Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Festival of the Lost Township

Labor Day weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Not only do we get a three day weekend but it is also the unofficial end of summer which means fall is right around the corner. This fall is already lining up to be a busy one with a jam-packed schedule of beer events in the upcoming months and it all starts this weekend. I can’t think of a better way to kick off a long weekend than with a beer festival. The best part is you’ll get an extra day to recover before you have to go back to work and spend the majority of your day staring at your cubicle mate’s “inspirational” cat posters.

This Saturday September 5th from 11:00am until 4:00pm, Crane Brewing Company will be hosting the Inaugural Festival of the Lost Township in downtown Raytown, MO at 62nd and Raytown Road.
Tickets are available for purchase here with two options that will gain you access to the festival. The first option is the General Admission ticket which runs $35 plus tax per ticket ($40 at the door) and will allow you access to the festivities starting at Noon. The general admission ticket will get you unlimited samples of beer from 24 brewers, access to the home brew tent, food available for purchase from some of Kansas City's most exciting food trucks and the merchandise tent.
The second option will get you VIP Access to the event and will set you back $100 plus tax per ticket. The VIP Access will grant you early admission to the festival at 11:00am where you will be able to sample any of the available general admission beers along with several limited offerings from the participating breweries. In addition to the extra hour of sampling, a VIP ticket will also gain you access to the VIP tent where you can try unique beer and food pairings from eight of the finest chefs in Kansas City. For more on what the VIP tickets include click here. There are only 250 VIP tickets available so if you are interested in the VIP package I wouldn’t wait too much longer to buy a ticket. 

The home brew tent will showcase a number of beers from local home brewers. This is always one of my favorite parts of beer festivals. It is great to sample beers from some of the best breweries from across the country and world but the creativity and passion the home brewers put into their beer is unique and it definitely comes through in the beer they brew.

The breweries and distilleries that will be in attendance are listed below. The beer list is still being finalized but you can click here to see which beers have been confirmed so far.

4 Hands Brewing
Big Rip
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Bur Oak
Cinder Block
Crooked Stave
Dark Horse
Firestone Walker
J. Reiger
Jolly Pumpkin
KC Bier Co.
Martin City
New Belgium
Perennial Artisan Ales
Public House
River North
Rock and Run
Root Sellers
Santa Fe
Stillwater Artisanal
Torn Label
Urban Chestnut

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fest Report: Great Nebraska Beerfest

On the drive up to Omaha, I was trying to remember how many years I've gone to the Great Nebraska Beerfest.  I think I came up with this being the fourth.  The first year it was raining, the second it was so miserably I nearly got heat stroke, and the third was last year--the first year they moved to the ballpark from a giant parking lot.  That  brings us to this year, the fourth iteration for me.

The Great Nebraska Beerfest is one of my favorite festivals in the area.  Nebraska's permissive liquor laws allow breweries to come in for the festival with very little bureaucratic nonsense.  This allows the festival to pull some nice breweries that normally don't distribute in our neck of the woods.  Some out of market highlights from this year included Cigar City and Arizona Wilderness.

Not Beer
This festival is held on the concourse of the the Omaha Storm Chasers ballpark.  I'm a strong proponent of this venue for a beer festival.  It's very spread out, making lines manageable and has multiple large bathrooms.  Tickets were a very reasonable $45.  VIP was $65 and got you in an extra hour and a half early, an upgraded glass taster, and some food.  I got VIP and while the food was very lacking (a sad excuse for a sandwich with american cheese and what appeared to be some sort of turkey product), the rest of the VIP experience was great.  Getting in early allowed me to try all of the top beers on my list without any trouble navigating the festival.

Once GA let in, the front area by the gates became pretty crowded, but overall, lines were manageable throughout.  And when everyone by the entrance realized there was a ton more beer fest, that area cleared out too.

This is not a festival of whales, like Cigar City's Hunahpu's Day or Crooked Stave's What the Funk?!, but it is a great festival for the Midwest.  Omaha and Lincoln alone have enough breweries to fill a festival, but where this festival shines is the great out of market breweries.  Cigar City has been coming for years, and the opportunity to drink Cigar City barrel aged stuff without trading or traveling too far was great!

Every festival of this size has a few breweries or beers that are on the list that don't make it out.  I was disappointed that Revolution didn't show up, but other than Revolution and one single beer from from Brau Brothers, I was able to find everything I was looking for from the beer list.

Best in Show
The best beer at this festival shocked me.  Hailing from Sioux City, IA, Marto Brewing is a brewery in planning.  I tried all of their offerings at the festival, and all were good to great.  Most impressive was Ticonic, their raspberry sour.  They describe it as "This Loess Hills Farmhouse Series beer is dominated with tart fresh raspberry aroma wrapped in more raspberry. On the tongue expect tart raspberries with notes of raspberry on the finish. We like raspberries."  This bright red beer was perfectly tart and popping with raspberry flavor.  It wins best in show for me.  I can't wait for their brewery to open.

The runner up is from a brewery a bit closer to KC.  Blind Tiger's The Beer From IPAnema kicks you in the face with hops.  This double IPA was brewed with Mosaic hops, among others, and is dank and tropical at the same time.  If this is still on tap in Topeka, I'd recommend a trip to try it.

Check out a few photos on our Facebook page below.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Short Pours - 8/26/15

Now that the dog days of summer are past, I feel the hot-weather/lake-weekend induced drinking-event lull coming to an end. Fall is in the air and I can already feel Oktoberfest approaching. As many of you have probably seen, I go all out with the lederhosen, and my wife with the dirndl. Additionally, little Rose will have her own custom made baby-dirndl for this year! There's absolutely no way we're losing the costume contest at KC Bier Co this year.

But before we get to all the Oktoberfest madness, we've got the fall festival season. Keep your calendars open, because there are multiple festivals and big events planned for nearly every weekend in September and October. It is the best time of year to be drinking, after all. There's a few events coming up before all this craziness kicks off though that I wanted to throw out there today. 

Final Women in Brewing Event @ Flying Saucer - Tonight

Flying Saucer is hosting the last of their Women in Brewing events tonight at 7pm. Tamar Banner will be in from New Belgium for the event to lead a beer and cheese pairing and to generally talk about beer & brewing. Tickets for the tasting are $25 and you can get a hold of them by calling down to the Saucer at 816-221-1900. It's also glass night, so you'll get yourself a sweet New Belgium glass as well for showing up and drinking the beer. Also, while we're on the topic, you should check out the rare tap going on at the Saucer tomorrow night... Pretty Things Fumapapa & Fringe. Get it! 

Bird Lives at Green Room!

Bird Lives Jazz Celebration @ Green Room - Thurs., Aug 27

Green Room is hosting a Charlie Parker celebratory event tomorrow at 8p as part of the city-wide Bird celebration going on this week. They'll be tapping their Bird Lives double IPA that they release yearly on Bird's birthday (or close to it anyways). They're also going to be having local jazz going on in the Westport Coffeehouse Theater next door. Ryan Heinlein is going to be debuting his KC Bone Company group along side special guest Clay Jenkins. Cover for the show is only $5, and you can pay at the door. And as usual, you can grab your beer at Green Room and take it into the theater or get it on tap in the theater itself. 

Feast Magazine Feast 50 KC Events - Sat./Sun., Aug. 29-30

Feast Magazine is having a series of events in KC for their Feast 50 winners. A couple will be definitely be cool events for you beer nerds out there. This Saturday, Aug. 29, they're going to be having special behind the scenes tours at Thou Mayest in collaboration with Torn Label. You'll get to tour the coffee roastery, try a special Thou Mayest/Torn Label collaboration available only for the tours, and also get pastries from Heirloom Bakery & Hearth and Dolce Bakery to boot. Tickets are only $10, and you can get them through the Feast website. 

Feast is also hosting the Pie Hole Food Truck and Glace Artisan Ice Cream at KC Bier Co on Saturday and a Butchery Demo at Local Pig & tour of J. Rieger & Co.'s distillery with Dark Horse Distillery on Sunday. Check out the Feast site for all the details. 

Boulevard Saison-Brett Dinner - Aug. 31

Boulevard and Bluestem are hosting an awesome beer dinner next Monday. It's a little different than most beer dinners, as every course will be paired with Saison Brett (except dessert), rather than having a different beer for every course. In Jeremy Danner's words, "I love Saison-Brett and have wanted to do a dinner like this for quite some time. We've paired three courses with Saison-Brett to demonstrate that it is, indeed, the perfect food beer."

Tickets for the dinner are $85 plus tax & tip, and while it's expensive, I'm sure it will be one of the best beer dinners of the year considering the restaurant and the featured beer. You can get tickets by calling Bluestem 816-561-1101. The dinner starts at 6:30p. Here's the menu pairings for the dinner:

It's true--it IS the perfect food beer.
Welcome Beer
Boulevard Pale Ale

Zucchini bread, burrata
Chicken liver crostini
Shaved hams, english muffins

First Course
Chilled Corn & shellfish veloute
Boulevard Saison-Brett

Second Course
House made ricotta cappelletti, braised rabbit, saison-brett
Boulevard Saison-Brett

Third Course
Hay roasted heritage hog, fresh cassoulet
Boulevard Saison-Brett

Fourth Course
Malted ice cream, blueberry, beer caramel
Long Strange Tripel

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Women of Craft Beer events at Flying Saucer

Craft beer is unquestionably a male dominated hobby. It's slowly starting to change, but not fast enough. I recently heard a bartender casually mention, "we have ciders and lambics for the girls." While a friend from Boston noted that his wife was questioned, "are you sure you want to order that? It's sour." Some of this stems from the stereotype that men like beer and women like wine. On the other hand, I know plenty of women craft beer geeks who love the bitterest of IPAs and the most strong of barrel aged imperial stouts. Conversely, I know men who prefer ciders to most kinds of beer.

Flying Saucer is doing their best to bring to light some of the prominent craft beer women with their Women of Craft Beer series which starts tonight and continues through August. Check out the details of the events below (which all start at 7pm).
  • August 6: International IPA Day: Tapping Founders All-Day Blis Blast, a Flying Saucer exclusive in KC with Ashley Krull, Founders' Missouri Sales Manager. ALl-Day BLiS Black is All-Day IPA aged for 5 months in BLiS Blast hot sauce barrels. The barrels first held (in order): Bourbon, KBS, BLiS maple syrup, BLiS hot sauce, and finally All Day IPA. Sounds, um, interesting.

  • August 13th: Lagunitas Brewers Table w/ Lagunitas' Head Brewer Mary Bauer. 4 beers including Mozango, A Little Sumpin' Special, Gnarleywine and Pilsner along with food pairings from Chef Derek Owen.

  • August 19th: Cinder Block Glass Night w/ Willi Becher glass and Sarah Hearn, Cinder Block's Sales Manager.

  • August 20th: Tallgrass Tap Night w/ Wooden Rooster and others (pending state approval) and Courtney Pierson, Tallgrass' Quality Control Director.

  • August 26th: New Belgium Tutored Tasting and glass night with supervising brewer Tamar Banner.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

KC Only Boulevard Local Hop Pale Ale Lands This Week

I'm always happy when Boulevard decides to do things to make us Kansas Citians feel special. Starting this week, on draft, Local Hop Pale Ale will be available from Boulevard in the Kansas City area. This variant of Pale Ale is dry hopped with Chinook hops from local Missouri hop grower, Royal Hops.

Boulevard describes the beer as "Opening with a floral, citrus aroma followed by a mellow, toffee-like flavor from caramel malts, Local Hop Pale Ale gives way to spicy, grapefruit notes from the wet Chinook hops and finishes with a slight lingering sweetness offset by a touch of grassy/green character." Sounds good to me!

I hope Boulevard makes more local only things to keep me feeling special.

Update: from Boulevard's Facebook page, the following Missouri and Kansas cities will be seeing this as well: Columbia, Herculaneum, Jefferson City, Joplin, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Louis, Lawrence and Topeka

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Pitch's City Market Beer Fest is Tomorrow, Aug. 1st!

The Pitch is throwing their first beer fest tomorrow! The fest has been advertised as FREE!, but I'd call it more "free." I say that because it is free to get in, but you still have to pay for the beer. (By the way, if the beer was free too, I stay as far away as possible because it would be a fucking nightmare trying to get any samples for yourself.) The event is down in the River Market at the City Market Park. This is the park just west of the City Market at the corner of 3rd & Main.

As said before, the fest is free to get in. To get the beer, you buy ticket. The tickets will cost you $10 for four or $20 for 10. Each ticket can be used to get a 6 oz. pour at one of the brewery tables. You can also swap two tickets for a pint pour. It sounds like you'll be able to buy more tickets at any time.

Given the fact that the festival facebook page shows 23,000 people as attending, it's good that the fest runs from 11am to 6pm. Hopefully that will mean that at any one time there won't be 23,000 people crammed into the 30,000 square foot park. Your best guess is as good as mine as to what time you should show up to beat the crowd.

The morning will also overlap the time for the City Market farmer's market. Which would be super fun and totally hipster to hit up both, stay for as long or little as you like at your liesure. However, parking is going to be a nightmare. But considering you're going to a beerfest so you probably shouldn't be driving anyways, you should probably consider ubering your way out to this one.

They're also going to have three food trucks camped out there including Lutfi's Fried Fish, Kin Kin's Little Truck Eats & Snacks, and Jerusalem Cafe's truck (known to me as the Westport Gyro Cart). Of course, there's also bunches of restaurants/cafes right next door in the City Market as well.

The Pitch has a full FAQ writeup on their site with more details. Good luck, take public transportation, have fun, and be safe!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dear Boulevard--12oz Smokestacks

Dear Boulevard,

Thank you for putting more and more Smokestack series beers into 12oz bottles. Back in 2010 when you made your core Smokestack line-up available in 12oz bottles, it completely changed the way I drank in non-craft beer bars. Places like Zoo Bar, a fine hole in the wall dive, with no beer selection to speak of, started carrying these Little Smokies. Now I don’t have to drink shitty beer at places like that!

Fast forward to now. I see the upcoming release of Imperial Stout aged in Whiskey barrels will be put into 12oz bottles and I couldn’t be happier. A 750ml bottle of 11% beer is a huge commitment, especially if I have to finish it myself. It's a very common occurrence when I'm out at a bar and I don't order something because it comes in a big bottle. I'll just order it when I can share it with friends, I think to myself. Sometimes that time never comes and I miss out on trying that beer.

I applaud this move and hope to see more of the limited release Smokestack beers in 12oz bottles.


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