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Tap List | Rock & Run Primed for Growth

Rock & Run co-owner Gene DeClue Rock & Run co-owner Gene DeClue with the new brewhouse system. (Pete Dulin I Flatland)
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4 minute read

After more than a year of upheaval, Gene DeClue and Dan Hatcher, the two operational owners of Rock & Run Brewery and Pub (110 E. Kansas St., Liberty, Missouri), believe they’re turning a corner. They released their first canned beer, installed a new brewhouse system in their original location, and took steps to secure space in Liberty for a new production facility.

Let’s backtrack a moment. Last year, the new owner of the Bedinger Building began renovation next to Rock and Run’s brewpub. DeClue and Hatcher initially discussed expanding into that building once construction was complete. They later abandoned the idea and purchased a building in Kearney, Missouri, to launch a second brewery for additional production capacity.

During construction in May 2016, the entire Bedinger Building collapsed and subsequently damaged Rock and Run’s west wall. The destruction effectively limited the dining room space and bar on that side of the brewpub. Rock and Run expanded by taking over The Bell, a former restaurant and bar, located next door at 114 E. Kansas St.

Rock and Run’s temporary brewing outpost in Kearney enabled it to continue brewing while its primary brewhouse was out of commission. Now that the brewpub’s wall has been rebuilt, Rock and Run has fully regained its original dining space. In turn, DeClue and Hatcher made a series of key moves. They closed the Kearney operation. Its brewhouse system was sold to a prospective brewery operation in Excelsior Springs.

“The brewing operation in Kearney was always coming back to Liberty,” DeClue said.

A brand-new three-barrel brewhouse was installed in the Liberty brewpub next to the dining room.

“We started brewing on this system about five weeks ago,” DeClue said.

DeClue and Hatcher also have begun negotiations to finance a 9,000 square-foot building in Liberty. If the deal is completed within the next two months, that space will eventually house a 20-barrel production brewery, canning line, and 2,400 square-foot taproom.

“It was not an easy decision to close shop in Kearney,” DeClue said. “It was a better business decision to come back to Liberty.”

Other developments include signing a deal with Sparta Beverage, a Kansas City-based distributor, and contracting short-term with Weston Brewing Company to can Rock and Run’s Bleach Blonde Pale Ale. The pale ale is now available in cans at the brewpub, HyVee grocery stores, Red X, and other retail outlets.

Once the 20-barrel brewhouse is functional, Rock and Run anticipates producing beer in the new facility by early spring. It plans to move its canning operation in-house by mid-summer 2018.

“Other beers in the works to be canned include 5K IPA, Liberty Squared Golden Ale, and Ryely Porter, once labels are approved,” DeClue said.

Liberty Squared continues to be the brewpub’s best-selling beer, but the owners opted to can the pale ale first.

“Overall, sales of our beer have shot up,” DeClue said. “Once we canned Bleach Blonde, draft sales of it also went up.”

Smoke Ritual beer logo

Smoke Ritual brings a new take on smoke to Kansas City. (Courtesy of Double Shift Brewing Co.)

Behind the Beer: Double Shift Brewing Company’s Smoke Ritual

Brewery assistants Jon Conway and Annie Davis recently developed the recipe and brewed a 10-gallon batch of Smoke Ritual (11-percent ABV), a Smoked Quad brewed with oak-smoked wheat, under the tutelage of head brewer Bryan Stewart, and facilitated by owner Aaron Ogilvie of Double Shift Brewing Company (412 E. 18th St.).

“The inspiration [for the beer] actually came from a brewery in Minneapolis that I visited in June this year called Hammerheart,” Conway said. “They had a peat-smoked Irish red ale.”

The medium-bodied beer was brewed with Weyermann oak-smoked wheat malt made from German-grown wheat.

“Tasting reveals notes of sweet fig, stone fruit and hints of toffee. “The smoke slowly comes into play without being too extreme and builds up as the beer warms,” Conway said.

The aroma offers subtle smoke, sweet stone fruit notes, and a hint of fresh-baked bread.

“Depending on response, we will look at scaling [it] up later this year,” Stewart said.

Martin City Brewing Company's Pinkies Up

It’s your choice whether you go pinky up or not with Martin City Brewing Company’s Pinkies Up. (Pete Dulin | Flatland)

Tap Notes

Papa Louie’s tap list at Green Room Burgers and Beer (4010 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite D) includes Bird Lives (6.8-percent ABV, 100-plus IBUs), a beer brewed annually for famed jazz great Charlie Parker’s birthday. Also on tap, Raspberry Brown Cask Ale (5-percent ABV, 15 IBUs), Ez PA (4.5-percent ABV, 36 IBUs) and Belgian Pale Ale (4.2 ABV, 30 IBUs).

Double Shift Brewing Company (412 E. 18th St.) has revised its roster of flagship beers. Out: ’80s Saisontage, Briar & Bramble and Don’t Call Me Radio. In: Tessellation IPA, Tin Foil Hat Saison, Sister Abby American Dubbel and River Pirate Oatmeal Stout.

The tap list at Martin City Brewing Company Pizza and Taproom (500 E. 135th St.) includes several taproom-only offerings, such as Reckless Engineering (6.7-percent ABV, 30 IBUs), an English-style old ale aged in an oak foeder with a fruity aroma from Brettanomyces yeast. Also on tap, Cha Cha Magic Nitro Stout (4.9-percent ABV, 35 IBUs) touts rich roasted coffee flavor with hints of raisin and bread, and a creamy texture. Pinkies Up (3.9-percent ABV, 5 IBUs)  is a tart, refreshing blackberry and lime thirst-quencher with a deep pink color and citrusy zing. Green Light (5.5 percent ABV, 45 IBUs), a session IPA, is gold-colored with a floral aroma and a tropical fruit-citrus flavor profile.

The Big Rip Brewing Company (216 E. Ninth Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) will release Twins Cherry Cheesecake, a cherry-infused cream ale with a touch of vanilla, on Sept. 19.

Boulevard Brewing has released Cabernet Cask Imperial Stout (13.2-percent ABV, 20 IBUs). They used barrels from Groth Winery that originally held Cabernet Sauvignon and were next used by Jefferson’s Bourbon to age Jefferson’s Reserve Groth Reserve Cask Finish Very Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Boulevard filled the barrels with Smokestack Series Imperial Stout. According to ambassador brewer Jeremy Danner, the barrels contributed flavors of charred oak and vanilla, with notes of blackberry and cinnamon. Dark fruit notes trace back to the Cabernet Sauvignon and a Scottish yeast strain. Available in 750 milliliter bottles in area retail stores.

Calibration Brewing (119 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) has released a roggenbier, a German-style session rye beer, with ample peppery rye notes and finish. Oktoberfest Amber is coming soon, as well as a seasonal fall food menu.

Rock & Run Brewery and Pub (110 E. Kansas St., Liberty, Missouri) has released its Rocktoberfest, a Märzen-style beer, and B Weisser, a Berliner Weiss fermented with local organic pears from Prairie Birthday Farms. Bleach Blonde Pale Ale is now available in six-pack cans at the brewpub and throughout Kansas City, including Hy Vee, Brookside Liquors, and Red X.

Red Crow Brewing’s (20561 S. Lone Elm Road, Spring Hill, Kansas) Elaine Rye Porter is back on tap on a limited basis.

KC Bier Co. is gearing up for Oktoberfest. (Photo courtesy of KC Bier Company)

This Week

Tuesday, Sept. 12

Kansas City Bier Company (310 W. 79th St.) taps Heller Bock (8-percent ABV, 25 IBUs) at 4 p.m. Similar to its Helles year-round beer, Heller Bock has a higher alcohol content due to the strength of its initial wort during the brew.

Smoke Brewing Company (209 SE Main St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri) releases Hardcore Hop Sauce, a small-batch IPA with a whopping 210 IBUs at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 13

Red Door Grill (6324 Brookside Plaza) hosts a Kansas City Bier Company tap invasion from 4 to 7 p.m with Dunkel, Festbier, Der Bauer, Pils, KC Kolsch and Edelweiss on tap.

Border Brewing Company (406 E. 18th St.) releases a Fresh Hopped IPA from noon to 3 p.m. The brewer used 10 pounds of freshly harvested Cascade hops in the brew.

Grain to Glass (1611 Swift Ave., North Kansas City, Missouri) hosts a free talk about “Hops from Three Continents,” including hop harvests in the Yakima and Willamette Valleys. Owner Jennifer Helber will make hop teas so guests can smell the difference in aromas. Enjoy a hoppy beer on tap and learn about this essential ingredient in beer.

Thursday, Sept. 14

Free State Brewing Company’s CryoHarvest Ale uses local hops from Kansas Hop Company. Fresh-picked hops will be doused in liquid nitrogen to lock in freshness and improve access to the lupulin glands, where bitter hops resin and oils reside. Free State (636 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, Kansas) will pack a firkin with more fresh Kansas Hop Co. hops. Drink an ale and stay to meet Ryan Triggs and Nick Feightner of Kansas Hop Co. and hear the Kaw Valley Hop Pickers.

Sierra Grill (11099 Lackman Road, Lenexa, Kansas) hosts a happy hour, featuring Martin City Brewing’s Belgian Blond, FallBack American Brown and HardWay IPA.

Stockyards Brewing and Cinder Block Brewery collaborate with Conrad’s Restaurant & Alehouse (210 N. State Route 291, Liberty, Missouri) on a four-course beer dinner ($45, plus tax) at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 15

Lone Elm Taproom at Whole Foods (6621 W. 119th St., Olathe, Kansas) hosts a Kansas City Bier Company Oktoberfest tap invasion. The KC Bier team will tap a limited-edition wood barrel Festbier. Helles, Dunkel, Hefeweizen and 2016 Winterbock will also be on tap.

Saturday, Sept. 16

Festival of Lost Township returns to Raytown (Raytown Road and E. 62nd Street) from 1 to 4 p.m. The festival, presented by Raytown Three Trails Kiwanis and hosted by Crane Brewing, features dozens of regional brewers, visiting brewers and homebrewers, as well as live music, food, arts and crafts.

The Village West Winefest (Schlitterbahn Waterpark, 9400 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas) includes a beer garden with more than 100 craft beers on tap and 200 wines from 5 to 9 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 17

Kansas City Bier Company (310 W. 79th St.) teams with the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City for a pet adoption day and fundraiser event. Shop from Brookside Barkery and Beer Paws, participate in a raffle, and drink Pirate’s Bone Coffee. Melissa McGee Photography will shoot photos with guests and their pets (50 percent of proceeds go to HSGKC). The brewery will donate a portion of sales that day.

Monday, Sept. 18

Tap Chef at Boulevard Brewing Tours & Rec Center (2534 Madison Ave.) is a head-to-head chef competition. Local chefs Alex Pope of The Local Pig and Vaughn Good of Hank Charcuterie compete using three ingredients in three dishes that will be paired with three Boulevard beers. Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale is paired with local corn, The Calling IPA is paired with yuzu juice, and Bourbon Barrel Quad is paired with Boulevard’s Requiem for a Pancake Syrup. Event guests vote on the winner of each round. Best two out of three rounds wins the Tap Chef honor.

The I-70 Showdown Beer Dinner ($60, 6:30 p.m.) at The Foundry (424 Westport Road) features beer selections from Boulevard, Odell Brewing Company and Uinta Brewing with four courses. For example, a pasta of braised duck agnolotti with fig and mushrooms is paired with Boulevard’s Love Child No. 6, O’dell’s Flemish Giant and Uinta’s Pit Stop Kettle Soured Apricot IPA.

— 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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