Friday, February 5, 2016

Boulevard Brewing Co Visitors Center Expansion

There's exciting news out of Boulevard--they're planning another major expansion. This one isn't just another collection of massive fermenters or a new brew house to produce more beer--it's an expansion for us! They've purchased a building across from the brewery, and are planning on opening a much bigger visitors center. The new visitors center will include a larger tasting room, gift shop, and a "Beer Hall," which will serve Boulevard beer and food (can I hope for a Bob's Oktoberfest celebration??). They anticipate a grand opening towards the end of June this year.

According to the press release from Boulevard, "In 2015, Boulevard hosted almost 60,000 visitors on some 2,300 tours, turning away thousands more due to lack of space." This expansion will give them almost 20,000 square feet of space dedicated to serving visitors and hosting events. For reference, the existing gift shop & tasting room is about 2,000 square feet total. The new visitor center will occupy the two lower levels of the Skelly Oil Building. They've got a few renderings of the new building and space put together, and it looks great, even if lacking some of the character of the old tasting room.

My only hope is that they don't mothball the old tasting room. If you've never been, go down there now! It's totally open to the public and one of the coolest bars in town. Also, you can get any number of test beers on tap and, of course, The Calling IPA fresh off the line. Mmmm...making me thirsty just thinking about it.

Rendering of the new tasting bar & gift shop on the lower level.

Rendering of the planned exterior of the new visitors center. The Boulevard parking garage can be seen in the back. The main brewery building sits on the opposite side of the parking garage.

Location of the new visitors center. The main brewery building is to the west. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

KC Bier Meisters Competition - KC's Premier Homebrew Competition - Is Coming Soon!

Kansas City Bier Meisters is once again hosting their spring homebrew competition! This is the biggest and most comprehensive competition in the city and one of the bigger and more respected competitions in all of the Midwest. You can get a full listing of all the detailed info on their club website.

This year, the competition organizers expect nearly 600 entries in every category. So getting a medal in this competition is a big deal for any of you hopeful homebrewers out there! The judging is also top notch (mostly because I'm there judging...), so you can expect to get great scorecards back from your judges. And because the competition is so large and well known, there are always a lot of awesome prizes. For the entrants, there are TWO scale-up prizes this year! The winning beers will get scaled up sold commercially at Cinder Block and KC Bier Co. In addition to these awesome prizes, there are a bunch of other awesome prizes like a counterpressure bottle filler, a 10 gallon brew kettle fitted with a ball valve outlet and thermometer, and a build-your-own jockey box kit.

Some of the raffle prizes from last year.
It's also a great festival if you've ever thought about judging or stewarding a competition. I've heard from many an experienced judge that the KCBM competition is one of their favorite to attend. There are a lot of experienced judges there to help out newbies, and the flights are usually pretty reasonable (usually <10 beers) so there is enough time to really put a good effort into judging each brew and discussing them. The organizers also have food, commercial & homebrews donated for your drinking pleasure outside the judging flights, and an awesome raffle. This year, they've got over $9,000 worth of donated items for the raffle for volunteers. In addition to this, they'll have custom engraved "can" glasses & coozies for each volunteer.

Entries for the competition need to be registered and received by this Friday. Volunteers also need to sign up by this Friday. You can access the entry website here. The judging will take place the from Feb 16 - 20. See you there!

Note: If you are entering beers for this competition, please remember that we'll be using the new 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. These are significantly changed from the 2008 guidelines. PLEASE review the 2015 guidelines before you enter your beers!! First competition I judged with the 2015 guidelines, about half of the brews I judged were entered wrong and got dismal scores as a result. These are beers that might have award winners if they had been entered correctly.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Crane Brewing Out on the Town!

If you've been living under a rock for the last two months (as I have been--I'm finally catching up from the time-eating trinity of holidays, job, and kid), then you missed Crane Brewing Co's launch! They launched in Kansas in mid-December, and this week is their Missouri launch. Central States Bev & Crane have hosted events all around town over the last week at places like Flying Saucer, Rock & Run, the Belfry, Happy Gillis and on and on. There is still one final launch event tonight up north at Conrad's in Liberty. The Crane folks will be there at 6pm to talk beer & brewing. They'll have their Saison & Orange Gose on tap as well.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Torn Label Brewing 1 Year Anniversary Party

It is hard to believe that it has already been one year since Torn Label's beers started showing up around town. Last year around this time we gave you a sneak peak inside the Torn Label brewery and a look at the events planned for their launch week along with some of the plans in store for their inaugural year

To say that Kansas City was excited for Torn Label's debut would be a vast understatement as that article was viewed far more than almost any other article featured on KC Beer Blog in 2015.

Torn Label definitely did not disappoint.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Drink Now: Torn Label Old Believer

Kansas City is still playing catch-up to St. Louis, as far as smaller breweries go. They have Perennial, 4 Hands, Side Project, and others making unique and delicious beers.

Torn Label is doing their best to bridge that gap. Of the recently opened breweries in Kansas City, Torn Label is probably my favorite. Their most recent offering is an Russian Imperial Stout that clocks in at 11.1%. The brewery is planning an Advent Calendar, of sorts, to show off this beer and its variants. The regular version was tapped on Sunday and is available at the brewery now. Each subsequent Sunday leading up to Christmas, the brewery will tap a different variant keg. There will only be a single keg of each variant.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ballast Point KC! Launch Events Today!

Ballast Point! In KC! I thought this day would never come.
I had the Ballast Point Sculpin IPA fresh in San Diego about a year ago and it changed my whole outlook on IPAs. In my opinion, it perfectly embodies the new world tropical hop character that so many brewers try to pull off these days. It's got that super fruity hop aroma typical of the New Zealand and Australian hops with lemon, grapefruit, mango, apricot, and peach characteristics. At the same time, it's got a solid floral fresh hop backbone and a solid balance. Bitter, but not make you cringe bitter like some of the SD IPAs.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fest Report: Strong Ale Fest 2015

Strong Ale Fest shockingly focuses on strong ales. I'm just now getting around to writing this review because I'm still hungover. Just kidding. Sorta. This fest is one of the good ones, folks. The people at Beer KC have these fests down to a science at this point. Read below to see the details and what I thought were the best beers of the festival.