Category Archives: Breweries

KC Beer Bloggers, UNITE!

Recently, a group of us beer bloggers met up to think of ways to work together and continue to promote the beer scene here in KC. We’ve been informally calling ourself the ‘more perfect bloggers union’, which consists of Alex from Scouting the Taps; Jim from KC Beer Scouts; Jay from KC Beer Blog; and myself (Sarah.)

Luckily, the perfect opportunity to work together for the first time fell in our laps. Roughtail Brewing, from Oklahoma City, hit the market this week in Kansas and sent us some brews to try. Being the beer lovers we are, we sat around for four hours a couple of weeks ago, talked about beer in KC, blogging, and had a little taste test of our own.

Here are my notes from that evening. To check out the others’ tasting notes, click on their respective links in the above paragraph and check them out. Mega thanks to Jim for putting together our flavor waves and for Jay for taking the header photos.

Roughtail Brewing Tasting Notes From KC Beer Guide

Pale Ale: Roughtail-Pale-Ale_flavor-waveWe started off our evening with the Roughtail Pale Ale. We all agreed it felt a little thin-bodied, but it had a nice level of hoppiness. It was high on the sparkle with a golden haze in color. I definitely tasted citrus in it with a bit of a bitter balance. This could be a sessionable ale for a summer day.


Roughtail-IPA_flavor-wave

Roughtail IPA: What the pale may have missed in body, the IPA makes up. Sitting at about the same level of hoppiness, the IPA had more of an alcohol quality to it. It was an evenly balanced beer with the level of happiness one would expect from a west coast-style ale. I got a little citrus in this and a small bit of astringency.


Roughtail-Hoptometrist_flavor-wave

Hoptomotrist: Take the malty hoppiness of the Roughtail IPA and kick it up a notch and you’ll find yourself enjoying a Hoptomotrist Imperial IPA. This even-bodied ale kicks up the malt and alcohol just enough from the IPA to be distinguishable. Definitely not one to drink all night, but every now and then it’s nice to have a kicked up brew to take things to the next level.

 

To learn more about Roughtail Brewing, visit their website and pick up some in Kansas!

2015 Another Growth Year for US Craft Breweries

From the Brewers Association: With multiple breweries opening soon in KC – it’s no wonder we’re seeing national growth at this scale.

2015 growthThe Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent1 American craft brewers, today released 2015 data on U.S. craft brewing2 growth. With more breweries than even before, small and independent craft brewers now represent 12 percent market share of the overall beer industry.

In 2015, craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels, and saw a 13 percent rise in volume3 and a 16 percent increase in retail dollar value.  Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.3 billion, representing 21 percent market share.

“For the past decade, craft brewers have charged into the market, seeing double digit growth for eight of those years,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “There are still a lot of opportunities and areas for additional growth. An important focus will remain on quality as small and independent brewers continue to lead the local, full-flavored beer movement.”

Additionally, in 2015 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 15 percent, totaling 4,269 breweries—the most at any time in American history. Small and independent breweries account for 99 percent of the breweries in operation, broken down as follows: 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 brewpubs and 178 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 620 new brewery openings and only 68 closings. One of the fastest growing regions was the South, where four states—Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas—each saw a net increase of more than 20 breweries, establishing a strong base for future growth in the region.

Combined with already existing and established breweries and brewpubs, craft brewers provided nearly 122,000 jobs, an increase of over 6,000 from the previous year.

“Small and independent brewers are a beacon for beer and our economy,” added Watson. “As breweries continue to open and volume increases, there is a strong need for workers to fill a whole host of positions at these small and growing businesses.”

Note: Numbers are preliminary. The Brewers Association will release the list of Top 50 craft brewing companies and overall brewing companies by volume sales on April 5. Additionally, a more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America® in Philadelphia from May 3-6. The full 2015 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2016 issue of The New Brewer,highlighting regional trends and production by individual breweries.


 

1An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

2Absolute figures reflect the dynamic craft brewer data set as specified by the craft brewer definition. Growth numbers are presented on a comparable base. For full methodology, see the Brewers Association website.

3 Volume by craft brewers represent total taxable production.

Best Kid-Friendly Beer Establishments in Kansas City

You may have noticed that things have been a bit, errr, quiet around KC Beer Guide. There’s a good explanation for that – we have a new little member of our family (ok, she’s 8-months old now) but still – it’s been a crazy year.

I have been working with some other local bloggers in Kansas City and we are brewing up something exciting in the upcoming weeks – so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I’ve been conducting a lot of ‘research’ into places that are kid-friendly to have a beer. There’s been a lot of debate about whether or not it’s ‘ok’ to bring your kids to a brewery. Many places are fine to bring your kid during the day – obviously don’t let them run around and scream their heads off, or overdo it on the libations and you’ll be fine. If you’re out to do some serious craft beering – it’s obviously probably best to leave the kids at home. In my experience, there are a few places that are even better for bringing the kid – some even cater to children, all while serving up a good craft beer.

Here are a few of my favorite kid-friendly craft beer establishments in Kansas City.

KC Bier Company: Stop by KC Bier Company in Waldo on any Saturday with decent weather and you’ll see lots of kids (and dogs) playing in the bier garden. The brewery even has a bar playhouse with faux taps and pitchers where kids can pretend to pour beers. Like anywhere else, though, the kids will create their own fun and you see a lot of them playing with the rocks in the beer garden. While you’re there, drink the popular, yet low-a.b.v. dunkel or any of their constantly rotating seasonals.

Char Bar: Located in Westport in the old Beaumont space (RIP) is Char Bar – an indoor/outdoor BBQ+Beer concept, which opened last year by the good folks who run McCoys, Foundry and Beer Kitchen. As a resident of the Westport area, I’ve noticed more and more families around the district, and places like Char Bar are perfect for taking the kids on a nice afternoon. The bar has a huge outdoor space with traditional yard games like bocce, croquet and corn hole. The beer selection is great with rotating seasonal taps from Odell, Boulevard and Deschutes, among many other options on tap, in bottles and in cans. Like any other place with outdoor space, it gets super crowded, but if your kid is like mine – the people watching can keep them entertained for hours.

There are many other places that are great for bringing the kids along. Which are your favorites?

*Disclaimer: We obviously don’t advocate getting smashed while hanging with the kids, and always have a designated driver if driving is involved.

Guide to Local Thanksgiving Beer Pairings

Thanksgiving is the perfect excuse to try beers from various breweries in the KC area. We at KC Beer Guide have come up with a list of local brews that pair well with traditional Thanksgiving fare. Skip the grocery or liquor store on Wednesday for your libations and grab your growler to fill with one of these local faves.

Turkey: Some of the best brews to pair with turkey include bîere de garde, dubbel, and dunkel. And where better to get some malty, sweet dunkel than KC Bier Company? No matter what style of turkey you serve – whether it be brined, doused in maple syrup, stuffed with bread cubes, or just straight up – dunkel is light enough that it won’t overpower the bird’s flavor, but flavorful enough that it will enhance it.

Stuffing: Nothing goes with stuffing better than sweet potatoes. Ok, that’s a stretch, obviously turkey is the best thing to pair with stuffing, but we think that Pennywise Sweet Tater Ale from Big Rip Brewing Company would be a great pick to balance out savory elements of stuffing. If you’re rolling through the northland, you may as well stop by Cinder Block Brewing and pick up some Prime Pale Ale to bring out the herbal flavor of the stuffing.

Pumpkin Pie: Pumpkin pie is a staple at almost any Thanksgiving feast. Oftentimes people serve coffee with dessert – but we think Torn Label Brewing’s House Brew – a coffee wheat – is better than just plain coffee. It combines a robust coffee flavor without being too thick to outshine pumpkin pie. It would also combine well with brunch on Thursday morning with leftover turkey enchiladas or eggs Benedict.

Apple Pie: When it comes to dessert, a robust, complex porter is a no-fail option that pairs well with almost anything. When combined with apple pie, it’ll really balance out the sweetness of the apples while bringing out the spicy cinnamon flavors. Border Brewing Company’s Campfire Porter gets our pick for best option for pairing with apple pie.

What do you think? What local brews will you be grateful for this holiday season?

Brewers Association releases 2014 Year in Review

As the year draws to a close, the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers—looked back on how craft brewers fared in 2014. Here are some notable finding from their report:

  • U.S. brewery count returns to historic levels. In November, the United States passed the mark of 3,200 brewers in the country and the number of brewery licenses reached the highest ever, topping 4,500 in the first sixth months of the year. Thirteen states (CA, CO, WA, OR, MI, NY, PA, TX, FL, WI, IL, NC, OH) now have more than 100 breweries each.
  • Breweries are opening at a rate of 1.5 per day. In addition, there are more than 2,000 breweries in planning.
  • Craft brewers were the growth point in the overall beer industry. Through June of 2014, craft brewers enjoyed 18 percent growth by volume. Numerous data channels are showing continuing double-digit growth for craft in the second half of the year.
  • India Pale Ales (IPAs) remained the most favored craft beer style. According to retail scan data, IPA is up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales, accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales. Additionally, the style was the number one entered category at the Great American Beer Festival®.
  • Variety packs had a strong year with craft beer lovers.Retail data also indicates that variety packs are up 21 percent by volume and 24 percent by dollar sales, equating to nine percent volume share of craft and seven percent dollar share.
  • Craft beer appreciators are becoming as diverse as craft beer itself. Data indicates that 38 percent of households bought a craft beer in the last year versus 29 percent in 2010. Additionally, women consume almost 32 percent of craft beer volume, almost half of which comes from women ages 21-34. Hispanic populations are demonstrating increased craft engagement as well.

Learn more here.

The ultimate Kansas City holiday guide for beer lovers

Screw Black Friday and its big-box chain stores. Give your loved ones what they really want this holiday season – the gift of Kansas City beer. Here are some items from local businesses you should check out, as well as some events to stay festive throughout the next month or so.

Beer KC: The Foundry and Beer Kitchen will be open Thanksgiving night at 6 p.m.
Stop by for 1/2-price fall seasonal beers and happy hour food specials all night.


Beer Paws: You know you do it… you know, buy holiday gifts for your pets. It’s ok, we do it too. Check out Beer Paws for some yummy spent grain dog treats, dog beer and custom beer collars! Plus if you use code “KCBeer” you’ll receive 10 percent off your order.


Big Rip LogoBig Rip Brewing: Big Rip will be open on Thanksgiving day, and Christmas even from 9 – noon so you can pick up a fresh growler for your holiday festivities. Also, they tapped their annual Pennywise Sweet Potato Ale today, and will be tapping the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale sometime before Christmas. The ORC will also be available in bottles, so pick some up as gifts for the fam.


Boulevard Dry Goods Store: With two locations – one at the brewery and one in the Plaza, the Boulevard Dry Goods Store is your one-stop shop for holiday shopping. You can buy anything from Boulevard apparel and glassware, to food items and locally-made beer soap. If you don’t want to deal with crowds, you can visit the website and buy online. If you want to trek out into the cold and do a little shopping, visit the Plaza location – at 4740 Pennsylvania – on a Thursday from 5 – 7 p.m. for Thirsty Thursdays and have a little ‘power shopping juice’ while perusing the collection.


CinderBlock Logo

Cinder Block Brewery: On November 26, check out the  Day before Thanksgiving growler refill special.  Cinder Block will be filling growlers with any of their beers for $10 all day. Starting December 1st until December 23rd:  Holiday packages hit the brewery. If you buy a Growler and a T-shirt you get a free Cinder Block glass. If you buy a gift card and a growler you get a free Cinder Block glass plus a free beer. If you buy a growler, t-shirt and a gift card you will get a two free Cinder Block glasses and two free beers. Score!


Crane Brewing (Just Added!): Ring in the new year with one of Kansas City’s newest breweries at Hangar 9 NYE party at the downtown airport. You can try some of Crane’s delicious Belgian-style ales and take flight over KC to see the Plaza lights. Check out this event here.

 


Home-brew Shops: For the home brewer in your life, there are many home-brew shops around town you could pick up a gift card from. Grain to Glass, LLC in North KC; Brew Lab in Downtown Overland Park; Bacchus and Barleycorn in Shawnee; Apex Brew Wares in Independence; or Grains and Taps in Lee’s Summit, which is holding a Black Friday event.


KC Ale Trail logo final social_outline_hops

KC Ale Trail: If you or someone you know enjoys craft beer, local breweries, and the growth of craft brewing in KC, then KC Ale Trail is for you. Pete Dulin’s new book is your go-to guide on all things craft beer in KC. Read profiles of local breweries, meet the minds behind the madness, and more. Visit his website here to buy the book.


KC Bier Company: Look for the Winter Bock winter seasonal November 25. St. Nikolaus day is a December 6th each year and KC Bier Company is bringing this tradition to KC. Children in Germany put their “Nikolaus Stiefel” (or Nicholas boot) outside their front doors that night. If the kids were good that year, St. Nikolaus would leave them gifts and sweets in their Nikolaus Boot. Instead of rewarding good kids with candy in their boots, KC Bier Company is rewarding good adults with Bier in Boots!  They’ll be pouring liters of Bier in Boots all weekend long (also known as Das Boots). They’ll also have a toy drive that weekend to benefit the Shadow Buddies Foundation. For every toy you bring in you’ll get $1 off each bier, so if you bring in three toys, you can get $1 off three biers. They’ll also have live Bavarian music from 3 to 5 p.m. each day as well as a Santa from 1 to 3 p.m. each day. Bring your friends, family and children to the brewery and enjoy a day of family fun, German fare and German Bier.

 

Have any ideas to add? Let us know in the comments!

KC Ale Trail available for preorder now

Local author Pete Dulin has painstakingly taken on the rough job of visiting more than 20 established and emerging craft breweries over the last year talking with brewers, trying out their product and taking detailed notes. His final product “KC Ale Trail” is now available for pre-order.

KC Ale Trail front cover finalThe book features brewery profiles in Kansas City, Springfield, Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan, and other cities around the KC metro and beyond. It features profiles and photos about breweries, their founders, and their brewers, and how they are distinguishing themselves from others in the area. This year seemed like the perfect year for the book with Boulevard Brewing and Free State Brewing Companies’ 25-year anniversaries.

“Craft brewing has gained momentum in the region as companies like Boulevard Brewing and Tallgrass Brewing expand operations and distribution,” says Dulin. “At the same time, a new wave of startup breweries like Torn Label and Border Brewing will open before year-end. Others like Crane and Red Crow are developing plans to launch in 2015… Cinder Block Brewery and Martin City Brewing are off to a solid start. It’s the right time to document this rapid, exciting growth.”

Dulin has written for many publications around the metro including Kansas City Star and Feast Magazine. He has also wrote “Last Bite” a recipe book on local chefs, cooks and James Beard Foundation award winners.

The 144-page, full color book also includes a map of the ‘Ale Trail’ and features interviews with Celina Tio (owner/chef at The Belfry), John Couture (owner at Bier Station), and Payton Kelly (Creative Director at Boulevard), among others. As Kansas City’s craft beer scene continues to grow, and as the city in general gains recognition around the web as the coolest city in the U.S., the time is right for Dulin’s book release.

You can pre-order the book just in time for the holidays here for $20. Place your order by November 17 and get free shipping.

Hop-Heads Special Alert: One-off keg at KC Bier Company next week!

KC Bier Company is releasing a small batch bier on Wednesday, October 15th. This bier is called “SGH Hopfen Sack” or “Sean Grown Hops Hopfen Sack”. This small batch (one keg) is made from draining all of the beer out of the 60 pounds of hops we put in hop sacks used to dry hop our Hopfen Doof.KC Bier Co Hops

As if this bier wasn’t going to be hoppy enough, Sean Hill, a friend of their brewer Karlton, grows hops at his house. The morning he was draining all of the bier from the dry hop sacks, he went over to Sean’s house and picked a “metric ton” of fresh off-the-vine Centennial and Cascade hops and “wet hopped” the bier as well.

This bier would have already been intense, but with all of these hop additions it is an intense bomb of, citrus, floral, piney, grassy amazingness. For the hop-heads out there – this bier is truly going to make you happy.

Stop by the brewery in Waldo next Wednesday, October 15th at 6:00 p.m. to try it out for yourself.

« Older Entries