Bear & Bramble Brewing Co.

Uncompromising Ales

Home of Bear and Bramble Brewing Co., a Belgian-focused Nanobrewery in Western Mass.

About us


John Wanner

I was a straight edge skate punk growing up, and alcohol was the root of all evil.  Turns out that as one ages, youthful beliefs can moderate. My first beer was a JW Dundee Honey Brown. My second was probably a Yuengling Lager (or "Lager" as it's commonly known).  I quickly gravitated to relatively more rarified offerings, thanks to friends in the know, and a thriving micro and Import scene in Philadelphia in the late 90s.  Mad For Mex in West Philly always had Dogfish and a ton of other interesting things on tap.  I soon had my first Chimay at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia and the rest is history and an empty bank account. 

While living in Vail in the mid 2000s I discovered home brewing from a good friend.  I later moved back to Philadelphia and my then-girlfriend/now-wife got me my first home brewing kit.  Things took off from there. George at Home Sweet Homebrew was super helpful in those early days as I explored making my own Belgian Dubbel and Biere de garde. I soon discovered Saison and fell for all the great things that Saison yeasts can do.  A shared passion for the "perfect" Saison has driven us to join together on this project.  

Our first piece of stainless...

Our first piece of stainless...

Tym McDowell

I started brewing beer while I was studying biology at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. The science of brewing fascinated me just like the experiments in the chemistry labs. It also spoke to my love for cooking and my interest in more adventurous foods and beverages. During my senior year at Trinity I was able to land an internship at New Haven Brewing Company; at the time, they were the 8th largest micro in the country. After graduation in 1993, I moved into a house with some friends. There was a second kitchen in the basement, and I convinced my housemates to let me build an all grain brewery. We had some great times in that “kitchen-brewery.” I later went to graduate school at Northeastern University. My time in Boston coincided with the first great explosion of specialty beer bars and brewpubs in the city and I loved to explore their offerings. Every visit was another opportunity to expand my palate. Not long after I returned to Western Massachusetts in 1999, I started brewing again. At first I was so busy with work that brewing was a rare guilty pleasure.  When buying beer, I found myself gravitating toward the best examples of Belgian saisons and their wild cousins, the lambics.  I decided  to try to make versions of those beers that are native to Western Massachusetts. The search for my elusive “it” beer may be one that spans a lifetime, but I am finally at a place on this journey where I can begin to share these experiments with you. This is the story of a  dream becoming reality.