[Author’s Note: In an earlier version of this article I incorrectly wrote that the original second family in the KBC partnership “backed out”. This was not the case and the article has been corrected. I apologize to those involved for my error.]
Early last year I caught wind that Kennett Brewing Company had started a Kickstarter to help fund some things around their brewery. The Kickstarter claimed that they wanted the money to make upgrades on the bar and equipment beyond what they’d already had planned and although Kickstarters from breweries are sometimes meet (rightly or not) with dubious regard, I thought that this would be a good time to put my money where my enthusiasm is and picked a level that got me what I thought was a pretty good reward – membership in the mug club, a mug and an invite to a special pre-opening event to get a first look at the place – and donated.
And waited. A while.
But what must have seemed like a long time for me must have seemed like an eternity to Mark and Jossy Osborne, brewist (that’s what Mark’s business card reads) and owners of Kennett Brewing Company. It’s been over a year since their Kickstarter became fully funded; a time which saw them find a location at 109 S. Broad Street which is still undergoing renovations and the original two family partnership in the brewery reduce to one.
I met up with friend and PA beer lover Dave, and Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers co-admin and craft beer traveler Dana to get a first look at the location and run through the beer list.
The location is interesting, occupying the lower level of a split level building that houses a rug shop above it but its close proximity to the State Street/Route 81 intersection puts it right in the heart of Kennett Square. The entrance still needs some work, but the potential is obvious as it gives off an almost speakeasy vibe.
Walking into the barroom, one can not help but to be struck by the L-shaped copper topped bar that runs down the wall opposite the door. The bar top plays well with the warm tones in the room, the black ceiling bringing down the brightness of the room a bit.
As always click on a photo to view them all in full size slide show mode:
But let’s talk about the beer. Dave and Dana both started with a Shrunken Head Skull Mind a 6.5%ABV IPA, while I immediately went for the Wee Wobbly Scottish 100 Schilling. My initial thought was that it was a bit light, but others thought it was spot on, so your mileage may vary on that, but I urge you to try it.
Dave eventually made it to the Jammy Bastard while I worked down the list to the Bollocks Bayard Black Session IPA. The black PA/IPA style struck me odd when I first encountered it a couple of years ago, but to be honest I’ve found few that I didn’t like and this beer has so much going on under the hops that I was not disappointed. But at 5.2%ABV I’ll let others debate the “session” part of it.
By this time Dana was enjoying a Mighty Suskey Belgian Saison which I stole a sip of and then moved on to my own Jammy Bastard because I liked the sip I had of Dave’s to THEN move on to the Mighty Suskey because I liked the sip I had of Dana’s. That’s right I make my way down beer lists based on sips from other people’s beers.
The saison I thought was really good with hints spicy pepper; as well as dangerously drinkable at 8.5%ABV. This one ended up being my favorite beer of the night which brought a chuckle out of Mark as he told me later that he nearly dumped it.
All in all I thought the beers showed a consistent quality across the board and I can’t wait to see what KBC will do in the future. I’d like to see a little more diversity in the tap list in the future what with 5 out of their initial 8 beers on the tap list being pale ales or IPAs, but think that will happen as Mark and Jossy get comfortable in their new surroundings, build up a solid business and have the opportunity to experiment a bit more.
I want to finish up (well almost) by saying that we found the staff friendly and helpful. They obviously were working out some kinks in their systems, but they were always pleasant. And if Mark and Jossy were feeling any pressure you sure wouldn’t have known it by the way they were smiling and joking about the air conditioning as they washed glassware in front us.
Businesses starting out always hit a bump or two, and at the end of the night we learned about a big one for Kennett. With everything going on, a miscue with the glazing of the mugs sadly caused them to be unusable by the brewery for its mug club. But I guess if that’s the worse thing that happens to KBC, they’ll probably consider themselves lucky. And besides, it just means I’ll be seeing mine more as it now occupies a spot on my kitchen shelf. But the mug club is still active with $1 off drafts and $2 off meals during happy hours (Tues-Fri 5-7pm).
I’d like to thank Mark, Jossy and their awesome staff for hosting a great event for everyone who donated to their kickstarter, and indeed raise a glass to everyone one who donated. It appeared to be greatly appreciated by Mark and Jossy.
Kennett Brewing Company is now open to the public and you can visit them at their normal hours of Tues-Thur: 3:00 pm-Midnight, Fri-Sat: Noon-1 am, and Sun: Noon-9 pm (Kitchen closes at 9:30 pm). I’m sure Dana will have the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers up there in future.