Published May 1st, 2018 at 6:00 AM
Dubious Claims Brewing Company (451 S. Thompson Ave., Excelsior Springs, Missouri) opened late last week. Owner and founder Neil Wilkerson, a homebrewer, hired Taran Winnie, 25, as head brewer to run the five-barrel brewhouse.
A native of Kearney, Missouri, Winnie earned his brewing credentials at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and interned at a brewery in Baltimore, Maryland. Winnie connected with Wilkerson after moved back to his hometown. He soon found himself in the plum position of running a new brewery, a rare opportunity in a town located 40 minutes north of Kansas City.
“I’m not trying to reinvent the style wheel of beers,” Winnie said. “I want to do the wheel well.”
Therapy Kolsch (4.8-percent ABV), Bathhouse Blueberry Wheat (6.14-percent ABV), and Relief IPA (5.8-percent ABV) are the first three beers on tap. Elixir Stout is slated next for release. The bar’s eight taps include craft beer from regional breweries.
The kitchen serves beer-friendly appetizers, sandwiches and pizza.
The brewery’s name springs from the city’s once-renowned reputation for its mineral waters. In the early 1900s, Excelsior Springs was a destination known for its nearly four-dozen mineral water springs and varieties of waters that reputedly had healing properties. City leaders branded the city as America’s Haven of Health. Thousands of people with illnesses flocked to the city’s mineral water pavilions and bath houses. By the mid-1900s, newspaper articles began questioning the medical veracity of the mineral waters associated with healing properties. Eventually, the local economy took a downturn as the tourist and mineral water industry dried up.
Already staking its own claim, Dubious Claims Brewing declared itself the number one brewing company in Excelsior Springs. Meanwhile, a one-barrel nanobrewery is in the works at nearby saloon The Atlas.
Hop Dust Used in Boulevard Brewing Company and Zipline Brewing Company Beers
Boulevard Brewing and Zipline Brewing of Lincoln, Nebraska, collaborated on two limited-release beers that use lupulin powder, also known as hop dust. Boulevard’s Linkin’ Up Hop Dust IPA features ample hop dust and several hops varieties that deliver juicy notes of pineapple, mango and bubble gum. Linkin’ Up will be available in kegs and six-packs of 12-ounce bottles in early June. Zipline’s Gettin’ Down Hop Dust Double IPA, available in kegs and 750-milliliter bottles, used Galaxy hops and Mosaic hop dust to yield a flavor profile of lychee and tropical fruits.
Hops, the essential ingredient in beer that provides bitterness, flavor and aroma, grow on vines as hop flowers or cones. Hop farms harvest, process, and sell cones to breweries as whole hops or compressed pellets. Hop dust is created by cryogenically freezing hop cones. The leaves and vegetal matter can be more easily separated from lupulin, the powder containing oils and compounds that produce the desired flavors and aroma in beer.
The goal of brewers is to minimize the vegetal characteristics and maximize the lupulin in beer for prime flavor and aroma. Dry hop pellets are the most common usage of hops in brewing.
“Hop pellets are easy to measure and use with a high concentration of lupulin oil,” Powers said. “It provides maximum aroma and the juiciness and resin for the best result.”
A hops producer used a new innovative freezing process with some of the most recent hops crop. Breweries such as Zipline and Boulevard have experimented with the ingredient.
“This is the first year we’ve played around with hop dust,” Powers said. “For hops processed in early 2018, this is the first wave of the technology applied to brewing. I’m seeing a string of innovation in the market with new beers using hop dust.”
Zipline has experimented with using a combination of hop dust and hop pellets to strike a balance in flavor and aroma. Boulevard Brewing has also worked with hop dust. However, the cost of the ingredient makes it impractical to use at scale compared to hop pellets.
“We’ve looked into it and will not use hop dust in the future,” Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels said. “It’s an oil yield issue. Hop dust has a high processing cost that doesn’t make sense for us. We also have good technology, such as centrifuges, to use with hop pellets. The flavor from hop dust isn’t much different than hop pellets.”
Pauwels said he does like the limited-release beers that Boulevard and Zipline produced with hop dust.
“We worked with the guys from Zipline and helped them with brewing the beers,” Pauwels said. “It helped to understand their approach to using hop dust. As a younger brewery, Zipline looked to Boulevard’s approach to making a good balanced beer. We had the same ideas.”
Big Rip Brewing (216 E. Ninth Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) released New Aisle 12 Mango IPA on tap. Doorkeeper Cinnamon Roll Porter and Zelda’s Vanilla Cream ale are now available in bottles at the taproom.
Craving a Biscuit? Brewery Emperial (1829 Oak St.) has this hybrid English ESB and old-school American Pale Ale (5.2-percent ABV, 25 IBUs) on tap at more than two-dozen locations around Kansas City. Look for it at Black Dirt, Fric and Frac, Stockyards Brewing, Stone Canyon Pizza – Parkville, Mike’s Wine & Spirits – Westport, Fringe Beerworks, Screenland Crossroads and other bars and restaurants across Greater Kansas City.
3 Trails Brewing (111 N. Main St., Independence, Missouri), a brewery slated to open in 2018, continues to work on finalizing construction bids for its project. Meanwhile, 3 Trails served Grapefruit Truman’s Slow Stroll White IPA, Fat Man Stout, and Westward Wit at last weekend’s Parkville Microbrew Fest for the first time as an official brewer. The brewery’s next appearance will be at Kansas City Nanobrew Fest May 26.
Miami Creek Brewing Company (14226 NW. County Road 14001, Drexel, Missouri) now has a hydromel mead (6.4-percent ABV) on tap.
“Light and dry, this mead is made with wildflower honey from our friends at Cooper’s Honey Farm,” brewer Will Reece said. “It is a hit with those customers that need something gluten-free or prefer wine over beer. Our first cider test batch is in the fermenter but probably won’t be ready until late May.”
The taproom will also have a slushie machine, starting May 5, that uses mead as a base for drinks.
“I’m also planning margaritas for Cinco de Mayo using Kansas City’s own Mi Rancho tequila,” Reece said. “I plan to have taster flights of their silver, gold, reposado, and anejo tequila available if someone is feeling adventurous.”
San Francisco-based Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, now owned by Hunters Point Brewery, is distributing its beers in Kansas via Speakeasy Distribution. Flagship beers Prohibition Ale and Big Daddy IPA and session beers Baby Daddy and PopGun Pilsner are available in six-packs of 12-ounce cans.
Colony KC (312 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) has Cinco Wheat on tap. The Mexican Wheat is brewed with flaked corn maize and cilantro. Add a lime for a citrusy touch.
Fringe Beerworks (224 SE Douglas St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) has Tight Rope Tart Berliner Weisse, Madam X Milk Stout with coffee, Madam X Milk Stout with coffee and coconut, its popular Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Wheat, and other beers on tap.
Smoke Brewing (209 SE Main St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) has White Rascal Witbier, Mulligan India Pale Lager, Pressure Pils, Mai Bocking Beer, I Don’t Care What You Saison, and Notorious L.U.P. 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.