Saturday, December 20, 2008

Carry A Nation and the temporary temperence

We took a trek out to Free State this afternoon to sample their current offerings. I had Santa's Helper, which is a Belgian-style IPA:
Inspired by a Belgian beer that itself was inspired by American craft brewers and their propensity for hoppy beers, this Belgian Holiday IPA illustrates the ever-evolving brewing landscape.  This beer starts with a generous portion of pilsner malt augmented by an addition of cane sugar to the kettle.  Judicious amounts of Simcoe, Centennial, Sterling, Amarillo, Chinook, and Columbus hops contribute to the uniquely American citrus and pine characteristics of this international brew.  The Belgian yeast strain adds fruity and earthy overtones that meld harmoniously with the complex hop bill. O.G.17.6/1071, IBUs - 48
I liked it quite a bit, but it's not my favorite from Free State. I'd rather have Chouffe Dobbelen if I want a good Belgian IPA (yes, I know they're not exactly the same style, but let me have my druthers). It wasn't bad, don't get me wrong. I'd definitely buy it again. I just don't think it's my favorite from Free State. I also tried a Black Velvet, a stout + sparkling wine. I've never had it and figured I'd give it a shot. Not my best move. Way too much wine and not enough stout, but I'm sure a lot of people prefer it that way. I might try making my own some time, with maybe 75% stout and 25% wine. It wasn't bad by far; the proportions just weren't to my liking. I had the avocado chimichurri for dinner, which was fantastic. Aside from their ham sandwich special, this is the best item I've had from their food menu.

While trying to ignore the screaming child at the table next to us, I read the backs of our menus. Each described tidbits about Kansas' temperence & prohibition history. I learned about Carrie Moore, aka Carrie Nation, aka Carry A Nation, who would take hatchets to bars in protest of alcohol. And I mean she took the hatchets TO the bars. As in, hacking the hell out of the bar itself. She was 1900's version of the black-hoodie Starbucks-window-smashing "anarchist", I guess.

Being from Oregon, pretty much the only history I know about this part of the country has to do with the Oregon Trail. As an aside, I was pretty excited when I found out that Independence, MO was so close to KC. Still haven't been out there, though. Anyway, it's interesting to read about John Brown, state-level prohibition, and other components of Kansas' history. Especially in conjunction with Missouri's laissez-faire attitude toward alcohol.

I also learned about John Walruff and his efforts to fight prohibition in Kansas. After state constitutional prohibition, he continued brewing but made a "medicinal malt drink" that was the same beer he'd been brewing. He just "prescribed" it. After getting tired of paying fines & fighting court battles, he relocated to Missouri.

Here's to you, John Walruff, and your medicinal tonic.

I highly recommend reading about brewing in Kansas at Free State's Kansas Brewing History web page


  1. Amy: Send me an e-mail at LMN *at* AUSTIN *DOT* RR *DOT* COM. I'm trying to arrange a little meeting of the livers between me and several of you KC beer bloggers sometime this week while I'm in town visiting family.

  2. Amy,
    Chouffe Dobbelen is one of my favorite Belgians. A collaboration of the Old and New World of brewing.

  3. Carrie Nation was lucky she didn't get shot.


Tasting Notes