Remember that time when Boulevard was the only true stand-alone brewery in Kansas City? Sure, we have 75th Street, McCoy’s, Free State (Lawrence, KS), and 23rd Street (Lawrence, KS)—I’m not even going waste keystrokes speaking of Granite City and Gordon Biersch—but they are all brewpubs that focus on both beer and food. Furthermore, they’re always packed on weekends for brunch.
I’m talking about a place that only does beer—and does it well. I’m talking about a place where instead of smelling greasy friers you smell piney/citrusy hops, bubbling yeast, and milled malt and barley. Well, wait no longer my Midcoast beer-loving bretheren, Cinder Block Brewery is here!
Located at 110 E. 18th Ave., in the warehouse above-river district known as North Kansas City, the 15bbl CBB has become my newest favorite place to drink. The brewery opened on Friday, September 27, and they are already turning heads with their solid lineup.
• Weathered Wit: This one will be for all you lovers of Boulevard’s famed Unfiltered Wheat Beer.
• Pavers Porter: Pleasantly smokey, but definitely not overwhelming.
• Prime Extra Pale Ale: This one mostly resembled an English Bitter to me rather than an American Pale Ale; but I love English Bitters, and I really enjoyed it!
• Northtown Native (California Common): Yes! Finally a brewery in Kansas City makes a California Common (steam beer)! For those of you that aren’t privy, the California Common was created by the American craft beer stalwarts Anchor Brewing, in San Francisco. The pour is big and heady; the taste is crisp and light, yet malty; and at 5.0% it’s one-tenth of a percent stronger than it’s San Fran relative.
• Block India Pale Ale: It’s always great to see a brewery that has a 7.2% IPA on their tap list year round. It’s bitter and hoppy, and it’s what you want to cut through the sorrow of watching your favorite team lose (I’m looking at you Chicago). Coincidentally, it’s also pairs well with your (I should say my) new favorite team (8-0… HOLLER, KANSAS CITY!)
What’s more, they began their barrel-aging program prior to opening their doors to the public, and I was informed by owner/brewer Bryce Schaffter that we should be expecting a Barleywine and a Russian Imperial Stout within the next couple of months.
Now to my favorite part: Once a week, Bryce will allow home-brewers to come in a brew on his old home-brew system—wait for it—FOR FREE! And get this: If you’re confident with your beer’s turn out, he’ll even allow you to put in on tap so other patrons can sample and critique it. How effing cool is that?! Finally, catering even more to the home-brew society, he’ll have an entire library of beer and brewing books at the disposal of anyone who cares to read them. So not only do we have a brand-spanking-new brewery that makes solid beers, but we also have an incubator for home-brew/craft-beer enthusiasts.
I’ll be bragging about these guys for a long time, folks!
(Photos by Chris Ciesiel, with a surprise cameo by two of our college roommates. Hi, Zack! Hi, Zach!)