Tap List | Road Trip: Lawrence Beer Company

Lawrence Beer Co. The Lawrence Beer Co. is open in East Lawrence. (Pete Dulin I Flatland)

Lawrence Beer Company (826 Pennsylvania St., Lawrence, Kansas) opened in the Warehouse Arts District in late August. A recent trip to the brewery and taproom revealed a dynamic space with a solid slate of beer and modern brewpub food to explore.

Matt Williams, Adam Williams (no relation), Brendon Allen, and chef Ken Baker, former owner-operator of Pachamama’s, co-founded LBC. They created a brewery that distinguishes itself from the city’s beloved Free State Brewing Company with its chummy neighborhood feel and 23rd Street Brewery’s sports bar emphasis.

The light industrial look of LBC’s taproom ties into the history of industrial warehouses in East Lawrence. Exposed steel beams, polished wood panels suspended from the ceiling, wood furnishings, and a cool gray and powder blue color palette present an understated utilitarian look. These elements play a supporting role to the primary artwork. A vast, multi-panel painting titled “Ocean Over Kansas,” by local artist Brian Timmer dominates a wall that frames the taproom. Commissioned by the brewery, Timmer’s painting evokes the vastness of the plains and skies of Kansas.

 interior of the Lawrence Beer Co.

The interior of the Lawrence Beer Co. kept the industrial feel of the Warehouse Arts District in Lawrence. (Pete Dulin | Flatland)

Head brewer Sam McClain left a brewing position at Half Acre Beer Company in Chicago to return to Kansas City. He produces an array of beer styles dialed into flavor and aroma. These beers don’t embody fads, but rather offer a lineup that could appeal to craft beer newcomers and beer geeks alike.

Chilly Bin American Pale Ale (5.4-percent ABV) unites German malt and New Zealand hops to yield a light ale with lemon and lime aroma and flavor. Named after the New Zealand slang term for beer cooler, Chilly Bin finished with a trace of bitterness. Regulars tout ‘Lectric IPA (6.5-percent ABV) as a must-try, especially for IPA lovers that favor big, dank, juicy hop bombs.

Two Hands Anyhow (5.75-percent ABV) is a caramel-colored English ale that leans sweet. A glass from the last keg of Raspberry Edel, a variant of LBC’s Berliner weisse (4.5-percent ABV) made with eight pounds of raspberries per barrel, tasted slightly sweet with little sourness and subtle fruit.

East Side Pale Ale (5.5-percent ABV) is a classic session ale. Made with four hop varieties, the APA touches on citrus, pine, tropical fruit, and funky hops with reliable balance. Lavender Diamond Smokey Porter (5.0-percent ABV) lives up to its name. The porter was brewed with peat and oak-smoked German malt. That smokiness is evident in the aroma and taste more than the menu description conveys. Chocolate malt flavor is present but smokiness lingers. The brewery also has several saisons, a stout, and another IPA on tap.

Grab a bite to pair with beer but note that the kitchen is only open from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Black-eyed pea hummus, a fancy grilled cheese, fried avocado tacos, smash patty cheeseburger, pretzel dumplings made with pork and kimchi vinaigrette, slow-roasted porchetta and affogato beignets signal that Lawrence Beer Company goes far beyond bar and grill grub.

Free State Head of Brewing Operations Geoff Deman

Free State Head of Brewing Operations Geoff Deman worked with Hy-Vee to offer the Lawrence beer on tap. (Courtesy of Free State)

Free State Brewing Company Beer on Tap at Hy-Vee Market Grille

Free State Brewing’s beers are now on draft at Hy-Vee Market Grille stores in Kansas and Missouri. The beer on tap will rotate quarterly. Moxee Moxie, a New England-style IPA, was chosen as the first beer to kick off the series.

The beer is named after Moxee, Washington, in the Yakima Valley, a region famed for its hops used in beer. Free State added mango to the NEIPA, accenting its tropical fruit character.

“Our collaboration with Hy-Vee reaches back a few years,” Free State Brewing Company director of brewing operations Geoff Deman said.

Hy-Vee was one of the earliest contributors to the Kansas Craft Brewers’ Expo that Free State has helped organize over the past seven years. As craft beer competition grows for space on retail shelves and taps at bars, Free State pursued this opportunity with Hy-Vee and modeled it after past collaborations with restaurants. Free State valued Hy-Vee Market Grilles’ focus on customers interested in craft beer.

“Hy-Vee Market Grilles are bringing in beers of great quality and value that can enhance the experience of dining and shopping at their locations,” Deman said. “It’s really rewarding and encouraging to expose our beers to an audience that might not have made it to our downtown Lawrence pub or haven’t previously been exposed to Free State Beer in the marketplace.”

Crane Brewing’s Festiweiss

Lean in to donuts and beer this Hanukkah. (Courtesy of Michael Crane)

Celebrate Hanukkah with Festiweiss and Jelly Donuts

Michael Crane, president and co-founder of Crane Brewing, found inspiration from beer and donuts recently while thinking about Hanukkah. The eight-day Jewish wintertime festival of lights is celebrated Dec. 12–20 this year.

Sufganiyot, a round Israeli jelly-filled donut, is traditionally eaten around the world during Hanukkah. Crane and his wife have purchased jelly-filled doughnuts from Doughboys (11559 E 63rd St., Raytown, Missouri) for their annual Hanukkah party over the past few years.

“It occurred to me the other day that our Festiweiss, cranberry and ginger Berliner Weiss, would pair well with these,” Crane said.

Crane went to Doughboys one morning and explained the concept of sufganiyot to the owner, Elisa Breitenbach. He bought some jelly-filled donuts, tried them with Festiweiss, confirmed his hunch, and shot a photo of the holiday pairing to share with others. Chowhound has a detailed recipe for sufganiyot, but Crane recommends heading to Doughboys for a baker’s dozen.

Torn Label’s Old Believer Russian Imperial Stout

Variants of Torn Label’s Old Believer Russian Imperial Stout are available each Sunday at the taproom through December. (Courtesy of Torn Label)

Tap Notes

Torn Label Brewing (1708 Campbell) released Old Believer Russian Imperial Stout, a winter seasonal (11-percent plus ABV) that hits the upper alcohol range of the brewery’s roster. Old Believer is available at the taproom, on draft, and in 22-ounce bottles. Described as rich and warm with silky mouthfeel and slightly sweet notes of dark fruit, cocoa and black bread, the beer strikes a balance between fortitude and drinkability. On each Sunday of Advent (beginning this past Sunday), Torn Label will release a different single keg variant of Old Believer. Limited amounts of each variant (to be announced) will be available the same day in 375-milliliter bottles. The epic conclusion of the series will be Siberian Old Believer with a whopping 22-percent ABV.

Boulevard is pairing beer with Christopher Elbow chocolates.

Boulevard is pairing beer with Christopher Elbow chocolates. (Courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Co.)

This Week

Tuesday, Dec. 5

Today is Repeal Day, marking the anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. To celebrate, Harry’s Tavern (13657 Washington St.) hosts a Cinder Block Brewery tap takeover from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring Black Squirrel Russian Imperial Stout. Get a raffle tickets for each Cinder Block beer purchased and score some Cinder Block gear. Dress in a Prohibition era outfit and get the first two beers for $1.93(3).

Wednesday, Dec. 6

Grinders Stonewall (10240 Pflumm Road, Lenexa, Kansas) hosts Kansas City Bier Company from 5 to 7 p.m. for a tap invasion, featuring Gose, Dunkel, Helles, and Winterbock.

International Tap House (403 E. 18th St.) hosts free trivia with Torn Label Brewing and Christopher Elbow Chocolates. Torn Label beers on tap include Bloody Xmas, Alpha Pale Ale, Monk and Honey, and a firkin of Bloody Xmas, featuring vanilla beans and cacao nibs from Christopher Elbow.

Thursday, Dec. 7

Before the 7 p.m. screening of “The Disaster Artist,” at Screenland Armour Theatre (408 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri), Martin City Brewing sponsors happy hour at 6 p.m. Martin City’s Kentucky Friar Strong Ale and Hard Way IPA will be on tap with Alchemy Coffee Stout available in cans.

There’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on at Ruin’s Pub (1715 Main St.) from 5 to 7 p.m. They will serve half-priced steaks and an alcoholic vanilla bean shake made with Cinder Block Brewery’s 2016 Black Squirrel Russian Imperial Stout.

Double Shift Brewing (412 E. 18th St.) releases Alpine Folklore Holiday IPA (6.2-percent ABV, 57 IBUs), formerly known as Toys and Odd Marketable Securities IPA. Drawing inspiration from a sahti, a farmhouse ale with roots in Finland, “Alpine Folklore is our holiday seasonal brewed with unmalted rye, juniper berries, and cranberries,” head brewer Bryan Stewart said. “Folklore is a citrus-forward IPA with notes of fresh berry, slight tropical fruit and citrus rind from a hop pairing of El Dorado, Azacca and Cascade.”

Get crafty with Boulevard Tours and Rec Center (2534 Madison Ave.) and Emily Farris from That’s Festive AF at Paper Crafts and Boozy Drafts. Farris leads an evening of holiday card-making and cocktail-sipping. Ticket ($25) includes card supplies, a beer cocktail featuring City Market Cider, and an additional beer. Plus, Boulevard will mail your card for you.

Christmas Seasonals are the focus of Thursday’s tasting ($15) from 5 to 7 p.m. at Grain to Glass (1611 Swift, North Kansas City, Missouri). Sample five favorite Christmas beers, and discuss the ingredients, flavors, and breweries. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, Free State Brewing Frost Flower, 4 Hands Brewing Zellig Moroccan Coffee Stout, Sierra Nevada Celebration, and Boulevard Brewing Snow & Tell are on tap.

Friday, Dec. 8

Bier Station (120 E. Gregory Boulevard) hosts a happy hour and Bavarian barrel tapping of Pils with Kansas City Bier Company’s brewers from 5 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 9

Crane Brewing Company (6515 Railroad St., Raytown, Missouri) hosts its Second Anniversary Party at The Taproom. The brewery will tap a new beer every other hour. Food truck Ash & Bleu is available for lunch and Local Pig will serve food during dinner hours.

Jolly old St. Nick sleighs into Kansas City Bier Company (310 W. 79th St.) from 12 to 4 p.m. Take pictures with Kris Kringle and participate in a raffle. One dollar from each sale of Spezial Bier and all proceeds from donations for pictures will be donated to CASA, a nonprofit that works with court-appointed special advocates for abused children.

International Tap House (403 E. 18th St.) celebrates a Nightmare Before Xmas by tapping many barrel-aged beers, including Avery Vanilla Bean Stout, Prairie Birthday Bomb, Evil Twin Even More Coco Jesus, COOP Brandy Barrel Aged DNR with Cherries, Founders Doom, Dogfish Head Oak Aged Vanilla World Wide Stout, Torn Label Rude Awakening, and Torn Label Quadtucky.

Torn Label Brewing (1708 Campbell) releases Gustucide Double IPA (9.6-percent ABV) on tap at 5 p.m.

“We have never brewed a true double IPA on our 15-barrel system until Gustucide,” brewery co-founder Rafi Chaudry said. “When we selected the hop bill for this one, we broke the scale and the bank.”

Old World and New World hop varieties used include Citra, Nelson Sauvin, Mosaic, and more. Gustucide’s lush, tropical aromas complement notes of kiwi, white peaches, and honeydew with a smooth, bone-dry finish. Gustucide is also available in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans at the taproom.

Sunday, Dec. 10

The Big Rip Brewing Company (216 E. 9th Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) releases Bacta Imperial Chai Brown Ale (8.5-percent ABV). Named after the Bacta Tank used in “Star Wars,” to heal Luke and Darth Vader, the ale has been brewed in collaboration with Hugo Tea.

“The 100-gallon batch contains enough chai to make 65 gallons of chai lattes, resulting a sweet winter warmer with cinnamon and other spices,” Big Rip co-owner and brewer Josh Collins said.

Monday, Dec. 11

It’s a Wonderful Flight ($20, ages 21 and over) in the Beer Hall Smokestack Room at Boulevard Tours and Rec Center (2534 Madison Ave.). At 6 p.m., Boulevard’s beer elves will help guests get in the holiday spirit with an expertly-curated flight of Christopher Elbow chocolates paired with wintertime beers.

— Pete Dulin writes about food trends for Flatland and is the author of The KC Ale Trail. Follow @FlatlandKC and #TapList on Twitter for more food news and trends.


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