Tallgrass, KC Beer Blog will miss you!

Just as I was bragging about all the new breweries showing up in Kansas City, I received the horrifying news about Tallgrass Brewery. The MHK Business news, sent out a press release stating that Tallgrass will be suspending brewing production effective Friday August 24th. The first thing I did after hearing the news, was call the Myces brothers to have a group crying/therapy session while reminiscing about the Tallgrass glory days. The second thing I did was get to Bubbles as quickly as possible to buy some 8 Bit, Velvet Rooster, and Buffalo Sweat. As of Friday 10 a.m, I was the third person to stock up on Tallgrass. The race is on.
The 8-Bit, Velvet Rooster, and Buffalo Sweat I scooped up

Tallgrass Brewery, was founded in 2006, by Jeff Gill, a self-taught homebrewer. Tallgrass is best known for distributing their beer in cans before cans were trendy. They exclusively canned their beer after realizing the environmental and practicality of canning in 2010 (Tallgrass Canifesto). Most of their beers were in a “4 pack of pounders.” Tallgrass also canned 12-ounce beers and the elusive 19.6 ounce Wooden Rooster can (if anyone can find the Myces brothers a Wooden Rooster can in the Greater KC area, please contact me ASAP).

I have many fond memories of going to Saturday brewery tours in their old brewery on the east side of Manhattan, Kansas. For a five dollar bill, you would receive a can shaped pint glass and six beer tickets. Each ticket would give you a tasting of one of their beers, but if you asked politely a seventh tasting was occasionally poured. Every hour another brewery tour would depart. After the tour you could play foosball, play the original Nintendo, or tell stories on one of their 90’s couches. The best days of the brewery tours were when they would occasionally tap a firkin that caused people to go bats#$% crazy over. There was even the occasional brewery tour attendee that thought it was a good idea to use all six of their tickets on Velvet Rooster, an 8.5% Belgian Tripel. You know where they spent the rest of the afternoon. Unfortunately, I was never able to tour their new, beautiful, current location that they moved into in 2014.
Tallgrass tour tasting glasses circa 2013

Tallgrass’ booth at Parkville beerfest was tough to beat. They always had a plethora of stickers, and an abundance of beers. Proof that they were always accommodating to the Parkville Brewfest drunks (thanks to my sober driver C. W. Myces), I even received the exclusive VIP white koozie at the 2014 beerfest, and it has been my official beerfest koozie ever since. I will also never forget beerfest or should I say floodfest of 2017 (Check our facebook and twitter for more pictures). My version of the story was a 30 minute heart to heart with Jeff, while I’m sure Jeff’s version was a 30 second handshake and high five. Either way, he braved the elements, mingled with the common folk, and took the time to say hello.

Images from Parkville floodfest 2017 and the Myces official beerfest koozie from 2014, it has seen better days

Based on her excitement I think She just shook hands with Jeff Gill

Tallgrass’ flagship beer was Buffalo Sweat, an oatmeal cream stout with an ABV of 5.0%. While I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, their winter seasonal Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat was even better. Some of my other favorite beers were their 8-Bit Pale Ale, Pub Ale, and Zombie Monkey. Zombie Monkey was a fall seasonal hoppy porter brewed for the “post-apocalyptic world” was released with a grip can so you could “grab a can and take a stand”. Let us not forget their Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat. It was a spectacular wheat beer brewed with Nugget and Citra hops, but also added a great word to your vocabulary, as in Johnie Myces’ halcyon summer was 2014, the year he lost his virginity.

Tallgrass cans courtesy of the Myces can collection

While I am going through the seven stages of grieving, I am reminded by this inspirational quote, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller. I HAVE hope because the Tallgrass Taphouse in beautiful downtown Manhattan will remain open. Per the article listed above: “Through the Tap House, the Tallgrass brand will continue to be here for our local and regional beer drinkers. The Tallgrass Tap House will continue to serve the Tallgrass Brewing beers in the coming weeks and new creations from the Tap House team will be on rotation. Although this is not the outcome we hoped for, we’re glad that Tallgrass beer will still be enjoyed in the town where it all began. Evan Grier, LOLO Hospitality, Tallgrass Tap House”

The Taphouse food is awesome, especially the pork belly poutine. While we are hopeful Tallgrass will find a new investor, my sources tell me they have three weeks to get a new investor before it becomes very difficult to keep the brand viable. Fingers crossed.

This experience has taught me to continually support those breweries that you love. My second favorite Kansas brewery is Kansas Territory in Washington, Kansas. If you are sick of supporting foreign conglomerations, buy Kansas Territory’s Life Coach Lager. If you buy a 30 pack of their Lager with the tagline “Suck It Up”, you will get a free koozie. The Myces Brothers will do about anything for a koozie. It is the PERFECT beer for the upcoming tallgate season, and you can encourage your macro-drinking friends to drink local and support the bi-state area!

According to MHK Business article, Tallgrass is looking for investors. If anyone out there has a rich uncle, maybe you can help bring Zombie Monkey and Pub Ale back from life support.

I would like to raise a pounder can (get them while you can in KCMO and KCKS) and toast Tallgrass: “I pray Tallgrass is not gone, but you will never be forgotten. The green trucker hat will remain a mainstay in the Myces wardrobe, regardless of what Mrs. Myces says. Cheers my friend!!!!!!!”

Update: The Aug 14th Manhattan Mercury article TAPPED OUT painted a more hopeful situation. “Gill, who founded the brewery in 2006, said Tallgrass is “very close” to getting the investors it has been seeking. This would lead to a new group taking controlling interest in the company.” It aslos aid Tallgrass “has about two to three months of product left.” I will raise a glass of Buffalo Sweet tonight with hopes that Tallgrass is able to emerge stronger and with years of Zombie Monkey ahead of us.


Brett A. Myces.

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