After multiple delays due to red tape and building renovations, HOMES Brewery will finally open for business on Ann Arbor's west side at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19.
"It’s pretty common for breweries to run into normal building code issues, plus we had to deal with licensing because we’re producing alcohol," says head brewer Nick Panchame.
The HOMES building at 2321 Jackson Ave. formerly housed the Culligan water company and a skate shop. Panchame, HOMES owner Tommy Kennedy, and a crew of workers have been renovating the space for just over a year.
Before deciding to start a brewery, Kennedy ran a home health care company with his brother. After coming up with the concept for HOMES (a popular mnemonic device for remembering the names of the five Great Lakes), Kennedy connected with Panchame through a brewing industry website. Sensing a great opportunity, Panchame moved to the Ann Arbor area to brew for HOMES.
Unlike Kennedy, who has switched careers, Panchame has always been interested in food and drink. He went to culinary school and interned at a brewery in New Jersey, served as assistant brewer at a brewpub in Manhattan, and then served as head brewer at Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City before coming to Ann Arbor.
HOMES is Ann Arbor's ninth brewery. Kennedy and Panchame plan to set themselves apart from the rest through a strong emphasis on community building as well as a focus on unique beers and unusual bar food.
For the food menu, the brewery has partnered with Noe Hang, head chef of Ann Arbor’s No Thai! Restaurant.
"Most breweries feature burgers, pub food, or pizza, but we’ll have an Asian street food menu," Panchame says.
Panchame believes his culinary background gives him an advantage when it comes to designing beer recipes. He plans to offer 10 different beers to start with, expanding taps as business picks up. HOMES will offer a variety of beers including a stout and a session ale, but the brewery will focus on sour beers and hoppy beers, he says.
"The barrel-aged sours take one to two years to be ready, so we have nothing like that on tap right now, but kettle sour beers are a much faster process, so we’ll have some of that on tap," he says. "They are tart, easy-drinking beers."
The community aspect of the brewery’s mission is already taking shape.
"We wanted to build this business to be a meeting place for people, where they can plan small charity events or start a dart league night," Panchame says. "We already have a road bike team that plans to meet here weekly."
Brewery hours are 4 p.m.-midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. The brewery is closed on Mondays.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All images courtesy of HOMES Brewery.