Kansas City's Craft Beer Industry is Booming

With the recent announcement of Boulevard Brewing Co.'s sale to Duvel Moortgat, business-minded homebrewers are making their move to market, and beer lovers can’t seem to get enough of the small-batch, fresh-ingredient, made-close-to-home brews.
According to the Brewers Association, the self-named voice of craft breweries, there are four distinct beer markets: brewpubs, microbreweries, regional craft breweries and contract brewing companies.
The fastest-growing of the beer industry are those friendly neighborhood microbreweries.
In the following pages, we introduce new faces and places where you can visit with up-and-coming brew masters and sample this town’s beer future.

The Big Rip Brewing Co.


Long time friends Josh Collins and Kipp Feldt met on the job seven years ago while working as web programmers at a small technology firm in Overland Park.
They combined their love of homebrewing with an affinity for science fiction and horror films to launch The Big Rip Brewing Company last May.
The North Kansas City microbrewery is a popular weekend spot for beer nerds and newbies alike. It's a place where the walls pay tribute to favorite movies with posters of old and the taps are dedicated to The Big Rip’s inventive brews.
“We got tired of waiting for the city to open a small-batch brewery, so decided to do it ourselves,” says Collins. “We still have our regular jobs and still consider this a hobby. That is, until we grow.”
The generous entrepreneurs donate 10 percent of merchandise revenue to local charity.
The brewing room features a state-of-the-art computerized control system producing just enough beer to meet the growing demand.
“It’s our goal to sell out each week and we’ve pretty much been able to do that," says Collins. "In fact, there have been two times we’ve had to close because we were completely out of beer. We’ve grown a lot faster than we anticipated and have actually doubled in size since opening.”
The popular beer flight is a taste of six small pours of a variety of styles.
Regulars become members of the "Get Ripped Brew Club" and hang their personal mugs on a wall rack. Growlers are available for takeout at $11 for a 32-ounce container. 

The Big Rip Brewing Co.
216 E. 9th Ave.
North Kansas City, Mo.

* Open Friday, Saturday & Sunday (check website for hours)


Green Room Burgers & Beer

This burger joint-turned-microbrewery is so named because it has actually served as a green room for performers who appear in the adjacent theatre.
Owner and brewer Michael Ptacek is the creator of Papa Louie's Cask Ale, a series of brews named for his grandfather, Louis Ptacek. His focus is purely English-style brews served on the warmer side with less conditioning.
“It’s a growing trend,” says Ptacek, whose ideal pouring temperature is 55 degrees, also known as cellar temperature. Papa Louie's is 6.7 percent alcohol by volume.
Ptacek says he’s barely able to keep up with the demand for his beer and proudly boasts “this is the place brew masters come to drink beer.”
As passionate as he is about beer, he’s also very intentional about his burgers and fries, grinding his own beef on-site and making fries and ketchup from scratch.
“Everything we do is very small and done by hand," says Ptacek. "I don’t have any intention of getting bigger. My focus is to continue improving on quality.”
Check the Green Room’s Facebook page for specials. Thirsty Thursdays offer $3 drafts and other drink specials.

Green Room Burgers and Beer
4010 Pennsylvania, Suite D
Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 216-7682

* Open seven days beginning at 11 a.m.


Martin City Brewing Co.

The popular restaurant that continues to see weekend guests waiting as long as two hours for a seat in the small eatery is finally serving its namesake beer.
Co-owners Matt Moore and Chance Adams say it’s always been their plan to open a microbrewery.
Three years in the making, the Martin City Brewing Company Pizza & Tap situated between the original restaurant and the newly constructed brewing facility on 135th Street is now serving the long-anticipated brews.
“We aspire to make beer that is on the same level as our restaurant food,” says Adams.
Pair your craft beer selection — one of seven on tap, with a slice of gourmet pizza fresh from the Tuscan-style brick pizza oven, the centerpiece of the tasting room. The gourmet pizza is Neapolitan-style and comes in a variety of styles including gluten-free options.
Newlands Systems, a company known for producing high-quality brewing gear, manufactured the 15-barrel system for Martin City’s brewing operation. 

Martin City Pizza & Tap
410 East 135th Street
Kansas City, Mo.

* Open daily 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.


Founders of Kansas City Bier Company

Steve Holle graduated with a degree in brewer engineering from the University of California-Davis and the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London. He also studied Bavarian brewing at the Doemens Akademie in Munich, Germany.
Holle’s authored two books on the subject, one titled, “A Handbook of Basic Brewing Calculations” and the other “The Beer Steward Handbook.” Both are written in textbook format to serve as guidebooks.
Holle met business partner Juergen Hager while hosting a radio talk show in Dallas. Hager’s wife worked for the station and introduced the two who shared an immediate bond over their common love of beer, particularly German styles.
Shortly after, the formulation of a business plan for a craft brewery was underway.
Both have applied their business acumen to build the foundation needed to launch one of Missouri’s largest breweries — they are tied for fourth place with Springfield Missouri’s Mother’s Brewery.
The 30-barrel brewhouse features a 70-seat tasting room where patrons purchase beer by the glass. In the spring/summer guests will enjoy their brew from the biergarten (beer garden) that spills out on the east side of the tasting room facing the Trolley tracks of Waldo. The same space also serves as a unique meeting or special event venue.
The 30-barrel brewery is the only facility with immediate plans to wholesale product. There is a capacity to grow the facility to produce up to 188,000 barrels per year, with plans for distribution to bars and restaurants throughout the region.

Kansas City Bier Company
310 West 79th St.
Kansas City, Mo.


Cinder Block Brewery

Cinder Block Brewery opened in September 2013 and developed an immediate loyal following. Just down the street from The Big Rip, the two microbreweries are more friendly than competitive.
The 15-barrel system is run by brewer Bryan Buckingham, also known as “Bucky;” a local brew master who’s gained experience and brewing knowledge by working for several major breweries including Free State, 75th Street, and the River Market Brewing Company, among others.

Cinder Block Brewery
110 East 18th Ave.
North Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 298-6555

* Open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12 to 10 p.m.


Rock & Run Brewery

Just off the square in historic Liberty Missouri, a microbrewery is quickly selling out of product — almost as quickly as beers become available. The local brewpub features handcrafted beers and wood-oven fired pizzas in the space formerly occupied by a furniture store, across the street from City Hall.
Friends Dan Hatcher and Gene DeClue named the restaurant/brewery for their passions.
Hatcher is an ultra marathoner, running races that are longer than 26.2 miles.
Declue is a rocker who has played in bands throughout Kansas City for more than 20 years. He is currently bass player for '80s cover band Cherry Bomb.
The partners intentionally started small with a two-barrel system, but based upon demand, expect to expand to five to seven barrels in the coming months.
Rock & Run has seen immediate success, and on weekends, wait times for the restaurant can be longer than an hour.
“We are selling four times more product than we initially expected,” said Hatcher, a roofing contractor by day. 

Rock & Run Brewery
110 E. Kansas St.
Liberty, Mo.
(816) 415-2337

* Open daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.