A beer sampler (from left: Hefeweizen, Dunkel, Weizenbock, and Double Alt) from the Kansas City Bier Company.
Beer lovers will get an early Valentine’s Day present as the Kansas City Bier Company (310 W. 79th St.) is set to open on Tuesday, February 11. The production brewery, which will focus on German-style brews, has a tasting room in the manner of a beer hall and a beer garden. The $1.7 million project has been led by Steve Holle, the author of A Handbook of Basic Brewing Calculations and a regular beer judge at the Great American Beer Festival.
“We’ll be serving authentic tasting German style beers,” Holle says. “We import all our hops and malt from Germany. It’s like getting it fresh in Bavaria or Munich.” We’re not filtering any of our beers because I like the way the beer tastes, it’s just like getting fresh bread.”
Holle will serve as the head of brewing operations, while Kansas City native Karlton Graham, who attended a brewing academy in Munich last summer to prepare for his position, will brew beer daily. CFO Juergen Hager will manage the tasting room. The warehouse that formerly held the Babyland & Kids’ Room has been transformed over the past seven months into a beer hall with long communal wooden tables and benches.
“We want families and people of all kinds enjoying our beer together,” Hager says. The brewery has plans to build a playground adjacent to the beer garden and envisions people biking to the tasting room along the Trolley Track Trail (the brewery sits between the trail and Wornall Road).
In addition to the five beers that will be standard on tap (Double Alt, Dunkel, Hefeweizen, Helles, Weizenbock), Holle has plans for seasonal offerings. The first will likely be a maibock, a strong golden lager. Beer geeks should take note that KCBC will not be using crystal malt. Holle says he wanted to avoid the “burnt sugar or toffee flavors,” of the ubiquitous malt. For a beer like the Dunkel, Holle has instead turned to Munich malt in order to get a softer flavor like “fresh bread crust.” Right now, the only place that American hops are being used is in the Double Alt, which is dry hopped with Centennial hops. When asked for a favorite, Holle tabbed the Helles.
“I love the clean, refreshing simplicity. There’s something about getting something so simple and pure,” Holle says.
For those who want a bite with their beer, the Kansas City Bier Company will serve Bavarian pretzels with obatzda, a spread made with camembert cheese, onions and paprika. They’ll also have sausages — weisswurst (a white sausage), weinerwurst (the loose German equivalent of a hot dog) and landjager (a German hard sausage that eats like a snack stick) made by a pair of butchers — one in Madison, Wisconsin and another in Tulsa, Oklahoma, — trained in Germany. The pretzels and sausages will be available as a platter served with a paired mustard, while vegetarians will have the option of a hummus platter.
“We’re focused on the beer here, but we wanted to have small dishes that reflect the German character of the beer,” Holle says.
When the Kansas City Bier Company opens, it will be the fourth-largest brewery (tied with Mothers Brewing Company out of Springfield) in the state of Missouri. The 30-barrel system they run also makes it the largest independent craft brewer in Kansas City since the deal for the Belgian-based Duvel Mortgaat to buy a majority interest in the Boulevard Brewing Company was recently finalized.
“Boulevard’s created a drinking culture that has been beneficial to us,” Holle says. “They created a lot of craft beer drinkers by making good, quality beer.”
The Kansas City Bier Company has spent the last two days brewing 60 barrels of Helles and will be making 60 barrels of Dunkel this week in order to have it ready to sell in March. United Beverage Company will handle distribution for the brewery.
“The tasting room is our way of introducing people to our beers, but I’m really excited about getting our beer out to all of Kansas City,” Holle says.
The Kansas City Bier Company will be open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday.