iTap is Open and Ready to Serve
New taphouse iTap (1801 Oak) quietly opened last weekend. Managed by Jon Whitaker, the latest location of the St. Louis-based chain offers 56 taps and 500 different beers in its refrigerated coolers. Beer is also available for sale to go.
The spacious interior features colorful murals, widescreen televisions, and a private room that can be rented for special events. Most of all, Whitaker and his new team want to deliver a premium craft beer experience.
“I’ve hired staff with education about beer, but I also hire for attitude, too,” said Whitaker.
While beer knowledge is important, Whitaker emphasized that friendliness and social skills are important to welcome newcomers to craft beer. Guests may bring in food or have it delivered since iTap doesn’t offer food service.
Power Play: Update on BKS Artisan Ales
BKS Artisan Ales is so close to opening. They just need more power.
“Our build-out is completed except for a few minor finish items. Our equipment is set up and ready to go,” said Brian Rooney, who co-founded BKS Artisan Ales with his wife Mary. “Unfortunately, we’ve got some delays with Kansas City Power and Light dropping additional power to our space to run our brewhouse, glycol chiller, and walk-in cooler.”
The forthcoming brewery needs an additional 400 amps of power. To accomplish this feat, KCPL requires installation of a new transformer that will service the brewery and the other tenants. The installation involves city reviews, permits, and approvals, plus coordination with contractor schedules. The goal is to have upgraded power by the end of June.
“Once we have power, all we need to do is get our fire, occupancy, and health permits and then we can start brewing,” said Rooney. “I’m hesitant to state a date for opening until we have power and get those three permits approved. That said, I really can’t envision a situation where we aren’t brewing by some point in July. We are getting close.”
Keep an Eye on Eye for Eye
Homebrewer Michael Wells of Eye for an Eye Brewing Company took home multiple medals at last weekend’s eighth annual KC Nanobrew Festival. The festival includes a homebrewing competition: the Missouri Mashers Hot Summer Brew Off.
Eye for an Eye earned six medals: Silvers for A Pale Horse (with Cascade Beer Candi Company Blood Orange syrup) and Bad Apple Hard Apple Cider; and bronzes for Where the Wild Things Are V, Blueberry Parousia, Seventh Trumpet, and Apfelwein apple wine.
Crushable Summer Beers
Summer is officially in session. Folks in the craft beer community shared their recommendations for crushable seasonal beers for hot summer weather. Here’s a list for your next beer quest to quench thirst.
Max Carroll, head brewer at Brew Lab, loves Founders All Day IPA and Stillwater Gose Gone Wild. Brie Lowrey of Double Shift Brewing Company cites two crush-worthy beers in the tasting room: Double Shift’s 80s Saisontage Saison and Tessellation Wheat IPA.
Eric Flanagan, outlet manager at 99 Hops House-Argosy Casino, said, “a solid Berliner Weiss on a hot summer day does the trick. It’s effervescent, full of flavor, very session-able, and quite refreshing.” His candidates on tap at 99 Hops include Martin City Brewing Purple Train (made with blueberries), Crane Brewing Apricot Weiss, Mikkeller Raspberry Berliner Weiss, and his personal favorite, Dogfish Head Festina Peche (made with peach).
Eric Martens, owner-brewer at Border Brewing Company, said, “Strawberry Blonde is our top-selling summer beer now for two years in a row. We also have the Trapdoor Tripel, a Belgian tripel that clocks in at 9-percent ABV, but is surprisingly light and dangerously refreshing.”
Brian Rooney, owner-brewer at BKS Artisan Ales, is a big fan of traditional lambic and geuze, such as Oude Geuze by Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen.
“It’s a great pairing when grilling fish, shrimp, or chicken. Tart, funky, citrusy, and lots of barrel-aged complexity,” said Rooney.
Eddie Pease, co-owner of Fringe Beerworks, cites its Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Wheat and Tight Rope Tart Berliner Weisse as crushable summer beers. Calibration Brewery has a refreshing Raspberry Cider and Mojito Cider “ready for the hottest summer days.”
Trisha McElfresh, marketing manager at KC Bier Company, “recommend the Helles and our Pils bier.” Chris Dolt, marketing coordinator at Boulevard Brewing, leans toward Boulevard’s American Kolsch and Heavy Lifting IPA. Robb Richmiller, brand ambassador at Martin City Brewing, is a fan of Martin City Brewing Sideway Everyday American Ale, 4 Hands Contact High American Pale Wheat Ale, and Firestone Walker Pivo Pils.
Jennifer Helber of Grain to Glass goes with a Fourth of July color theme. “We just tapped a keg of Crooked Stave’s Petite Sour Rosé. It’s aged in rosé barrels, and is a pretty red color,” said Helber. “In package, raspberry beers include Founders Rubaeus. For white, we have witbiers such as Mark Twain’s Hannibal Nectar on draft, Boulevard ZON, and Jolly Pumpkin’s Calabaza Blanca in bottles. For blue, we are tapping Mark Twain’s Blueberry Saison and have Mikkeller’s SpontanTripleBlueberry in bottles.”
Jeremy Morton, beer manager at Mike’s Wine and Spirits, has watched the trend of sour beers “burst into the mainstream.” For example, his “top go-to summer beer,” is Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez, a gose brewed with cactus and grapefruit.
“The crisp, light tart flavor makes it extremely thirst quenching,” said Morton.
Other recommendations include an Evil Twin and Two Roads collaboration called Geyser Gose, “a crisp, lip-puckering and thirst quenching slam-dunk with nice minerality and funk,” and Tallgrass Brewing’s forthcoming Blueberry Jam Berliner Weiss that is “jammy, refreshing, and perfectly dialed tartness.”
— 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.