Published January 2nd, 2024 at 1:30 PM3 minute read
Vine Street Brewing Co. is ringing in the new year with a fresh accolade. The VinePair website has included Kansas City’s first Black-owned brewery among the nation’s 19 best new breweries of 2023.
There were 420 new breweries that opened in 2023, according to the Brewers Association. Vine Street’s inclusion on the list of best new breweries was covered by two professional beer writers, Grace Weitz, the senior content editor at Hop Culture, and Joshua M. Bernstein, the author of “The Complete Beer Course.”
First impressions matter. While most breweries tend to open with various IPA styles, pale ales or pilsners, Weitz noted that Vine Street took a different approach with Jazzman, a dark lager. With a unique story, a unique first beer, and a desire to revitalize the 18th & Vine neighborhood, Weitz was able to see firsthand the passion and drive at the brewery.
Bernstein had similar thoughts on what Vine Street is doing and what it means to Kansas City. With a music-centric theme, both in their beers and the types of events they host, Bernstein believes it’s the perfect meeting space to bring the community together. A place like this can be invaluable for a positive exchange of ideas, inspiration and forging of meaningful relationships.
While all of us in Kansas City know how great Vine Street is, it’s nice to see them continue to earn plaudits nationwide.
BKS Artisan Ales — 633 E. 63rd St., Kansas City, Missouri — brewed a beer as a tribute to their late pup, Nelson. The beer, titled Wherever, is a very approachable yet true to style West Coast IPA. You’ll get lots of piney, resinous notes throughout the beer. It features Nelson, Simcoe and Mosaic hops and comes in at 5.5% ABV. The beer is a good reminder to enjoy the journey wherever it may take you.
Strange Days Brewing — 316 Oak St., Kansas City, Missouri — released a sequel to last year’s Desolation (a dark lager). The follow up is Devastation, a Baltic porter. The dark malts of this imperial black lager help give this beer chocolatey, nutty and dark fruit characteristics. It’s smooth and crisp with an 8.5% ABV which is sure to feel like a warm hug with each sip.
Alma Mader Brewery — 2635 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri — has a slightly different take on its popular Premiant Czech-style pilsner. Still called Premiant, but with a green label, the beer uses whole leaf Czech Saaz hops. The whole leaf hops lead to an explosion of the characteristics Saaz hops have. The most notable difference in this 5% beer is the pronounced sweet lemon hop flavor that the original doesn’t particularly have.
East Forty Brewing — 1201 W. Main St., Blue Springs, Missouri — took its Jackson County Common and amped it up a bit. The 5.1% lager got a nice extra dose of Mosaic, Strata and Cryo Pop hops. These hops help give the beer some tropical aromas and flavors without making the beer too bitter.
Crane Brewing Co. — 6515 Railroad St., Raytown, Missouri — introduced a brand new beer to the lineup. Polar Opposites is a pastry sour brewed with pomegranate, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. The 6% beer may seem to have competing flavors, but sometimes opposites attract and result in an unexpected yet great combo in this beer.
Rockcreek Brewing Co. — 5880 Beverly Ave., Mission, Kansas — released a new double hazy IPA. The beer is mainly hopped with Sabro and Citra but also includes small amounts of Mosaic and Amarillo. The first thing you’ll notice is a bouquet of orange and citrus on the nose. That leads to nice tropical flavors along with a soft, balanced hoppiness. The 8.7% Cabin Fever Reliever is the perfect beer to keep you occupied and drive away the real cabin fever.
Pathlight Brewing — 11200 W. 75th St., Shawnee, Kansas — is getting heavy. The brewery is throwing a Heavy Metal Night event with a playlist customized by Pathlight’s own, Jerimy. Wearing your favorite metal band’s tee, hoodie or jacket will get you 10% off your tab. Junkyard Dog will be on site serving up various hot dogs from 5-9 p.m. for any of your food needs.
Alex Andujar is a former beer sales rep turned personal trainer. When he’s not training clients you can find him trying new beers at many of Kansas City’s great local breweries.