Brewery Spotlight: Border Brewing

“We’re trying to bridge the gap between beer drinkers and beer lovers.”

Eric Martens leaned back against the couch in his taproom, crossing one leg over the other, ankle to knee. Around him hung photos of Royals players, drawings of KC skylines and other local art. More than most other breweries in the area, Border Brewing embraces the full culture of the Crossroads. The first Brewery/Taproom in KCMO, Border sits a stone’s throw from Grinders and has recently built a side patio to accommodate their overflowing First Fridays crowd.

“We’re set to release our Experimental IPA #4 sometimes next week,” he continued.  “It’ll be a hazy IPA, with floral, piney notes instead of the usual citrus.” Border has 10 taps available, 4 of which are IPAs. The latest IPA available is their Experimental IPA, something they are continually playing around with. Border is a veritable IPA laboratory if nothing else. It’s easy to be, since they don’t yet bottle, and for now, that’s much to their credit. Everything in their tap room is less than 2 months old. This is important with IPAs especially, since their flavor profile tends to change with each passing day.

Eric said that is the next stage, however, for the brewery. They are currently looking for avenues of distribution. First on the list is to simply start having bottles of favorites for sale inside the brewery. Next, they’ll have to look at expanding their space in order to bottle or can for mass markets. It seems a logical next step considering how busy this brewery gets, and one a lot of KC consumers are waiting for.

Homebrewing since 2006, Eric and Border Brewing’s success has been a long time coming. He received a degree in chemical engineering from K State but found a love in the science of brewing. With his wife, Tracy, they opened the doors of Border in February of 2015. Now they have their main brewmaster, Kelly Wing, and together they continue to push the boundaries of beer making. Many fans are aware of Border’s #Webrewforyou campaign which happens 3 or 4 times a year and takes a survey from their fans on which beer they should make next. Eric chuckled when he recollected past winners.

“Sometimes I’m really surprised at the concoctions we come up with that people love and vote for. We’ve had some interesting beers.”

Their next “Brew For You” campaign will begin again this fall, either in September or October. It only takes roughly 4 to 6 weeks for a beer to go from vote to tap, and the quick turn-around definitely cultivates brand loyalty.

Beyond the chosen beer, Border is planning on releasing their Rye IPA this fall and their Imperial Coffee Stout this winter. The Imperial Coffee Stout is Border’s beer made in partnership with Blip Roasters in the West bottoms, and this year will be the first year it is bottled. When I asked about the likelihood that Border could experiment with a sour beer, Eric agreed that it was in the works. “It’s hard,” he said, “maintaining the line between catering to craft beer drinkers and also to the casual beer drinker.” However, if you’re a sour beer aficionado, just be patient and you shall be rewarded.

So come on over to Border one of these evenings for a cool beer on their new patio. Eric admitted he probably won’t be the one behind the bar anymore since they’ve gotten busier, but they employ some excellent staff who’ll help you pick out which beer would suit your pallet. In the future, this blog will post upcoming events from keg tappings to Milk Stout Float nights. Keep an eye out for the best that this brewery has to offer!

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