Two nanobreweries from opposite sides of the Detroit-Windsor border have teamed up to revisit a long-forgotten American beer style.
Together with Motor Craft Ales, Batch Brewing Company launched the Canucky Common. The beer is a spin on the Kentucky Common, an obscure historical beer brewed in Kentucky from the Civil War through Prohibition.
“There is an undeniable sisterhood between our two cities,” said Gino Gesuale, owner of Motor Craft Ales in Windsor, Ontario. “Both Detroit and Windsor have a working-class feel, they are tied to automotive, and they reside along a shared border.”
The idea to collaborate came when Gesuale visited Batch Brewing Company and learned that the brewers were already fans of Motor Craft Ales. The brewing teams exchanged ideas, and settled on a style.
“We brewed one batch on the Windsor side, and one batch on the Detroit side,” said Gesuale. “In addition to avoiding the headache of trying to transport beer across the border, we had the added benefit of getting to work on another brewer’s equipment.”
The resulting beer is described as a porter-like cream ale. It is distinguished by roasty, caramel notes and a sweetness due to the large amount of corn included in the recipe.
The Kentucky Common style was rediscovered through word-of-mouth and was registered to the Beer Judge Certification Program style guide just this year.
“Customers love the idea of discovering a new indigenous American beer style,” said Stephen Roginson, owner and head brewer of Batch Brewing Company in Detroit, Mich.
“I’ve sat in classes where the instructor has stated that the Steam beer or the California Common is the only indigenous American style, so there is an educational component to this beer,” Roginson added.
The Canucky Common is poured with a special tap handle which features both the Canadian and American flag. It is available on draught at Batch Brewing Company, but you will have to get there fast to try it.
“We had it on tap at Motor, as well,” said Gesuale. “But we blew through the keg pretty quickly.”
For those who missed out, there could already be another collaboration beer in the works.
“We’re trying to get over there to brew something for the Windsor Craft Beer Festival,” said Roginson.
In addition to collaborating on beer, Batch Brewing Company is known for teaming up with community partners that are focused on the city of Detroit.
“We got a lot of support from the community to get our doors open,” said Roginson. “In return, supporting the community has been part of our business model from the start.”
With this mindset, Batch developed the Feelgood Tap. Each month, Batch partners with a local non-profit, creates a unique beer to honor that partner, and donates $2.00 from every pint sold. Recent partners include the Motown Museum and Hostel Detroit, with next month’s featured tap benefiting the Riverfront Conservancy.
Seven months after opening, Batch is now looking to expand.
“We want to get our beer outside these four walls,” said Roginson. “We started hand-bottling this week, and we’re adding 15-bbl tanks.”
“I guess that means we will no longer be considered ‘nano’,” Roginson added.
Canucky Common is available at Batch Brewing Company while supplies last.