September 07, 2014

The Big Guys

Craft beer bars and craft beer drinkers around the country are notorious for dismissing the Big Guys. Who are the Big Guys you ask? Anheuser-Bush and Miller-Coors, and any other macro brewery in the US. The question is why are these breweries being dismissed? 

There is a perception within the craft beer community that the Big Guys brew beers that don’t have any flavor and are of low quality, but I’m here to say that this is a misguided perception. What is amazing about the Big Guys is that they brew beer that has the exact same outcome every time they release a beer. The Miller Lite you drink today will taste the exact same a week, month, year down the road. To brew a beer a light beer, in the quantities they brew, and make it the same every time is not easy. Brewing relies on agricultural materials that change every harvest. The Big Guys are great at analyzing the raw materials they receive and tweaking every single recipe so that every Miller Lite you drink is the same every single time. 

Another perception is that Pilsners and light beers are not high quality because they are light in color and flavor. Pilsners were one of the first beer styles brewed in Bohemia and Germany. This style was perfect for the Pilzen, Bohemia (now Czech Republic) climate and materials and ingredients available. Pilsners are brewed using light pale or pilsner malts, noble German hop varieties, and slow fermenting lager yeast. Pilsners showcase crisp, sweet, cereal malt flavors and spicy hops without residual yeast fermentation flavors that ale yeast would produce.

Due to new technology in the early 1840’s, malt kilning was improved which allowed for lightly kilned malt and not the dark, roasted, smoky malt that brewers previously were forced to use for their beer. The proximity of Bohemia to Germany allowed for Pilzn brewers to use the German noble Saaz hops in their brews, and the mountain region provided caves perfect for that close to 50 degree temperature that lager yeast loves for fermentation. Once fermentation was complete, brewers would move the light beer further into the caves and pack it with ice to cold store. During this process, the beer would sit on the yeast and allow the yeast to absorb intermediary fermentation character produced during fermentation. Once conditioning was complete, the finished beer was a crystal clear, straw colored easy drinking beer. Thanks to new crystal glassware, beer drinkers could see through this brilliantly light colored beer and appreciate its crisp, clean flavor and drinkability. This beer style quickly became the most brewed style in all of Europe and to this day is the number one brewed style. 

The light ingredients used in this style of beer don’t allow any room for error. If the beer is flawed, it is very noticeable. For example, the popular American style IPA is loaded with bitter, pungent, resinous, floral, citrus, piney hops which help to cover any undesirable fermentation off flavors. Pilsners don’t have that intense hopping or darker roasted malts to cover up fermentation flaws. Brewers of Pilsners have to ensure that the beer is brewed perfectly from start to finish. If not, undesirable flavors in the beer will be obvious. 

As craft beer bars or craft beer drinkers, we don’t have to always like to drink what the Big Guys brew, but we have to acknowledge what they do and how they’ve paved the way for craft breweries. Without the Big Guys, there wouldn’t be the large numbers of beer drinkers who may decide that they want to venture out to try new beers, at which point they realize that there are other beers available than light beer. 

There is a place for every beer. It may not be in the craft beer bar, but there is a place. Many craft breweries are starting to brew Pilsners and light lagers. Sierra Nevada has been brewing Summerfest for years, Pilsners and other craft lagers are the next thing in craft brewing and we have the Big Guys to thank. 

-Randyl Danner, Director of Beer, Beer KC

August 29, 2014

Char Bar Smoked Meats and Amusements

Char Bar is coming along, and we are looking forward to our tentative mid-October opening date. James Westphal and Mark Kelpe, are at it again with our newest concept. Taking over the old Beaumont Club space, we’ve completely demo’d and are rebuilding the 10,000 square foot facility, in addition to the 4,000 square foot out door area, adding a state of the art kitchen, 2 bars (one inside and one out), bocce ball court, and a perfect outdoor dining space.

True to BeerKC style, we are offering a locally crafted and sourced menu of smoked meat dishes, classic BBQ sides, and of course we remembered our vegetarian friends with a great variety of veggie friendly dishes. Our BBQ partner, Mitch Benjamin has lent his meat smoking expertise to our chefs, and we have just finished our menu tasting.

In addition to a great food menu, Char Bar will offer a wide variety of craft beers, yard beers, bourbon infusions, and craft cocktails. 

Follow us on Facebook for updates.

August 20, 2014

Get camping with Sierra Nevada and friends at Foundry

Today will be your next chance to drink a few of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaboration brews, when The Foundry taps Maillard's Odyssey, There and Back, and Chico King. Maillard's Odyssey is an imperial dark ale brewed with Bell's Brewing, There and Back is an extra special bitter brewed with Wisconsin's New Glarus, and Chico King is a pale ale that Sierra Nevada brewed with Indiana's Three Floyds. Great beers all of them, and one of the last chances to try them in Kansas City!

Then this weekend celebrate the back to school season with an ice cream social. The Foundry will have five homemade beer ice creams available for $2 a scoop, so whether you're commiserating with classmates over the start of the year or enjoying your kids being out of the house, we'll have you covered. The party starts at 6 pm on Sunday, August 24th.

August 11, 2014

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp comes to Beer KC

Beer KC is your spot to try some beers in Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp series! Your first chance will be tonight, when Beer Kitchen will be tapping Maillard's Odyssey, a Sierra Nevada/Bell's collaboration. This is an Imperial Dark Ale, named after a process that occurs in brewing -
Maillard reaction—the “browning” of sugars and amino acids—that creates the wonderful caramelized toffee-like and roasted flavors so abundant in this beer.
This will be tapped at 4 pm TODAY! Maillard's Odyssey has a 99 on RateBeer, so it'll be going fast. It won't be the only special beer tapped today, however. Beer Kitchen will also be putting on Bell's Third Coast Ale - a fantastic old ale - and Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest - a fresh-hopped IPA, featuring New Zealand hops. Full and half pours will be available of each of the beer.

The next opportunity to try some Beer Camp offerings will come next week, when The Foundry taps Maillard's Odyssey alongside the New Glarus collaborated There and Back, an English bitter, and the Three Floyds Chico King, a pale ale. New Glarus and Three Floyds are two legendary Midwestern breweries with very limited distribution (as in barely gets out of their states of Wisconsin and Indiana, respectively). They'll be on tap at Foundry on Wednesday, August 20th at 4 pm. Be there. To sweeten the deal, the excellent Sierra Nevada Torpedo (extra IPA) will also be tapped.

August 07, 2014

Tomatoes everywhere!

Monday brought friends back to Beer Kitchen, as the folks from Kurlbaum Farms joined us for the Summer Beer Dinner -

The food was spectacular, the beers expertly paired. Sweet and acidic tomatoes with tart, sour, hoppy, and everything in between.

It started with an amuse-bouche of a Bloody Mary, the way all good meals should start. This had some heat to it, too. Perfect.

All meals should probably contain this dish, too. Tomato-glazed bacon, with a ricotta and tomato jar. And toast. Toast is always good. Jolly Pumpkin's Calabaza Blanca was great here. Light but funky, able to share the stage with the food, and nothing overwhelmed.

Ahi tartare "benedict" with a Nightshade tomato bearnaise. mmm, yes. Monk's Cafe is less funky and more sour, and almost served as a wine here. And the tuna dish wasn't fishy in the slightest, instead rich and tasty.

It's important for summer dishes to keep things cool, so these are two cool dishes back-to-back. A chilled avocado soup with tomato "croutons." This was like eating guacamole with a spoon. Something we've all done. Pivo Pils from Firestone Walker was perfect, a light and hoppy pilsner that would be lovely alongside this chilled soup on a patio.

Now the main dish, heritage farms pig in a box with sticky rice and a tomato usu glaze, with Cambridge Brewing's Sgt. Pepper saison. Tender pork in an Asian-inspired dish, with a big sprig of cilantro, perfect sticky rice, and a great sweet tomato sauce. The peppery saison was another good summer beer, easy to drink and a fantastic compliment to the food. 

It's hard to believe, but there's tomato in the dessert! A marshmallow ice cream sandwich sounds decadent by itself, but when it's paired with a Deschutes Obsidian Stout Diesel (a "beer cocktail," stout mixed with root beer. If you ever see Beer KC's Beer Director Randyl out and about, buy her a diesel. They're her favorite!) it goes up to the next level. A great end to a great meal. I'm already looking forward to the next visit from Kurlbaum!

July 31, 2014

Nominate Beer KC in the Pitch

The Pitch is taking nominees for its annual Best Of Kansas City awards, and we'd be delighted if you nominated the Beer KC family! Best place to watch sports, best brunch, best patio, best sexy bar staff... the options go on and on! Go to to nominate all of your local favorites.

There's still time to get your spot for Monday's summer beer dinner, featuring Kurlbaum Farm Heirloom Tomatoes! This is going to be a killer dinner, you don't want to miss it!

July 25, 2014

Cool off August at the Foundry

Ice cream socials aren't just for kids! Celebrate the school year returning with Beer KC at the Foundry, with 5 featured ice creams made from scratch with beer. Whether you're going back to school, your kids' summer is over and they're heading back, or you just love ice cream, the Foundry will be the place to be on August 24th!

July 18, 2014

Summer beer dinner with Kurlbaum Farms

A yearly favorite returns, as Beer Kitchen and Kurlbaum Farms once again team up for a summer beer dinner this August 4th. This is the fourth time the heirloom tomatoes have been featured in a dinner, and each time they impress. The dinner this August looks like it could top them all -

Amazing tomato dishes paired with amazing beers, what could be better? To reserve your spot for this refreshing dinner, call Beer Kitchen at 816-389-4180. This one usually sells out in a hurry, so make your $50 reservation today!