Craft Beer Conversation: Dreaming Of Beer At Jamex Brewing Co. In St. Clair Shores

By WWJ Newsradio 950
WWJ’s Zach Clark is searching metro Detroit for the best of the best when it comes to craft beer. On a quest for the best tastes, funkiest brews and most unique experiences on the craft beer scene, “Craft Beer Conversation” is a weekly series highlighting the area’s best. Be sure to check it out every Friday.

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (WWJ) – Driving past Jamex Brewing Co. in St. Clair Shores, you probably wouldn’t suspect that tiny building to be a brewery.

But inside 21721 Harper Avenue, Jeff and Kat Kaye are hard at work with a two-barrel brewing system, constantly turning out new and different beers.

Every week, they start making a new beer, keeping the ever-revolving tap list fresh and updated. They never have a repeated brew. While that provides a lot of new options and variety, Jeff Kaye says it can be quite the challenge.

“Initially, when we opened, we had no idea what our clientele wanted, so we pretty much brewed what I wanted to drink,” Kaye told WWJ’s Zach Clark. “And now, it is a business as well, so I’m brewing to satisfy my own needs, in a way, but I’m also trying to keep up with the market. I think trying to find a beer that satisfies both avenues is challenging.”

Kaye says with the rapidly moving craft beer scene, he is tasked with not only keeping up with new styles, but making classics good enough to draw in that crowd. But then with a two-barrel system and no recurring flagship beers, it’s even tougher.

“Especially if you had a beer that just knocked it out of the park and it’s selling like crazy, and then you look in retrospect, like “man, if I’d only done a seven- or 10-barrel batch, I could sit back and enjoy myself rather than try to figure out how to replicate that exact beer’ and hope to have it on tap before the previous beer runs out, which has kind of happened recently,” Kaye says.

As the Kayes try to put new twists on exciting recipes and keep their taps fresh, sometimes they just stumble into the next idea. That’s what happened with the Pils to Pay the Bills.

“I had a dream one night that we went to a beer festival and you were only allowed in if you had a highly regarded pilsner. So I woke up the next day, and I’m like, ‘we gotta make a pilsner,’” Kaye said. “At the time, the harvest from the European hops, they haven’t really hit the States yet – they were just starting to come out now – and I didn’t want to use old 2018 European hops on a beer that’s supposed to be fresh. So here I am looking at it, like ‘what kind of American hops can I use to replicate a good, noble German hop?’ And that’s a perfect example of trying to make a classic style our classic style.”

What started as a home brewing hobby in San Diego has turned into a family affair in St. Clair Shores. Not only do Jeff and Kat work together every day, their establishment is named after their first two sons, James and Alex.

As for their daughter, Adrian? She has a beer named after her – the Ady Rose Blackberry Currant.

To complement Jamex’s constantly refreshing tap list, the Kayes bring in food trucks and have frequent events at the brewery.

Learn more about Jamex Brewing Co. on their website, and be sure to listen to Zach Clark's full conversation with Jeff and Kat Kaye below.

Have a favorite brewery or brewpub you want Zach to highlight in his “Craft Beer Conversation” series? Reach out on Twitter -- @ZachEClark -- or via email at Zach.Clark@entercom.com

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