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You may have actually already been into The Belfry, as they've been unofficially open every night the last couple weeks. I stopped over at the end of last week to check it out and talk with Celina and Brad Isch, who has been a beer manager with Royal Liquor and The Bier Station in the past, about what the future holds for The Belfry and why it's so unique to the Kansas City beer scene. You can also drop by any night before January 9th after 4 PM and see the place for yourself while having a beer or two.
They are certainly aiming to make this a monument in the KC beer community - with a combination of a well curated set of taps, an excellent kitchen, beer education sessions, a consistent list of events, and a different atmosphere than most beer locations, they are really going for it.
They've already got a beer dinner set for January 28th with Perennial. They'll be bringing in kegs of Abraxas, Hereafter, and one beer that it completely new to KC among others - Brad wouldn't tell me which, he likes to leave some surprise in things. Cory King will be on hand talking and teaching about his beers during the event. Event's like these will be two-fold at The Belfry, as the dinner will be held in the Collection restaurant and then something like a tap-takeover will happen back in The Belfry afterward.
They also want to make these very interactive and are going to plan activities alongside their dinners in the future - think blending your own sour, something Celina did at Julian back when she released one of her personal New Belgium Sour blends.
Other things you can expect to see are mini-Cicerone tastings where Celina and Brad will sit down with a group of people and pour a few small beers of the same style and they'll teach you want you're looking to taste and the differences between the beers. In February they have a "Beer vs. Wine, Master vs. Master" dinner planned where Boulevard's Master Cicerone, Neil Witte, and Master Sommelier, Doug Frost, will be curating the night's pairings.
In time, they're shooting to install a 1 bbl brewing system in the basement, where Celina will brew beer to be served up in The Belfry and her other restaurants. They will also be open at 7 AM Monday - Saturday, and while you can have yourself a beer, some of the best coffee from around town will be served up as well - The Roasterie, Oddly Correct, Broadway Cafe, and Benetti's.
Lastly, The Belfry is having their own club membership - and the perks are pretty great. It includes a pint glass to take home, a tulip with your name etched on it that will be kept at the bar, a 33 Beers booklet to make notes, 10% off your entire bill on Monday & Tuesday, and $1/$2/$3 off bottles on Thursday. You'll also be able to register for their events before the general patrons. The membership is $40/year, but if you get in there before Thursday you can get one for $30 for the first year.
Also, all during the month of January, if you eat at Collection 20% of your bill can be used as credit in The Belfry or at Julian in Brookside.
Overall, I'm impressed with what I've seen so far. It seems to me if they accomplish what they've set their sights on, The Belfry will grow in a great place to grab a beer and maybe a little more. The atmosphere is quiet and intimate, the beer is about as good as you can get sitting at a bar, and Celina and Brad are very accessible and love to talk beer with anyone. They've also got one of the better bourbon shelves in town too - if you're looking for Pappy, you may have found your place. I plan to find myself their often.
To celebrate their Grand Opening, The Belfry is letting KC Beer Blog give away a membership to one of our readers. All you've got to do is like their facebook page and follow them on twitter if you have an account - once you've done that, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "The Belfry Contest" and we'll notify you by Thursday the 9th by noon if you've won. Deadline to enter is 11:59 PM on Wednesday, January 8th.