Craft Beer Conversation: 'It's Like Drinking Beer In Your Garage' At Downey Brewing Co. In Dearborn

That ambiance brings Downey's home brewing roots to the forefront.

WWJ News
February 20, 2020 - 10:52 pm

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” will be a weekly series highlighting the area’s best. Be sure to check it out every Friday.

DEARBORN, Mich. (WWJ) -- "It's like having beers with your friends in your garage."

That's how Downey Brewing Co. co-founder Daniel Downey describes his brewery inside his family-owned warehouse.

The small Dearborn establishment is decked out with flags and sports memorabilia. None of which the Downeys purchased, and all of which have their own stories.

"Each piece has a story, and collectively that's what creates the ambiance," Downey told WWJ's Zach Clark.

That ambiance brings Downey's home brewing roots to the forefront.

Downey's father, Dean, began homebrewing back in the 1990s, and that's where Daniel's brother John got his passion for home brewing. He took it up while he was a student at Michigan State. Daniel, who studied business at MSU, had an itch to start his own business, and what better endeavor than brewing beer?

The idea was born back in 2014 and the Downeys began a Kickstarter campaign online to help crowdfund the business. With Kickstarter being an "all-or-nothing" platform, they almost didn't make their goal.

"We were coming down to the last day or few hours and we were still under our goal and then somebody kicked in $3,000 within the last, I would say, couple of minutes, and that was just pandemonium for us."

He says they popped open some champagne and turned their focus to beer.

After two years of writing a business plan and getting the proper licensing, Downey Brewing Co. opened inside the warehouse that Daniel's grandfather has owned for the better part of three decades. Now they're serving up a solid selection of beers brewed on their three-barrel system that's right in the wide open for customers to see.

Brewing on a small system can be tough, but Downey says they're starting to find their niche.

"While this gives us the opportunity to make several different kinds of beer every time we brew, the amount of beer that we get each time is very little, so that's the challenge," he said.

When they first started out, Downey Brewing made the vast majority of its sales in-house, but now you can find their beer at various places across metro Detroit, with a focus on Downtown Detroit, Dearborn and Downriver.

From the Pils Royale to the Hooligan red Irish ale, Downey has a wide range of core beers -- that includes their original brew, the 10%-ABV Batch One stout. They also like to change things up with rotational seasonals.

For more information about Downey Brewing Co., visit their website and be sure to listen to Zach Clark's full interview with Daniel Downey below:

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