Matt Wiley quietly launched Whalez Candles in late 2017 as a side project. Unlike commercial candle lines with a uniform look and packaging, Wiley uses empty bottles and cans of hard-to-obtain brands of craft beer to make his candles from scratch. Whalez is an allusion to the craft beer term “whale,” lingo that refers to Moby Dick’s hunt for an elusive white whale.
Last year, Wiley began making test batches of soy wax candles in craft beer bottles and cans. He distributed them to craft beer drinkers throughout Kansas City and sought feedback from this focus group on the design, burn time, aroma and other details.
“I want to know what people really want from a candle,” Wiley said. “It is a lot more than just wax that goes into the candle.”
Wiley studied other candles before finding inspiration for Whalez.
“A lot of candles smell good, but their housing is less ideal for me, with honeysuckle or a beehive on the front,” Wiley said. “That doesn’t appeal to me. I love craft beer. Why don’t we have beer candles?”
Wiley uses rare bottles and cans that he sources from friends and contacts that have access to sought-after beer brands and styles. Each bottle is cut by hand and hand-polished for a smooth glass edge. He fills the recycled vessels with soy wax and also infuses the wax with the adjuncts of the beer itself.
“If [Perennial Brewing’s] Barrel-Aged Abraxas is made with chilies, cocoa nibs, cinnamon and bourbon, then that candle is infused with those scents to create the smell of the beer taste, if you will,” Wiley said.
Red Crow Brewing Company Has A New Home
After two years in Spring Hill, Kansas, Red Crow Brewing Company is set to move. The Kansas brewery is relocating to 15430 S. Rogers Road, Olathe, Kansas. The brewery’s old location closed on Saturday and Red Crow plans to re-open later this spring. Look for an update in February on the new space.
Funkwerks, out of Fort Collins, Colorado, arrived on taps and shelves last week. Look for six-packs of saison, Raspberry Provincial and Tropic King in Kansas City. The brewery is focused on saisons, so that’s a good place to start if you haven’t had their beers. Tropic King is an Imperial Saison and Raspberry Provincial is a sour ale brewed with raspberries.
BKS Artisan Ales (633 E. 63rd St., Ste. 120) just added to-go cans of a “Midwest IPA.” Antithesis IPA is a mash-up of East and West Coast IPAs with a blend of pale malts, Simcoe, Chinook and Mosaic hops. Check social media before heading over to make sure it’s available.
Brewery Emperial’s beers are out in the wild. The Crossroads brewery has begun limited distribution and that began with co-owner Ted Habiger’s other restaurant: Room 39 (1719 W. 39th St.). Biscuit is now on tap at the Midtown Room 39 location.
If you missed Bier Station’s fifth anniversary this Friday, you can still drink a special collaboration brew created for the occasion. Friendly Collusion, a Belgian stout made with 4 Hands Brewing Co. and Martin City Brewing Company, is on shelves and taps now.
— 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.