It’s not necessarily unheard of in the brewing industry to have a side gig. Hell, Cory King famously built an incredibly successful brewery out of his “Side Project.”
People working in this industry are often motivated, passionate, talented, curious, and driven, very much so, and in their free time they exercise their creative energies in various undertakings that are frequently tangentially, or more directly, related to beer.
Vasilios P. Gletsos is just that, undeniably a motivated, passionate, talented, curious, and driven individual. You may know him through his current day gig—brewer at Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro Bend, Vermont. You may not know, however, about Wunderkammer Bier.
Wunderkammer Bier is Vasili’s other “brewery,” his side-label, if you will. Wunderkammer Biers are beers that he produces on the Baby Brau system at Hill Farmstead in his time spent outside-of-work there. He makes use of the small brewhouse, brewing on the weekends and such, and he ferments and packages his beers there, as well.
People sometimes describe brewing as a combination of art and science, and Wunderkammer most surely leans more heavily toward the artistic side of things. Vasili creates all of the artwork for the beer labels. Imaginative, wonderfully poignant images to place alongside imaginative, wonderfully creative beer names. And on the production side of Wunderkammer, Vasili is the one creating all of the artistic beers.
Beers that are all within the same thread of style, i.e., fermented in oak with a mixed culture, but beers with ingredients of all sorts. Staghorn Sumac, an ingredient indigenous to the Northeast United States, an ingredient that Vasili harvested himself. Kale, lime, and tetricale (a grain, a hybrid of wheat and rye). Beers with corn, beans, and squash. A beer brewed with “lichen, mushrooms, some sticks and leaves, as well as other typical brewing materials” that tasted, and I am not exaggerating here, like a walk through the woods. These may not be the most popular beers, but they are simple, honest, and delicious.
In today’s beer world of hazy DIPAs, heavy-handed pastry stouts, over-fruited quick-sours, Vasili’s elevated, yet concise, beers are a true thing of Wunder.