June 25, 2012

Green Dirt Farm/Beer Kitchen Beer Dinner

Sunday night, Beer Kitchen hosted a five-course beer dinner, featuring foods from Green Dirt Farm - four dishes their cheese, and one with lamb.

This might get a little long-winded, so if you'd just like the short version, here it is - spoiler alert - it was excellent.  The pairing for each course was spot-on, balancing. Green Dirt Farm's owner/farmer Jacqueline Smith and McCoy's brewmaster Keith Thompson did a fantastic job explaining the food and beer, respectively, and were happy to answer any and all questions that came their way. And chef Michael Peterson outdid himself. The food was magnificent. Overall, a fun, educational, and delicious night.

Jacqueline Smith
Keith Thompson

Now, for the long version. . .

June 19, 2012

Mother's Brewing Tap Takeover Tonight! Q&A with a few people behind the beer

Tonight's the night! Starting at 4 PM, The Foundry will have 6 brews on tap from Springfield, MO's own Mother's Brewing - Towhead, Three Blind Mice, Lil’ Helper, Sandy, Holy Mole’, and Trouble Maker. Until then, though, take a few minutes to get to know a little more about some of the people behind the brewery. I sent a few questions their way, was thrilled to get some answers from owner Jeff Schrag, brewmaster Brian Allen, and sales/marketing director Jeremy Wicks!

BeerKC: Are there any particular beers that got you into beer?

Jeff Schrag (owner): Yes, my crossover beer was a hefeweisen. I was told by the bartender at the brewpub that it was fresh, brewed that morning. I now know better, but at the time I was a dedicated Coors Light drinker. Then I moved into Wheats, some lighter belgian styles and so on. When I got into bigger craft beers, the move to pales, IPAs and stouts happened very quickly. I went with hops first and malts second.

Brian Allen (Brewmaster): No, not a particular beer. I got into beer during the first boom of microbrewing in the state of Maine during college. There were several breweries at the time just getting going, Shipyard, Bar Harbor Brewing Co, Sunday River Brewing, Geary's to name a few. I happened to run a pub on campus and when I took over ordering we were pouring Bud Light, Coors Light and Guinness; bottles were the usual suspects, Corona, Heineken, Newcastle, plus the big three. I changed up the draft mix and added more bottles. This meant weekly trips to various breweries around Maine on beer runs for the bar. Seeing the breweries and the passion behind the brewers I think is what got me hooked. It was a bonus that there was such depth and variety of flavors

BKC: Is there any ideal way to enjoy one of your beers (if could be anywhere with anyone, etc.)?

Jeremy Wicks (Sales/Marketing Director): We strive to create beers for every occasion. So it really depends on which of our beers you are drinking. We try to make beers that you can easily drink quite a few of for those nights that you're out on the town and doing it up with your friends. We also make bigger beers that are made to sit back, sip on, and enjoy all the complexities. Depending on the food you're eating, the weather, or just the occasion, we strive to create a beer for everyone of life's great occasions.

Brian Allen: I think the best way to enjoy our beers is with good friends, good tunes, good food and in a good place. I think we try to make a wide array of beers that will be a good accompaniment to any experience. 

BKC: What aspect of the beer community do you like the most? Are there any areas you like to see improve/evolve?

Jeremy Wicks: Within the industry, I love seeing all the friendship and support amongst breweries. It's an industry like no other. Within the greater craft beer community, I love the culture that grows out of drinking craft beer. The love for flavor, the beer and food pairings, and the friendships that can form over a pint of a great craft beer.

Brian Allen: The comraderie and amount of support from so-called competitors is truly unbelievable. Craft brewers, and even brewers from our country's largest brewers are always willing to share information.

BKC: What's the deal with mole style beer all of a sudden? Yours, New Belgium, New Holland, and later this year, Ska (Not that I'm complaining, I'm all for more of them!)

Jeff Schrag: The Holy Mole' journey for us started independently of other breweries. I had a longing to brew a pepper beer; but as a lighter pepper beer; maybe a Kolsch or an Extra Pale Ale. The Mole came from discussions about pepper and then maybe adding chocolate along with the peppers. Eventually, we began talking our love of a great mole' sauce. That morphed into maybe adding pepper to a darker beer. I never read anything about other breweries planning to brew this style, so I cannot tell you why this style and why now, other than how we arrived there.

Brian Allen: Our Holy Mole was to an extent, a beer that came out of necessity. I was propagating some yeast for Lil Helper on Three Blind Mice wort (it is a long story), but ended up with 7 bbls of a brown beer. I recalled some of the smoked pepper beers I had judged at GABF last year, particularly some chipotle porters. So we started talking about chili, but I didn't just want a chili beer. I think I am always looking at food to get inspired, and liked using the idea of a mole sauce as a jumping off point. I hadn't known about the proliferation of mole beers prior to making Holy Mole, unless it was through osmosis. I haven't had too many of them, but I am impressed with the breadth of the beers, from color, body, abv, flavor. 

BKC: Any styles you’d like to make?

Jeremy Wicks: Sure, in fact there are a lot of styles that we have not yet made, but we would like to. We have not started making Belgian beers yet, but this is something that we are actively experimenting with right now. We'd also love to start a sour program, but unfortunately that is a bit down the road still. We want to make sure that we have everything ready and in place before we just bring a sour program into the brewery.

Brian Allen: I am excited to get our barrel program up and going, and playing with different barrels. Right now in my career I am not so obsessed about styles. I like taking this aspect of this style and adding in an element from another, focusing on flavors and balance. I hope to play around with some new yeasts and maybe someday when we are ready look at using some bacteria or brettanomyces, too.

BKC: What do you want Kansas City to know about Mother's Brewing?

Jeff Schrag: Our goal is to brew love. As such, we brew beers for every occasion: easy drinking, hoppy, malty, high alcohol, low alcohol. As our line up grows, we will fill in the gaps with new brews. We hope to never be a brewery that is pigeon-holed by the public as only making specific styles or only brewing specific beers. Generally, we brew to taste and not to style, thus pulling varied elements from various styles into each beer we make. Finally, we hope to be a positive part of our communities and our region. We always want to be giving back.

Brian Allen: Your Mother's loves you! We want you to love our beer and enjoy it with a smile.

BKC: How cool is it to make beer for a living?

Jeremy Wicks: I can't think of anything else that I would rather be doing and I can't think of anything cooler. The beer industry is unique and a lot of fun. When drinking beer is part of your job description, you're on to something good.

Brian Allen: It is pretty cool. You get to see how your work touches people in a positive way. It is very humbling.


I want to extend a very hearty "thank you, and cheers!" to all three gentlemen for taking the time to reply. I know I'm looking forward to trying each of their beers, both tonight and in the future as more come to KC. And we hope to see everyone there tonight, to give them a warm welcome to our city!

June 12, 2012

New Brews Coming from Missouri

First, thanks to everyone who came to our Summer Beer Festival!  You made it such a great event, selling out the tickets!  What were some of your favorites from the night?

All across Missouri, there are new breweries and brewpubs springing up, bringing some great beers to new areas of the state.  Recently, I attended a wedding (congratulations Blake and Maggie!!!) that had a few different styles of beer from Flat Branch Pub & Brewing, out of Columbia, MO - Katy Trail Pale Ale, Green Chili, American Pale Ale, and Kristalweizen.  Naturally, I sampled each.  Research purposes, you know.  Conclusion: good beer.  Obviously, the Green Chili Beer jumps out, and it leaves an impression.  It had a great chili flavor, with only a slight hint of heat.  Very nice.  The Katy Trail and American Pale Ale are both very well-crafted beers on the hoppy side, and the Kristalweizen was a good take on a wheat beer.  All very drinkable, sessionable.  It's always a pleasure to share in the fruits of our brethren breweries.  If you're in Columbia, it's definitely worth your while to visit Flat Branch.

Next week, you'll have a chance to try another brewery, this one a new one coming to the Kansas City market.  On Tuesday, June 19th, Springfield, Missouri's Mother's Brewing Company will takeover taps at The Foundry, as part of their launch into KC!  They'll have six beers available - Towhead (American Blonde), Three Blind Mice (Brown Ale), Lil’ Helper (IPA), Sandy (a "Hopped Up Wheat"), Holy Mole’ (a Brown Ale aged on cinnamon, chocolate nibs, and peppers, reminiscent of a mole sauce), and Trouble Maker (Double IPA).  I haven't had the opportunity to try the beers, but friends have raved about them, so I'll definitely be here to try them next week.

We'll have events all throughout the summer, so keep checking the blog, or coming into one of our locations, to get the latest news!


June 08, 2012

Last Chance for Advanced Summer Beer Festival Tickets!!

Final warning!!  You have until about midnight tonight to get your tickets for tomorrow's Summer Beer Festival for the advanced discount price of $25.  In addition to a load of great beers, I've heard rumors that some members of Sporting Kansas City will be there. . .

If you're a procrastinator, we'll be selling tickets at the gate, for $30.  The festivities start at 5 P.M., on Pennsylvania Ave, between McCoy's and Kelly's.  It'll be a perfect time to enjoy some brews as the day cools and dusk starts approaching.  We'll see you there!

June 05, 2012

Beer KC Summer Beer Festival - Exclusives!

Only a few more days to get advanced tickets to our Summer Beer Festival, for a discounted price of $25!  The price will increase to $30 the day of the fest, June 9th, as long as they last.  Here's a list of the beers that will be available.  Some are old favorites, but let's take a closer look at a few that are new, or only available at the fest.

Deschutes is bringing not one, but two brews not available in the market!  Hop in the Dark is a Cascadian Dark Ale, a style sometimes known as a "black IPA" or "American black ale."  Whatever you call it, it's delicious.  Roasted malt taste, backed with a good amount of hops.  This is one of the best representatives of the style, so be sure to get a taste of it.  The second beer is the Chainbreaker White IPA (wait a minute, it just clicked - a dark IPA and a white IPA, side-by-side!  Brilliant).  Remember the second collaboration beer Boulevard released?  That just happened to be a white IPA, with, you guessed it, Deschutes.  This should be reminiscent of that one, and, I imagine, will be fantastic on a summer evening.  While I haven't had the pleasure of trying this version of it, if it's anything like the collaboration, it'll have a nice balance of the Belgian white spices (some orange peel, coriander, and lemongrass) and the hop profile that we know and love from Deschutes.

Next, Empyrean Brewing from Lincoln, NE, will have a couple of beers on hand.  They'll be rolling out their beers to the Kansas City shelves this summer, but we'll have their Watch Man IPA and Super Nova Summer Fest on Saturday, as a sneak preview.  Exciting!  Watch Man IPA is a newer addition to their year-round bottle lineup, while the Super Nova Summer Fest is a relatively new to their seasonal bottle line.

Staying in Nebraska, some of our newer friends in the city, Nebraska Brewing, will have beers tapped and ready for enjoyment.  Their EOS Hefeweizen, Infinite Wit, Cardinal Pale Ale, and Hop God are all making appearances at the festival.  You may have seen their reserve, barrel-aged series beers at The Foundry or at your favorite store, but if you haven't had a chance to try these fantastic beers from their regular lineup, this is a great opportunity!  All very well-balanced beers, and all thirst-quenchers.

Now, our brewing friends from just down I-70, Tallgrass will have their Wild Plum Saison.  It was available at Parkville Microfest, but went quickly.  While we're hoping for a wider release of this tasty beer, we're happy to have it this weekend!

Boulevard's Saison-Brett may not fit into the "new to us" category, but it'll be a nice treat to have on tap!  Bottles should be finding their way through the city soon, so keep an eye out for it.

We wouldn't host a fest without bringing out a little special something!  We'll be using our Randall to add watermelon to Newcomb's IPA, for a refreshing taste of summer.

Finally, we left off an important contributor from the list last time. . . Sierra Nevada is supplying their Kellerweis and Summerfest!

What beers are you most looking forward to trying?