As with many great ideas, it started with a simple suggestion. On a fateful late summer day in 2013, Shelley Pippin suggested to her husband, John, why not make donuts with beer.
The next day, the pair bought a deep fryer at Target and started experimenting and thus, Brewnuts was born. Now Brewnuts has its own storefront in Cleveland, a hip bakery-meets-bar which serves up all Ohio-brewed beers and donuts, all with beer incorporated in some way.
“We saw the big foodie movement in Cleveland and the brewery scene has been booming, and we both love donuts and beer,” John Pippin said. “It was months and months of research.”
(There are worse things one could have to research, if you ask us.)
Neither one of them had a baking background, but through their practice, they’ve managed to formulate incredible donuts with beer incorporated in the batter, fillings, glazes, or toppings. Each week they release 10 to 12 flavors, but there are three always on the menu: classic glazed, strawberry with sprinkles, and maple bacon.
Featured flavors include maple walnut cream-filled, white chocolate ginger orange pistachio crumble, cocoa pebbles, vanilla cookie crumble, and bacon butterscotch praline. (Take a peek at the Instagram for some oh-so-mouth watering shots.)
John Pippin said the beer actually cuts down the sugar content of the donuts and they do their best to use the flavors of the season. For example, fall is perhaps the peak donut and beer season in terms of consumption and flavor possibilities.
The Brewnuts storefront opened about a year ago and has 16 taps. Prior to the bar, they ran a small storefront out of a different Cleveland neighborhood but were limited without an onsite kitchen. Plus, they’ve always wanted the full bar. Now, they will run through up to 1,300 donuts on a Saturday and fill those 16 taps with Ohio beers — which also help dictate the new flavors of donuts.
“They basically come out with a beer and we say, ‘Hell yea let’s try to use that,’ or we come up with a flavor and find a beer that mimics or complements,” he said.
It’s not always beer in the donuts, though. In the past they’ve incorporated some of our other favorite things in life — rum or tequila — into piña colada and margarita donuts.
The Pippins believe they have a unique concept, if only because the beer makes its way through every point of the business — they know there are other donut shops serving up beer. It also helps the donuts are also incredible, much like those in San Diego.
With so many cities across the U.S. having excellent beer scenes, it’s little spinoffs like Brewnuts that help diversify and add intrigue. It’s with that thought the Pippins are looking to branch out.
“Absolutely, we’re chomping at the bit to see what’s next,” John Pippin said. “There’s more to Brewnuts than just a Cleveland location and we’ve seen nationwide interest from our followers and people contacting us. You never where you might end up and we’re just sticking our toes in, but beer towns … it just seems to fit perfectly.”