Corktown brewery Brew Detroit shows off new kitchen, chef and menu

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

There's a new restaurant in Corktown, but it's in a familiar space. 

Brew Detroit has revamped its taproom to include a kitchen specializing in local and beer-friendly ingredients. The vast menu is meaty, but still offers options for those who are vegan or gluten-free. 

Open now, the spacious taproom offers everything you'd expect from a craft brewery's kitchen like Bavarian pretzels, fried pickles, poutine, fish and chips, barbecue sandwiches and tacos.

The massive menu — which has dozens of choices including 13 different pizzas — also has some Michigan-centric items like a fried walleye sandwich battered with Brew Detroit's Cerveza Delray beer, smoked whitefish dip and a pizza called "the Hudson" with Dearborn ham, smoked turkey, green olives, local gherkins and other items typically found on a Maurice salad. 

Brew Detroit's head chef Tara Abdusshakur says she uses the beer they make both as ingredients and inspiration for the food menu.

"All of our meats are from local farms up north, literally it's so fresh," head chef Tara Abdusshakur told The Detroit News. She said she'll change the menu and offer rotating specials as the seasons go on. "It will get a little fall, autumn, winter heavy ... I'm thinking shepherd's pie because we're in Corktown."

She said almost everything Brew Detroit produces beverage wise will influence her menu. Right now the brewery offers about 16 craft beers in the taproom, plus a handful of ciders, hard seltzers, wine and even a few sweet frozen drinks. 

"My next focus is to infuse even more beer with our food or to pair it with our food items, but right now I'm just taking a lot of our beers and infusing it into our recipes," she said, adding that she speaks with the brewers there to get ideas on what to put on the menu next based on what they're brewing. "Cerveza Delray is in our pizza dough, the Cerveza Delray Obscura is what we use for our caramelized onions, (our wheat beer) Pallet Smasher is in our chocolate sauce that goes with our churros."

The hangout has plenty of high-top seating, barstools and booths, plus an outdoor space and upper level. There's also a gift shop with canned beer to take home, Brew Detroit t-shirts and other merchandise. 

Before this kitchen, Brew Detroit did offer food, but mostly in the way of guest pop-up chefs. Brew Detroit CEO Jerry Kocak said the kitchen at the brewery has  been in the planning stages for three years. 

Brew Detroit's Bavarian pretzel appetizer is served with mustard made with Cloud 19 NEIPA.

"Now that we’re past the restaurant restrictions and people are starting to gravitate back downtown, we see this as great timing to introduce a new option with great food. Along with the new menu, we’ll continue serving our great beer for existing and new customers," he said in a media alert about the taproom. 

Abdusshakur said she's working on a weekend brunch menu, and later, lunch service. 

Brew Detroit's Taproom, 1401 Abbot in Detroit is open 4-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 4 p.m.-midnight Fri., 1 p.m.-midnight Sat. and 1-8 p.m. Sunday. The kitchen stops serving an hour before close. 

Call (313) 344-7185 or visit brewdetroit.com.

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mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens