A sneak peek at Brew Detroit, which opens tonight

Feb 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm

We just got back from a very interesting tour that shows just how much the craft brewing movement has grown in metro Detroit. The destination was Brew Detroit, the first fully automated brewery in Detroit since the closing of the Stroh facility nearly 30 years ago. We gathered with the press where the magic happens, next to tanks so big, so tall, that with the brewery’s hissing noises and all the tubes connected to them, you expect them to blast off into the sky any moment.

Did craft brewing get this big? Yes it did. We even spotted Motor City Brewing Works’ John Linardos and pulled him aside. His brewpub is shooting to do its first batch of Ghetto Blaster in March, and he needs the capacity to fill orders. “Right now, at Motor City, those tanks out in front of the brewery are 40-barrel tanks. These are 400-barrel tanks.”

Best of all, the facility will allow him to sell the beer in cans, a great carry-along format, ust in time for good weather and camping trips.

It’s definitely impressive the way that small brewers have pulled together to achieve such big things.

Linardos says, “That’s what the whole thing was about when we started the Brewer’s Guild. That’s what the guild is for.”

Foresight and cooperation can accomplish great things indeed. The 68,000-square-foot facility can produce a million barrels of beer annually. Right now it serves three Michigan brands, Atwater, Badass, and Motor City Brewing Works, with more collaborators to come. The brewery represents almost $10 million in investment. The former ball bearing company is now just like the old Shotz Brewery on Laverne & Shirley. I kept looking around for a glove to put on a bottle.

There’s also a 7,000-square-foot tasting room, with shuffleboard, flatscreens, and “bring your own food” rules. That will be the center of activity when the brewery opens it for the first time later today.

Brew Detroit is located at 1401 Abbott St., Detroit; brewdetroit.com.