Monday, April 21, 2014

The Missouri Growler Bill - HB 1266 - Needs Your Help!

There are few places around Kansas City right now you can fill up a growler as of right now. Brewpubs like 75th Brewery who make their beer in-house can give you a 64 oz jug of their latest creation. Our breweries like Cinder Block, Big Rip, Martin City Brewery, and Kansas City Bier Co can give you a growler of whatever they've made as well. But there are very few other establishments, like restaurants and bars that can.

As it stands, for a bar or restaurant to issue you a growler of what they have on tap they have to meet certain qualifications. The first of those are food receipts. They have to sell more than 50% of their gross sales has to be food - so that likely throws out several bars, like Bier Station or The Belfry. The next is that they have to have 20 "unique" beers on tap, which isn't crazy, but honestly doesn't make much sense to me. With those two rules in mind, very few places that qualify sell growlers, the short list that comes to mind includes Anton's Taproom and BD's Mongolian BBQ in Independence.

If you travel to places like Portland, you'll find a big growler culture out there. Where people regularly travel to the local bottle shop or beer bar to fill up their growlers once a week. I love this idea, I'm a big fan of fresh beer.

Now, there are downsides to growlers,but that's a conversation for another time, the conversation today is about legislation. Currently there is a Missouri bill in house that would lift growler regulations - but it has stalled in the rules committee. The bill would make it so that any establishment with a liquor license to sell in the "original packaging" could sell 32oz to 70oz of beer in a container filled by an employee for off-premise consumption. So as I understand it, any place where you could buy a bottle of beer, to drink there or to take with you, could fill a growler.

This isn't to say it would happen, but this could make it so places like Bier Station, Bridger's Bottle Shop, Barley's, and The Belfry could sell growlers of their beer to take home. Which would be pretty rad if they have something on tap that you wanted to take away with you.

So, if you're in favor of this idea, this is where we need you. The bill hasn't been opposed, but is still  needs pressure to move on from the rules committee - so we need you to write your representative to let them know that you support this bill.

Aaron of midmobeerguy.com has done all the heavy lifting on this. He's helped with moving this bill through the legislative process thus far and has provided all the materials you need to contact and let your representative know that you support this bill. You can find those materials quoted here:
Below I have given you a sample letter that you can cut and paste. Simply fill it in with your information and either print and mail it off or email it to your Representative. This link will help you find your representative if you don't already know. Please include a copy of the bill in your correspondence. Also, feel free to forward, tweet and/or post this information online. Thanks in advance for your help. If you have questions, please email me. 
Letter Sample:  
The Honorable ___________:  
I am a constituent of your district and wish to bring a piece of legislation to your attention.  House Bill 1266, sponsored by Representative Cornejo, proposes to amend Chapter 311 of RSMo to allow retailers to fill containers (growlers) from kegs for off-site consumption later.  Craft beer had a $33.9 billion dollar impact on the US economy in 2012.  Missouri's economic impact was identified as $612,435,000, with 6,622 individuals employed during that time.  Most craft beers are unavailable in cans or bottles, therefore this bill is needed to further the positive contribution craft brewers have made to Missouri's economy and will create more employment opportunities and taxable barrels.  Furthermore, growlers allow for consumers to bring clean, re-usable containers to a retail location for refilling, thus making HB 1266 a "green" bill that can reduce Missouri's carbon footprint.  
Please support Missouri economic growth by supporting this bill.    
Thank you for your time and attention. For your convenience, I have attached a copy of HB 1266.    
Sincerely, 
Your Name
 Address
 Phone Number
At the end of the day, even if you wouldn't buy a growler, this simply helps craft beer in general. Peeling back antiquated regulations helps ensure that there is broader access to the stuff we know and love. I hope some day soon there might be a bar in town that I can stop into and grab a growler of something local like KC Bier Co at the same time as grabbing a growler from a more national brewery, like Founders or Bells. You can find status updates on the bill - here. If all goes well, you'll be able to get growlers from a much wider spectrum of establishments come late August. So write your representative!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Boulevardia Announces Music Lineup

Boulevard just announced the music lineup for their Boulevardia festival happening June 13-15th, and color me impressed. They've got a set of local acts that are amazing and they are complimented by some fantastic touring bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Wild Feathers, Capital Cities, and Blondfire. This festival is really setting some high expectations for itself. Check out the full press release below and then come find me at Me Like Bees on Saturday. Oh, and I'd buy a ticket now if you've been waiting.





​Boulevardia Announces Entertainment Acts  
Inaugural urban street festival will feature an assortment of local artists and national acts 

April 17, 2014 – Kansas City – Boulevardia, Kansas City’s newest beer, food and music festival, is pleased to announce the entertainment lineup. Capital Cities, the indie electro band from Los Angeles, will headline the three-day festival with a performance on Saturday night, June 14th. Other acts include The Wild Feathers and Quixotic on Friday night, and The Freddy Jones Band and BoDeans on Sunday afternoon. Tickets for each day are already on sale at boulevardia.com for $10 per day (until May 1st, when they will increase to $15 per day). Due to the urban festival grounds layout, days can sell out so it is advised to purchase tickets in advance. 

The full entertainment lineup is listed below (in alphabetical order) and scheduled set dates for the two stages can be found at boulevardia.com. (Specific times to be posted in the coming weeks):

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Torn Label Brewing Co - A New Brewery for Kansas City


You may have caught wind of some brewery rumors as of late, and they've officially been confirmed. A couple weeks ago, the story was blown wide open after the Kansas City Star noticed a business license application for a new brewery. Torn Label Brewing Company will be opening late this year or early next year down in the Crossroads arts district.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Rafi Chaudry and Travis Moore to talk about their plans and the beers that they'll be making. While they're both originally from Kansas City the two are recently returned from different endeavors in Los Angeles and Chicago to start Torn Label. They said that they couldn't imagine any other place to plant this project other than the city that originally cut their teeth in the world of craft beer.

While Rafi will be managing the business side of the brewery, Travis will be the brew master. Travis has over 10 years of home brewing experience and spent time in Chicago volunteering at Pipeworks Brewing Company to learn how to scale the brewing process.

The operation is also has two other partners - Chad Troutwine and his mother, Carol Troutwine. Both of Troutwines have experience in the beer distribution industry as owners in the past, and it'll prove very valuable to this operation. Chad Troutwine also has diploma in brewing from the Siebel Institute of Technology.

They'll be opening up a 7,000 square foot brew house equipped with a 15-barrel system in the south side of the Studios Inc. building at 1708 Campbell Street. This is really exciting as they'll be located near some other amazing artist in the same building as they crank out their planned 2500 bbls a year.

While they're certainly still in the planning phrases - I tried to get down to the bottom line with Rafi and Travis, the beer. They're planning on having three flagship beers when they start and as they go they'll be supplementing those with seasonal and unique one-off batches as well. Their flagship beers will consist of a Belgian table beer with honey that will be modeled after the Trappist single style, an alpha session ale, and a wheat stout with coffee. I personally find those very exciting and uncertainly untypical.

The guys plan on having a tasting room available, but are going to be brewing the majority of their beer to be distributed as quickly as they can get the operation up and running. They'll start by getting their kegs into local beer bars like The Bier Station, The Belfry, and The Flying Saucer before moving into other local establishments. There is the potential for bottling some of their special releases by hand but there are no immediate plans for a bottling line when the brewery first opens.


From talking with Rafi and Travis I can tell they certainly care about the Kansas City beer scene and are very much a part of it currently. I'm very excited to see them open their doors in the crossroads and I look forward to being able to order a pint from Torn Label as soon as possible. Stay tuned, because as they get closer to opening their doors we'll review a few of their first beers brewed by Travis. We'll also pass along any important news that comes out of their camp.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kansas Craft Beer Week

It's Kansas Craft Beer Week! At least according to some enterprising beer lovers here in the state. With the American Craft Beer Week coming up in less than a month, I can't say that we really need another beer week, but then again I always welcome another excuse to drink beer while thinking about how awesome Kansas is. (It helps when I don't have to drive to Missouri to get my beer too...) Here in town Crawford, the local member of the Kansas Craft Alliance, will be putting on events all over Joco. They're bringing in special kegs, firkins, and pins of Tallgrass, Free State, High Noon, Empyrean, New Belgium, Summit and Odell. You can see the full listing of events in the flier below and they're listed on our blog calendar as well. The tappings on Friday at Barley's on 119th look especially tasty. This is the first year that they've done this event, so let's hope for good things and even more tappings next year.

Ad Cerevisia per Aspera!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Free Tasting Event at MDL Tomorrow

I only found out today about the free Spring Tasting Event that MDL on 95th & Antioch is putting on tomorrow. (I know, I know...slacking.) I don't have a lot of details, but here's what they've posted on their FB page:

Our Huge Spring Tasting Event is happening This Saturday from 1:00-4:00pm! We'll have 5 incredible beer tables to sample from, plus 8 wine tables and 6 liquor tables. What's even better- we are showcasing Patron, Boulevard, Tallgrass, Sierra Nevada and Malibu products. Bring your friends AND your tastebuds!

I haven't ever been to one of their tasting events, but it sounds pretty good. At least the price is right! I kind of doubt they'll have much in the way of special stuff, but you never know. Not too bad of a deal to get some free samples if you're in the area though. And seeing how it's supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny tomorrow, I might just be riding my bike down there to check it out. Just watch out for me on the roads as I swerve home...

Have any of you been to MDL's other tasting events? How were they?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Honoring a brother through beer

At some point in my life as a beer nerd, I started to feel a mental shift. While I used to be so heavily and blindly focused on rarities and the conquest of trying every beer known to man, more and more I find myself associating certain beers with people and places, and deriving enjoyment from them based on their ties to memories or experiences. Don't get me wrong, I still occasionally make a rush to the liquor store for a limited release or get a little 'badge whorish' on Untappd, but I've become much more prone to appreciating beers for the connections they have to moments in my life.

As an example, I'll never forget the first time I drank Love Buzz Saison from Anchorage. It was in the midst of my divorce, during my final night at the home I had shared with my ex-wife. The bottle of Love Buzz was perched on a box and provided a little liquid solace as I packed up the last of my belongings to move on with the next chapter of my life. It might seem depressing, but now I look back at that moment and identify the beer with a personal turning point and new beginnings.

Another beer that has held a special place in my heart for the past few years is Maui Brewing Company's Coconut Porter. It might seem strange to hold a connection to a beer that's brewed nearly 4,000 miles away and doesn't get distributed here, but this one dates back to the development of a great friendship with a guy named Jordan.

Friday, April 4, 2014

KC Ale Trail


Pete Dulin is a guy who cares a lot about Kansas City and more specifically about the food and the drinks that make up our great local scene. He's already written a Kansas City centric cook book, Last Bite: 100 Simple Recipes from Kansas City’s Best Chefs and Cooks, and now he's moving on to his next love beer. But he needs your help!

I got to sit down with Pete the other day at Martin City Brewery and we talked about his plans for the book, what inspired him, where he wants to take it, and what he hopes to accomplish. He's a man with one solid plan.

With Boulevard's and Free State's 25th Anniversary upon us, Pete saw that there wasn't a definitive history to the Kansas City beer scene - each brewery has it's own story of how it came to be, but there's isn't one central source. With that in mind, Pete started the KC Ale Trail project to produce a book that would provide information to new beer lovers and old about the local brews they know and love.

Pete sees the book starting with histories of the giants, Boulevard and Free State - giving detailed personal accounts of how the breweries grew over time, the events and the people that made it happen. Some of which he's already started on. Another portion of the book will talk about the budding breweries that just popped up in the last few years, who they are and how they got here. Further near the end of the book there will be a "trail guide" that will help anyone, new and acquainted alike, navigate through all the breweries, the bars, and the taprooms that make up our great local beer scene.

This is where you come in - Pete wants to self publish this book. By self publishing he'll have more control in the final product to really tailor it to what you and the rest of the beer community want to see. To support that effort, there is an Indiegogo campaign you can donate to. By donating you can get a pre-order of the book, private brewery tours, or even a party in the Boulevard tasting room.

Pete has asked for some feedback - what would you like to see in a book that could call itself the "definitive KC beer guide"? You can leave your thoughts in the comment box below this post!

I really believe this book is a great opportunity for Kansas City to really put it's mark of the national beer map - we have great beers, we have great bars, and we have a great community around beer - I think this book will welcome people from out-of-town and people new to the scene to finding their way around. And I think all KC beer fans will be able to enjoy the stories and the history Pete is going to share with us.

So, go donate to the Indiegogo campaign if you can. And check out the KC Ale Trail facebook page and share it with your friends! Expect to see the freshly-pressed book sometime this fall.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Duvel-Moortgat Officially Acquires KCBeerBlog

News Release - We are happy to announce that Duvel-Moortgat - the purveyors of fine upscale malt beverages like Duvel, Maredsous, Ommegang, and Boulevard - has officially acquired KC Beer Blog to integrate further into the local beer scene. We're excited that we'll have the opportunity to help promote their portfolio here on the blog. 

But we will remain a neutral party as all paid people in journalism do - because we're journalists here. We promise to continue writing only objective stories that are thoughtful, well-researched, and completely free of bias - about the beverage that gets you drunk. The only difference now is our paycheck will be signed by some Flemish guy.

We're in talks about moving to Belgium as it would put us closer to our new overlords - but I've been told that Belgium is not in America and I'm not sure I'm down with that. But I promise that even from a remote location will we be able to cover the Kansas City beer scene at personal level - it'll be like we never left.

So, please excuse us while I go find out how many Belgian Doubloons it will take for me to fill the swimming pool I'm having put in my backyard.

You can read the full press release -  here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ommegang Game of Thrones Official Beer Release Party

What's better than watching people get stabbed, burned, poisoned, frozen, and beheaded? Watching all that while drinking beer, of course! And with the new Game of Thrones season just about a week away, we're going to need a lot of beer... Thankfully, the collaboration between HBO and Ommegang is on for yet another beer. Now in it's 3rd incarnation, Ommegang is putting out the Fire and Blood Red Ale starting on March 31. I'm super excited for this one--it's spiced with ancho chilies, licorice and anise, and uses spelt and rye malt along with Styrian Goldings. Mmmm.

I know what you're thinking....if there was only a way to get a taste of the beer before it was on the shelves... Oh wait, there is! The new Belgian Overlords are throwing us a bone and KC is going to be one of 10 cities in the US to host an official launch party of the beer. The Alamo Drafthouse is going to be putting on quite a show this Saturday night. Starting at 8:00pm, they're going to have people flying through the air and eating fire in the Chesterfield (in the theater lobby) with free samples of various Ommegang beers. There will also be drawings for Game of Thrones merchandise throughout the night. Who doesn't want to win a wooden commemorative box of dragon eggs?

In order to get a sample of the new Fire and Blood beer, though, you'll need to get tickets to the late show at the theater. Appropriately, they're showing the '80's fantasy classic Dragonslayer. $7 gets you in to the movie and samples of the new beer. The movie starts at 10:30pm.

Alamo Drafthouse is also giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets to the event on Saturday. Send an email to kansascitybeerblog@gmail.com by midnight tonight with "Game of Thrones Release Party" in the subject line and you and your guest's name in the body. We'll let you know tomorrow night if the old gods have favored you. (It goes without saying that you've got to be 21 to enter.)

Update: Congrats to Matt Determan for having the luck of the random number generator!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

KC Craft Beer Drinkers Survey

Mo the Mule is pissed because
you haven't taken the survey yet.
Or maybe he's just always pissed.
As far as I know, there haven't been any surveys done in Kansas City of our craft beer drinking populous. (Except of course my surveys that I've completed at various bars around town. Then again, I don't think I can claim any statistical integrity to those...) But setting up a survey and doing all the leg work involved seems like far too much work for us here at the Beer Blog. Lucky for us, though--we've got some enterprising college students out of the University of Central Missouri to do the work for us. 

As part of a project for their Organizational Policy and Strategy course, Tucker Cape, Seth Wheeler, Nolan Brooks, Michael Manternach, and Mark Meyers are putting together a report assessing the viability of opening a new microbrewery in KC. They're all seniors (important for Saturday night "market research?") in various majors including marketing, economics, and management. They will be using the survey to collect demographic and behavioral data for the project. Aside from the useful nature of the survey results for our breweries & brewpubs here in town, existing and future, I'll just be interested to see how & where all of you enjoy your beer. We'll be posting the results here once they've been analyzed. 

The survey is open until 11:00 pm this Friday 3/28. It only took me about 10 minutes to fill out the survey, so get to it! Check out the survey at this link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N7T2VZ6

Update: The group posted a new follow-up survey with two additional questions that they'd like you to answer in addition to the original survey. The follow-up survey will be open until next Thursday. You can access it here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RLP9JL9