COMSTOCK PARK — It’s easy to profile a physical brewery — brick and mortar, a building somewhere, brew kettles and a bar, tap handles on the wall and seating of some kind.
Perrin Brewing Company is, in this respect, like many breweries. A large, standalone, industrial style building holds the brewery and taproom. Seating fits the space — tall metal chairs and long wooden tables, the brewing equipment in plain view no matter where you sit — beer is clearly the focus here. Upstairs is a private seating area, a great space for meetings or birthday parties. You’ll find your food in a trailer, inside the premises, serving simple, pub grub — burgers and fries, sandwiches and some damn good onion rings with a spicy ‘boom boom’ sauce.
What’s harder to define is the essence of a brewery. This is different for every locale, every neighborhood watering hole. Perrin is no exception. Marketed as a ‘destination brewery,’ Perrin is located in Comstock Park — not exactly a beer mecca. Despite this, Perrin is often packed and has its share of regulars.
“I hate saying this, but I’m always surprised we’re consistently full,” says John Stewart, Production Manager at Perrin.
Perrin doesn’t really have a definitive vibe or gimmick. Its Facebook description simply says it’s a ‘brewery taproom,’ and leaves it at that. The brewery tries to let the experience define itself, for its employees as well as customers.
With ambitious beginnings two years ago, Perrin jumped into the Michigan craft beer scene full force. Initial owner Randy Perrin took his funds made from a successful career in the sportswear/clothing industry and decided to go big into brewing, launching a 23,000+ square foot brewery with capacity to make beer — a lot of it. With Jarred Sper, a Lowell native turned celebrity event planner — as a business partner, it seems it was the right combination of funds, business savviness and an eye for the market that has made Perrin what it is today.
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But there’s more to it than that.
Perrin, for Stewart and for other staff, is seen as an opportunity, and freedom. “These guys bust their butts, and you see these talented people,” Sper, gestures to Stewart, “you let these talented people, real craftsmen and women — you let them go and just do their thing. That’s hopefully why they are there, working beside you.”
“Just to be beer geeky,” Stewart chimes in, “here’s your analogy. The more people want to try to control yeast, control fermentation, the more they’re gonna mess the beer up. You have to provide the environment where you let the yeast do what it does, and you do whatever you can to nurture that. That’s where you make good beers.”
And that’s what makes for a happy, productive, top notch staff.
This extends to front of house as well. Regular beer school nights hosted by Stewart and crew mean servers and bartenders know their stuff, and are happy to share this knowledge with the clientele.
“As the craft beer consumer becomes more and more educated, the staff needs to be more educated as well. The staff here — they are excited and passionate about the beer. They want to be here. It makes for a better experience for the customer,” Stewart shares.
Perrin’s beers range from light-bodied pale ales to the much loved Kona Brown and twists on traditional like their popular Grapefruit IPA. Offering many specialties brews like its ‘Killin Craft’ series and ‘Cooper’s Series’ — beers aged in Oak barrels, there really is something for everyone to drink here.
“We just wanna make good tasting beer,” Sper shrugs. “And if we have the opportunity to have some cool ideas, cool concepts that force people to think a little bit; if we have some character — we’re really happy. But at the end of the day — we’re just making beer.”
Perrin is open Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to Midnight and Sundays from Noon to 8 p.m.. Expect periodic live music and entertainment, weekly food specials and a fun, slightly noisy, atmosphere.
For the month of November, Perrin is offering 15% off all merchandise sold in its taproom to MittenBrew readers. Just show your server or bartender this article on your mobile device to confirm.