Located in the heart of Downtown Lodi, Lodi Beer Company has been serving local patrons for just over 12 years now.
“This brewery is built to just serve the bar right now, but we’re hoping to start distributing soon,” said Wood. “Lodi Beer is a nice local restaurant where a lot of families and local people come in; it’s a great little pub to hang out at.”
Brewmaster Bill Wood has been brewing at Lodi Beer for just about a year now, but this isn’t his first rodeo as he’s been brewing for almost 20 years and counting. He started at Elk Grove Brewery and was there for 13 years until later moving to Auburn where he spent seven years at Auburn Alehouse.
Roger and Sam Rehmke, owners of Lodi Beer Company, are close friends of Wood and coerced him to come brew closer to home where he now brews his magic, and Woods added, it's a perfect fit.
“It’s closer to home for me, I’m able to see my kids more, and it’s a great work environment,” he said. “Lodi Beer Company is definitely a good fit for me and I’m happy to get back to pub brewing.”
As a smaller brew production, Lodi Beer brews once a week, four or five times a month.
“Everything we’re serving is just across the bar, we’re not distributing or bottling right now although that’s something we’d like to get into,” Wood added. “The small town feel of Lodi fits the small town feel of the brewery.”
But at the same time, they brew enough beer to satisfy a lot of thirsty patrons.
“We brew 15 barrels at a time and that’s quite a bit of beer,” he said.
For context, there’s 31 gallons in a beer barrel which is close to 3,000 pints in a batch.
Lodi Beer Company has around 10 of their beers on tap, and they rotate in seasonals here and there.
“We just got done with Christmas and served our Christmas ale which is a spice beer that’s pretty strong,” said Wood. “It’s a really nice beer with a lot of nutmeg and coriander in it. We do different seasonals but there are about eight beers usually on [tap] at any given time.”
The Lodi favorite? Wood argues the top two.
“Probably the Gold Coast IPA or the Umna Hefeweizen,” he says. “The IPA, of course, is pretty hoppy. It’s our west coast style, fairly bitter, light and gold in color; and the Hefeweizen is unfiltered, Bavarian style wheat.”
Brewmaster Wood went on to explain that brewing is all about balance.
“There are a lot of beer styles that people don’t even know are out there,” he said. “Each style has sub styles within them. There are different kinds of IPA, there are different kinds of Porter... So, I think it’s really about the balance between the malts and the hops and the body of a beer, that’s really the key.”
The mixture of ingredients used and the passion of the brewer come out in the glass, and at Lodi Beer Company—it’s a great combination of both.
“It’s kind of like being a chef in that you get to pick and select what you’re going to use to make it,” Wood added. “You can buy a variety of ingredients these days and choose the quality in that way… It’s really about blending it all together and bringing those flavors together that you want to stand out.”