Homebrewers John Baikie and Bryce Schaffter took their interest in craft beer to the next level and co-founded Cinder Block Brewery in fall 2013. They hired brewmaster Bucky Buckingham, formerly with 75th Street Brewery in Waldo and 23rd Street Brewery in Lawrence, to manage brewhouse operations. Several years later, the brewery is now looking at adding more equipment to boost its capacity in order to keep up with demand for its beers.
The brewery’s on-site taproom is a lively gathering place for Northlanders, craft beer drinkers from elsewhere in the city and beer tourists in town exploring local breweries. The long bar is a natural draw to meet or make friends. The spacious room also offers plenty of seating at tables and lounge furniture for folks to sit, socialize and log their latest sips on Untappd. Over summer 2015, the brewery also opened a patio and event space.
The taproom has light bar snacks available but doesn’t serve food. Back Rack BBQ, a food truck stationed outside of the brewery on weekends, is a popular option for barbecue and other hearty eats.
A wall of California wine, Jamaican brandy, and Kentucky whiskey barrels stacked at one end of the taproom adds character to the space. The barrels are used for aging various beers from sours to Russian Imperial Stout. Each barrel’s fill date is marked in chalk, but the release date depends on how the beer changes and ages over time. Russian Imperial Stout will age for 8-10 months in whiskey barrels before blending. Barleywine bides its time in 10-year-old brandy barrels.
Cinder Block’s beer list includes several year-round selections and a rotation of seasonal and limited release beers. Year-rounders include the well-balanced, smooth Paver Porter with roasted chocolate malt flavor, an American-style Prime Extra Pale Ale, and Northtowne Native, a California Common full-bodied ale that drinks like a lager. It’s a good introductory beer for those starting to explore craft beer. Block IPA uses six different hop varieties to produce a bold hop brute with prominent pine flavor and a burst of citrus and passionfruit aroma. For hopheads, look for the latest entry in the brewery’s Hop Maven Series, which focuses on unique hops and styles of IPA.
Lusus Naturae is a limited release Farmhouse Peach Sour that’s golden orange-yellow in color with enough powerful puckery punch to make it a sipper. The brewery also offers cider made in-house such as Champagne cider, French Pear Cider and English Cherry Cider.
Cinder Block soon will offer its beers in cans and large-format bottles for taproom-only sales. Other plans include installation of an in-house coffee roaster for production of cold press coffee.
Meanwhile, Cinder Block signed a deal earlier in 2015 to distribute kegs of its Northtown Native, Block IPA and Rivet Rye to area bars and taprooms. If you can’t make it to North Kansas City, then look for Cinder Block on tap around greater Kansas City.
110 East 18th Ave, North Kansas City | cinderblockbrewery.com
Photos by Pete Dulin.