The bottle openers that Jared Schmid of JAS Metalworks forges from mild steel have an old-school, blue-collar feel to them. Whether opening a yard beer or a craft beer bomber, Schmid’s openers hark back to a time when working with tools was more commonplace.
Schmid, who formerly worked at Boulevard Brewing for 10 years in quality control and food safety, made his first bottle opener just over a year ago out of an old wrench.
“It still hangs on the wall in my shop,” Schmid said.
After viewing a YouTube video on handmade bottle openers, Schmid decided he could make his own version. His openers have a light heft to them like a trusted pipe wrench pulled from a toolbox. Each bottle opener varies in style with different surface textures and design features. Creating an opener from scratch takes an hour or more from forging to clean-up and finishing.
“Most start as a one-inch by quarter-inch flat bar or half-inch round or square rod. Almost all of them are one-of-a-kind. Some have copper inserts, rivets or inlays,” Schmid said. “This allows me to stay creative and try new things. It also comes with failures, but that’s part of the learning process.”
Schmidt, who has been a hobby blacksmith for two-and-a-half years, said, “I taught myself in my spare time and I’m still learning. I don’t feel I’ve necessarily earned the title blacksmith yet.”
Beer Year in Review
As 2017 draws to a close, the year has been filled with craft brewing news, debuts, and activity. Here’s a look back at some of the notable developments.
Kansas City area breweries embraced canning beer. Rock & Run Brewery and Pub (110 E. Kansas St., Liberty, Missouri) released its first canned beer, installed a new brew house system in their original location, and took steps to secure space in Liberty for a new production facility. Boulevard Brewing (2501 Southwest Blvd.) broke ground on a major expansion for a new canning line. Crane Brewing (6515 Railroad St., Raytown, Missouri) installed a new packaging line. Kansas City’s craft beer community also lost a familiar face: John Bryan.
KC got a host of new beer spots. Colony Handcrafted Ales (312 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) began brewing and serving its own beer. Brew Lab (7925 Marty St., Overland Park, Kansas) opened its own brewery.
Other new breweries include Lawrence Beer Company (826 Pennsylvania St., Lawrence, Kansas), Wakarusa Brewing (710 Main St., Eudora, Kansas), BKS Artisan Ales (633 E. 63rd St., #120), Smoke Brewing Company (209 SE Main St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) and Fringe Beerworks (224 SE Douglas St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri). The Kansas City Cider Company also opened in St. Joseph, Missouri.
What’s on Tap For 2018?
Forthcoming breweries in 2018 include Callsign Brewing (1447 Gentry St., North Kansas City, Missouri), East Forty Brewing (1201 W. Main St., Blue Springs, Missouri), New Axiom Brewing Company (949 NE Columbus St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri), Strange Days Brewing Company (316 Oak St.), Casual Animal Brewing (1725 McGee), Limitless Brewing, Fields & Ivy Brewery (706 E. 23rd St., Lawrence, Kansas), and Kansas City Breweries Company.
Miami Creek Brewing Company (14226 NW County Road 14001, Drexel, Missouri) is looking to expand in 2018 and potentially serve cider and mead.
The Big Rip Brewing Company (216 E. Ninth Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) has bottles of Forgetful River Pale Ale, Six Demon Bag Sour Brown, and Imperial Milk Stout at the taproom while supplies last. Look for additional bottle releases on Dec. 24 of O.R.C., Bacta Imperial Chai Brown Ale, Scotchlander Barrel Aged, and a mystery beer.
— 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.