Thursday, September 4, 2008

Red, White & Brew

Next month, Red, White & Brew: An American Beer Odyssey will be released. In the book, the author, Brian Yaeger, took a beer trip across the US and visited 26 breweries, 17 brewpubs and one homebrewer. In an email conversation with the author, I found out that one of the chapters of his book is about Free State. As part of that chapter, Brian mentions his Boulevard beer tour. He was a huge fan of both breweries.

So if you're interested in reading an outsider's take on Free State and Boulevard (the best 2 brewers in the area) pre-order the book. I'm anxiously awaiting it now.


  1. Your comment on these two breweries being the best two here should underscore the fact of just how unimaginative, uninventive and uninspired the microbrewery/brewpub scene is here. After living on the west coast for 4 years, then moving to KC 2 years ago I can tell you a trip to a brewery here almost always disapoints. Life is too short to drink average beer.

  2. Yikes. Not sure why Andy is so hostile. I still live on the West Coast and while yes, there are dozens and dozens of breweries producing various beers from the tried-and-true to the fascinating-and-experimental, I'd say Free State & Blvd hold their own and, better yet, without them, where would our friend Andy get super fresh & local beer? Lost Abbey or Russian River or Hair of the Dog ain't your neighborhood brew anymore.

  3. Thanks for chiming in Brian. I think Free State or Boulevard do some excellent beer styles. But, for the most part, they don't experiment a whole lot and don't do anything innovative. The local market just isn't robust enough to support something like Magnolia or Russian River.

    But, I totally believe as more and more people make Boulevard Wheat or Pale Ale their regular order, the local market will become robust enough to support strange Belgian cask beers.

    Those will be heady days indeed, but for now, we do have to kind of settle for top of the line pale ales in Boulevard and Free State.

  4. Twenty years ago, Free State's beers WERE challenging, compared to the national beer climate. A copper pale ale next to a can o' Schlitz seemed pretty "extreme." By today's standards, not to much, but there's also something to be said for making something steady and sturdy. Sometimes you don't want a highfallutin' hamburger w/ endive and chipotle-wasabi tepenade, you want a really kick-ass burger. As for Blvd, I'm drying to try that bourbon barrel quad I just read about. True, a KC brewery has little business making a bourbon barrel ale, but neither does a Chicago-based one, or for that matter an Oregon-based one. That's why my favorite one actually comes from Kentucky. By that same measure, Kansas wheat beers should put California ones in their place.

    Luckily, with all these breweries, everyone everywhere gets to try 'em fresh'n'local.