasses around the wide, brick-exposed room were half empty.
Since I’d attended the Girls Pint Out preview a couple days prior, I’d been drooling over the Scoop Dogg cream ale, which lit up my mouth like the two pinball machines by the Jenga display. Nikki Miller-Ka, Winston-Salem chef and food blogger, liked it as well.
“The flavor kept developing and changing with each sip,” she told me, “almost like a scoop of rainbow sherbet: each spoonful tastes different from the last.”
The beer is aptly named, and not just because of the flavor and style. Rapper Snoop Dogg performed outside the adjacent building — formerly Ziggy’s — in April 2015. There’s a quote floating around the internet that has the artist saying, “When I’m no longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlor and call myself Scoop Dogg.”
Hence, Scoop Dogg cream ale.
Other Wise Man Brewing quote-themed beers include the Mountain Calling IPA (from the John Muir bumper sticker saying, “The mountains are calling and I must go”) and the Satisfy My Soul stout from the Bob Marley song of the same name.
Of particular note is the nitro version of the stout, which has a heft and creaminess worthy of lugging a 32-ounce crowler home. The Hash#Tag triple IPA, a collaboration between Wise Man Brewing and Cornelius’s D9 Brewing, is on point, and those who drank a pint in past months at Juggheads or Winston-Salem’s Crafted: Art of the Taco can attest to its bite.
Much care was put into renovating this old building — the former Angelo Brothers Wholesale Supplies, which used to sell everything from baseball cards to rolling papers. Now, the swirling, aesthetically pleasing Wise Man Brewing logo adorns the side of the building, plus almost every surface inside and out: the reclaimed wood tables, the beer garden fence and even the giant Connect 4 pieces.
Inside, you’ll find water dishes for dogs and games for kids and adults. Jason Morehead, one of the brewery’s three founders, said they’re planning a grand opening with a band and food trucks once they can fill the majority of the 16 taps with their own beers — “Probably within a month,” he said. The window-filled wall separating the taproom from the brewery lists a dark farmhouse, another with cherries and a petite saison currently in the works. Social media posts point to upcoming small batch experiments with the cream ale.
By the end of Day 1, most of the kegs had been kicked, including some that weren’t Wise Man brews. Construction and beer making may have taken 16 months, with the brewery facing setbacks including break-ins and a stolen pressure washer, but the wait was well worth it. I’m looking forward to kicking back and tasting what they put out next.
Visit Wise Man Brewing at 826 Angelo Brothers Ave. (W-S). Find it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.