New KC Brews Making Moves

"The breweries and brewpubs will come." It was a phrase I used in my 2012 year-in-review post as a way to hopefully instill a sense of patience and optimism about the future of beer in Kansas City. Well, this week, it's become apparent that we may not need as much patience as I thought, and the optimism is well-deserved. Because in the first month of 2013 alone, we have some great advances from three different up-and-coming breweries/brewpubs in the area.

To start with, on Sunday, the gentlemen from Wilderness Brewing announced that they had spent the day getting more equipment purchased. After a drought of updates from the Kickstarter-funded upstart brewery, it was encouraging to hear from Mike and Nate and know that there was still progress being made toward their dream of making Wilderness a reality. They noted that while a space had not been secured yet, they felt closer and hinted that the West Bottoms may be the potential area for the brewery.

Then on Tuesday, Green Room Burgers and Beer announced at their first test batch of beer had hit the tap at the restaurant. Another one of the brewers that I had featured in last year's Rookie Class post, it was great to see that Michael Ptacek was able to deftly leap through all the legal hoops to get his Papa Louie's brewed and available to the public. Get down to Green Room and try a glass of this Scottish 60-shilling, which, if you've been keeping track, is the first beer to come from a new KC brewer in nearly 2 years since Doodle Dubbel was released.

And finally, today, The Big Rip Brewing Company, located in North Kansas City, took a huge step forward by earning their TTB Brewing Permit after a 3 month wait. If you haven't been keeping up with Big Rip, they have been doing a fantastic job of chronicling their brewery development via social media. From drywall to the first brew kettle to even the installation of the front door, I've really enjoyed the way they've told their story and are giving people in Kansas City an inside look at their process of starting a new brewery. While they still have to get State, County and City permits (and of course building and health inspections) completed as well, this is a notable accomplishment.

So besides these three, who else should you watch in 2013 to see what kind of progress is being made with beer in Kansas City?

I've previously mentioned Cinder Block Brewing, and while their updates have slowed recently (the last major announcement was that they submitted TTB paperwork on December 6th), they are definitely worth keeping an eye on this year.

I don't know many details about Option C Brewery, but their recent updates note that they have ordered equipment (and are building more) and have some space, so I can only expect there will be some growth in their operation during 2013.

One of the newest brewery hopefuls, Wakarusa Brewery, intrigues me; they intend to open up a bit outside of Kansas City, in Eudora, Kansas, and are developing their brewery and bar inside an old abandoned antique mall. Their website has a layout plan and a checklist of to-do items that will be marked off as they move toward their goal. They also intend to brew mead along with beer, which, well, I just think is cool. They've given a hopeful opening period of Fall 2013, so I will definitely be keeping an eye on their checklist to see how it comes along.

So forget "the breweries will come." The breweries are already here and on their way. 2013 has the potential to be a wild ride for beer in Kansas City, and I can't wait.

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