One Well Brewing in Kalamazoo, Mich., is adding a new member to its brewing team. Trevor Klimek, formerly of Paw Paw Brewing Company, will be joining forces with head brewer/co-owner Chris O’Neill and head cellerman Tom Crookston to help round out One Well’s current brewhouse staff. The news follows the announcement of One Well’s plans to expand its brewing operations to an offsite production facility.
Trevor has been a good friend of mine for a number of years, and I have enjoyed following him around the Kalamazoo brewing community. His interest in beer began around 2004 alongside his then roommate, Colt Dykstra (the current brewer at Arcadia Ales, Kalamazoo). Colt would bring home different beer styles each weekend — from hefeweizens and pilseners, to stouts and porters — all new to Trevor’s palate. But money for this expensive hobby ran out quickly at $16 for Belgian-style six-packs. The solution to their problem came from Colt’s uncle, who was a home brewer.
With inspiration from Colt’s uncle, Trevor purchased a home brew kit to brew his first beer, Trevron, an Oberon clone recipe. It took a few batches, but soon the two housemates got the hang of things and every couple of weeks Trevor would stop in Grand Rapids, Mich., for additional supplies. One day, while at Siciliano’s home brew shop, the employee suggested that Trevor purchase his supplies closer to where he lived — at Bell’s General Store. Trevor was shocked to learn there was a home brew supply shop less than two miles from where he lived.
Jason Reicherts, Bell’s General Store manager at the time, and current director of retail at Bell’s Brewery, said he became a regular. Sometimes he was there more than some of the employees. Because of that, Reicherts offered him an opportunity to grow the home brew supply section as an employee. Over Trevor’s more than five years at the general store, he expanded the selection from five or six hops and yeast strains to more than 30 of each, and added all grain brewing supplies and kegging equipment. Jason told me, “Trevor always made sure that our homebrew customers had the best information possible and made everyone feel special.” During the last year of his time at the general store, Larry Bell offered Trevor the opportunity to brew specialty meads.
After leaving Bell’s, Trevor spent a few months continuing his gigantic homebrew projects and helping some other breweries get started. I can remember visiting Trevor and he had no less than 60 carboys (5 to 10 gallon glass jars used to ferment beer) lined up around his basement. He had a sour spruce ale, cherry trippels, raspberry eisbocks, pear cysers and meads fermenting. I don’t think there is a single style that he hasn’t tried his hand at.
Then, he landed a brewing position at Paw Paw Brewing shortly after their opening in 2011. During his time there, the brewery grew from a half-barrel system to a seven-barrel system, improved packaging, began bottling and canning, and increased their brand selections to more than 20 beers. Last year, Paw Paw Brewing produced just under 2,000 barrels and recently announced the purchase of a 22,000 square foot building, where they plan to move their tap room.
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Rex Halfpenny, publisher of the Michigan Beer Guide, has been covering the craft brewing industry for about 20 years, and shared this story with me about Trevor: “Trevor is one of those rare individuals who would give you the shirt off his back, and that is exactly what he did to me one time. He was wearing an olive drab green Paw Paw shirt with a hop grenade on it, and I asked him how I could get one of those. He immediately took the shirt off and gave it to me. This story is just one example of his love for life and passion for beer that make him a wonderful individual and part of the Michigan brewing community.”
Last week, Trevor called me to share the news of his new opportunity in the Kalamazoo brewing community. One Well Brewing has been operating at its current location in the Millwood neighborhood of Kalamazoo since November 2014. They’re anticipating an expansion in mid-April to a 10,000 square foot building less than three miles from their 4,000 square foot tap house, where all of their beer is currently produced. Co-owners T.J. Waldofsky and Chris O’Neill expect the move to help them seamlessly transition from a three-barrel system to a 15-barrel production facility.
“We’re thrilled to have Trevor join our team and to help us usher in a new era at One Well,” said Waldofsky. “Trevor not only brings a great deal of experience to the table, but we expect his personal brand recognition and passion for craft beer will help take us to a new level.”
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Head Brewer Chris O’Neill has known Trevor for many years and has often picked his brain while Trevor worked at the Bell’s General Store and Chris was a customer developing his art of craft brewing.
“I’ve learned a lot from Trevor over the years, and our friendship goes back further than most of my relationships in the craft beer industry,” O’Neill said. “Trevor brings a lot to the table. We’re excited to learn from one another and to take our games to the next level. His enthusiasm and commitment to this industry makes me confident that he is the right guy for the job.”
As a former active KLOB (Kalamazoo Libation Organization of Brewers – homebrew club) member, Trevor is excited to return to his brewing roots in Kalamazoo where there is a vibrant beer scene. He told me that whenever he was in Kalamazoo he found himself at One Well, where there is excellent food, an excellent atmosphere and, of course, excellent beer. Beginning in mid-February, Trevor will join the team and help them prepare for their current expansion project. One Well’s owners expect to use Trevor’s expertise to help accelerate their canning and bottling initiatives. They also anticipate using his experience to develop a wild/sour ale program along with other barrel aged projects.
“I’ve always been a student of brewing and I’m excited to join a growing company where I can apply what I’ve learned over the years,” Trevor said. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for the guys at One Well, and I’m thrilled to continue my career in a place that I can help grow and personally develop.”
Editor’s note: The above post contained incorrect information about Paw Paw Brewing’s plan to improve their operation. The above version was corrected Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Flavor 574 regrets the error.