Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Burgin' and Bakin' - 2 New JoCo bars reviewed
Posted by Pat
First stop, The Burg and Barrel. Now, admittedly, I approached this new Overland Park "pub" with some skepticism. The PR that I had seen on it said that it was going to have a craft beer focus and even on the website, they make the lofty claim that "...our ever changing 12 taps and 22 bottles of craft beers are guaranteed to excite the biggest of beer geeks." After reviewing the beer lineup on the same site, I wasn't overly impressed, but decided to head in anyway to see if the taps had done any of the aforementioned 'ever changing.'
Unfortunately, my skepticism was justified upon arrival. On entering, the space is nice (it's a remodel of the former Peanut spot at 7042 W. 76th Street) and the shuffleboard table caught my eye (yeah, I'll admit it, I'm a bar game whore). But as I sat down and perused the beer menu, it was like reading an essay on thermodynamics written by an 8-year-old; it didn't make a lot of sense and they clearly didn't know what they were doing.
For starters, the draft list was not anything impressive. 12 taps; PBR, Flying Monkey Amber (why is anyone still putting EITHER of these beers on draft?), Odell 90 Shilling, Rogue Dead Guy, Blue Moon, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and 5 Boulevard taps. Now don't get me wrong, 5 Boulevard taps is great and all, but bars in KC have to understand that having more than 3 Boulevard taps doesn't make you exciting or craft beer focused. I'd venture to say most restaurants, bars and grills out there have at least 3 Boulevard taps anymore.
On to the bottles. Oh. Not doing much better here. For starters, all the craft bottles are listed as 'Imports.' Now, I know this goes back to the unfortunate precedent of bars listing anything that's not a BMC product as an 'Import', but it's a stupid precedent, and again, if you're going to talk about exciting beer geeks, this is not the way to do it. To further the confusion on the bottles list, they list the beers from lightest to darkest. Which may be fine, except they don't list the styles next to the beer and the order was completely out of whack. Somehow Boulevard Grainstorm was smack in the middle, and Coors Batch 19 was listed as the darkest beer. Besides those two beers, the rest of the list wasn't especially impressive. Central States must have hit this place hard, because there is a lot of Boulevard and Lagunitas. The most interesting thing on the list is Rochefort Trappist 6 (one of the three ACTUAL imports on the list, go figure!).
Oh, did I mention there's no pricing on the beer menu? Yeah. None. So, enjoy asking the bartender every time you order how much your beer will be or just plan on embracing the element of surprise when you get your bill.
So I enjoyed my Lagunitas Sucks (which was coincidentally listed on the menu as Brown Shugga, ha, prank's on me!), and ordered food, hoping that the 'Burg' in the place's name would justify the food. Fortunately the meal was the saving grace of this place, otherwise I would have written it off completely. Though my El Diablo burger (jalapenos, pepper jack, hot sauce) didn't have the level of heat I'd look for in a food item bearing the devil's name, itwas still a generously sized burger with some very nicely prepared sweet potato fries on the side. I should also mention that the bartender who served me, Cooper, was an extremely friendly guy and did a great job.
I had high hopes that a true craft beer focused bar was going in just a mile from my home, but unfortunately my dreams did not pan out as hoped at The Burg and Barrel. Would it be a fun place to go on a random night to play shuffleboard and have the luxury of drinking a few non-BMC beers while just a short distance from my home? Sure. But is it a craft beer destination that they seem to be implying in their marketing? Definitely not. And that's what I had my fingers crossed for. Given the odd location (they aren't really visible off Metcalf), they will likely rely on a lot of word-of-mouth advertising, so if a beer crowd is what they want, they might want to tweak a few things.
Slightly saddened by this beer experience and still confused by the random bar stranger who gave me a sticker from Japan and kept saying 'Cool beans', I made my voyage over to Lenexa to visit the next new Johnson County beer bar hopeful; Brewbakers.
I originally heard about Brewbakers on Facebook, when the Kansas Craft Alliance posted about an Odell IPA cask event that they were holding there. The place was completely unfamiliar to me, which in a way made sense, because I don't travel to the 95th and Renner area often and the place just opened in mid January. I've since seen a number of Untappd check-ins from Brewbakers, so I thought I was due for a visit.
In comparison to The Burg and Barrel, Brewbakers is the hands-down winner in terms of beer selection. They have 42 taps overall, 6 for BMC products, 1 Guinness, 7 Boulevard, and the remainder are represented by a variety of craft breweries including Odell (Meddler had just blown), Deschutes, Green Flash (Green Bullet was on), Avery and Mother's, to name a few. I settled on an Odell Lugene (it wasn't served in a chilled shaker pint, hooray!) and sat back, taking a deep breath and trying to soak in the atmosphere.
I'll be blunt; if you're not into a sports bar and grill type of scene, this place is not for you. This was a Monday night around 8, with no major sporting events going on, and I'd venture to say the place was 80% full, if not more. For me, I don't necessarily have a problem with this type of environment. For Christ's sake, I live with a 3-year-old half the time, so my home life is in a constant state of noisy chaos. Plus, like I said, ADD, so a bunch of TV's might be confusing to me, but it's also oddly pleasing. So if you're like me and can tolerate kids here and there, having to overhear strangers do things like 'Two Wild and Crazy Guys' impressions, and awkward sexual tension between bartenders, then the tap list at Brewbakers is worth it, especially if you live close by and don't want to travel to either Barley's location.
In my opinion, Brewbakers is a welcome addition to the Johnson County beer bar world, and I hope they stick around for a while. As I said, I may not make it over that way often, but I'm glad that when I do, there's somewhere to go now. And with a lot of housing developments going up around that area, I don't doubt they'll stay busy. Hopefully they will also continue to have more events like the Odell IPA cask, because that would certainly encourage me to head that way on a more frequent basis.
My quest continues for the perfect craft beer bar to be opened in north Overland Park (around 79th and Antioch would be PERFECT), but until then, I'll just continue my cross-state travels to quench my thirst.
Beers, Places and More
#3 1/2 price 10% for KC 12.21.12 13th Street Bar and Grill 17 1809 Berliner Weisse 1924 Main 2-4-1 2012 2013 23rd Street Brewery 3 33 Beers 39th Street 4 Hands 4.20.13 512 Brewing 5th 75th Street Brewery 810 810 Zone Abita advice aftermarket Aladdin's All Star Pizza American Craft Beer Week American Royal Anchor Anchorage Brewing Anderson Valley Angel's Rock Bar Anniversary Anniversary Week app appetizers Arcadia Arizonas Avery bad Balanca's bar Bar 12 Bar an Eating and Drinking Establishment Bar Natasha Barley's BarleySwine Barleywine Week Base Camp Bash Riprock's Batson Liquor Beach Brewing Bear Republic beard beer Beer Appreciation beer bar Beer Can Appreciation Day Beer Cave Beer Chips Beer Dinner Beer festival Beer for the Weekend Beer Geek Week Beer gifts Beer Kitchen beer list Beer School beer storage Beer Tastings Beer Trends Beer Trivia BeerKC BeerKC Summer Beer Festival Beers to look for Beertopia Sunfest Bell's Berbiglia Berghoff Bier Station Big 12 Big Ass Stout Big Dave's Big Sky Birdie's Black Clover Blanc Burgers + Bottles Blast blog info Blonde Blood Into Wine Blue Grotto Blue Moon Blue Moose Bluestem Boddington's Bonefish Bonfire Brewing Boomer's Boozefish bottle bottle shop Boulder Brewing Boulevard Brasserie Dieu De Cel Breckenridge Brettanomyces Brew to Brew Brew Top Brewbakers BrewDog brewery brewery tours BrewFest Brewhaus brewmaster BRGR Bridgeport Brewing Bristol Brooklyn Brewery Brookside Brooksider Browne's Irish Market Bruery Bud Light budget Budweiser Buffalo Bill's Buffalo Wild Wings Bulldog bum wines Burg and Barrel Burger Stand burgers Burlesque Bus to Mother's Buzzard Beach Buzzz Coffee Bar Caddy Shack Cafe al Dente Caldera Callahan's calories can beer cancel candy Canned Craft Beer Day Cantillon Capital Brewery Cashew cask cask beer Castle Brewery Celina Tio Cellar Rat Central States Beverage CEO Chainbreaker changes charity Charlie Hooper's Chicago's Children's Mercy Chimay Chipotle Chocolate Ale Choklat Christmas Christopher Elbow CIB Brewery Cigar City Cinco de Mayo Cinder Block Brewery Cinder Block Brewing City Tavern Clarette Club Clips of Faith closed Coach's Coffee Ale Colby Garrelts Collaboration Colonial Club Colorado Columbia competition contest Coors Coors Light Cowtown Couriers Crabtree craft Crispin Crooked Stave Crossroads Crosstown Station Crown Valley Brewing customer service Czar Bar dating Dave Engbers De Koningshoeven Dead Canary definition Delirium Tremens delivery Demolition Man Deschutes design difference dish pizza Dixie Dogfish Head donate Doodle Brewing Doozy downtown Drafster draft dueling pianos Dundee Duvel EBT Eccentricity #3 Ed Hardy Elmar Weisser employees Empyrean Enjoy By Ernie Bigg's ethics Evil Twin expansion Fairway Fairway Liquor fall Famous Dave's Fantome fatherhood favorite beer Festivus Fifth Firestone Walker firkin Flat Branch Pub and Brewery Flea Market Flying Dog Flying Monkey Flying Saucer Fork and Screen Fort Collins Brewery Founders Fountainhead Fountainhead Brewing Four Loko Fox Barrel Franklin Roosevelt Fred P. Ott's Free State Fremont Brewing Friction Brewing Fritz Briem fundraiser Gents George Washington gift Gillis giveaway Glacé Ice Cream glassware Goebel Liquor Gomer's Gomer's Lenexa Good You Goose Island Gordon Biersch Gordon-Biersch Grain to Glass Grand Cru grand opening Grand Teton Granfalloon Grape and Gourmet Great Divide Great Nebraska Beer Fest Green Flash Green Room Burgers and Beer Grimbergen Grinders growler Grunauer Guest Rewards Guinness Halloween Hanson Hanukkah Happy happy hour Harling's Upstairs Harp Harpo's Harry's Harviestoun Hats Off To Homebrewers Haus Head Brewer Health HEBREW Helles Angels Hereford House hiring history Hitachino Nest Hoegaarden Hofstetten Holiday Hero Holidays home homebrew homebrewing Hop Fest Hop Vine Cutting HopFest Hoppin' Frog Hopslam Houlihans Howl at the Moon humor Imbibe Infinium infuse Interviews IPA Day Irish Festival Iron Homebrewer Ivan the Terrible Jack Stack Jack's Dixcount Liquor James Harden Jazz Jeff Bridges Jerry's Bait Shop Jesus 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