Tap List | Strange Days Announces Grand Opening

Strange Days Brewing’s Nathan Howard and Alec Vemmer Strange Days Brewing’s Nathan Howard (left) and Alec Vemmer have thoroughly tested their new brew system in preparation for opening day. (Pete Dulin | Flatland)

Kansas City’s newest brewery Strange Days Brewing Company (316 Oak St.) has fired up its brewhouse with a sense of purpose. Co-owners Nathan Howard, Chris Beier and Alec Vemmer have scheduled the brewery’s grand opening for Jan. 20.

The forthcoming debut of Strange Days heralds the latest revival of brewing in the River Market. Immigrant Peter Schwitzgebel opened Kansas City’s first recorded brewery in the late 1850s near Third and Oak Streets, only a stone’s throw away from Strange Days. Beginning in 1938, post-Prohibition, Muehlebach Brewing constructed and operated several buildings that gradually encompassed the city block at Fourth and Oak Streets until the brewery ceased operations (under Schlitz Brewing Company ownership) in 1973. Two decades later, River Market Brewing Company (500 Walnut St.) operated in its namesake neighborhood from 1994 to 2009, during the city’s first modern wave of microbrewing. Strange Days is now housed in a former Muehlebach building, one of the few left standing.

Since the end of December, Howard and Vemmer have logged nearly a dozen batches on their Psycho Brewing system. The energy-efficient system, built in Michigan from U.S. stainless steel, uses natural gas and a tankless water heater.

On a recent visit, Howard poured a few samples of beers that will be available at the opening. Australian Sparkling Ale, made with three malts and a bittering hop, is an easy-drinking session sipper with a soft mouthfeel and light gold color. Day Dream Saison was brewed with orange peel, honey and peppercorn. Dry-hopped with German Mandarina Bavaria hops, the saison evokes more tropical fruit character than the traditional floral spice profile of a Belgian saison. Japanese Black IPA uses Sorachi Ace hops, originally developed in Japan in 1984 for Sapporo Breweries, as well as ginger and Szechuan peppercorn.

Black & Wit Witbier swaggers with the dark color and roasted malt heft of a stout, but saunters with the light mouthfeel of an effervescent ale. The low-alcohol witbier is brewed with midnight wheat for color, plus coriander and orange peel to balance the flavor.

With a new year underway, the River Market will once again be awash in locally-brewed beer made near the city’s birthplace along the banks of the Missouri River.

The Brewkery’s co-owners Amy Goldman and Sean Galloway

The Brewkery’s co-owners Amy Goldman and Sean Galloway discuss opening day preparations and sip kombucha in the nearly-finished taproom. (Pete Dulin | Flatland)

The Brewkery Plans to Open Kombucha Taproom in January

Amy Goldman and Sean Galloway plan to open The Brewkery (1443 Swift Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri), a 600 square-foot kombucha taproom, in late January, pending final local authority approval. The Brewkery will be Kansas City’s first dedicated kombucha taproom, serving its line of flavored, non-alcoholic fermented tea on tap and in bottles.

Goldman and Galloway initially developed a plan to open The Brewkery as a brewery and bakery, but later switched gears to focus on kombucha. Founded in early 2015, The Brewkery makes its kombucha from a base of black tea sourced from Hugo Tea Company (1007 Swift Ave., North Kansas City). Goldman and Galloway sweeten, ferment and carbonate the tea to produce kombucha.

In April 2016, they launched a line of bottled kombucha distributed under the brand name Lucky Elixir. The core flavors are hop’d peach (flavored with Citra hops), ginger lime, berry blend (made with marionberry and aronia berry), and the newest flavor, mango. Distributors now ship the beverage to 65 grocery stores, health food shops, coffee shops and retail boutiques throughout Greater Kansas City.

The Brewery has updated its branding

The Brewkery recently updated the look of its branding and labels that will debut in stores in February. Bottles now sport labels with vivid  colors, a maze-inspired logo and the image of Fortuna, the goddess of luck and fortune. (Pete Dulin | Flatland)

Formerly, The Brewkery leased space out of a Midtown food manufacturing kitchen to produce its startup beverage line. In addition to the taproom, their new 3,400 square-foot Northtown space includes a production facility for brewing, a fermentation room, cold storage room, office and retail lounge. The expanded operation enables them to not only sell kombucha direct to the public, but also brew and bottle kombucha under the same roof. They’ve been brewing in this location since June.

“We currently have the capacity to produce 34 barrels of kombucha a month, but can scale a lot in this space,” Galloway said.

The taproom features a robin egg blue and warm gray color palette. Local graffiti artist Brew Lamb stenciled a mural of a bridge that spans the Missouri River on one wall of the taproom. The front of the bar is covered in walnut boards recovered from an old barn. Tyler Kingston, an industrial modern furniture maker and home retail shop (422 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) built much of the rugged furniture out of reclaimed wood.

At the taproom, The Brewkery’s core four flavors and limited-edition, seasonal and experimental flavors of kombucha will be served from 12 taps. Kombucha will also be available in flights, growler fills and four-pack bottles to go.

Flora Obscura Dry-Hopped Porter

Boulevard’s newest release is Flora Obscura Dry-Hopped Porter. (Courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Co.)

Tap Notes

Miami Creek Brewing Company (14226 NW County Road 14001, Drexel, Missouri) has acquired its winery permit, enabling owner-brewer Will Reece to begin producing cider, fruit wines and mead this year. He plans to test batches of dry cider and a light mead this spring. Meanwhile, Miami Creek releases its 2018 version of Hot Pepper Ale and Farmhouse Wheat Ale in January, once a tap frees up in the taproom.

“This year we brewed the [Hot Pepper Ale] with smoked jalapeños, ancho chilis, Anaheim peppers and applewood smoked malt,” Reece said.

Boulevard Brewing kicks off 2018 with a new beer and the return of a popular barrel-aged beer. Rye on Rye (12-percent ABV) is back and now available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles along with 750-milliliter bottles and on draft. The rye beer, aged in Templeton Rye barrels, was most recently released in 2015. This year’s version carries aromas of spicy, fruity rye malt, rye whiskey, vanilla, toffee and charred oak. The beer’s medium body presents caramel/toffee malt flavor balanced by earthy, herbal and citrusy hop notes.

Boulevard’s new seasonal beer, Flora Obscura Dry-Hopped Porter, debuts in the Greater Kansas City Area starting Jan. 8. Flora Obscura Dry-Hopped Porter marries bright, citrusy, tropical fruit aroma and flavors from Cascade, Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic and Galaxy hops with contrasting malty notes of chocolate, espresso and caramel. The porter’s nose begin with subtle roast and chocolate malt brightened by aromas of berries, grapefruit and earthy pine.

Colony KC (312 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) has released Shuttlehop East vs West, a double dry-hopped hybrid IPA (7.2-percent ABV, 42 IBUs), and Witstorm, a wit-style ale (5-percent ABV, 21 IBUs) brewed with chamomile, grains of paradise and grapefruit zest.

The rotating tap list at Brew Lab (7925 Marty, Overland Park, Kansas) includes BBS Black Saison (5.9-percent ABV, 33 IBUs), Biere de Garde, a malty, dark Belgian pale ale (8-percent ABV, 20 IBUs), Vossaøl Norwegian Ale (6.5-percent ABV, 30 IBUs), and Pharrell Tripel, a Belgian tripel (8.1-percent ABV, 33 IBUs).

Stouts

Stouts are the focus for The Foundry at McCoy’s this month. (Courtesy of The Foundry)

This Week

Tuesday, Jan. 9

Mass Street Fish House & Raw Bar (719 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, Kansas) hosts a five-course beer pairing dinner, featuring five of Bell’s Brewery beers. Dinner includes a rare limited-release keg of Black Note Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout.

Wednesday, Jan. 10

HopCat (401 Westport Road) taps Green Flash Brewing’s Divine-Sauvage from the brewery’s limited release Cellar 3 series. This Belgian-style tripel is fermented with monastery and house brettanomyces yeast strains in 36 different barrels and aged in French red wine oak barrels.

Thursday, Jan. 11

Get your spirits up at the Winterstorm competition, a Scottish piping and drumming event that runs Jan. 11 to 14 in Kansas City. Raise a toast to competitors with a beer from Kansas City Bier Company, the event’s beer sponsor, as Scottish, Irish, German and other international bagpipers and drummers compete.

Grain to Glass (1611 Swift Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) pairs five beers with five cheeses for its Thursday Tasting series ($15). Sample, nibble and discuss.

For Big Giant Huge Stout Month, The Foundry at McCoy’s (424 Westport Road) taps Prairie BOMB! and Prairie Birthday BOMB! today.

The Taproom at Crane Brewing (6515 Railroad St., Raytown, Missouri) taps Ray, a Raytown Common, that is crisp, clean and refreshing. According to the brewery, this second batch used less malt and resulted in a lighter color.

Get a head start on your year-round do-gooding at Bier Station (120 E. Gregory Blvd.), and raise money for HappyBottoms’ baby diaper assistance program. Proceeds from sales of Stockyards Brewing beer go toward HappyBottoms which helps those in need to gain access to diapers.

BLVD Tours & Rec Center (2534 Madison Ave.) hosts a Star Wars-themed quiz night. Tickets are $9 (includes two beers, must be 21 years of age or older).

Friday, Jan. 12

Brookside Wine & Spirits (600 E. 63rd St.) offers free samples of beers from 4 Hands Brewing and Brooklyn Brewery.

Saturday, Jan. 13

Bier Station (120 E. Gregory Blvd.) turns five. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the taproom releases Friendly Collusion, a collaboration Belgian Stout with 4 Hands Brewing Company and Martin City Brewing Company, available on tap and limited four-packs.

Double Shift Brewing (412 E. 18th St.) taps its collaboration with Messenger Coffee, an Imperial Milk Stout with ristretto (a short shot of espresso with half the water), and vanilla.

Lend a helping hand after lunch and a beer at McCoy’s Public House (4057 Pennsylvania Ave.) from noon to 3 p.m., where the Kansas City Atheist Coalition (KCAC) will eat lunch, socialize and then assemble Winter Care Kits to help homeless people during the cold months. Kits include socks, hand warmers, bottled water and a snack.

Sunday, Jan. 14

Flying Saucer Kansas City (101 E. 13th St.) hosts a Bell’s stout beer dinner with Matt Gardner, a representative of Bell’s Brewery, in attendance. Dessert includes a three-year vertical of Expedition Stout.

Monday, Jan. 15

Big Giant Huge Stout Month continues at The Foundry at McCoy’s (424 Westport Road) with tappings of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout 2016 and 2017, and Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout 2017.

Take the “Know Your Boulevard” beer challenge from 6 to 8 p.m. at Chicken N Pickle (1761 Burlington Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri). Sample six mystery Boulevard beers. Identify all six and receive a $25 gift certificate. Must be 21 years-old or older to participate.

Martin City Brewing Company (500 E. 135th St.) releases its seasonal Banging the Enemy Red IPA (6.7-percent ABV, 65 IBUs) in six-pack cans and draft for distribution and at the taproom. Another limited release and collaboration with 4 Hands Brewing, Friendly Collusion Belgian Imperial Stout (10-percent ABV, 35 IBUs), is available in four-pack cans and draft for distribution and at the taproom.

— 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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