Tap List | Strawberry Hill Brewing Co. In The Works

Strawberry Hill Brewing Co. Even though the banner says 'Downtown Overland Park,' Strawberry Hill Brewing Co. is going to be located at 601 Central Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas. (Jonathan Bender | Flatland)

You never know what happens when you talk to your neighbors. Derek Kempf was on paternity leave three years ago from the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department, and he was chatting with Larry Murray, who lived across the street.

The two decided to try a test batch of home brew. A wit went wrong. A stout had legs. And over the past three years, the duo became an unintentional home brew club when Larry’s brother, Ben, and two friends, Phil Kuzila, and Joe Collins, all moved into Murray’s house.

“Homebrewing changed our appreciation for beer,” Kempf said. “We had no intention of opening a brewery when we started, it was more of an organic thing.”

Strawberry Hill Brewing Co.

Strawberry Hill Brewing Co. takes a cue from the historic neighborhood where it will be located. (Contributed | Strawberry Hill Brewing Co.)

At this past year’s KC Nanobrew Festival, the reaction to the beers that Strawberry Hill Brewing Co.’s five partners brought convinced them to pursue the idea in earnest. Kuzila’s father owned the building at 601 Central Ave. and agreed to lease them the property. This week, they started working on the hardwood floors with a goal of opening in 2019.

“All five of us were born in Kansas City, Kansas,” Kempf said. “And staying local was important to us. We just want to be part of the revitalization of Strawberry Hill.”

The brewery will likely launch with what Kempf calls the “starting five.”

“Everything we do has a good balance to try to encourage people to try styles,” Kempf said.

In the plans are The Long Road Ahead Stout, a Wyandotte IPA that Kempf said has a “good balance of malt and hops,” a Berliner Weisse that could be drunk with or without house schuss (syrup), Water Tower Hefeweizen (a nod to the water tower that was long part of the Strawberry Hill landscape) and a Bramber.

“It’s too dark to be an amber ale, but it’s very light bodied. It doesn’t fit into normal brown ales because of its lighter mouth and body feel,” Kempf said of the Bramber.

The brewery will have a one-barrel system. They’ll use the basement for fermentation and have a beer cooler on the ground floor. The taproom will be upstairs.

“We’re not a museum, but the decor will have the history of the Strawberry Hill and Central Avenue area,” Kempf said.

Kempf will brew alongside Larry Murray. Kuzila will assist with brewing and building maintenance, Ben Murray will bartend, and Collins is managing the finances and permitting.

“Right off the bat, we’ll stay central to serving at our bar,” Kempf said. “[That] we get to be right on the foothill of Strawberry Hill and tie into such a historic area makes it all worth it.”

Tap Notes

New Axiom Brewing (949 NE Columbus St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) has a host of new beers in the works. Go(o)ose Ganderin’ is a gose with tart cherries and hibiscus, TD Tossin’ Patrick Mahazy is a New England-style IPA with Citra, Azacca and Simcoe hops and Tezcatlipoca is an imperial Mexican chocolate stout made with peppers, cinnamon and vanilla.

Big Rip Brewing Co. (216 E. Ninth Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) released Davy Hogan’s Revenge, a blueberry cream ale that is packed full of blueberry juice (one-third of each batch is juice). It’s a limited-bottle release at the taproom. Keep an eye out for bottles of Aisle 12, Big Rip’s West Coast IPA, if you’re there.

Fog Machine is back at Torn Label Brewing Co. (1708 Campbell St.). The brewery calls it an “East Crossroads-style IPA,” and it will be out in 12-ounce cans. It’s a hazy beer with lots of floral and fruit notes. The official release party is Saturday, Oct. 13, and the beer will be on tap at noon.

Mothers Brewing Co. (215 S. Grant Ave., Springfield, Missouri) released its bourbon barrel-aged Three Blind Mice, an Imperial brown ale. The beer, aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, is available in the Springfield taproom.

Boulevard Brewing Company’s BLVR&D IPA pack is out on shelves now. It’s a hop showcase with a trio of tasting room beers (Brut IPA, Southern Hemisphere IPA, and DDH Galaxy IPA) in the mixed six-pack. In addition to the 12-ounce bottles, the beers are also on tap in Boulevard’s Tours & Rec Center (2534 Madison Ave.).

Free State Brewing Co.’s (636 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, Kansas) patio is now dog-friendly. While you’re there, their Oktoberfest is out and they’re serving pretzels made by their neighbor, Wheatfields Bakery.

This Week

Tuesday, Oct. 9

Double Shift Brewing Co. (412 E. 18th St.) will tap Ramble on Coffee Brown (7.1% ABV). It’s a sweet brown ale made with vanilla and the espresso blend from Messenger Coffee. The beer was in honor of the Rock Island Ramble, a 48-mile bike ride this past weekend with Velo Garage and Taphouse and Messenger Coffee.

Wednesday, Oct. 10

Stockyards Brewing Co. and Screenland Armour (408 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) have teamed up on a beer and movie session. The second in the “Once Upon a Time in the West Bottoms,” series is from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Screenland Armour. They’ll be showing “Near Dark,” a vampire, Western mash-up, offering specials on Stockyards beer, and two of the brewery’s founders, Greg Bland and Micah Weichert, will be there.

Screenland Armour has also collaborated with Crane Brewing Co. on a sour brew (slightly over 4% ABV). Shocktober was made with blueberry and lactose to taste like sour punch straws. It’s on tap at the theater now.

Waldo Pizza (1543 NE Douglas St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) is hosting a Battle of the Breweries from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring Martin City Brewing Co. and 4 Hands Brewing out of St. Louis. It’s a best-of-three matchup (for example, pitting Martin City’s Alchemy Coffee Stout against 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout) with the first blown keg or most pints sold determining the winner.

Thursday, Oct. 11

It’s Adult Night at Legoland, the one night a month when adults without kids can go build with bricks. Block-toberfest is from 6 to 9 p.m. and KC Bier Co. will be pouring Dunkel, Pils, Hefeweizen and Festbier at the Legoland in Crown Center.

Cinder Block Brewery and the Flying Horse Taproom have collaborated on a beer. Imperial Red Rye (around 10.5% ABV) was aged in Templeton barrels and will be released at the Flying Horse Taproom at 6 p.m. The rye brew was made with two different rye malts and has a subtle smokiness from a bit of cherry wood-smoked barley. The beer will be on tap and available to-go in crowlers.

It’s Paper Crafts & Boozy Drafts at the Boulevard Tours & Rec Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Learn how to make Beer Can-O-Lanterns with Emily Farris of the Boozy Bungalow. Tickets ($25) include craft supplies, a beer cocktail and a beer.

Double Shift is tapping King’s Vine (6% ABV), a fresh hop IPA made with wet Cashmere and Kanook hops from Kansas Hop Company. Head brewer Bryan Stewart got notes of “cantaloupe, candied lemon, and slight evergreen qualities.”

Friday, Oct. 12

Pinstripes (13500 Nall Ave., Overland Park, Kansas) is hosting a four-course beer dinner ($60) with Crane Brewing Co. The Mediterranean theme dinner features dolma, a honey-braised lamb shank and konafa (cream-filled pastry).

Strange Days Brewing Co. (316 Oak St.) releases Blonde and Confused (8.4% ABV), a golden stout with “notes of coffee, chocolate, hints of vanilla and a velvety finish.”

Saturday, Oct. 13

The Botanical Brewfest is from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens (8909 W. 179th St., Bucyrus, Kansas). They’ll have more than 90 beers from several dozen breweries. General admission tickets ($50) are available.

Have you heard the one about the Butcher, Baker, and Sour Beer Makers? It’s a collaborative dinner ($40) between Crane Brewing Co. (6515 Railroad St., Raytown, Missouri), Chad Tillman and JC Gregg, that is from 6 to 9 p.m.

Piney River Brewing Co. (15194 Walnut Drive, Bucyrus, Kansas) is hosting Fall on the Farm from noon to 7 p.m. They’ll have live music, pretzels and beer cheese, and plenty of beer choices, including Sweet Potato Ale and an Oktoberfest (with a few limited glass steins available).

The fourth annual NKC Pint Path, a pub crawl and bike tour, through North Kansas City, is between noon and 5 p.m.

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