The founders of Two Wheel Brewing didn’t expect such a large turnout when it quietly opened for the first time last Friday — but Buda residents, in the town just south of Austin, had been thirsting for a brewery of their own for awhile and lined up out the door for a first taste of the beer.
That instant enthusiasm is gratifying for Marc Woffenden, who co-founded the brewery with his wife, Alexis, after he decided to turn his homebrewing hobby into something more. So far, Two Wheel Brewing is only open on Friday evenings, but as the brewery gets up and running — and as more beers are added to the tap wall in the tasting room — those hours will expand.
Woffenden, an Austin resident since the early 1990s, loves Texas’ vibrant capital city but deliberately chose its smaller southern neighbor for the brewery.
“We wanted to go to a community where a brewery would be welcomed,” he said.
And welcomed it was: He didn’t need to do much persuading to get Buda’s city officials on board with Two Wheel Brewing during the early planning stages. In an initial meeting, he told them what he wanted to do, and right away “about four of them said, ‘Done. Let’s do it.’ From day one, the city and the community was literally behind us,” he said.
Their support made steps like permitting easy, he said.
Although Woffenden and his wife had searched for property to lease, they ultimately decided to build a brewery from scratch on land just off South Loop Four, south of Buda’s charming Main Street. They bought the acreage in 2014, started construction in 2015 and wrapped it up late last year.
Besides Alexis, Woffenden has also relied on employees Dennis Howell and Doug Korte to launch Two Wheel Brewing. He met Howell through the American Brewers Guild in Vermont, a brewing school they attended, and got to know Korte through a softball league both participated in, albeit on opposing sides.
“We used to heckle each other for at least five years before we started working together here at the brewery,” Woffenden joked.
Now, he and Howell handle all the brewing, while Korte, the chief financial officer, manages many of the other duties necessary for running a business.
Two Wheel Brewing will have three beers on tap when it opens again on Friday: Budaful Blonde Ale, Twin Creeks Pale Ale and Amber German-style Altbier. The first two brews debuted last week, and the pale ale, “an old-school pale because it’s not pushed to the brink of hoppiness,” was particularly well-received, Woffenden said.
Next Friday will see the introduction of another Two Wheel beer, a West Coast-style IPA; after that, an ESB and a porter will join the lineup. The various styles are a result of the two brewers’ contrasting tastes.
“Dennis brewed up in New York, so he does East Coast-style beers like New England IPAs and the darker malty beers like porters and stouts. I like more of the lighter, crisper beers,” Woffenden said. “It’s been fun working together and coming up with recipes. We’ll have a nice mix.”
He’s proud of the new altbier — an Old World style not often produced here — but is especially hoping the Budaful Blonde Ale takes off because it’s for a good cause. Two Wheel Brewing is donating a portion of the proceeds from each pint of the blonde sold to a different local cause each month, starting with the PAWS Shelter of Central Texas in nearby Kyle.
The blonde is “our Buda beer,” he said.
Before founding Two Wheel Brewing, he worked as an elementary and middle school teacher. He loved his job, he said, but just couldn’t shake himself of the brewer’s bug and alternated his time between teaching and getting schooled himself at the American Brewers Guild. He graduated from the school in 2013; Howell followed suit in 2016.
At the moment, their main goal for Two Wheel, which has a brewpub permit versus a production brewery license, is to sell a bulk of their boozy product at the tasting room, for both on- and off-site consumption. (Growlers are coming soon.) The rest will eventually be sold at local bars and restaurants but only in draft format, not cans or bottles.
“We want to create a space where people come to hang out,” Woffenden said.
Although he said the tasting room remains a work-in-progress, it’s already got a handful of picnic benches, and a garage-style door at the front opens up to a small patio with more seating. More tables will be added to the yard.
Similarly still in the works is the main brewhouse at Two Wheel Brewing: Woffenden and Howell are currently brewing off a small 1 bbl pilot system and haven’t fully transitioned to the 20 bbl juggernaut nearby. But just having gotten this far is a good feeling for Woffenden, who named his brewery after his and Alexis’ longtime mutual hobby of biking.
“We say that we’re always on two wheels. Then us being the two owners, we’re the two wheels of the brewery also,” he said.
For now, Two Wheel Brewing is open from 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays at 535 S. Loop 4; eventually, hours will be expanded to 4 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 12 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 12 to 6 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit twowheelbrewing.com or facebook.com/twowheelbrewing.