Brew Detroit opened last February to little fanfare. Almost a year later, the place is still the antithesis of flashy. There's little signage on the brewery, which is in a renovated warehouse on the outskirts of Corktown, and the interior kind of has a cafeteria-meets-basement feel, but in a good way. The vibe is laid-back, your bartender will probably be wearing sneakers, and since the place is huge it's never ass-to-elbow packed.
With hopes of ramping things up in the new year, a new sign will soon be installed. The facility's second floor was also recently renovated and what was once a largely wasted space, save for a restroom, has now become a game room offering darts and billiards. The space overlooks the bar, making the tap room just a little more unique. They have dart and euchre leagues and live bands playing every Saturday night. On a Sunday afternoon it's common to see kids running around the place. If that doesn't sound like the perfect local bar, we don't know what does.
Since the folks behind this brewery keep the theatrics to a minimum, it's the beer and the way Brew Detroit operates that make the company interesting. They're a little craft brewery, yes, but they don't just make their own beer. They also make Badass Beer, and brews for Atwater, Motor City Brewing Works, and HopCat. Their huge tanks allow them to make large batches for these bigger breweries, but they also craft smaller batches of their own.
Inside the taproom patrons can order a pint of any of the beers made on site, which means you can get a Dirty Blonde, Vanilla Java Porter, a Badass Beer, or a Ghettoblaster, if you like things that are a little more familiar, or you can get a flight of Brew Detroit's small batch beers if you want to try something new.
Right now they're offering a white IPA made with mosaic and El Dorado hops that give the beer a tropical fruit flavor, a toasty, nutty, creamy milk stout, a rich mole porter, a classic American IPA, and a sessionable red lager they call Foxy. They're also hoping to add more tap handles soon. The place doesn't offer spirits — they can only serve what they make in-house — and they don't serve food, so the beer is the star of this one-man show.
If you are feeling peckish while downing some drafts, you can order food in. Ask your bartender which local restaurants deliver or if a local food truck is coming by and you'll most likely get a satisfactory answer.
If you'd like to learn more about Brew Detroit, a brewmaster series takes place the first Thursday of every month and patrons are invited to sit down with Ken Belau and learn more about how he crafts Brew Detroit's small batch offerings. A native of Canada, Ahrens learned to brew in Germany and he brings a wealth of knowledge to the brewery's proverbial table.