Tasting Flight at Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City

Kansas City’s craft beer scene is brewing

By Pete Dulin

Craft brewers in Kansas City have tapped into a growing audience thirsty for fresh, local beer. New breweries have opened in recent years throughout the city. They join the largest hometown brewery, Boulevard Brewing Company, and others with more than two decades of experience delivering delicious craft beer.

Boulevard Brewing Co.

boulevard.com

Founded in 1989, Boulevard is a must-visit destination as the city’s oldest and largest operating production brewery. Free public 40-minute walking tours take place seven days a week on a first-come, first-serve basis. Learn about the history of the company, Boulevard’s brewing process and its approach to beer and business. Afterward, enjoy samples of Boulevard’s year-round beers, seasonal releases and test batches. More information on special tours is available at boulevard.com.  

Cinder Block Brewery

cinderblockbrewery.com

Located a few minutes north of Downtown KC, Cinder Block is a lively gathering spot, where patrons line up at the taproom’s long bar, sit at cozy tables or head to the patio for a pint. California wine, Jamaican brandy and Kentucky whiskey barrels in the taproom hold ales and stouts as they age. Year-round favorites include Pavers Porter, Northtown Native Ale and Block IPA. When hungry, try options from the Back Rack BBQ food truck on weekends.

Big Rip Brewing - Image via bigripbrewing.com

The Big Rip Brewing Company

bigripbrewing.com

Homebrewers and friends Josh Collins and Kipp Feldt co-founded this North Kansas City brewery. Collins and Feldt, fans of sci-fi and horror films, selected the name of their brewery and rotating selection of beers from film references in both genres. Community-minded, the founders donate 10 percent of gross revenue receipts quarterly to charity. The taproom is a friendly space with a separate room for events and an outdoor patio. Mr. Fancy Pants English Pale is their award-winning English Pale Ale. Also, sample the Hathor’s Sweet Brown Ale, Delta 88 IPA and fruit-based, gluten-free beers.

Torn Label Brewing Company

tornlabel.com

The Crossroads Arts District is home to several breweries ideal for a readymade walking tour. Torn Label, a 15-barrel production brewhouse founded in 2014, is located on the south side of the Studios Inc. building. Open on weekends, the urban taproom created by local artist Peter Warren is a popular destination. Year-rounders such as Belgian-inspired ale Monk & Honey and coffee wheat stout House Brew (made with beans from neighboring Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters) are supplemented by limited-releases like Quadjillo, a chili beer, and Tonguelash, a soured hoppy wheat.

Double Shift Brewing via @doubleshiftbrewing Instagram

Double Shift Brewing

doubleshiftbrewing.com

Local firefighter and homebrewer Aaron Ogilvie’s “second shift” job as a brewery owner inspired the name for the small-batch brewery opened in 2015. He plans to brew up to 250 barrels in the first year and gradually increase production to 1,000 per year. The Crossroads taproom’s six beers include Run-Around Rye Ale, Heavyweight Double IPA, Hayloft Saison and 18th Street Pale Ale. The roomy bar and community tables are a natural place to socialize over a pint. Grab a slice at Grinders Pizza across the street, if hunger strikes.

Border Brewing Kansas City

Border Brewing Company

borderbrewco.com

Next door to Double Shift, Border also opened in early 2015 as a small-batch brewhouse and taproom. Owner, brewer and former chemical engineer Eric Martens chose the brewery’s name to represent the bi-state border between Missouri and Kansas. Martens’ session beers, such as Patio Extra Pale Ale, Rooftop Red Ale and Campfire Porter, are “approachable” for craft beer newcomers and avid beer nerds alike. Martens also invites patrons to vote online for the next beer he will “brew for you.” Local artwork adds character to the urban taproom.

McCoy's Public House

McCoy’s Public House

mccoyskc.com

Founded in 1997, McCoy’s is a brewpub located in the heart of the vibrant Westport dining and shopping district. McCoy’s beers are brewed on site. During warm weather, the patio is prime real estate for socializing and people-watching. The extensive pub menu includes burgers, sandwiches, pizza and comfort dishes like chicken and waffles. The rotating beer selection includes refreshing Ginger Shandy, Hogpound Brown Ale , Fresh Hopped ESB and Newcom’s IPA. Happy hour (3-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) is a fine time to enjoy pints and a satisfying meal.

Kansas City Bier Company

kcbier.com

Based in the Waldo neighborhood, KC Bier is a large production brewery with a focus on German-style beers. Its tasting room and biergarten is a festive spot to drink, dine, watch German football and on most weekends listen to live accordion music. Nosh on traditional German foods like Bavarian pretzels with mustard, German potato salad, dried sausages, charcuterie plates and various wursts. Saturday tours ($10/person) include three beer samples and a souvenir KCBC glass.

Kansas City Tap Tour

 

 

The KC Tap Tour highlights the craftsmanship area breweries put into creating their beers, all while rewarding visitors and locals who sample the city’s tasty suds. Visit, drink and win prizes—it’s that simple.

Get Touring

Taps to Try

Tapcade in Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District

Our favorite craft beer bars

  • The Belfry, owned and operated by cicerone and Chef Celina Tio, features a premium selection of craft beer and bourbon with upscale appetizers in a lounge setting.
  • Tapcade is a spacious venue with retro arcade games, 45-seat movie theater, extensive craft beer menu and food.
  • Beer Kitchen is a craft beer-driven restaurant with upscale burgers, sandwiches and diverse beer selection on tap and in bottles.
  • The Foundry, next to more family-friendly sister brewpub McCoy’s Public House, serves craft beer from McCoy’s and other breweries, cocktails and hearty pub fare.
  • Green Room Burgers and Beer is a nanobrewery with 2-3 house beers that complement a small craft beer selection. Great burgers and sandwiches in a casual setting.
  • Bier Station is a popular, award-winning taproom and bottle shop with German-inspired pub food

Ale Excursions

O'Malley's Irish Pub in Weston, MO

Four regional breweries worth a taste

  • Free State Brewing Company led the regional brewing vanguard when it opened 27 years ago in Lawrence, Kan. Try flagships such as Ad Astra Ale and Copperhead Pale Ale or a brewery-only seasonal beer.
  • Weston Brewing Company in Weston, a 40-minute trip from KC, is home to a brewery, O’Malley’s Irish pub and the American Bowman restaurant. Tours are just $5 on Saturdays.
  • Head to Liberty’s Rock & Run Brewery and Pub for wood-fired pizza, savory sandwiches and craft beer brewed on site. Brewmaster Gene DeClue’s rotating list of 40 taps include 10 house beers like golden ale Liberty², Farmhouse Funk Ale, 5K IPA, seasonals and other regional beers.
  • Martin City Brewing Company in south Kansas City specializes in Belgian-style beers. Next to the brewery, order a wood-fired pizza and pint, and dine in the taproom or on the patio.

KC on KC: Craft Beer

 

In a toast to being one of Travel + Leisure's "Best Beer Cities," we asked eight local beer barons to spout off on their favorite KC brews.

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