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Tap List | BKS Artisan Ales Announces Soft Opening

Brian and Mary Rooney Brian (left) and Mary Rooney are gearing up for BKS Artisan Ales' soft opening. (Pete Dulin I Flatland)
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4 minute read

Brian and Mary Rooney spent last Friday evening applying labels to aluminum cans and preparing for a major milestone. Today, the brewery, BKS Artisan Ales, announced its first soft opening, a ticketed tasting event from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the brewery (633 E. 63rd St., #120). Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Oct. 18.

“The ticket includes five pours of beers that we are releasing and a couple of test batches we have been working on,” Brian, a homebrewer with eight years of experience, said.

In addition to the tasting event, Brian and Mary also announced they will open the tasting room from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22 for retail to-go (no draft pours) of bottles and cans of the beers that were featured at the tasting event.

“The idea with the Sunday can and bottle release is to ensure we get our beers into the hands of those that weren’t able to get tickets to the tasting event,” Brian said.

Brian’s path from homebrewing to professional brewing began because of a supply problem.

“The beers Mary and I like to drink aren’t always available here, so I started to brew my own,” he said. “I like to brew in areas where there’s no style classification.”

The beers featured at the tasting event, and available for to-go sale on Oct. 22, include the Vacation Island series of tropical, tiki-inspired session goses, or sour ales, such as Mai Tai, Margarita, and Mimosa. Rockhill and Locust, a nutty English-style pub ale, features Oddly Correct coffee roasters’ Kenyan roast. Counterculture, a Citra and Mosaic dry-hopped Northeast-style IPA, presents a golden hazy color, smooth bitterness, and a soft mouthfeel. Brian has also captured wild yeast from the family ranch in northeast Arkansas, owned by Mary’s father. The wild yeast is used in their Belgian-inspired farmhouse ale, Biere de Rosie. The first test batch of this beer will be poured at the tasting event and is a variant that includes peaches from Campbell, Missouri.

The 2,000 square-foot brewery and 50-seat tasting room with patio has been in development for more than a year. A second-story with 1,800 square-feet of space is currently under construction to house the barrel-aged sour beer program. BKS will host a series of ticketed soft openings for bottle and can sales on weekends through November to ease into their opening phase.

“We hope to have enough stock of kegs to begin regular Saturday tasting room hours in December,” Brian said.

Red Crow Brewing Prepares to Move

Red Crow Brewing Company (20561 S. Lone Elm Road, Spring Hill, Kansas) celebrates its second anniversary this month in the midst of its search for a new location. Founded by Mistie and Chris Roberts and Mistie’s parents, Joe and Loretta Fisher, the brewery and taproom created a much-needed craft beer destination in the greater Olathe area.

Growth has exceeded the founders’ expectations. New fermenters were added after six months and 15 months of operation to boost production capacity.

“We have tripled the brewhouse production capacity by 300 percent with the addition of two 15-barrel fermenters and a 15-barrel brite tank,” head brewer Chris said. “This has allowed us to have more beers on tap than last year, as well as allowing us to experiment with other styles of beers we hadn’t brewed in the past.”

Earlier this year, Red Crow began distribution of kegs to bars on the Kansas side.

“By 18 months, we had completed our five-year business plan,” CEO Mistie said. “So we’re back to the drawing board and starting fresh, and we are so excited.”

Now the brewery faces its next big challenge.

“We decided we needed to move from our current location,” Chris said. “It was not an easy decision nor one that we took lightly. It is what is best for our company and us. Uprooting a business that is not even two years-old is stressful and a lot of work but also exciting.” 

Red Crow needs to relocate by Jan. 31, 2018.

“Even though we don’t have a new location locked in, we are looking to move into Olathe,” Mistie added.

Cinder Block Brewery is Four Years Old 

Founded by Bryce Schaffter, Cinder Block Brewery (110 E. 18th Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) was one of the first brewhouses and taprooms to open during the recent local brewing boom in greater Kansas City.

Since opening four years ago, the brewery has added an additional 4,200 square-feet, including an event space, patio and kitchen. Approximately 2,200 square-feet went to additional production equipment and storage for materials. The added equipment enabled Cinder Block to boost production not only for its taproom, but also to supply draft accounts at bars and restaurants.

“We doubled the number of draft accounts we serve in the market as of last year,” Schaffter said. “We don’t see us slowing down with expanded distribution to the rest of the city.”

This year, the brewery won a bronze medal for its flagship Northtown Native ale in the Dortmunder or German-style Oktoberfest division at the Great American Beer Festival. Cinder Block was the only Kansas City area brewery to earn medal recognition.

Tap Notes

Cinder Block Brewery released The Great White Brett (5.5-percent ABV, less than 10 IBUs), a lambic-style beer available in the taproom in limited quantities. The taste incorporates citrus, hay and ripe fruit flavors with mild clove and tartness. The beer was blended from a three-year-old barrel-aged, mixed-culture beer.

“The beer contained a variety of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus strains with initial fermentation through a Belgian yeast strain,” Schaffter said. “The barrels themselves were neutral wine barrels with the original batch comprised of six 60-gallon barrels. Of the six, only four barrels were selected with a percentage of each barrel used to create the final blend.”

In early November, look for Cinder Block’s Cinder Noel (9.9-percent ABV, 30 IBUs), a Belgian strong ale made with a blend of Belgian malts, fresh coriander and orange zest.

The Belfry (1532 Grand Blvd.) offers beer, wine and spirit tastings on the first Tuesday, second Wednesday and third Thursday of the month. Email to RSVP.

Boulevard Brewing Company (2501 Southwest Blvd.) has released its 2017 version of Snow & Tell (6.3-percent, 28 IBUs), an interpretation of a Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy style. The beer’s initial aromas introduce fig, raisins, caramel and toffee. Lingering malt sweetness transitions to spicy/herbal hop flavors coupled with a drying, oaky character, according to ambassador brewer Jeremy Danner. Available in six-packs of twelve-ounce bottles and on draft.

Colony KC (312 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) has released Shuttlehop No. 2 (6.8-percent ABV, 38 IBUs), featuring Ekuanot, Huell Melon, Citra and Mosaic hops, with notes of guava, papaya, melon and citrus.

See the calendar below for additional beer releases.

Boulevard's Snow & Tell

Boulevard’s Snow & Tell, a strong ale, is out now. (Courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Company)

This Week

Tuesday, Oct. 17

The Big Rip Brewing Company (216 E. Ninth Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) releases Wine Barrel-aged Scotchlander Scotch Ale (9-percent ABV), aged for six months in a Pinot Noir Wine barrel, on tap. This Scotch strong ale style is also known as Wee Heavy.

“We did this one before, and it was nice because you get the cherry from the Pinot Noir barrel,” co-owner and brewer Josh Collins said. “We didn’t keep this one in the barrel as long so it would be more mild on the oak.”

Pig & Finch (11570 Ash St., Leawood. Kansas) hosts a six-course beer dinner with Crane Brewing. Courses include beet salad paired with Beet Weiss, yellow fin tuna tataki paired with IPA with Brettanomyces, and more. RSVP for seating.

Rock & Run Brewery and Pub (114 E. Kansas St., Liberty, Missouri) releases Creamsicle Nitro. Inspired by the classic American lawnmower beer, this cream ale (an American version of a German lager, brewed with ale yeast) is updated with a strong honey malt backbone, sweetness from flaked corn, and a light, citrusy boost from Summit and Citra hops.

Martin City Brewing launches its Alchemy Stout, made with Alchemy Coffee Cold Brew, at The Burger Stand at The Casbah (803 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, Kansas) during happy hour, 3 to 6 p.m.

Torn Label Tap Takeover at Tapcade NKC (1735 Swift Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) features Fog Machine, The Witch, Oscar, Hang Em High, Alpha, House Brew, Monk and Honey, Shake Hands with Danger and Rude Awakening.

Wednesday, Oct. 18

Play trivia at 7 p.m. versus Cinder Block’s brewers, owner, and sales representative at iTap (403 E. 18th St.). Prizes and giveaways go to trivia winners.

Border Brewing (406 E. 18th St.) taps a Rye IPA just in time for fall.

Thursday, Oct. 19

Grain to Glass (1611 Swift Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) hosts its weekly Thursday Tasting with a focus on pumpkin cider, mead and ales. Compare five premium choices, including a rare beer, for $15.

Friday, Oct. 20

S’Mores and Pours 2017, a benefit for Camp Encourage, gathers at Vox Theatre (1405 Southwest Blvd.) and features a camp-themed cocktail hour with J. Rieger and Crane Brewing. Enjoy an open bar and local, in-season dinner capped off by s’mores. Visit the Airstream photo booth and peruse silent and live auctions.

Saturday, Oct. 21

Crossroads KC Beer Fest at CrossroadsKC at Grinder’s (417 E. 18th St.) brings together more than two-dozen breweries with more than 70 types of beer. Live music includes Flannigan’s Right Hook and Katy Guillen and The Girls. You must be 21 years or older to attend.

Get ready to wheel, deal and drink at Bier Station (120 E. Gregory Blvd.). The Bier Is Right, a riff on The Price is Right, includes eight games found on the show and a Showcase Showdown. Breweries participating include: Crane Brewing, Boulevard Brewing, Dogfish Head, Sante Fe Brewing, Mother’s Brewing and more.

Double Shift Brewing (412 E. 18th St.) releases Abby Royal, a barrel-aged version of flagship, Sister Abby. Aged in Tom’s Town Distilling Co. Royal Bourbon barrels for 10 months, the beer has strong bourbon character on the nose, followed by stone fruit, and malt sweetness with an ester-forward aroma.

Calibration Brewing Company (119 Armour Road, North Kansas City) celebrates its first anniversary with its first Calibration Beer Festival. Local breweries and distilleries will pour samples at the fest.

Sunday, Oct. 22

Help Kansas Citians keep warm at Boulevard Brewing Tours & Rec Center’s (2534 Madison Ave.) Bundle Up Coat and Blanket Drive in partnership with Project Warmth Kansas City. The drive runs through Oct. 27. Donations of new, gently used and clean coats, blankets, gloves, mittens, winter hats and scarves are accepted at the Tours & Rec Center.

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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