Tuesday, July 15

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Coming to Town

If you haven't yet heard of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America release, you're about to have your mind blow. Sierra Nevada did a collaboration with 12 other US breweries and made a mixed 12-pack out of the results. The list of breweries they teamed up with is nothing short of amazing and the brews sound fantastic. (Of course, how could you expect anything less from those that invented American Pale Ale?) Here are the beers included in the case:

3 Floyds - Chico King - Pale Ale
Allagash - Myron's Walk - Belgian Style Pale Ale
Asheville Brewers Alliance - Tater Ridge - Scottish Ale w/ Sweet Potatoes
Ballast Point - Electric Ray - India Pale Lager
Cigar City - Yonder Bock - Tropical Maibock
Bell's - Maillard's Odyssey - Imperial Dark Ale
Firestone Walker - Torpedo Pilsner - Hoppy Pilsner
New Glarus - There and Back - English-Style Bitter
Ninkasi - Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout
Oskar Blues - CANfusion - Rye Bock
Russian River - Yvan the Great - Belgian Blonde
Victory Brewing - Alt Route - Altbier

The 12-packs hit the shelves in KS yesterday but are super limited. I'm unclear about what's happening on the Missouri side so far. I believe the cases were supposed to be delivered yesterday as well, but I haven't heard anything about them actually being out yet. (See the update below.)

However, you can guarantee yourself a taste tomorrow at Barley's on Midland! They're rolling out all the beers in 3 flights through the night. Flying Saucer will also be hosting an event next Monday, July 21st with all 12 of the beers on tap.

If we hear anything else about the 12-packs in retail on the MO side, we'll let you know! Happy beer hunting!

UPDATE: North KC Beverage has confirmed that the 12-packs will be hitting liquor store shelves starting Wednesday on the Missouri side. It sounds like all the cases shipped out in KS are already gone. Good luck!

Monday, July 14

On A Stick!

Recommended Daily is putting together an awesome event in August where all food samples come, obviously, on a stick. While the food line up is serious on it's own, with some of my favorites like Preservation Market and Little Freshie, they're also making a huge showing in the beverage front. Both Cinder Block and Crane Brewing will be on hand to pour some nice summer beers. If you haven't tried any Crane beers yet, you should correct that, and you should probably have a corn dog at the same time.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased - here. You can find more details over on the Recommended Daily blog or on the facebook event page - here.

Friday, July 11

Family Friendly Drinking

(Image: Brookside Mothers' Assoc.)
I just stumbled across a nice blog post by Sara Murray on the Brookside Mothers' Association blog about going out to beer joints with the family. Seeing how everyone I know seems to be popping out kids these days, it's a very relevant topic. Sara went out with her husband and two kiddos to Bier Station, KC Bier Co, and 75th Street Brewery. 

Their conclusion after a day of tippling? All the spots were very welcoming and accommodating to the little ones. I know this is pretty shocking to all of the neo-prohibitionists out there. As it turns out, bars (and in particular craft beer bars) are not pits of sin that we must shelter our children from. I'm really happy that they had a good time and found welcoming neighborhood bars in the scene, especially as people not already enamored by the craft beer world. It's a trend that I've definitely been noticing more and more these days and hope continues.

I've always ascribed to German drinking culture and really love the concept of the biergarten. In Germany biergartens are basically privately owned parks where families and friends can gather for a quiet Sunday afternoon while enjoying some beer. Nearly every time I've visited a biergarten in Germany there have been kids running around with their parents and grandparents looking on over a Maß of beer. It's even customary to allow the patrons to bring their own picnic to eat as long as they buy a beer from the biergarten. You can make it a real family outing, even with toddlers in tow. I'm thrilled that KC Bier Co followed the German model and set up a real German biergarten for KC.

We could take a lesson from the Germans. Their culture of open and moderate drinking leads to healthier and more responsible drinking habits for everyone. The kids don't grow up thinking that binge drinking in secret is the only way to consume alcohol. Not surprisingly, Germans drink 36% more alcohol than Americans per capita, but have an 18% lower rate of alcoholism.

The Biergarten at KC Bier Co

Wednesday, July 9

Pretty Good for a Lager

It seems that many breweries bring out their lagers for their summer seasonal, which makes sense, seeing that they are usually clean and refreshing as well as typically being lower in the ABV than their average ale counterpart. This increase in number of available lagers usually leaks it's way into craft beer drinking households, and often into the fridges of people that don't particularly appreciate them. Leading then into a flood of social media drinking that has well thought out criticisms such as "pretty good for a lager" and "this is okay."

I will say this, if you would have asked me about lagers a couple years ago - I would have told you that they're boring and I don't care for them. The word "pilsner" just made me think of the macro guys, and how much I didn't care for their beer. I was certainly a contributor to the stigma, and for that, I am sorry. I was uninformed and unfamiliar.  But, I've come around recently. And if you're a lager-hater, I hope we can get you to come around too.

Lagers are much more difficult to brew when you compare them to an ale, so you can really tell the chops of a brewery via the quality of their lagers. And not only that, but their dang tasty. I'm at the point now, in the middle of summer I would much prefer sitting outside drinking a lager than crushing a mouth bruising IPA. Both have their place, but for those lake days and tailgates - I want a lager.

With that in mind, I've put together a list of some of my favorite lagers you can pick up on KC shelves right now. Maybe you'll considering picking a few up to enjoy the next day you're drinking in 90+ degree heat. This list is by no means exhaustive, this is just what I find myself drinking in the summer. Let us know in the comments what lagers you find yourself drinking lately.

Boulevard - KC Pils

We'll go ahead and get this one on the list, since we all know it. I've commonly heard the complaint of "it's not hoppy enough" - but I disagree - I think it's a well balance beer that lets the bitterness of the floral hops shine along the sweet grain tones in the glass.

Sierra Nevada - Summerfest

This beer right here. It's a favorite of mine. If I need to go to a party and bring beer with me for everyone, this Czech Pilsner is an easy pick. Everyone always likes the smooth profile with the spicy hop flavoring coming from the Saaz hops it finishes with. I will make one note here though - I've had bad Summerfest's - and it's always been because of sitting too long on the shelf and light damage. While any beer is prone to this, Summerfest seems more sensitive. I'd recommend if you grab this beer, try to find cans of it in your store's cooler.

Firestone Walker - Pivo Hoppy Pils

If you're one of those people who finds themselves in the KC Pils isn't hoppy enough crowd, here's your beer. I love this beer as well. It's has a biscuity malt character that is super clean, and the nose from the Saphir hops blends floral and citrus flavors together that's backed by a nice hop bitterness.

KC Bier Co - Helles

I'm cheating a bit here by putting this on the list, because you can't get KC Bier Co on shelves yet. But you can stop by the brewery and grab a growler of this Helles. It has a fantastic medium body that remains easy to drink by being well balanced with noble hops. I'm a big fan of having fresh lagers available in our town.

Pilsner Urquell

This is a classic right here, something I think every "craft beer drinker" needs to have tried it even though it is a SABMiller product. Pilsner Urquell very well might have been the beer that brought me around to lagers. I had it in Prague last year, where it was freshly off a cask that had been delivered from the brewery the same day to the restaurant where we were eating. It was being served unfiltered and unpasteurized, unlike it's imported version. It was dreamy. Again, this a beer that needs a disclaimer - I hate that they ship it in green glass, as it is highly prone to skunking, so be careful about where you buy this beer.

Schlafly - Summer Lager

Another great Helles - cereal malt tones with lemon and grassy hop notes. This is a part of Schlafly can series, and as you've discovered, I'm a big fan of that. This one is another that is super easy to pick up and take to a party - everyone seems to enjoy this easy drinker.

Ayinger - Jahrhundert

I'm an Ayinger man. Everything they touch is gold. Their weizenbock was one of the first beers that knocked me off my feet, and their Marzen is one of my favorites - so it's easy to assume that I'll be drinking something from them in the summer time. And so, another style makes it to the list - the Dortmunder. I've always like them as they stand out with a character  that is a little more "extreme" than the rest. It's dry and balanced with nice medium body that carries a honey quality.

Urban Chestnut - Zwickel

There aren't enough Zwickel/Kellerbiers in this world - so I was thrilled when I found that Urban Chestnut makes one. I know for a while you could get UC beers at Bier Station, but soon I suspect they will make their way around the rest of the KC market. If you haven't had their Zwickel, keep an eye out for it. It's an unpasteurized and unfiltered full bodied masterpiece. 

Tuesday, July 1

State of The Blog

As you can tell, things are changing here at KC Beer Blog. With new writers, comes new initiatives, and one of mine was to give this blog a face lift. We're going to try to do a full redesign later this year and move over the Wordpress platform. But for a quick fix we can do now, the blog should be much more readable and a little more sexy. (Thanks to my dear friend Ariel for doing us the kindness of designing a new logo. You can find her at @arielsinhaha.)

On the topic of new writers, please welcome Dan Ryan to the team! He used to help write posts over at the now defunct Feed Me KC blog. We just thought he was so great that we brought him over here. Look for his first post sometime soon!

We've always had a Facebook page, but we finally joined everyone in 2006 and signed ourselves up for a twitter. You can find us sharing Kansas City beer news, our posts, and general debauchery over at @KC_BeerBlog.

A few other projects we're currently working on includes reworking the KC Beer Guide, building out a listing of Kansas City beer communities, and killing off kegs at local establishments. In the meantime, we'll be sure to write some interesting posts. If you have any feedback on the current design, or are interested in helping us even further feel free to reach out.

You'll also notice that we've updated our commenting system. With Disqus now in place, you can login via your facebook or twitter account to comment on posts with very little annoyance. You should also be able to respond directly to the shared posts on those social media platforms to add your input. Let us know what you think.

Monday, June 23

2014 KC Nanobrew Festival

The KC Nanobrew Festival is this weekend and is OFFICIALLY SOLD OUT! After a month of beer festivals around town its time to celebrate all things homebrew. For those smart enough to get a ticket you will get to enjoy 110 unique beers out of a 16oz glass with food provided for Rock and Run Brewery and Pub. The festival has an even larger space this year so plenty of room to move around and socialize which makes for a fun and enjoyable event.

This year the festival will take place near the Liberty Square and across the street from Rock and Run Brewery and Pub. For those coming across the river. There is an official bus service to this years festival. A few seats remain for this service. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/726548

Official Beer List

Click through for my recommendations:

Saturday, June 21

Beer Travel: Asheville Beer Week

There’s a theme that runs through beer culture where people who are adventurous, expressive and open to new experiences tend to come together in support of a creative community. These are the quirky cities we love to visit where good food/drink, funky art and home-grown music are abundant and accessible. It also doesn’t hurt if the city has a multitude of outdoor activities to make you feel like you earned that new bottle you found in the local beer store. Cities like Austin, San Diego and Portland experience a fair amount of beer tourism as new breweries open and established ones relocate which continuously expands the local beer scene.  Such is the case with Asheville, NC, pop 85k. Here's a run down of Asheville Beer Week.

The Asheville breweries and craft beer bars had nearly 60 events during their craft beer week where you could partake in beer dinners, special releases, and beer festivals. One of the festivals to note is the ‘Beer City Festival’ held in downtown Asheville at Pack Square Park with 30 craft breweries mostly from the mountains. There’s pretty much a beer festival almost every day of the entire week. With tickets ranging from $15-$80 each, your liver may not be the only thing crying! But you can bypass the festivals and drink at the tasting rooms instead. Additional fun activities included Asheville Brewing Co. releasing a series of single hop beers and challenging customers to guess the hops, Oskar Blues held a ‘Can Film Festival’ of locally produced short films and there were various tournaments of games you could play with one hand as the other was occupied with a beer.

If you don’t want to wait a whole year to make it to their beer week, here’s a run-down of the Asheville breweries you can visit:
  • Altamont Brewing (located in West Asheville, known for games and has a music venue)
  • Asheville Brewing Co. (opened in 1998, located in the brewery district, has a movie theatre/bar);
  • Blue Mountain Pizza and Brew Pub (small brewery, has a music venue);
  • Burial Beer (in the brewing district near Green Man);
  • French Broad Brewing (named after the French Broad River, has a music venue);
  • Green Man Brewing (the second Asheville brewery to open, located in the brewery district);
  • Highland Brewing (Scottish themed, first Asheville brewery which opened in 1994);
  • Hi-wire Brewing (Circus themed; located in the brewery district);
  • Lexington Avenue Brewery (aka: LAB, large restaurant and music venue);
  • Lookout Brewing (Tasting room, homebrew supplies);
  • Oysterhouse Brewing (located in West Asheville, famous for their oyster stout);
  • Pisgah Brewing (tasting room, music venue);
  • Thirsty Monk  (the downtown location opened in 2008, three more locations in the city);
  • Twin Leaf Brewery (located downtown, 10 barrel system);
  • Wedge Brewing (in the River Arts District - most of their beer is only sold at the brewery);
  • Wicked Weed (located downtown, popular by locals, restaurant, basement tasting room).

On deck: Sierra Nevada was slated to open Spring of 2014 and is a 20 minute drive from downtown Asheville. New Belgium is scheduled to open in the River Arts District in 2015 and they haven’t broke ground as of our visit.

You can’t talk about Asheville without pointing out that it’s on the edge of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park which is worth the hour drive to the West to experience the park. If you’re outdoorsy, you’ll be in heaven.  If you’re not, the drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway is gorgeous! While we’re on the topic of excursions, I also hear there’s this snazzy house in Asheville that you can tour called ‘Biltmore Estate’.  At $60 a pop and five hours on average to tour, we decided we would rather use our time drinking. Cheers!