From the moment my coworker first mentioned Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. while we were at lunch one day, I knew I would love it. First, he remarked that the Warren based brewing company is BYOF (yes, you can bring your own food, and even have food delivered), a concept I’d never heard of, but immediately loved. Second, this was the brewery responsible for DRIPA, an award-winning IPA which I had absolutely heard of. Finally, it’s located only a few miles away. I immediately planned a trip.
When I first pulled up to the brewery (just off of Mound Rd. on Chicago Rd. for those of you familiar with the metro-Detroit area) I had a “Is this really it?” moment. The building is very unassuming, and if I hadn’t known where I was heading, I would have passed right by. This can be attributed to the history of Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.: before being transformed into a brewery, the building was home to Lutz Hardware, owned by brothers Bret and Eric Kuhnhenn.
When a big box hardware store opened nearby, the duo were faced with a decision about what to do with the store. As avid-homebrewers, who had sold brewing supplies out of their hardware store for years, the pair decided to transform their hardware store into an eight-barrel microbrewery and brew-on-premise shop. (Due to increasing demands for Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. products, the brewing and winemaking have since moved off site.)
While the exterior may be a bit misleading, the interior was bustling. I arrived on a Tuesday right around 6 p.m. and ended up at the bar because nearly every table was full. When I asked if this was the norm, the bartender confirmed that the brewery fills up with a happy hour crowd (and again with a late night crowd) pretty much every day.
I flipped through the menu while I waited for my friend to arrive; we’d decided ahead of time that to get the most diverse bang for our buck, we wanted to get one of Kuhnhenn’s “Pick a Winner Paddles”, but since my brewery buddy was going to be a little while, I decided to go ahead and order a DRIPA.
The DRIPA, which I’d heard of well before my visit, was every bit as good as I was lead to believe it would be. Very hoppy and intensely citrusy, the West Coast style Double IPA clocks in at a whopping 9.5% and had earned accolades such as the Gold for Best IPA in the world at the World Beer Cup. It is so delicious and potent that customers are limited to three per visit. Luckily, if three just doesn’t seem like enough, filling a Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. growler is always an option.
When my friend arrived, we took a few minutes to select five brews for our custom paddle (a difficult feat with the huge variety on the menu). Eventually we landed on Simcoe Silly (an award-winning Pale American Belgo beer, sweet and fruity), White Devil (an Imperial White Ale, zesty and citrusy), Red Run Red (an American Amber Ale, with a malty citrus flavor), Oatmeal Stout (deliciously drinkable), and the Pure Michigan Pale Ale (made with barley, hops, and even water exclusively from Michigan).
What would you have in your Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. paddle? Or would you have opted for a Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. wine or mead? (That’s the route I’ll be taking next visit!)
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