Chicago had Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. Grains & Taps (10 SW Third St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) will likely someday point to an exhaust fan as the reason it’s brewing beer this winter.
Brad Boehm still remembers the moment in February when he came to Grains and Taps, the business he co-owns with Brian Bixby, and smelled smoke. He wondered if it was the pizza oven, never suspecting that a bathroom exhaust fan had caught fire and the ceiling insulation had begun to smolder.
The ceiling had to be removed, along with the attached plumbing and electrical. And suddenly, a small fire looked an awful lot like a complete remodel for the five-year-old homebrew supply shop.
“Brian and I had always danced around the topic of opening a brewery, but we realized that if this isn’t the time to do it, I don’t think it’s something we’ll ever do,” Boehm said.
And so they looked at how they could add a brewhouse to the existing taproom and homebrew supply shop. Grains & Taps is in the midst of a Kickstarter in the hopes of speeding up the process of expansion. Boehm is hoping to get barrels to start up a barrel-aging program.
“We’ve always been immersed in craft beer, and brewing is at the heart of what we’ve always been about,” Boehm said.
Grains & Taps has sponsored an annual homebrew contest, the Blarney Brewhoff, that has helped showcase local talent and launch breweries like Cock-A-Doodle Brews out of Lonejack, Missouri. Boehm said he is inspired that their brewery would be the fourth in Lee’s Summit, joining Smoke Brewing, Fringe Beerworks and New Axiom Brewing Co.
“It’s amazing to see what the community has built around us,” Boehm said.
Boehm and Bixby have homebrewed together for years, but they are tapping Brian Freymuller, who manages the homebrew side, to be their brewer.
“We want to do a lot of educational things with beer and make good examples of classic styles,” Boehm said.
The ability to brew in small batches — 15 gallons at a time — means that Freymuller could theoretically host a class where he tweaks a single variable, such as temperature, to point out how adjustments can impact the flavor of a beer.
Boehm expects the beer they brew for the taps to be brown and red ales, solid examples that are meant to be true to a style.
“We’ll be at the smallest scale, and then to have something from Germany and Belgium right next to that [on tap] will be pretty cool,” Boehm said.
The Lawrence Beer Co. (826 Pennsylvania St., Lawrence, Kansas) hosts Luau for Limbs, a benefit for Steps of Faith, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16. Your $35 admission gets you a luau diner and three Tiki drinks.
The Boulevard Brewing Company is set to release a tart apple radler and Hazy IPA, a collaboration brew with WeldWerks Brewing Co. out of Colorado, today.
Fringe Beerworks (224 SE Douglas St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) is set to drop the first release in its Monkey Business Session IPA Series. The first unfiltered IPA (5.25% ABV, 28 IBUs) was brewed with Amarillo, Centennial and Warrior hops.
Green Room Burgers & Beer (4010 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite D) has a pair of barrel-aged beers in the works for this fall. They’re aging a dark Belgian strong ale in Union Horse rye barrels and an imperial stout in Union Horse bourbon barrels.
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