Wednesday, January 28

2015 Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition

Back in 2012 I wrote about the first Kansas Craft Beer Exposition (referred to as KCBE for the remainder of this article) for The Roaming Pint blog. At that time I was writing for the print magazine Tastebud, which was awesome, except that time was at a premium. Articles needed to be written a month and change ahead of time and I lacked that flexibility to knock out an article two days before an event, like this, goes on sale. Since this event is sure to sell out quickly, this is a timely article.


Pretty much nothing has changed since that article was written, this is still one of the best festivals in the Lawrence/KC area. First of all, it is located in downtown Lawrence. If you want to eat prior to the festival, which is something I would recommend for every single festival, your options are varied. Being that it takes place in March, Free State  will have their Mustard Madness in full effect. In years past, they would drive a van to Madison, WI to purchase a lot of mustard from the Mt. Horeb Mustard Museum, now the National Mustard Museum, in Middleton, WI. These days, the van might still be making the trip, but the executive chef and lead brewpub brewer might be sitting it out. Either way, there is going to be more great mustard than you could possibly eat with your pretzel and sausage. If you have to venture a little further to Quinton's, 715, or Rudy's, you are still doing pretty well.


The Venue, Abe and Jakes, is pretty cool. I used to go to concerts at it back in the day. The is no chance that Leftover Salmon or the metal frog will be making an appearance, but that is probably for the best. Few can handle this fellow after a few craft beers. Plus, that big ass frog is easy to trip over.


 I've gone to such length to describe the peripheries of the festival without truly describing the actual festival. I will remedy that now. It is great. I'm a Kansas boy and I really enjoyed meeting the new brewers from Salina (Blue Skye), Emporia (Radius), El Dorado (Walnut River) and Hutch (Defiance) in years past. Although there are a lot of established Kansas breweries represented, such as Free State, 23rd St, Tallgrass, Little Apple, LB, Crazy Eye, Wichita Brewing, High Noon and River City. Pretty much all of the KC. Mo and StL breweries are there (23rd St. Kirkwood Station, Schlafly, Cinder Block, Weston). There are several breweries from farther out, such as New Belgium. Sierra Nevada, Boston Beer Co, Oskar Blues, Green Flash,  O'Dell, Deschutes and Evil Twin.


One of the best parts of the festival is the cheese and crackers station provided by HyVee, free of charge. The pairings are great, but having a little free food is also a positive. In the last couple of years the KCBE has split into a couple of sessions, a noon to 3pm and a 4:30 to 7:30. get your tickets at http://kscraftbrewfest.com/tickets/ on Jan. 29th. I'll see you there!

Monday, January 26

Short Pours - 1/26/14

Now that the post-holiday hangover recovery and gym-membership purchasing period has run out, the beer events and new releases are all ramping back up again. We've got a super busy couple of weeks ahead of us! All these events and announcements, plus the release of (dare I even mention the name??) Chocolate Ale... Wanted to get all this info out ahead of our coverage of the beast of a release next week.

Boulevard in Cans!


John McDonald hinted at a possible canning line at the end of last year, and Boulevard has made it official! They're going to be introducing four of their beers in cans in 2015. The initial canned beers will be Wheat, Pop-Up IPA, Ginger Lemon Radler, and the new Heavy Lifting IPA (based on the Tasting Room Series Mid-Coast IPA).

Boulevard will start canning in 2015. 
I've been a proponent of craft beer in cans for a while now. I really think that cans are superior in pretty much every way to bottles from beer quality and convenience to environmental impact. So I was super excited to hear that Boulevard is finally jumping into the canned beer market. These four beers just officially became my beers-of-summer. Now if we could just get them to package Tank 7 in cans...


Westport Ale House JRDF Benefit - Tonight - 6p


Westport Ale House is having a rare beer tapping and raffle to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They're going to have some great beers on tap, including Avery Tweak, New Belgium La Folie, Prairie Bomb!, Stone Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard, Deschutes Abyss and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Yea, that's right, BCS! They're also going to be raffling off four bottles of Crown Town. Raffle tickets will be $1 each, and all of the proceeds will benefit the JRDF. This is probably the best possible use of Crown Town. Bravo.

The tappings start at 6p, and the drawing for the Crown Town will be at 8p. There isn't a cover charge for the event, but donations are welcome.

Win Crown Town bottles for a cause!


4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout Cans and Foundry Special - Feb. 2 - Feb. 8



Yummmmmm.
4 Hands began their canning operations a couple months ago and they're bringing yet another canned beer into the KC market. Probably my favorite chocolate beer on the planet, the 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout canned 6-packs should be on the shelves now. This is awesome news for me, since trying to drink a 22oz. bottle of anything with a little baby is kind of a non-starter these days. Then again, a bomber of Chocolate Milk Stout at 3am while trying to get little Rose to sleep is mighty tempting sometimes.

On a related note, the Foundry is having a special all next week from Feb 2 - Feb 8 with 4 Hands. It's their "A pint of Sky and a shot of Rye" event. You can get a pint of 4 Hands Divided Sky Rye and a shot of Old Overholt Whiskey for $6.


Green Room 3rd Anniversary Party - Tuesday, Feb. 3


Green Room is 3 years old!
The folks at Green Room Burgers & Beer are celebrating their 3rd anniversary with some special beers for us! They're tapping a special Mole Civic Duty Stout cask with cocoa, red fresnos, chipotle powder, cinnamon, and vanilla. They're also going to have Bell's Hopslam and Avery Mephistopheles on tap. Yea, that's right, Hopslam! 

It's hard to believe that when Green Room opened, it had been 8 years since the last local brewery opened their doors. Now since then, we've had 6 more breweries open and have 5 more in planning! What a difference a couple of years can make. 

Also next week at Green Room, the brewers from the Burr Oak Brewery out of Colombia, MO will be in town to meet folks and answer questions. They'll be up on Thursday, Feb 5 from 5p on. They're bringing along their DeVine IPA, Trail Bender Wheat, and for the first time in KC, their Black Kolsch.



Barley's Brewhaus Bourbon Co. Tapping - Wednesday, Feb. 4 - 4:30p


Barley's is putting on another awesome rare beer tapping next week at their Shawnee location on Midland Dr! They're going to have the super rare Bourbon County Brand Barleywine and Vanilla Rye. Yea, that's right, BCBW and BCVR! Only a tiny amount of these beers made it to the Metro this year for us mere mortals. Barley's must have pulled some serious strings to get these kegs. They're also going to have 312 Wheat, Goose Island IPA, and the Muddy Imperial Stout.









75th Street Big Chill - Saturday, Feb. 7 - 1p-5p


The annual chili and strong beer tasting is going on again at 75th Street Brewery this year to benefit the Love Fund for Children.  They're going to have house beers and beers from Big Rip, Cinder Block, Crane Brewing Company, Boulevard, KC Bier Co, Rock & Run, Gordon Biersch and 23rd Street Brewery. You'll also get to eat excellent chili the whole time. What can be better?

The event is being held outside in 75th Street's biergarten, so dress accordingly! The tickets are $35 (or $30 for mug club members), and you can reserve them at the bar or by calling 816-523-4677.




New Local Beers


Just a quick round-up on the local breweries out with new beer! KC Bier Co recently released their Doppel Alt and are planning an upcoming Maibock release. The Doppel Alt is a strong hoppy German ale (sometimes referred to a Sticke Alt--basically because of Uerige Sticke Alt) at 6.3% ABV and 55 IBU. The Maibock is going to be 6.3% ABV, but will have a much maltier profile than the Doppel Alt.

In North KC town, Big Rip just tapped their Franklin Road Imperial Coffee Porter, and have laid half of it down in pinot noir barrels for 6 months of aging. Pretty sure that's going to be amazing. Just up the street, Cinder Block has just finished a new pilot batch for their next Hop Maven release. You can go up on Wednesday night this week to get a sample and tell the brewers what you think on their Pilot Night.

Big Rip's Franklin Road Imperial Coffee Porter
going down for the long sleep. 

Prairie Artisan Ales Coming to Kansas

Awesome news for Kansas drinkers--Prairie Artisan Ales is coming to the Kansas side of the state line! LDF Beverage out of Wichita has announced that they're going to be bringing Prairie to Kansas statewide. Prairie is currently distributed in MO by Shelton Brothers. The beers will start hitting the shelves tomorrow in our area.

If you haven't heard of Prairie before, they're one of the best breweries in the Midwest but have a limited brewing capacity and are relatively difficult to get your hands on. They opened up in 2012, originally brewing as a sort of gypsy brewery using extra capacity at the Choc Brewery brewhouse in Krebs, OK. They only opened up their own brewhouse in mid-2013 in Tulsa (with funds from a rare successful Kickstarter campaign, no less).

Considering their short history, they've gotten quite a following. You don't get a 4+ overall brewery rating on Untappd with 175k ratings for nothing. They've got some excellent session beers alongside great sipping beers. They're only bringing 5 of their almost 30 regular beers to Kansas for now, but they've a little bit of everything. If you can, definitely try to get a hold of their imperial stout, Bomb!, and Funky Gold Amarillo, which is a dry hopped wild ale.

They're having a kick-off party at Barley's Midland two weeks from today, Feb 9, where you can try their beers. At the party they'll have a couple 1/6th barrels each of Bomb!, Funky Gold Amarillo, Birra, and Standard Ale on tap. They're also planning a kick-off party in Lawrence, but the time and date is yet to be determined for that one. We'll post more details about the events as they come up.

Here's a rundown of the beers they're bringing to KS:

Bomb!

Untappd Rating: 4.38
ABV: 13%
IBU: 65
Approx. Price: $6/12 oz. single
From Prairie: Bomb! is an imperial stout aged on Nordaggio's espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans, and ancho chile peppers. All the flavors meld to create a truly unique beer. The peppers add just the right amount of heat to compliment the intense coffee and chocolate flavors.


Funky Gold Amarillo

Untappd Rating: 3.94
ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 18
Approx. Price: $8/500 ml single
From Prairie: Funky Gold Amarillo is the second beer in our dry-hopped sour ale series. We took our sour golden ale, Gold, and gave it a heavy dosing of Amarillo hops. The result is a beer that is a mix of topical fruit and Prairie funk. Notes of peach, orange, white wine, and citrusy brett can be found in the flavor and aroma.


Prairie Ale

Untappd Rating: 3.80
ABV: 8.2%
IBU: 25
Approx. Price: $7/500 ml single
From Prairie: Prairie Ale is our classic saison. We brew this beer with pilsner malt, wheat malt, flaked wheat, and cane sugar. A healthy dose of saaz hops are used to add a spicy element to the beer. Prairie Ale is fermented with a mix of ale yeast, wine yeast, and brettanomyces. Notes of black pepper and pineapple can be found in this beer.


Birra

Untappd Rating: 3.62
ABV: 4.5%
IBU: 18
Approx. Price: $9/12 oz. 4 pack
From Prairie: Birra is a light, sessionable farmhouse ale. It is crisp with notes of black pepper and orange and goes perfectly with food.


Standard Ale

Untappd Rating: 3.73
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 25
Approx. Price: $9/12 oz. 4 pack
From Prairie: Prairie Standard is our everyday beer. Its a light, crisp saison with a hoppy finish. This beer is dry hopped 1 lb per bbl with Motueka hops. A lovely New Zealand hop with a spicy lime like flavor and aroma.

Sunday, January 18

Short Pours: Boulevard Brewing Company Edition




If you’re anything like me, the beginning of a new year can provide a very rude awakening.  By now your tree has probably been taken down, decorations have been put away and the only leftovers still around the house are stale, broken cookies at the bottom of a ceramic snowman cookie jar.  With the holidays in the rearview mirror, the reality of enduring the next couple months of cold, harsh winter weather starts to set in.  The anticipation for Spring starts to build but only seems to make the days and weeks drag on more than usual.
                 
                  I’m here to tell you to keep your chin up though.  Over the past few weeks our friends at Boulevard Brewing Company have released a plethora of news that should excite any craft beer fan and have them looking forward to what is on the horizon for 2015.

                  Let’s take a look at some of the recent announcements:


Boulevard Brewing Company 2015 Release Calendar
                 
                  Boulevard has published their release calendar for 2015 which includes 12 new beers slated to debut throughout the year.  The calendar shows two new IPAs scheduled to join the rotation as Heavy Lifting IPA will become part of the Core Year-Round releases and The Calling IPA (more on this one in a bit) joins the Smokestack Year-Round offerings. 


Boulevard’s Core Seasonal lineup will see three new beers added which include Spring Belle Saison, Funky Pumpkin and Snow and Tell.  You’ll also notice that Hibiscus Gose will make its return this year as part of the Core Seasonal lineup. 

In addition to these, Boulevard’s Smokestack Specialty series will see a number of new releases this year.  Boulevard plans on releasing four variations of their Imperial Stout.  The first two variations have already been announced.  The first release will be infused with Ethiopian Sidamo coffee from the Roasterie and the second release will be aged in rum barrels.  These variants are scheduled for a February and June release respectively.  This year will also see the release of not one, but two new Love Child beers, No. 5 and 6, along with Collaboration No. 5.
                 
Of course as more information regarding these becomes available we will be sure to pass it along.  


The Calling IPA

                  As mentioned above, Boulevard will introduce The Calling IPA as part of their Smokestack Year-Round lineup this year.  Jeremy Danner, Boulevard’s Ambassador Brewer, describes The Calling as “an IPA with a juicy, tropical fruit aroma that leaps from the glass.  A simple malt base composed solely of our two row base malt serves as a platform for giant, punchy hop flavor and aroma provided by a blend of Simcoe, Bravo, Topaz, Cascade, Mosaic, Equinox, Galaxy and Amarillo hops.” Jeremy adds “The Calling also receives an addition of lemon peel during the last five minutes of the boil to add an extra citrusy punch.” 
                 
                  The Calling is expected to be available on draft in mid-February with four packs of twelve ounce bottles to follow shortly there after.  The Calling has an 8.5% ABV and 75 IBU.



Boulevard Tasting Room – Blonde Ale

                  Another beer you will be able to get your hands on this year from Boulevard will be their Tasting Room Blonde Ale.  This beer will only be available as part of the Boulevard Sample Twelve variety packs though so you won’t find it on their release schedule above.  The Tasting Room series is a great chance to try some of Boulevard’s test production beers if you aren’t able to make it down to the brewery often.


New Bottle Codes



            To go along with all the new beer being released this year, you may also notice something different about the information on the actual bottle.  Boulevard has decided to start printing a more consumer friendly date on the bottle that will show when the beer was bottled along with a ‘best by’ date that is currently being used.
                 
                  The format for the information will read as this:
                 
                  LMMDDDYY HHMM BBT
                  BEST BY MM/DD/YYYY

                  The top line beginning with ‘L’, which stands for ‘lot’, will show the month, day and year along with time the beer was bottled.  The letters ‘BBT’ will be replaced with a letter A through F that will indicate which bright beer tank that beer was packaged.

                  So in the example below, L010515 822 A will let you know this beer was bottled on January 5th, 2015 at 8:22 AM from bright beer tank A.
         

                 As you can see, Boulevard obviously has some big plans in store for 2015.  After seeing this news and knowing what there is to look forward to this year, it makes these long, winter months a little easier to tolerate.

Tuesday, January 13

IPAs, IPAs, and More IPAs

If you've been craving some hops after the long season of browns, stouts, porters, and holiday spice beers, then this week is for you. It's all about IPAs. Double IPA, session IPA, rye IPA, black IPA, and more. Better get your palate ready because it's going to be trashed in the coming weeks.

Bell's Hopslam should be out next week in KC

Bell's Hopslam - Jan. 19


Bell's Hopslam is the big one as usual. They're bottle it a little bit earlier this year than they have in the past, and Missouri is going to be one of the first states to get it. Bell's has a whole post detailing the release, but it essentially just says that they're making more this year than in the past, but that it will still be limited.

We must be drinking a hell of a lot of Bell's in Missouri, because our distributors are going to be getting shipments before every other state besides Bell's home state of Michigan. They're shipping trucks down to Missouri starting this week, but all other states will be getting their shipments starting Jan. 19 or later. Hopefully they send us more than those other states too!

Sunday, January 4

Torn Label Brewing Co Launch Week



We’re only a few days into 2015 and I already have a feeling this is going to be a very exciting year for the Kansas City craft beer scene.  Hopefully you didn’t over imbibe too much during the holidays because Torn Label Brewing Co. is kicking off the New Year with a week of events that you will not want to miss. 

If you are not familiar with Torn Label Brewing Co. yet, they are a production based brewery located on the south side of the Studios Inc. building at 1708 Campbell Street in the Crossroads. It is operated by Kansas City natives, Rafi Chaudry and Travis Moore.  Hopheads at heart, Rafi and Travis have set out to focus on creating old styles of beers while putting their own marks and new spins on them. 

Wednesday, December 31

New Year, New Baby, New Contributors!

Happy New Year's Eve! So I know we've been a little light on the content on the blog for the last couple weeks. I have a good excuse though--as of Dec. 16, I'm a dad! My wife had our first baby girl on 12/16 at 5:35 am. As you might expect, I haven't had much time to think about anything between changing diapers, trying to catch naps at all hours of the day and night, and helping keep the house from turning into a disaster zone in the meanwhile. Also, it's hard to write blog posts that don't sound like incoherent babble at after sleeping 2 or 3 hours a night for days on end.

In addition to our new little sleep-bandit-bundle-of-joy, Kyle recently moved away to Austin, TX on us, leaving me to cover all the news and events that he had previously worked on. Between these two things I realized that we definitely needed reinforcements at KCBB. So we're excited to announce that we've enlisted three new contributors to add some fresh voices to the blog! I will still be writing, just not quite as much as I have been lately. So give a warm welcome to our three new contributors, Ryan Caldwell, Chris Stenger, and Lara Hale!

Have a great and safe New Year's Eve from all of us at KCBB!

Tuesday, December 23

Best of the Midwest 2: Electric Kegaloo at Bier Station this Saturday

Bier Station continues to amaze me. For the second year running, they're putting together a mini-festival that has a tap list that rivals full fledged festival lineups. And you don't even need a ticket to get in. Their Best of the Midwest 2: Electric Kegaloo is this Saturday, Dec 27 from 11a to closing time. Each beer will be served in regular or short 4 oz pours (but no flights). You can grab two 4 oz pours at once to speed up the tasting process. Bier Station is encouraging people to come anytime throughout the day to spread out the crowds. Last year most of the kegs lasted late through the day. And no matter when you come, there will be excellent beer in store for you.

So once you've left the joy and stress of the holidays behind, why not wind down with some excellent beers? And if you haven't left the holidays behind, and you're going to your 3rd or 4th Christmas celebration, why not get a little buzzed beforehand on some craft beer. That makes any holiday celebration better!

Merry Christmas, crafties!