A while ago (apologize for the delay due to work and holidays) I had the pleasure of attending a beer event for the first time as a KC Beer Blog representative. Which, in and of itself, is an exciting and memorable experience. But, what made it even more fun, informational, and almost reach a level of respectful debauchery, was getting to relish in its glory with one of our new content writers: Mike Palikij. I would like to take this opportunity to enthusiastically introduce Mike Palikij to the KC Beer Blog family.
Mike would like to say a few words introducing himself. As with most things, Mike is not following the correct order of events…
Like Todd said, I probably should have made an introduction post before writing this, but what can I say? I may have entered into a mild state of inebriation, which lead it to slip my mind... I’ll do my best to get around to it later. However, I would like to mention, that while I do enjoy all beers, I specifically enjoy porters, IPAs, and Ciders. If I’m drinking everyday beer though, you’re just as likely to find me a few glasses deep in a lager.
Let’s start from the top: (The list of beers Mike and Todd drank during the drafting process of this Pulitzer-Prize-eligible entry is located at the end of this post)
The Adventures of Mike and Todd
Part 1 - The Journey: So Close, But Made So Far
We decided to take advantage of the extra hour our passes allowed for by leaving Mike’s condo early in preparation for time to not only try even more beers, but in turn, get the bonus of the feeling that those extra tastings would award us. Todd urged us to leave early to account for extra time to get some candy (cigarettes). Next up was the trip to Tapped: The Ultimate Craft Beer Festival.
It was a beautiful, sunny day so we turned down a free ride from my (Mike’s) girlfriend in order to experience some culture on the new public transit offered in downtown KC. While the 2 block walk to the stop took no time at all, we soon realized that it might have been faster if we just walked straight to the event, however, like the young, know-it-alls we are… This proved to be a major drawback, as we waited for the trolley, for almost 30 minutes. Once on the trolley though, we immediately regretted our decision; packed in we inadvertently made a Mike and Todd sandwich for an unsuspecting tourist of KC (Yeah, they exist).
After a somewhat logistical nightmare, we arrived at the Sprint Center.
Part 2 - The Arrival: Wild Goose Chase
The person in charge of this event was kind enough to provide us access to the employee entrance located in the back of the Sprint Center. This ultimately lead to an adventure in and of itself, just to get there. We finally found the entrance after asking a kind member of the security staff and quickly averting ourselves from an impending sequel to the early 2000s Bumfight series (two homeless guys screaming at each other).
After navigating the labyrinth (Shout out to David Bowie) that is the Sprint Center’s underground, we arrived to the event. After literally pulling the curtains back, we walked out onto the floor, somewhat less flashy than a WWE superstar. Our initial reaction was equal measures of excitement and nervousness.
Booths circled the floor, and we saw approximately 150 people split between the floor, the stands, and the founders room. A little bit less people than we were expecting, but the set-up was very well organized and the room was filled with anticipation. Groups were able to migrate from stand to stand, getting a taste of each brewery's samples.
As we walked up to taste the nectar, we realized we were but two men yearning for the sweet taste of passionately brewed hops, but when we reached out in anticipation were told, “Nay, you do not have the required receptacle to receive, sorry.”
So we began the 2nd longest trek of the day, up the coliseum stairs to the Founders Room. After entering, and tearing our eyes away from both past and present Miss Kansas and Miss Missouri, we found the end of one quest, only to begin a new one. We acquired our Holy Grail for the day: The Tasting Glass.
Down to Business:
Chapter 1: Initial Disclosures and Compliments to the Festival
For sake of full disclosure, we were fortunate enough to be provided with complimentary VIP passes, which offered us entry to the event an hour early, access to the founder’s club, a voucher for a free meal/or $10 worth of candy/popcorn/circus treats, access to 6 additional exclusive beer selections with no lines.
Chapter 2: Ticket Categories and What They Have to Offer
- GA ($39): Entry and 3 hours of beer tasting with music* and games*
- Early Access ($59): GA + an additional hour of tasting
- VIP ($74): Early admission + private access to the Founder’s Club, complete with a patio, and choice of meal, access to the 6 exclusive beer selections with little to no lines.
Chapter 3: Beers, Beets, Battlestar Galactica
Here is a list of the beers we partook in at the event:
We started in the Founder’s Room:
Sam Adam’s - Kosmic Mother Funk; American Wild Ale
Martin City - Apposite - Pale Ale
The Mitten - Virtue Cider - Bourbon Barrel Aged Cider
Deschutes - Black Butte XXVII - Pomegranate Bourbon & Scotch Barrel Aged Porter; Black Butte XXVIII - Orange Bourbon & Scotch Barrel Aged Porter
Then we made it down to the floor:
*Chouffe - Dobbelen IPA Tripel: KC Beer Blog Reader Quote of the Day: Kent Bourzikas: “This is the best beer noone’s drinking.” (In reaction to the short lines at the Chouffe Brewery’s booth).*
Traveler Beer Co: Winter Shandy
Big Sky - Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout
Ballast Point - Pineapple Sculpin
Crane Brewing - Tea Weisse; Beet Weisse
Breckenridge - Mango and Pumpkin IPAS
River North - Quandary
Sante Fe - Happy Camper
Lagunitas - Lil Sumpin Sumpin; IPA; Aunt Sally
Leinenklugels - Bevarian Dunkel; Sunset Wheat
Guinness - Nitro IPA
Founders - Old Curmudgeon Old Ale
Chapter 4 Our Analysis
We weren’t sure what to expect based off of mixed reviews we heard by word of mouth. There were mentions that attendees wouldn’t meet any brewers, the ticket prices are too high, the fest would only have beers you have already tried multiple times, etc.
But, we met one of the managers at Crane Brewing and really enjoyed our discussion with him, and discussed the possibility of setting up a sampling and tour. And although most of the brewing companies were well-known, they were sampling new or seasonal beers that you do not get a lot of opportunities to try at your local watering hole.
As for the prices: Mike and I both thought that the ticket prices were reasonable for an all you can drink event. But, we did respectfully disagree on which tickets were the best bang for your buck.
I thought that the VIP passes were the best deal and the purchase price was very justifiable. Although they were $74, it came with $10 worth of food, and access to the founder’s room, which offered some exclusive tastings. This, coupled with the extra hour of tastings, justfied the purchase in my book.
I think that the best purchase option was the early access tickets. The food was only “ok,” and I did not think that the founders room was worth it. Although you got free food and a couple extra beers, I think it would be more justifiable just to eat before you go and then just take advantage of the extra hour on the beer tasting floor.
- Crane Brewing:
- Tea Weisse
- Delicious for any occasion and very refreshing
- One of the best sour beers I’ve tried
- Beet Weisse
- One of the more unique beers
- Would be perfect served in a limoncello-type glass with a beet and goat cheese salad
- Mango IPA
- I’m not a huge fan of fruity beers, but the subtleness of the mango made this beer spectacular
- Dobbelen IPA Tripel
- I am going to have to agree with the KC Beer Blog (Kent Bourzikas) reader on this one
- No one was drinking this beer, but it was incredible and I had never heard of it before
If any of you KC Beer Blog readers attended the event PLEASE COMMENT BELOW about your personal experience and opinions
Epilogue - List of Beers Consumed During Writing Process
Until next time friends: Sláinte