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Tap List | Pumpkin Beers Roll Into Town

Chef Josh Eans Chef Josh Eans collaborated with 4 Hands on Preserved Lemon Gose. (Contributed: Josh Eans | 4 Hands Brewing)
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St. Louis-based 4 Hand Brewing Company collaborated once again with Happy Gillis chef Josh Eans to produce and release Preserved Lemon Gose, a tart wheat beer with a slightly salty finish. The lemon flavor is derived from lemon zest, plus lemon verbena, lemon basil, and lemon balm harvested from Prairie Birthday Farm in Kearney, Mo.

The recipe has remained the same over the past three years of this seasonal release, but each iteration presents a slightly different character.

“When you are using natural and wild ingredients, there is always some variation year to year,” Eans said. “We celebrate this. This year’s batch has more salinity and minerality, and is a little less sour. It’s almost savory in a way.”

The low-alcohol session beer pairs well with food. Eans, who owns and operates Columbus Park Ramen Shop and Happy Gillis with his wife Abbie-Jo, recommended ramen as an ideal food pairing with the gose. In fact, ramen is listed on the beer label as a pairing suggestion.

“The salinity and light tartness cause it to pair wonderfully with a rich bowl of ramen,” Eans said.  “Additionally, I find it to pair wonderfully with oysters. The salty, briny quality is a perfect match. It’s also beautiful with lighter cheeses, such as goat cheese or fresh cheese curds. For our beer dinner coming up with 4 Hands, we are going to make a fresh pasta with herbs pressed into the dough to pair with it.”

The 4 Hands Beer Pairing Dinner at Happy Gillis (549 Gillis St.) is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 27. Six beers from 4 Hands will be paired with six courses ($75, plus tax and gratuity, limited seating), including some limited releases and rare beers from the brewery’s cellar. Call 816-471-3663 to make a reservation.

High Plains Brewhoff on the Horizon

The fourth annual High Plains Brewhoff, a homebrewing competition and beer festival presented by Brew Lab (7925 Marty St., Overland Park, Kansas), is set to return from 2 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 23 in Downtown Overland Park. Guests taste, judge, and vote for their favorite craft beer from more than 130 selections brewed by 44 teams. The winning homebrewer will up-scale up their recipe at Brew Lab and the beer will be featured on its taps.

This year, festival organizers have allotted more space for competing brewers and guests. Brew Lab will have food available, served food truck-style. The Ragged Few will perform as the featured main music act. After the festival, guests are invited to a wrap party inside Brew Lab.

Limited tickets still remain for the invitation-only festival. For tickets, visit Brew Lab.

Pumpkin Beers, Love ’em or Leave ’em?

Much like Starbucks’ maligned and celebrated pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin beers return each fall season to the delight or dismay of discerning drinkers. We put out a call to the Beer Tasting Kansas City group on Facebook and had local craft beer imbibers weigh in with recommendations and observations on this seasonal beer. Here’s what they had to say.

Wes Wheeler: Finding good IPAs or stouts are easy (and more readily available). A good pumpkin beer is few and far between. Imperial Pumpkin Smash by Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co. is the best pumpkin beer I’ve had.

Drew Ward: Pumpkin beer is all that is wrong with the world; however, Crown Valley Imperial Pumpkin Smash is the only acceptable pumpkin beer.

David Schumacher (homebrewer, SchuBrew): I’m looking forward to having Dogfish Head’s Punkin in the market this year. I enjoy the malty flavors and slight spice of the beer.

[Fun fact: Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione created the concept for Punkin in 1994, when he entered the homebrewed beer in a Delaware baking contest. The beer, made with actual pumpkin, brown sugar and fresh spices, took best of show over all baked goods.]

Bri Burrows (homebrewer): The pumpkin beers by O’Fallon are decent with little pumpkin pie spices. I used to be a huge fan of Southern Tier’s Pumking. My palate has changed. It now tastes like I’m drinking cloves right out of the spice jar.

Heather Marie Hawks: I do not like pumpkin anything. That being said, I’ve found the one exception: O’Fallon’s Vanilla Pumpkin.

Greg Dotson: Rumpkin from Avery Brewing is the only acceptable pumpkin beer that I can say out loud that I consume. Aged in rum barrels with blackstrap molasses and spices, the 18.5-percent shouldn’t be scary. Pumpion from Elk Valley Brewing and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Pumpkin Ale from Lexington Brewing are close runner-ups.

Jennifer Helber (owner, Grain to Glass): Great American Beer Festival gold medalist Steven’s Point Brewery Whole Hog Pumpkin is my favorite. It’s only in Kansas City for a few weeks and not in big volume.

Tap Notes

Colony Ale House (312 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) has released Hatter and Hare Mad Tea Ale, a tart ale made in collaboration with Hugo Tea Company, available in its taproom.

The tap list at Red Crow Brewing Company (20561 S. Lone Elm Road, Spring Hill, Kansas) includes Isabelle Belgian Blonde, Louise IPA, Elaine Rye Porter, Donna American Wheat, Frances Pale Ale, and Loretta Lager, released on Sept. 13th.

Torn Label Brewing Company (1708 Campbell St.) has several new releases (See additional releases on Sept. 20 and 22.) this week at its taproom and on draft throughout Kansas City. Oscar, a German-style Pilsner made as a session lager for fall, exhibits floral, lemongrass aromas, and a crisp, honey-biscuit sweetness. Also, Hang’em High Batch 14 is the latest in this experimental hops series. Iteration 14 highlights juicy Columbus hops from Kansas Hop Company for a wet-hopped version of the IPA. Wet-hopped refers to hops used less than 24 hours after harvest.

Torn Label's The Witch

Torn Label’s The Witch is the latest release in its Artist Collaboration series. (Courtesy of Torn Label Brewing Company)

This Week

Tuesday, Sept. 19

At Fringe Beerworks (224 SE Douglas St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri), “Twos,” Day means $2 off standard pours and paying $2 for short pours and cans.

Through Sept. 22, Mike’s Wine and Spirits will donate 25-percent of proceeds from growler fills at its Westport, Waldo, and Brookside locations to the GlobalGiving Hurricane Irma Relief Fund.

HopCat (401 Westport Road) hosts a four-course Oktoberfest beer dinner featuring Ayinger Brewery beers. One course includes bierock with savory beef, onion, and cabbage filling paired with Ayinger Bräu Weisse Hefeweizen.

Wednesday, Sept. 20

Torn Label Brewing Company (1708 Campbell St.) releases Fog Machine as part of its limited IPA series, available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans. Originally known as Meet Me in Montauk as a Rough Draught series taproom release, this cloudy IPA was scaled up and brewed with the Conan yeast strain for a floral, dry finish. It’s available at 5 p.m. in the taproom with limited area distribution. A portion of proceeds of every glass and four-pack of Fog Machine sold on release day will benefit Heart to Heart International, a Kansas City area humanitarian and crisis relief nonprofit.

Turn out for Local Pint night from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring beers from Cinder Block Brewery, Crane Brewing, and Stockyards Brewing at Flying Saucer (101 E. 13th St.). Buy a brewski from any of these breweries, and take one of three different glasses home with you.

Fringe Beerworks (224 SE Douglas St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) taps a keg of Deschutes Black Butte XXIX (29th birthday reserve) at 6 p.m. with a glass giveaway, while supplies last.

Border Brewing (406 E. 18th St.) invites beer and ice cream fans for Float Night from 4 to 9 p.m. Try any of these four beer floats featuring Shatto milk: chocolate milk stout with vanilla ice cream, chocolate milk stout with chocolate ice cream, strawberry blonde ale with vanilla ice cream, or strawberry blonde ale with vanilla ice cream and a dash of chocolate milk stout.

Thursday, Sept. 21

Martin City Brewing Company and One Block South present beer yoga at Kanza Hall (7300 W. 119th St., Overland Park, Kansas). Jessie Davis from Onelife Fitness leads the yoga class. Martin City Brewing pours its beers for participants perfecting their yoga form.

Friday, Sept. 22

Oktoberfest weekend, which runs through Sunday, begins at Kansas City Bier Company (310 W. 79th St.) today. The free, all-ages event will feature German-style Festbier, contests, live music, and food from Grunauer Kansas City and Betty Rae’s Ice Cream. Souvenir steins, dancing, lederhosen, and fun abounds in the beer hall and beer garden. Proceeds benefit CASA.

Rock & Run Brewery and Pub (110 E. Kansas St., Liberty, Missouri) opens an outdoor beer garden during Liberty’s Fall Fest (today through Sunday). The brewery will have its Liberty Squared Golden Ale, Bleach Blonde Pale Ale, 5K IPA, and Ryely Porter on draft.

During Oktoberfest weekend in Downtown Lee’s Summit, Fringe Beerworks (224 SE Douglas St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) is selling steins that include drink discounts at its taproom all weekend. Fringe’s Grapefruit Wheat, which won top honors at Oktoberfest last year, is a featured beer on tap. Crowlers of beer to go will also be available.

Louisburg Library (206 S. Broadway, Louisburg, Kansas) hosts Chris Roberts, owner and head brewer of Red Crow Brewing Company. Roberts discusses how he and his family developed his homebrewing hobby into a professional-scale brewery and successful family business in Spring Hill.

Torn Label Brewing Company (1708 Campbell St.) releases The Witch, a black gruit brewed with rosemary, sage and black currant, as part of its Artist Collaboration series. For the series, Torn Label partnered with Oddities Prints and artist Danni Parelman, who created packaging artwork. Gruit is an ancient style of beer that uses herbs rather than hops as a bittering agent. The black currant in this recipe adds flavor and color to complement the beer’s herbal notes. It’s available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles at the taproom. Oddities Prints will have one-off glasses, hand-printed candles, t-shirts and special edition prints available at Torn Label. Screenland Armour (408 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) will have The Witch from Torn Label on tap as it screens the supernatural horror film “The Witch” at 10:30 p.m. After the release events, The Witch will be available throughout Kansas City on draft and in 22-ounce bottles.

Saturday, Sept. 23

Sample beers from Limitless Brewing, a brewery-in-planning, in their beer garden at the Overland Park Fall Festival (8113 Overland Park Drive, Overland Park, Kansas). Limitless will have two East Coast-style IPAs and a Blonde Ale on Peaches available for tasting while supplies last.

At Brews for Blood Cancer, Crane Brewing Company (6515 Railroad St., Raytown, Missouri) will donate a portion of the night’s sales to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The nonprofit will offer raffle items, snacks for sale, and a paint-your-own “Relentlessness” Rock for a small donation.

At its monthly Coffee Beer and Donuts, Tapcade NKC (1735 Swift Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) takes a local beer, filters it through fresh locally roasted coffee beans, and pairs the beer with donuts. This month, try Boulevard’s Tough Kitty Milk Stout poured through fresh roasted Thou Mayest coffee. Every pint comes with a free donut while they last.

Monday, Sept. 25

Cinder Block Brewery (110 E. 18th Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) kicks off its four-year anniversary party, which will last through Saturday, with daily specials and events. Today, enjoy $3 year-round beers. The brewery will filter its Weathered Wit and Warheads candy in a randall for a flavor-filled infusion.

— 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.

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