Brad Wheeling, founder and co-owner of Third Wheel Brewing, began his love affair with brewing as many craft brewers do – with a home brewing kit.
“I started brewing beer in 2005, 2006, when I got a Mr. Beer kit,” said Wheeling. “My first batch turned out pretty good. My second batch, not so good, but I stuck with it.”
In June 2017, Wheeling partnered with Abby Spencer and Ron and Valerie Woerndle to open Third Wheel Brewing. As head brewer, Spencer creates a dizzying array of beers.
“We like every kind of beer under the sun, so we make every kind of beer under the sun,” Wheeling explained.
That being said, the core of the pub’s beer menu are its eight signature brews ranging from a light, slightly tart Berliner Weiss [dubbed Going Once, Going Twice] to an Irish Red Ale [Enter Sandman] to Goomah, a rich, creamy stout with flavor notes of chocolate, caramel and vanilla. Joining the elite eight are seasonal beers, special releases and small batch, limited brews. To track what’s brewing, especially special releases, beer lovers are encouraged to follow Third Wheel Brewing on Facebook or sign up at thirdwheelbrewing.com for their electronic newsletter.
On-site help in picking a pint is as easy as asking for suggestions. All of Third Wheel’s bartenders are cicerones, certified beer professionals.
“Even our busser is a certified cicerone,” Wheeling said. “And we teach classes on how to become a cicerone. We also teach monthly beer classes on the third Wednesday of the month.”
His best advice for guests? “Try something different.”
“You never know what you’re going to like, and you can’t judge a beer by its color. You can’t look at a beer and know how it’s going to taste. You have to taste it,” Wheeling said.
Third Wheel’s cicerone might recommend the brew pub’s No. 1 seller, Enter Sandman, the Irish Red or, for Budweiser fans, the Broken Arm Blonde, a light, easy drinking blonde ale. For customers looking to expand their palate to the next level, Trixie’s Pale Ale is a great first step. It’s double dry hopped and balanced with sweet, bready Maris Otter malt.
“We’re also known for our double IPAs and Dyslexic API – a lot of people don’t get the name until we ask them to say it again,” Wheeling said. “Dyslexic API has a little lactose in it for a smooth mouth feel. People love it.”
With beer in their glass, guests can fill their plate with food from The Window, a separate business operated by chef/owner Cory Koch inside of the brew pub. Koch provides a varied menu from burgers, wings and sandwiches to his award-winning Mac & Beer Cheese, St. Peters Poutine and gourmet Scotch Eggs served with chipotle maple bacon sauce.
“You don’t need food to enjoy a beer but why wouldn’t you have food when you can have beer with it,” Wheeling said, noting that Koch comes up with all the food for Third Wheel’s beer dinners.
“The next beer dinner is actually a brinner – that’s breakfast for dinner – five courses paired with beer,” Wheeling said. It is scheduled for June 4 in honor of Third Wheel’s second anniversary. The first course planned is candied bacon with beer mimosas.
“You won’t find our beers any place but here,” Wheeling said. “To find them, you have to come here and hang out with us. So, come on in, sit back and enjoy yourself. It’s well worth the trip.”