The Local Tap: Kennett Brewing Company’s Kickstarter Party

[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.

Click on the photo to enlarge (WARNING LARGE FILE). The weirdness is from panorama effects, not the beer. Promise.

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.

 

 

 

A Stroll Through My Mind – The Kennett Square Brewfest 2011

I confess I haven’t been to a beer festival in a long time.  I do go to Max’s Belgian Beer Fest every year, but a local beer fest populated by mostly local brewers?  It’s been awhile.  So when my buddy Kenny suggested we hit the Kennett Square Brewfest, I agreed.  One, because it fits the bill as a “local beer fest” but also because the proceeds benefit Historic Kennett Square, a non-profit charity.  And like I’ve said, drinking good beer and helping a good cause – sign me up!  We decided to get tickets to the connoisseur’s tasting – a smaller tasting where brewers often break out some less common beers they brew, and then have lunch at one of the local restaurants.

A long time ago when we’d go to Stoudt’s microbrewfest I always wrote up a little “trip report” and sent it out to all my beer friends.  One thing I learned back then, doing a detailed and comprehensive write up of a beer fest takes more patience and focus than I have.  Oh I start out with grand intentions, but after awhile I’d rather be drinking beer and talking to the people around me then scribbling tasting notes in a notebook. Heck, I don’t even remember every beer I’m poured.  Which isn’t a slight against any brewers, there’s just always some much going on that sometimes I miss a brew or two (or three).  That being the case however, no matter how overwhelmed I’ve gotten, at the end of the tasting I could still identify those one or two breweries or beers that I’d want to seek out again, and that’s all I cared about.

But for the most part, the events always end up looking like one big parade through my memory.   So with that, here is my stream of consciousness “review” of the Kennett Square Brewfest:

.    .    .

Haven’t been here since they’ve moved to the new location down by the high school.  Way better!  Awesome layout!

My friend Steve (AKA BUBBA!) is checking in the brewers as they arrive.  That man should not be given that much responsibility! LOL

Yes people, you do need your ID.  It’s a beer tasting so they may be serving alcohol in there.

The people across the street from the entrance have a little section roped off in their front yard where they are standing and drinking beer.  It looks like the poor guy who lives across from the Santa Claus house who puts up one string of lights across his gutter.

Hmm, some people just showed up with pretzels on a string around their neck.  That’s really a good idea or kind of silly.  Can’t decide which.

And in we go!  Most people are heading towards the first available tents.  Rookie mistake.  Always go to the back where there’ll be fewer people at first.

My first "check-in". Before I just admitted to myself that Untappd would be easier.

First beer (love the sound of that) “Wine Flower of Belgium” from Boulder brewing.  Nice floral Belgium.  Excellent start to a good day.

To check-in my beers on Untappd or not to check-in?  I decide not.  I take a picture of the Boulder tap handle instead.

Next beer, “Brekle’s Brown” from Anchor Brewing.  It’s named in honor of the person who owned the brewery that would later be called Anchor. Interesting interplay between the brown ale and the citra hops.  Might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I liked it.

I decide to say screw it and use Untappd.  Why not use the perfect tool for the job?

My check-in of “Brekle’s Brown” earns me the BEER PARTY badge on Untappd.  Guess I’m not alone.

Between about every third brewer’s tent they have a Rubbermaid cooler of water.  Nice upgrade from back in the day when they used to put pitchers on the tables and when they were empty, they were empty.

Yorkholo brewing has poured me something that I won’t remember later as I didn’t check it in and someone was blocking the sign on the cooler when I took the picture.  Like I said, it’s amazing how much effort this takes.

Stoudt’s is pouring their “Brewer’s Reserve Double Chocolate Porter”.  It’s everything I love in a porter.

The pretzel boys are back.  Still can’t decide.

Dockstreet.  I remember back when they put their labels on the bottles upside down to honor some historical protest.  They’re pouring a brew called “Prisoner of Hell”.  Pretty good, but I liked the name better than the beer.

KSBF volunteer Steve Platz enjoying the fest with Ken Finney

My buddy Steve comes over to talk to us.  He’s an annual volunteer.  It’s because of people like him that we can enjoy this brew fest.  He always says I should volunteer, but I’d rather drink beer then lug ice.

Brewery Ommegang has brought their “Aphrodite”.  I though Tracey was going to love this considering some of the other tart, fruit beers she loves but it didn’t displace any of her favorites.  Not to worry Kasteel Rogue, you’re still number one in her heart.

Rinse glass with water, toss. Fill glass with water, drink. It’s a good routine after each beer.

Kenny points out someone tossing out a beer by calling them a “criminal”.  Normally I would agree but with this many beers around why choke one down you don’t like?  It’s only 2oz.

Time to hit the head (must be drinking to much water), luckily the porto-potties are right next to the Stoudt’s tent.  When I’m done I grab another chocolate porter to sip on while I catch up to my group.

Stop at the Allagash tent hoping to get a glass full of their “Four”.  They’re pouring the “Curieux” instead.  Not usually a fan of barrel aged beers, but these guys do this one nicely.

You spend $70 for a ticket to a beer fest and then light up a big stogie?  I mean, I love a good cigar as much as the next person but really?

The guys at the Yards tent pour me something.  I remember when you’d see their beers around and then one day they just disappeared in Delaware.  I’m glad to see them re-appearing on the shelves again.

I get a sample of something from I believe Forest and Main.  I’m not sure because while I’m getting it I strike up a conversation with the guy next to me.  We spend a few minutes sipping on our beer and discussing home brewing.  This is why I enjoy beer fests.

Time for Tracey to get something to eat so we stand in front of the Ommegang tent and talk for a while.  I take this opportunity to get another chocolate porter uh, I mean hit the head again.

We go over and have a little conversation with the people from Twin Lakes.  Good to see someone from Delaware is representing (yeah, I’m looking at you Evolution and 16mile!)

It’s about time to close the tasting down so I go over and get another chocolate porter (not even disguising it with a trip to head this time).

Glad to see so many women enjoying the beer fests now.  When I started going to them you could count the women on two hands and most looked like they were drug there by their boyfriends.

Word gets out that we can stay for the regular tasting (I’d forgotten about this!) but we have to leave the brewers alone in the half hour in between – brewers?  What brewers?

Kenny has to leave because he promised he’d meet family at a local restaurant for lunch.  We were supposed to go as well.  Hmmm, go to a bar or stay around and drink more free beer.  Yeah, you know the answer.

Ok, the pretzel guys are just teasing me now.  I want one!

And they open the gates!!! Everyone goes to the front tents, we head to the back.

I get a brown ale at the Boxcar Brewery tent.  It’s a nice brown maybe a little thin but I really like it.

Mission brewing pours me an IPA.  It’s crisp and hoppy which is just what I needed at the moment to waken by tongue back up.

The Shocktop VW Beetle

The Shock Top folks are here with their “bug”ulator.   A VW beetle with a working tap system in the back.  The faucet comes out the back just over the license plate.   You know, I’ve never looked at a VW as a tailgating vehicle before, but now….

Eel Brewing pours me an organic amber.  It’s a nice clean beer.  Very good.  I’m glad; I’ve run into places that seem to put the “organic” label over “quality” when they make their beers.

The guys at Williamsburg Brewing fill my glass with something.  It was beer I’m sure.

Hmmm, a picture of the girls in the German outfits or the guys with hop leaves around their heads.  Must be the beer because these decisions usually aren’t this difficult.

Tracey enjoying a Voodoo Love Child

Voodoo!  Wynona’s big brown ale is very good.  Tracey is digging the Love Child.  She’s a hippy at heart.

At this time we’re getting that “it’s time to go vibe”.  We’ve had the run of the place for a while and lines at many of the tents are starting to get a little long.  Time to go sit and have some food.

The KSBF was amazing and I’m happy to say they’ve really got this thing down to a science.  Congrats and thanks to all the volunteers and breweries that come every year and make this into the great event it’s turned into.  We’ll be back next year!

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