Monday, June 3, 2013

Brew Lab to bring brewing to the masses

The buzz has been growing (no pun intended) about a new Overland Park business resident that will be bringing beer brewing to the masses. Brew Lab, a concept created by Kevin Combs, Clay Johnston, Justin Waters and Matthew Hornung, will be opening up in the space at 8004 Foster Street. However, Brew Lab isn't just a standard homebrew shop (though they do plan to sell brewing equipment and ingredients for use at home).

Brew Lab is exactly what the name implies; an open 'lab' where the public can go to try their hand at brewing; think of one of those places with kitchen space where you can make dinners to take home...except with beer. The setup at Brew Lab will be a resource for customers with a range of brewing experience. Those that have already done basic brewing at home can have the opportunity to brew on a bigger scale and on professional equipment. And those who have never even touched a racking cane can have a curated, instructional experience through their first attempt at beer-making. For people that may be wary of spending money on a homebrew starter kit, Brew Lab will offer a great way to test the brewing waters to see if the hobby is for them.

Since Brew Lab's future opening was first announced on Friday, I've seen a number of comments that questioned the legality of Brew Lab's planned operation. I reached out to the partners and found out that they have worked closely with the State of Kansas throughout the development of their business plan and practices. The government was helpful in navigating them through the legal minutiae of what Brew Lab can and can't do for customers, what customers must do themselves during the brewing process, etc. They noted that they wanted to ensure full legality of their operation while also offering customers the most hands-on experience possible.

Brew Lab is still in the construction phase, but they expect to start running test batches in a couple weeks, and are looking to have a soft opening in six weeks or so. Like their Facebook page for updates, and stay tuned here, as we will be sure to get a more in-depth look once they are close to opening.


  1. Oh my god! That is within drunken stumbling distance of my house! So excited to have a homebrew shop that close if nothing else.

    I've heard of brew your own pilot systems like this in other places. It's a cool idea. Never thought KC would be a place to see one crop up. Really excited to see how this progresses.

  2. Any info on their brewing background or what kind of system they will have available? Will you be able to drink your creations on site?

  3. To try and answer the above question, although I don't know the specifics of how Brew Lab is going to work, your "creations" are going to take awhile before they are able to drink. Normal fermentation in a single-stage is 7-10 days. Then, you bottle it and wait another 3 weeks or so.

    Therefore, it will be interesting to learn whether you keep coming back to the Brew Lab for each step, or do you try to navigate a 5-gallon carboy full of wort home in your car? Don't take any sharp turns!!!!

  4. I'd be interested in hearing more about what they can/can't do.

  5. I know that the culinary institute in Downtown OP had a brewing course which they offered at one time. I was told they made two 5 gallon batches over about 4 weeks which I believe they fermented on site, and bottled on site. I don't know if they continue to offer the course but I do see where they could run in to major issues with KS law.

    As far as getting 5 gallons of wort home to ferment, I believe there were 150 participants that just did that for Boulevard wort. Homebrewers do it all the time for group brews. It's no big deal, give it a kiss goodnight, throw a blanket over it, and drive like you are putting your baby to sleep in the car. Relax, have a homebrew.

  6. Glad to see there is some curiosity and interest in this project. I've reached back out to them to see if they'd be willing to expand on the process and answer some of the questions above. Will let you know what I find out!

  7. Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.

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