Wednesday November 21 3:48 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Old Lowell Watering Hole and Bub’s BBQ off to a great start in Lowell


The project has been a labor of love for Lowell resident, home builder and craft beer brewer Tony Kinnis, who put just as much time planning and designing into the building as he puts into carefully crafting and brewing his multiple beers that he brews on site.

“We are so thankful for all the support from the community,” Kinnis said. “It’s our great pleasure to provide a fun and family-friendly venue in our great town, and we are so happy that we have had such a great response and friendly reception here.”

Kinnis said the brewpub features a large conference room in the back, and said they are prepared to have large groups and parties in that area for those looking to hold parties, receptions, reunions and other gatherings. They are now booking holiday parties so call to reserve the room now, Kinnis said.

It has been a long but worthwhile journey from vision to doors opening, Kinnis said.

When Kinnis first stepped into the abandoned old Lowell watering plant, he saw the potential.

Kinnis knew he wanted to do something within the four walls of the all-brick historical building in the heart of downtown Lowell.

With the assistance of local realtor Jim Langen, he stepped inside the structure and saw the potential for a brewery.

The original Lowell water plant was abandoned by the Town of Lowell in the mid-1990s, when the town moved the operation to a new location. The building was in disrepair but retained a majority of the water tanks and pipes from when it was operational.

“I knew immediately that the building would make an excellent location for a state-of-the-art brewery,” Kinnis said, who quickly began making plans to open the Old Lowell Watering Hole Microbrewery.

After purchasing the building, the job of rehabilitating the existing structure began. Kinnis felt it necessary to preserve as much of the building as possible so that it would be both functional and historical. Kinnis wanted to keep all the water tanks in place and incorporate them into the look of the brewery, along with the piping inside the building.

Part of the building is designed to house the brewing equipment, which is visible through a glass wall in the family dining section. The rest of the building maintains the majority of the original tanks and pipes, and contains a brand new custom made bar and additional seating.

Kinnis wanted to do something special in the bar area. He constructed, by hand, a replica water tower that sits above the bar. The bar, which was designed and built by Kinnis, collects water from the tower. The water then runs through the entire length of the bar, and flows back to the tower in a continuous cycle. Patrons can see the water flowing full-circle through the custom project.

The Old Lowell Watering Hole has several varieties of craft beers, and Kinnis is already planning for an expansion to add three additional fermenters to increase the number of in-house beers.

Kinnis, an expert at building and beer making, also wanted to add food to the endeavor. Kinnis gathered a group of dedicated friends and partners to add the barbeque side. Now, with a head chef and pitmaster, Kinnis and partners have developed a menu concentrating on great barbeque. In addition to barbeque, they are adding a daily soup, soup and sandwich combo, salads, burgers, delicious desserts and daily specials. The restaurant still has some fan favorites, such as delicious bourbon apples and crowd-pleasing cowboy beans.

Kinnis believes this one-of-a-kind destination will be a wonderful gathering place. A large wood deck sits in front of the brewery, offering plenty of outside seating during nice days.

“I wanted to make The Old Lowell Watering Hole and Bub’s Barbeque not only a great place for people to eat and drink, but also a unique destination with a historical component,” Kinnis said. “Visitors will really enjoy the original features of the building and we hope this will be a great destination for people wanting to experience good food, great beer, and all that the town of Lowell has to offer.”