In an absurd point of fact, I’ve lived about two and a half hours from Kansas City for nearly eight years but have only showed up a few times. Two of those were trips to the airport (which full-blown don’t count), one was to spend a (really awesome) day at Boulevard Brewing Company for a piece I was writing, one was for some barbecue, and just last week I finally dragged myself to the home of the World Champion Royals for a little recreation.
Which includes beer. In preparation for an Eilen Jewell concert (she’s awesome, by the way) at Knuckleheads, Michelle and I tracked down a little art before heading over to Torn Label Brewing Company. Located in a desolate warehouse district, the 15-barrel brewhouse welcomes you with a non-descript sign (pretty sure you show up here on purpose) and a small taproom and patio area. Windows in the taproom offer a view of the brewery, and it’s all rather beautifully shabby in a “this is what my house looks like when I’m not expecting company” sort of way. So it felt like home.
I tried a flight of five beers: House Brew (a coffee wheat stout), Monk & Honey (a sorta honey patersbier, I suppose), Oscar (a German Pilsner), Quadjillo (a Belgian quad with guajillo chilis), and Quadquila (that same quad aged in tequila barrels). All were excellent, and if I lived around here, I’d sit on that patio drinking Oscar in the summer months and focus on House Brew in the colder months. Good stuff, and while they don’t serve food, you’re welcome to bring your own.
For phase one of our two-part food plan, we headed over to Cinder Block Brewing Company, not because they serve food, but because the Back Rack Grill food truck sets up out front on Friday and Saturday nights. We went for their burnt ends, which, you know, tastes great with beer.
Cinder Block’s taproom is quite a bit bigger and a little more put together than Torn Label’s. It’s like Thanksgiving was a day or two away and the mom had been cleaning for a week. Here, I tried several beers: Paver’s Porter, Prime Extra Pale Ale, Rivet Rye Wheat, Weathered Wit, Block IPA and Wily Mild. All were excellent. After, I went for a pint of KC Weiss, a solid Berliner Weiss I’d sampled at a beer fest this past summer while my gluten-free wife concentrated on the Cider Block, an English cherry cider, which was also quite tasty.
Part two of our food plan was to hit Local Pig near the music venue. Which really meant we ate outside at Pigwich after using the LP bathroom, ogling at the meat counter, and buying some pickled miscellany. I had a Boulevard KC Pils at the show. It was out of date like mad, but was still in good nick.
It’s a shame that I haven’t made it to Kansas City for beers sooner than now, but no sense in beating myself up over it. I’ll do better from this point forward. If you’re anywhere near Kansas City and have some time to kill with beers, you could do worse that the three places I’ve been: Boulevard, Torn Label and Cinder Block.