Kennett Brewing Company opened its doors June 21, introducing the Kennett Square community to its unique brand of beers and gourmet pub-style food.
“This has been a very rewarding process from start to completion,” said KBC Brewmaster Mark Osborne, speaking recently while making seltzer water for the brew pub. The homemade seltzer water is just one of the many personalized features that KBC offers.
Visitors to 109 S. Broad St. in Kennett Square Borough will find eight beers currently on tap, with names like “Wee Wobbly Scottish 100 Schilling” and “Shrunken Head Mind Beer.” Espresso is roasted in house, and the menu features farm-fresh ingredients. Ice used in drinks is made with water filtered in house, and homemade sodas (made with the seltzer water and ingredients like basil) are also featured.
“We are trying to be unique and very individual,” said Osborne who, along with his wife Jocelyn, own and operate Kennett Brewing.
The business is a family affair – some of the couple’s children work in the brew pub, and friends and family helped make the Osbornes’ dream a reality over the last year.
“At the root of it, Kennett Brewing Company is all about beer and friendship,” Jocelyn Osborne is quoted as saying on the brewing company’s Web site.
Three weeks before Kennett Brewing Company opened, Osborne contacted Michael Hall, the former executive chef and owner of Muse Restaurant in Oxford, to see if he would be interested in cooking for the brew pub. Kennett Brewing had partnered with Muse previously, providing beer tastings for special events.
When Hall agreed, Osborne said, “That was the final piece of the puzzle for us. The first time I had his food, I knew he had the chops.”
Muse was known for its farm-to-table cuisine, and Hall brought that with him to the brew pub. Green Meadow Farm in Leola, Pa., provides produce and cheese for some of the dishes Hall and his team prepare. The Field Greens Salad features greens from the farm, goat cheese, blueberries, shaved radish, candied black walnuts, and honeycrisp apple.
Kennett Brewing’s food menu includes dishes that Hall describes as “well-presented, tight and clean.” There is a Lobster and Brie Dip infused with Jammy Bastard Pale Ale, Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese, a classic New England-style Lobster Roll, and a Braised Short Rib Sandwich. Other dishes include Thai barbecue-glazed meatballs made of ground sirloin and scrapple, a Caprese Plate of fresh mozzarella, marinated portabella, basil, tomato, olive oil, cracked black pepper, and balsamic glaze, and a House Pizza featuring Kennett Square mushrooms, prosciutto, garlic and basil, among other things.
But enough about the food, the beers featured at the brew pub are as individual as their names.
The Mighty Suskey Belgian Saison features hints of citrus and Saisonish pepper. The Shrunken Head Skull Mind Beer is a pale ale with a lower alcohol by volume and a rounded malt backbone.
Another pale ale on the menu is the Jammy Bastard, described as “the all-English malt bill, Maris Otter for the base and a dash of Carastan for toastyness.” And don’t forget the Kennett Pride Pale Ale – “the malt, the hops, the water and the process all balanced on the fine edge of British and American brewing tradition.”
The Wiley Rye features an India Pale Lager style, and is described on the beer menu as a big beer with “loads of citrusy hops with a clean lager yeast and fermentation to clean the palate, bringing the hop flavor and aroma forward.”
Two India Pale Ale-style brews are the Bollocks Bayard Black Session IPA , and the Head Skull Mind Beer. Bollocks is described as “black as night, damn near chewy, roasted bread.” The Head Skull is touted as a Double IPA with “tons of light fruits, apple and peach drops.”
The roots of Kennett Brewing Company go back about 10 years, to a chance visit to a brewing company near Lehigh University. One of the Osbornes’ daughters, Kate, was attending Lehigh at the time, and she had raved to her father about Bethlehem Brew Works.
He tried a Fegly’s ESB, an English-style beer, and was hooked. When he saw a home brewing company in the basement of the Brew Works, he visited it and found “a little throwaway booklet about brewing.
“Since then I’ve been obsessed with brewing beers I like,” Osborne said. “Beer and brewing – it is so fascinating and fun. It can be as much science or art as you want it to be.”
He researched brewing on the Internet and began trying different techniques. He entered a home brewing contest with his fifth and sixth batches of beer and won his first award. After a couple years of brewing, Osborne’s brews began to generate interest – he was contacted numerous times over the years about a brew pub concept.
He began to expand his brewing repertoire “so I’d be ready for an operation like this,” Osborne said. “In the back of my mind I always saw Kennett as an ideal location.”
He said when word got out that they were looking for space for a brew pub in Kennett, Mary Hutchins, the executive director of Historic Kennett Square, and Brant Kucera, then-Kennett Borough manager, met with him “to see what our brewing chops were.”
“Mary has been a tireless advocate for us,” Osborne said.
Things continued to fall into place over the year it took for Osborne and others to renovate the Broad Street space.
“There was such an amazing group of people working together to help us,” Jossy Osborne said. “The whole town was wonderful.”
For more information about Kennett Brewing Company, call 610-444-0440, go online at kennettbrewingcompany.com, or check out their Facebook page under “Kennett Brewing Company.”