Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Two More Great KC Winter Warmers on the Way

Considering it was 12 ºF when I left the house this morning, I'd say the weather has made a definite turn on us. I don't know about you, but I'm craving strong beers right now. Lucky for me, two of my favorite breweries in the area are turning out polar opposite cold weather beers. KC Bier Co has a smooth, refined doppelbock out soon called Winter Bock, and Free State is releasing their monstrous over the top barrel aged imperial stout, Owd Mac's, in bottles for the first time on Saturday!


Winter Bock from Kansas City Bier Co

It's a great looking beer...and it tastes good too!

Kansas City Bier Co is releasing their new Winter Bock starting next week. It's their strongest beer yet at 8% abv. In order to make the beer as strong as they did while still doing the traditional double decoction mash, they had to brew three batches of the beer over a two day period to fill their fermenter and then use a full 4 barrels of yeast starter. They lagered the beer for 12 weeks in order to round out and clarify the beer. I do not envy their brewer.

All the hard work definitely paid off though. Even at 8%, the alcohol in the beer is barely perceptible, with only a nice warming feeling after drinking a bit. The long lagering also gave the beer a super smooth, crisp, and clean character. 

It's got a lot of refined Munich malt character on the nose, with subtle caramel, toffee, and chocolate aromas from the crystal and carafa malts. The malt flavor and sweetness is moderately high, but well balanced by a good dose of hops for the style. The beer is also really well attenuated and definitely doesn't have that overly sweet, cloying character that I dislike about a lot of doppelbocks. 

They're releasing the beer metro-wide on November 24 at select bars, and they'll have it first in their tap room on November 25. They're also hosting a tap takeover at Rock & Run for those of you in the northland on the 25th. They're bringing their Dunkel, Hefeweizen, Maibock, Hopfen Doof & Winterbock to that event. 

In other news from KC Bier Co, they're going to start offering tours of the brewery on Saturdays starting Nov. 29. The tours will be given on a first come first served basis, and cost $10 per person. For the price, you'll get a KCBC glass to keep, a full pint pour, and several tasters throughout the tour.


Owd Mac's from Free State


Free State has been brewing their Owd Mac's imperial stout for a number of years now, but will be releasing it in bottles for the first time ever this year! This is awesome news, since it is one of their best beers, but at 10%+ abv, it's hard to make a road trip to Lawrence to get a snifter or two at the brew pub and then drive home.

Owd Mac's will be on sale at the production
brewery this Saturday from 11a-2p
Instead of shipping out a handful of cases to KC and sending everyone on a frenzied liquor store scavenger hunt, they're putting on a special release sale at the loading dock of their production brewery. The sale is going to be this Saturday, Nov. 22 from 11a to 2p at their production facility at 1923 Moodie Road, Lawrence, KS. They'll accept cash and credit cards at the sale.

The beer is 12.3% abv this year, with an amazingly high starting gravity of 26.5ºP/1.106 SG. Even with this starting gravity, the beer is super well attenuated and well hopped, so it isn't left with a syrupy cloying aftertaste. To keep the yeasties alive and get over 80% attenuation out of a beer with that high of a starting gravity is a feat in itself.

After they brewed the beer, they let it age for two full years in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels. So in addition to the roast, chocolate, coffee, caramel and hop flavors and aromas from the brewing and fermentation, you get the added flavors from the barrel of vanilla, rye whisky, and oak. Add to this some extra plum, apricot, toffee, and sherry flavors from the long aging and oxidation of melanoidins, and you've got one complex beer. The bottles are going to be wax dipped, so they'll be perfect for aging also.

Individuals can purchase up to 4 Owd Mac's bottles at $15/bottle. You'll also be able to buy Free State merchandise and pints of a variety of other Free State beers. You can explore the Free State facility, and brewers will be on hand to answer questions. And it goes without saying, but with the brewery only producing 60 cases of the stuff, the supplies are very limited. You should probably think about getting there closer to 11am if you really want some.

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