Craft Beer Conversation: Plymouth's Liberty Street Brewing Co.

"It’s what you’d think of when watching Mayberry, an 'Andy Griffith' type of feel.”

WWJ News
January 31, 2020 - 12:05 am
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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.

PLYMOUTH, Mich. (WWJ) – Joe Walters has always had a tendency to get a bit carried away with his hobbies.

He was very into computers before the dawn of wireless connections. He once had 14 computers in his home -- he’d admittedly gone a bit overboard.

And that’s exactly what happened when he started home-brewing beer. Once he started, he couldn’t stop.

Eventually, Liberty Street Brewing Co. was born and more than a decade later, it’s become a staple in Plymouth’s historic Old Village district.

In what was the original downtown of Plymouth, the Old Village is full of historic, old buildings and vibes of Mayberry, a la “The Andy Griffith Show,” as Walters likes to put it.

Walters, the brewmaster at Liberty Street, has created a humble, nostalgic destination inside a building that was built in the late 1800s.

He’s also created some pretty good beer.

Liberty Street has five core beers that are always on tap -- Red Glare, Soul Geometry, The American, Liberty Bell Blonde and Starkweather Stout – but Walters loves to change things up with rotating taps. A few of his creations even come with “sister beers.”

"The Pooh Beer is a stronger beer, it’s a honey porter – hence the name “Pooh” – and it’s a stronger, higher alcohol, so usually I keep that one for the winter," Walters told WWJ’s Zach Clark. "There is a summer sister beer to it called ‘Swarm Outside,’ which is a honey lager. That’s kind of a brand where I split it, spun it off to a summer version as well."

Sticking to the community vibes, hops for the “Barber’s Garden” a staple seasonal brew at Liberty Street, are grown right next door at Yer Grampa’s Moustache Barber.

"The Barber’s Garden is our harvest ale, so when the hops come in, in September we pick the hops – usually the Barber’s Garden comes out every year right after that," Walters said.

You won’t find a sprawling food menu at Liberty Street -- they keep it to simple bar snacks – but outside food is welcome. One family took full advantage of that.

"It was really something to see," Walters says. "It was a family four and it looked like they made a stew that morning before they all went off to school and work and it was in the Crock-Pot all day and when they all got home, they gathered up the Crock-Pot and brought bowls and spoons with them and had their dinner here at the table and did their homework."

He says the kids even enjoyed a root beer float – made with their own root beer brewed in house. It’s not your typical root beer, either. Walters says he tries to avoid consuming sugar as much as possible, so he put his own twist on the root beer by adding extra cinnamon to bring out the sweetness.

"I love when somebody tries it for the first time," Walters says. "They’ll come in for the first time and they try a beer and they’ll say, ‘ok well that’s just a good beer.’ But when they try the root beer, they light up. High eyebrows, just very shocked. ‘Wow that is different.’"

"And yes, I did use to work for Coke and Pepsi both and one of the things that’s I’ve learned about the beverage is cinnamon can intensify the sweetness, so this root beer is actually a lower sugar, but then I have a higher level of cinnamon in it. It tastes just as sweet as anybody else’s root beer, but if you tested it, it’s got a lower sugar content to it," he said.

Walters says on multiple occasions he’s seen young teenagers meet at Liberty Street for a first date to enjoy a cold glass of his root beer.

There’s something to be said about a hobby morphing into a community gathering spot for all ages that’s churning out high-quality products.

For more information about Liberty Street Brewing, visit their website and be sure to listen to Zach Clark’s full conversation with Joe Walters:

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 Zach.Clark@entercom.com