Starting the first week of June, Cinder Block Brewery’s Weathered Wit will contain wheat grown by Great Plains Custom Grain, based in Wellsville, Kansas. Malt from that Kansas-grown wheat will journey to North Kansas City, Missouri, for the brewing process. Then the beer will make its way back to Kansas, as well as Missouri in Cinder Block’s distribution territory. In early June, Cinder Block expands distribution from Lawrence, Kansas, to Johnson County, Kansas.
Cinder Block owner Bryce Schaffter first met Gary Van Horn, a fourth-generation farmer and co-owner of Great Plains Custom Grain, at a Kegs N Eggs beer festival. Van Horn’s farm was already supplying Lifted Spirits Distillery with soft red winter wheat malt. He pitched the idea of supplying grain to Cinder Block.
“I want to grow barley and wheat and malt it for breweries,” Van Horn said. “I’m working on growing particular varieties of barley.”
Schaffter received samples and tested the grain for brewing. After initial trials, the two companies struck a supply deal. Cinder Block will soon brew and release a 30-barrel batch of Weathered Wit using the Kansas wheat.
“Witbier is a rustic style of beer,” Schaffter said. “There are more flavor characteristics with Great Plains’ wheat that lends itself to witbier. The grain has aggressive, bright tones and more flavor. Kind of like eating whole wheat bread. This is a good opportunity to pair the grain with our beer.”
Looking ahead, Van Horn has applied for grant funding to conduct a feasibility study on operating a malthouse. Currently, barley and wheat malt is produced and supplied by malters in other regions of the U.S and overseas. If plans bear out, Great Plains will be able to custom grow and malt grain for distilleries and breweries at competitive cost with a closer supply chain. As an essential ingredient in beer, that malted grain supply could open up fresh possibilities for locally-produced beer and spirits.
Women at Boulevard Brewing Develop Test Salted Caramel Stout
A few months ago, a small group of women approached Boulevard Brewing brewmaster Steven Pauwels with the idea of brewing a beer on International Women’s Day (March 8). The idea expanded to include an invitation to women from every department to submit ideas via email for a test beer. Forty-four women participated in the process. A committee of four women picked the top three ideas: Blonde Ale with Coffee, Orange IPA and Salted Caramel Stout.
Test Salted Caramel Stout, the winning concept selected by vote, was brewed recently and released last Friday at Boulevard Tours and Rec. Center (2534 Madison). A dollar from sales of each pour was donated to MOCSA.
“We thought it would be neat to get people involved in the innovation process who don’t normally get to voice their ideas,” quality sensory coordinator Abby Zender said. “We had to sort some ideas out due to cost, ingredient sourcing, time constraints. One of my favorite ideas was called The Feminine Mystiki: Tropical Coconut Chai Ale.”
“The response was pretty overwhelming,” brewer Megan Wood said. “We had ideas ranging from a traditional Vienna lager to a dill gose.”
Wood wrote the recipe for the winning beer. Three women that submitted the same idea for the test beer joined Wood in brewing the stout.
“Hillary Dunnegan, Erin McGonagle and I got to brew on our original system alongside brewers Megan Wood, Stuart Kersting and Dan Chivetta,” beer hall lead porter Carlene Schipfmann said. “My husband and I have homebrewed, but it was a completely different experience to brew such a large batch on such large equipment.”
Wood valued the opportunity to work with women from other departments.
“It was an eye-opening experience for me to see desire from other departments to be involved with the process,” Wood said. “We are starting an ‘idea box’ that is open to the whole company. Hopefully you’ll see many more employee-inspired beers.”
Rock & Run Brewery and Pub (110 E. Kansas St., Liberty, Missouri) signed with Major Brands to handle its distribution in Greater Kansas City.
The brewery’s tap list includes: Livewell Wheat with lemon, Mai-Ale, Roca Carrera Golden Ale with lime zest and kaffir lime leaves, Hoppy Sake American Blonde Ale, Brutus Maximus IPA, Witish Invasion Belgian-style Witbier with coriander and orange peel, and Hefe-Rye-Zen Wheat Ale with rye malt.
The lineup at Papa Louie’s at Green Room Burgers & Beer (4010 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite D.) includes Amber (5.5-percent ABV) with mildly toasty and subtle toffee notes, IPA (5.4-percent ABV) with a citrusy profile of lime, grapefruit and lemon, and a New England IPA (6-percent ABV) loaded with ripe strawberry and peach flavor, and a hazy appearance.
Free State Brewing (636 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, Kansas) released new Guavatas Sour and its popular Yakimaniac IPA in cans. Yakimaniac is also available on draft, six-pack bottles and 12-pack bottles. Four other new releases hit the taproom this week.
Guavatas Sour’s (4.65-percent ABV, 10 IBUs) initial fermentation with lactobacillus is further enhanced by added guava puree, resulting in a tart tropical ale. Blood Orange Radler (10 IBUs) mixes lager and a brewhouse-made blood orange soda to yield a slightly tart, slightly sweet and refreshing sipper. Boogiedown Pils (6.2-percent ABV, 37 IBUs), the second annual collaboration with Central Standard Brewing in Wichita, Kansas, is a pilsner with a dynamic hops mix: peach-lemony Grungeist; orange-like Mandarina Bavaria; and Styrian Wolf’s peppery, herbal hop with hints of lemon and menthol. Flavors and aromas of mango, papaya, pineapple and orange fill the bill in JuiceBox IPA (7-percent ABV, 65 IBUs), a heavily-hopped beer employing Mosaic, Mandarina Bavaria, Citra and coveted Australian Galaxy hops. Brightwater Saison (30 IBUs) is a light-bodied pale golden ale, with aromas resembling Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand.
Sandhills Brewing (111 W. Second Ave., Ste. D, Hutchinson, Kansas) tapped its first barrel-fermented beer, a tart Tequila Gose. The sour wheat beer was brewed with coriander and sea salt and then fermented directly in an oak Tequila Barrel for a month and a half. The beer is available in 32-ounce growler fills and will soon be packaged in cans.
Colony KC (312 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) released the third beer in its Rainbow Road Series, Orange Sherbet.
Casual Animal Brewing (1725 McGee St.) recently released Unicorn Booster, a blonde ale “dry hopped” with six pounds of Astronaut Ice Cream to provide a soft, sweet finish. Other beers on tap include Mane Event Helles, Nomo Rhino IPA, Hop the Fence India Pale Lager, and Logging Logger Lager.
The tap selection at Crane Brewing (6515 Railroad St., Raytown, Missouri) includes highlights such as Guava Weiss, Coconut Milkshake IPA, Berry Weiss and Dry Hopped Gose.
Strange Days Brewing (316 Oak St.) has its Mexican IPA with jalapeño and lime peel (7.8-percent ABV) on tap. ESB (6.5-percent ABV), a new beer, is also on tap to celebrate the end of the English Premier League season.
Martin City Brewing Company is adding a new Pizza & Taproom (4000 Indian Creek Parkway, Overland Park, Kansas) in Mission Farms. The grand opening party is Saturday, May 26. Portier Brandy Barrel Tripel comes out as a limited release in four-packs and on draft (500 E. 135th St.).
The taplist at Calibration Brewing (119 Armour Rd., North Kansas City, Missouri) includes Let It Flow Golden Ale, I Scare Myself IPA, Back to Black IPA, Rye I Am A Rock, Whole Lotta Love Grapefruit IPA, Is This Love Mojito Cider and I Never Knew You Raspberry Cider.
Double Shift Brewing (412 E. 18th St.) shows off its Power Moves Hazy IPA (6.7-percent ABV), brewed with oats and wheat and hopped with Citra, Idaho 7 and Vic Secret hops.
Border Brewing (406 E. 18th St.) has tart and fruity Sour Strawberry Blonde (3.8-percent ABV, 5 IBUs), a kettle-soured variant of its top-seller with extra lemon and orange peel and pureed strawberry.
Wakarusa Brewing (710 Main St., Eudora, Kansas) has Raspberry Mead, Mosaic IPA, Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Vanilla-Cocoa Oatmeal Stout and Ginger Chamomile on tap.
– 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.