If Rebel Kettle feels like years in the making, it is because it is. The brewery has been in the works for over three years and founder John Lee has been brewing for twenty.
During that time the entire brew scene changed in Little Rock. A flood of new breweries have opened here with many more still in the works. Through it all Lee held on to an idea to make an amazing brewery.
“I had a vision of what I wanted, which was not nearly as nice as what we ended up with,” Lee tells us. “Thankfully with great partners we were able to grow the vision while still hanging on to the original idea of being the best place to come drink beer possible.”
Rebel Kettle certain nailed that vision. The brew pub is located at the edge of the old warehouse district that is being renamed “East Village” (because Little Rock can’t come up with an original name), inside a renovated building. The renovations, along with the regulations regarding the Presidential Overlay district, set the opening back to the point where they just stopped guessing on an opening date. Thankfully the brewery should be open any day now, needing just a final approval from the city.
Walking in you will immediately notice the openness that the added windows bring into the place. The brick wall is a fantastic throwback to the warehouse days of the building along with the beautiful ceilings. Turn a little and you will see art painted on the wall outlining the brewing process.
The bar and full kitchen round off the interior. The kitchen brings Pat Beaird, who previously was at The Southern Gourmasian, into the kitchen. The menu is cajun inspired and certainly one of the best one or two brewpub menus in town. A variety of sandwiches, burgers, and wings dominate the menu. We have our eye on an opening day muffaletta burger. Overall it is a great menu that complements the beer.
Speaking of the beer, if you missed our beer preview a couple of weeks ago, know that the beer is very good. We have heard other brewers at beer aficionados in town sing the Rebel Kettle praises for a while now, and after a few too many first drinks I can assure you they may have even undersold the quality. It is fantastic.
Chances are, you will not see much of the inside of the building. It is one of the best looking brew pubs in town, and at the same time will be the most overlooked. All this is because they have built out one of the best patio areas in Little Rock.
Large garage doors by the bar open up to a spacious wooden deck. From there you can see the Clinton Center, Heifer, and much of the soon to be developed area. Down from the deck is a section still awaiting final approval to open up, but once (if?) that happens there will be picnic tables, and some space for outdoor games. Between the atmosphere, the food, and the great beer it dramatically raises the bar for outdoor restaurant space in the city.
It raises the profile of the area, making everything feel more connected. Lost Forty Brewing is just a block over and Stone’s Throw, Damgoode, and Blue Canoe are just a few walkable blocks away. It will be amazing to see how they all collaborate in the future, and it ties together what should become a strong brewing district for the city. The river trolley is also incredibly close, linking Flyway, Diamond Bear, Core, and other future breweries on the north side of the river. With any luck by connecting the growing number of breweries and bars in proximity of the multi-million dollar system, someone will use it.
Rebel Kettle is going to be a gem in the Little Rock area. It feels like with each brewery opening the spaces get a little better and they all have a way of complementing each other and the overall dining and beverage scene. It is a great time to be in Little Rock.
Rebel Kettle Brewing
822 E 6th Street Little Rock