Tuesday, November 25

Sam Adam's KMF Tour Details

The Sam Adam's KMF Tour stop in KC is approaching fast and we have all the details for you here. A select number of bars will be getting kegs of the beer, and there are a couple events planned as well. Jennifer Glanville, one of the Sam Adams brewers, will also be in town for several of the events, leading tastings, answering questions, and talking about the beer. Jennifer was kind enough to answer a few of our questions via email this week ahead of the events.

KCBB: Could you please tell our readers a little bit more about the beer and how it came about? 

Jennifer Glanville: Kosmic Mother Funk, or KMF, has been our passion project for many years at the Samuel Adams Barrel Room at our Boston Brewery. It is definitely one funky brew! KMF is the backbone of all of our Barrel Room Collection beers and is blended, in varying amounts, into the five Belgian brews that make up the collection.

KMF on its own has a wild, funky character with some balsamic notes, so to bring all of these flavors together for our limited release Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru we added a small amount of Belgian candi sugar, which lends a bit of smoothness and a hint of sweetness. This slightly sweetened batch, is tart, funky and complex with notes of dark fruits, cocoa, cherry and vanilla. The feedback we have received so far from our drinkers has been overwhelmingly positive.

KCBB: I understand that the yeast and bacteria culture was collected from within the Sam Adam's brewhouse. Could you explain a little bit more about how that process was handled? 

JG: KMF is aged in large oak tuns, which contributes to the flavors in KMF as it ages in the wood for over a year. A combination of our own Belgian yeast strain, wild yeast and different bacteria in the tuns all impart unique, spicy, fruity and bright tart character to the beer.

The porous character of the oak allows air to slowly seep into the beer during aging, and this long, slow micro-oxidation through the wood smooths out harsh flavors. There are natural yeasts and bacteria that inherently live in our brewery, and in the aging tuns.

KCBB: As a female brewer in a male dominated industry, could you tell us how you got into brewing and how you think we can bring more women into the craft beer community? 

JG: I have always had a passion and love for craft beer and I pursued this passion through an education in brewing at Doemens Academy in Munich. In 2001 I was busy enjoying my favorite hobby, skiing, when I received a call from The Boston Beer Company, tapping me to join the team.

Since my arrival in Boston, I've done everything from tasting our Samuel Adams beers to ensure they meet our quality standards, working with our other brewers to create new recipes, and managing our brewery here in Boston. I am also a self-proclaimed foodie, and love pairing and cooking with Samuel Adams beers.  Some of my favorites are: Boston Lager and Steak, American Kriek and roasted duck, and OctoberFest pulled pork.

It is amazing to see how many women are in the industry now even compared to 10 years ago.  Here in Boston we have several all-women beer clubs and it is very cool to see passionate women in the craft beer industry out and about educating other women about craft beer.  I always try to encourage women not to be intimidated and follow their passion for making or drinking craft beer.

The Beer

We got a sample of the beer here at KCBB to try out, and we were not disappointed. The beer pours a deep ruby red color with a tan head. It's got a great range of aromas reminiscent of cherries, prunes, and raisins, alongside caramel, toffee, and chocolate aromas from the malt. The barrel aging also comes through subtly with vanilla and oak notes underneath everything else.

The flavor mirrors the aroma, with bright acidic fruity flavors balanced with smooth caramel and chocolate malt flavors. The beer is quite tart up front, but finishes slightly sweet, which helps bring out more of the fruit. It has a pleasant acetic character, like an aged balsamic vinegar. It's got a good sourness, but is well balanced and very easy drinking.

The beer is probably somewhere between a Flanders Red or Oude Bruin if you want to go all style specific on it. I love both of these styles and think they're very under-represented in the pantheon of sour beers, so I'm glad that Sam Adams went this way with the beer.

Events & Availability

Jim Koch signing the poster you can win at Bier Station

Lukas Liquor (MO) Barrel Room Tasting
12/4 - 2:30p-3:30p
Brewer Jennifer Glanville will be on site to greet customers and sample the Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection to consumers.

Bier Station KMF Tapping
12/4 - 4p-6p
Meet Samuel Adams Brewer Jennifer Glanville and be one of the first to sample KMF along with other great beers from the Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection.  Fans will also have the chance to win a custom canvas print autographed by Jim Koch, Founder of the Boston Beer Company.

Michael Smith - Barrel Room Beer Dinner
12/4 - 6:30p
Sam Adams and Michael Smith have paired up to host an epic beer dinner featuring KMF and other Barrel Room Collection beers. The event will be 5 courses, and include crab, escargot, lamb, house made kielbasa, and bread pudding with beer whipped cream. They will be pairing these up with KMF, Thirteenth Hour Stout, Stony Brook Red, New World Tripel and Tetravis Quad. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased by emailing nancy@michaelsmithkc.com or calling 816-842-2202.

The beer will be available at Bier Station and Michael Smith starting 12/4, and the rest of the bars on the list will be getting the beer starting 12/5. Here's a full list of locations where KMF will be available in KC:

B.D.'s Mongolian
Beer Kitchen
Bier Station
Brass Rail
Charlie Hooper's
Conrad's Restaurant & Alehouse
The District Pour House + Kitchen
Konrads Kitchen and Tap House
Local Pig/Bridger's
Michael Smith
Rock and Run Brewery
Rusty Horse Tavern
Waldo Pizza (KC and Lee's Summit)
The Well
Westport Ale House

Friday, November 21

Can You Brew It?

Can you Brew it?

Most homebrewers normally start brewing or get into brewing because they want to be able reproduce/ clone a favorite beer. One of the beers I've always enjoyed is Dog Fish Head Palo Santo Marron. Palo Santo Marron is essentially an Imperial Brown aged on Palo Santo Wood. Palo Santo comes from Paraguay and is known to have healing powers. Dogfish Head constructed the largest wooden fermentation tank made completely out of Palo Santo to produce this beer. The wood gives some incredible interesting flavors that makes it a very unique beer and as a homebrewer it really sparked my interested in how they made it.

Typically I've found a majority of breweries and professional brewers are more than happy to answer questions about their beer, ingredients, and process. I attempted several times to contact DogFish Head about Palo Santo but only response I received was that they do not reveal ingredients and secrets of their beers. I found that surprising but luckily their founder, Sam Calagione, loves to talk to anyone with a camera and a microphone and has given plenty of interviews about Palo Santo. With a simple Google search I was able to put together a majority of the ingredients this beer uses from several of Sam's interviews.

Free State & Boulevard Newspaper Clipping from 1989

Someone at Boulevard dredged up this awesome newspaper article from 1989 about Free State and Boulevard starting up. It's a great view into the past of American craft beer. The fact that craft beer was only 0.1% of the US market in 1989 shows us how far we've come even if 7.8% of the market doesn't seem like very much now.

I thought that it was very interesting to see that Boulevard was started with a $1.3 million investment, and Free State was started with nearly $1 million in investment (accounting for inflation). Might be something to think about for all of the new breweries starting up these days.

The article also states, "McDonald thinks that staying small is the key. He doesn't think he will ever brew more than 25,000 barrels of beer annually." Boulevard just announced the groundbreaking on their new $12 million Cellar 5 project. The project is expected to expand Boulevard's annual capacity to over 300,000 barrels. You can see a rendering of Cellar 5 below the newspaper clippings. How times have changed for craft brewers!

Click on the image for a larger view. 

Tuesday, November 18

Two More Great KC Winter Warmers on the Way

Considering it was 12 ºF when I left the house this morning, I'd say the weather has made a definite turn on us. I don't know about you, but I'm craving strong beers right now. Lucky for me, two of my favorite breweries in the area are turning out polar opposite cold weather beers. KC Bier Co has a smooth, refined doppelbock out soon called Winter Bock, and Free State is releasing their monstrous over the top barrel aged imperial stout, Owd Mac's, in bottles for the first time on Saturday!

Winter Bock from Kansas City Bier Co

It's a great looking beer...and it tastes good too!

Kansas City Bier Co is releasing their new Winter Bock starting next week. It's their strongest beer yet at 8% abv. In order to make the beer as strong as they did while still doing the traditional double decoction mash, they had to brew three batches of the beer over a two day period to fill their fermenter and then use a full 4 barrels of yeast starter. They lagered the beer for 12 weeks in order to round out and clarify the beer. I do not envy their brewer.

All the hard work definitely paid off though. Even at 8%, the alcohol in the beer is barely perceptible, with only a nice warming feeling after drinking a bit. The long lagering also gave the beer a super smooth, crisp, and clean character. 

It's got a lot of refined Munich malt character on the nose, with subtle caramel, toffee, and chocolate aromas from the crystal and carafa malts. The malt flavor and sweetness is moderately high, but well balanced by a good dose of hops for the style. The beer is also really well attenuated and definitely doesn't have that overly sweet, cloying character that I dislike about a lot of doppelbocks. 

Tuesday, November 11

4th Annual Westport Strong Ale Fest this Saturday - Win Tickets Here!

Most awesome flyer ever!
The Westport Strong Ale Fest put on by Beer KC is back! The event is taking place this Saturday, 11/15 from 1p-5p on Pennsylvania Ave out front of McCoy's. They're going to have over 30 breweries attending with over 80 beers on sample, nearly all of them over 7% abv. Tickets are $35 if you get them in advance and $45 at the door. Buy your tickets early--they have sold out in the past. And $35 for the lineup of beers they've got is an absolute steal.

This is one of my favorite beer festivals in town. It's always well managed and the lines are short. It also really delivers on the specialty beers. This year is going to be no different--BeerKC has got a solid lineup of beers going. Most of the breweries attending are pretty much your standard fare--local guys and big national craft breweries. What is special about the fest though, is that each one of these breweries is bringing some of their best and rarest beers. There's no pale ales, wheats, or weak ass session-anything at this one.

In all seriousness though, please be smart at the fest. The beers are strong and even in 3 oz pours, you'll need to be careful if you're going to make it out under your own power. Trust me, I have personal experience with this. Eat a big meal before hand, drink a bunch of water while you're there, and make a plan for getting home! You're not driving after this one. You might not even be walking.

Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day! As it should be, there are a bunch of special events and deals today for veterans and active duty servicemembers. The KC Star has a big list of these events and specials around the metro today. Our local breweries and beer bars are stepping up too. We put together a little list of places around town doing specials for you veterans and servicemembers among us. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made for our country!

Bier Station

Today, a percentage of all draws plus 100% of Tallgrass Halcyon Wheat draws benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

Big Rip

In honor of Veterans Day, we will be giving our veterans $1 off pints Wed-Fri this week.

Green Room Burgers & Beer

All veterans and active duty servicemembers are welcome to $1 growler fills of any Papa Louie's beer. Thank you for your service!

KC Bier Co

Buy One Get One Free Bier for Active Duty Military members and Veterans at KC Bier Co today.

Rock & Run

25% off for all veterans and active duty with military ID today for Veterans Day!

A little historical aside for you on the occasion--Veterans Day was started just down the road from here in my hometown, Emporia, KS. We didn't have a lot going for us, but we had one hell of a Veterans Day parade that I marched in many a time with a sousaphone slung over my shoulder.

Thursday, November 6

Boulevard & Odell Silver Anniversary

Boulevard sold its first keg of beer to Ponak's 25 years ago on November 17. Odell sold their first keg one day later. Now, both breweries are getting together for a joint 25th anniversary celebration with a bunch of events and a new collaboration beer. The Pitch and Recommended Daily both have great interviews with John McDonald and Doug Odell on the occasion. I love that John still buys his own beer at Costco. Also, canning line! Let's just hope for the sake of all hikers and canoers that John's musings on the future of Boulevard come true.

We owe a lot to Boulevard and Odell. The hard work these two breweries have put in over the last 25 years has made a huge different to the American beer revival. Congratulations to John and the Odell's and everyone else who works at both of the breweries for making it this far and still making great beer!

The Collaboration Beer

The collaboration beer is a strong English ale clocking in at 7.3% abv and 40 IBU. They brewed the same base beer in Ft. Collins and KC, then each brewery put their own spin on the base with their own aroma hop and yeast selections. As Doug Odell puts it, "It came out like I had in mind. It’s a strong ESB in that it was a little more malty than pale. It’s not as bitter. It’s a little more malt forward. I think we got the balance right between bitterness, hop flavor and the malt backbone."

Tuesday, November 4

Winter is Coming

Well it appears that the season of drinking has officially begun with the time change last weekend. It's feeling colder and darker by the day. How depressing is it to get out of work and have to drive home in the dark? This, and we can all feel what's coming in the air...raking leaves leads right into shoveling snow and scraping ice, which leads right into dealing with all the people on the highway who forgot how to drive in the snow since last March. So how do we fortify ourselves for all this to come? Drink beer, of course! It's a good thing we've got some new beers out in town to get us through the dark days. 

Flying Saucer Stout Week

The annual Flying Saucer Stout week is back. Ok, so it started yesterday, but I was busy, damnit! They've got a solid lineup of big stouts for us as usual. The special tappings run every night through this Saturday. A few standouts I see include 2012 Perennial Abraxas & Perennial Sump on Friday, and Firestone Walker Parabola on Saturday. Should be a solid week of super strong stouts to wash away any lingering baseball induced depression.

Wednesday, October 22

Rot & Ruin Festival this Saturday in Liberty

Halloween is approaching fast and so begins my most anxiety filled time of year. How do I come up with a costume that is witty and relevant, but doesn't require me to spend time making it, doesn't cost much money, and doesn't offend anyone? Can I just wear my lederhosen again? Too soon? At least the Germans don't seem to mind my cultural appropriation anyways. Well, let's all hope for my sake (and everyone else's) that my wife comes up with something good for me, because I'm sure not going to.

Anyways, if you were looking for a Halloween party this year to show off your awesome (or not) costume, Rock and Run in Liberty is doing you a solid. They're putting on the Rot & Ruin Festival this Saturday, October 25 from 3p-10p next to their brewpub in Liberty. They've got a solid lineup of breweries, distilleries, and even a meadery. They've also got a costume contest for you. You can win prizes for costumes in three categories: Best overall Halloween costume, Best beer related costume, and Best Rocky Horror themed costume. Drunken transvestites from Transsexual, Transylvania?? I imagine the hardest part will be trying to find someone to give you ride home...