Cheers: Kuhnhenn offers more with new taproom

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The name Kuhnhenn and its products — the Fluffer, D.R.I.P.A. and more, along with many seasonal and special reserve brews — have been associated with craft brew and home brewing since the early stages of the Michigan craft beer boom.

The Warren brewery, which started as a home brewing supply store in 1998, is known as a cool spot for beer lovers to grab a pint of freshly made beer or mead, nibble on some snacks and hang out with friends.

On Monday, Kuhnhenn starts its next chapter with the opening of the 45,000-square-foot Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. on Groesbeck, south of 16 Mile in a former Evergreen Home and Garden Center building in Clinton Township. About 4,000 square feet of space has been renovated and polished to be a taproom that seats 280.

In addition to 28 taps of house-made beer, the taproom will serve craft wine, mead and distilled spirits. For now, the only booze offered is their white whiskey, which is served on the rocks with lemon, as a Groesbeck gimlet with lime and cucumber, or as a mule with lemon, ginger beer and mint in an ice-cold copper mug. (Don’t be offended when your server asks to hold on to your I.D. in exchange for the mug; those shiny copper Moscow Mule mugs often go missing from bars.)

A one-page food menu is leaps and bounds beyond what’s offered at the Warren pub. Look for appetizers and beer-friendly snacks like duck fat fries, soft pretzels, chicken wings and meat-and-cheese boards. There are six types of wurst; the smoked venison Italian sausage with sherry roasted peppers and caramelized onions comes recommended.

A decent Buffalo and smoked Gouda burger is offered, along with corned beef Reuben and a Caesar salad.

The menu and the atmosphere — long communal tables, plentiful bar seating and lots of natural wood trim — give the new Kuhnhenn’s a Bavarian feel. A tall, shiny liquor still can be seen from the dining area, which will be doused in natural light from the huge windows facing Groesbeck (formerly the garden center’s greenroom).

As for the Warren location, it will remain open and will produce small batch beers. The new facility will make the larger batches to be distributed. Canning and bottling of Kuhnhenn beer may be in the future, but for right now they’re going to stick to offering products on draft only. More house-made liquor and craft soft drinks also are on the horizon.

Starting Monday, the Clinton Township taproom will be open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Chef shuffle

Last week, chef Garrett Lipar of French restaurant Marais was named a semifinalists in the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star of the Year” category. The same day, the Grosse Pointe restaurant announced Lipar would be moving on “to further his studies and continue to travel.” Marais chef and co-owner David Gilbert will return to the executive chef role.

Deliciously brief

■Ann Arbor’s Slurping Turtle got a nod from The TV network’s website named them in an article listing 14 “great” ramen restaurants.

■Speaking of turtles, Trixie’s Bar is now open in Hamtramck. The neighborhood watering hole, 2656 Carpenter, was formerly Turtle & Inky’s.