The hope for new Kansas City breweries, much like our hope for our hometown sports teams, has been dashed quite a few times in the past. Veteran players such as Boulevard and McCoy’s provide a great foundation for the next wave of talent. These breweries would thrive in any market, even a beer soaked-town like Fort Collins, or why not… even Prague.
The question that has been on many people’s minds is the state of our minor leagues. Spurts of talent have been evident in the past, with Doodle Brewing popping up for a bit, based out of Independence. Their Dubbel was sold only in 22oz bomber bottles, a unique packaging idea that Kansas City had not yet grown accustomed to. The beer was on point: deep amber, almost black color, aromas of clove, spice, and cinnamon. The flavor was pleasant, the price excellent. Unfortunately, Doodle has not been heard from in a while. Their are rumors that the brewer is busy in the Kansas City brew scene, preparing for his next step.
Wilderness Brewing exploded onto the social media scene a few years ago. Their promise of sour beers caught the attention of many craft beer drinkers. Sour beers are now the second fastest growing beer style (behind IPA, of course). I am eagerly awaiting their arrival.
Several other breweries announced their plans, offering promise to the palates of Kansas Citians. Some of these brewers I knew, from a stint at a local beer supply store, others I had yet to meet. One thing was certain: a new generation of brewers was growing in Kansas City. Finally, the minor league system was stocked.
Enthusiasm, talent, and charisma will take a person far. Starting a business requires all three of those qualities. Inevitably, one is faced with the brick wall. Whether it is an absentee partner, lack of cash, no location, KCMO special ordinances, or that slow soul-sapping thing that happens, their are a million reasons not to proceed. Some breweries break through, and just getting the doors open is a big accomplishment.
A foundation for better beer brewers is being helped by the creation of Brew Lab, a unique beer supply store that allows you to brew your own on the premises. The owners are very personable and have a big enthusiasm for craft beer. It makes me very happy to know that these people will be answering questions to novice brewers. Thank goodness for some kindness in the homebrew supply scene!
Now that the Big Rip has gotten to the big show, Kansas City’s brewing culture might be on the cusp of change. A package brewery, the analogy to baseball here would be like a power-hitting shortstop: the possibility of some home runs have everybody excited. They are providing KC’s first gluten-free beer, a raspberry beer that will hopefully be available in bottles or kegs (until then, check it out at the brewery).
The next wave is tearing it up in the minors: Cinder Block Brewing has a beautiful brewing system, and a cadre of tasters who have extolled the delicious suds they have imbibed. Kansas City Bier Company is promising German lagers and an opening date of October, 2013. There are other, fleeting rumors of more talent. Bourgmont Brewing Co seems to be close to a call-up. I would be remiss to not mention the next big brewery: KC Brewing Co, providing much needed brewery merchandise to thirsty customers.
Is KC Brewing Co the ramblings of a disgruntled brewery employee? This was my first thought, but the twitter account provides too many red herrings. I have come to appreciate whomever is behind this, as they have exposed a raw nerve in the KC brew scene: much brouhaha, little brew, ha ha (actually, sniffle sniffle). Much like the playoff-bound Chiefs, our recent additions will perhaps create the next great dynasty, and if not, at least we will have some fun on social media talking about it.
Vermont, Oregan, Montana, Alaska, and Colorado. These states have the highest breweries per capita. Would it hurt for Kansas City to have a few more?
Check out Pat Mullin’s article on the rookie class of breweries, an inspiration for this post.