Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Kitchen is Bitchin

I felt restless today. I worked yet another 10 hour day and still had a few hours of work left to do. Mr Wort Hog was out of town. I needed to be in Westport by 8pm to get my hair cut. What to do with myself?

I decided to head to the 'Kitchen. The newest beer destination in Westport and the new habitant of the old 180 spot, Beer Kitchen offers a combo of craft and specialty beer along with modern (albeit a bit cliché) American cuisine. The food menu's spotted with make-your-own mac & cheese (with applewood bacon, duck confit and truffle oil as a few of the offerings), gourmet burgers (including a bratwurst-patty burger), and plenty of vegetarian items. I ordered the mushroom flatbread, pictured below, which included shiitake mushrooms, brie, pesto, and onion jam (which I love). I wasn't sure what to expect; I've ordered "flatbread" in bars before, and have mostly been disappointed when they bring an under-baked, topping-heavy slice of manufactured pita bread that's bland and one-dimensional. Not here. The crust was cracker-thin, browned and crispy on the edges, and laden with house-made jammy onions. House made! Oh-So-Yum.

Mushroom Flatbread & Scrimshaw Pilsner

Oh yeah, and the beer. I got a Nogne O Saison (now tapped out) and a North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner, both on tap. Their tap list currently on their site (as of 9/14) is outdated, and I suspect you could probably presume any time that at least one of the beers listed on their website will be gone by the time you get there. But don't fault them for it. The focus is on frequent tap rotation to bring Kansas City some quality draft brews that are interesting, different, and seasonal. They only have 8 taps, so the intentional focus is quality and freshness over quantity.

Overall, a must-visit in my book. My biggest complaint with the place was the music, which was 100% Motown. Perhaps it was because I was there on a Tuesday night. Maybe I was cranky from working a lot. Quite possibly, it's because I'm not a Westport Hipster down with the Motown jive. But honestly, after a couple of beers and a very good dinner, I really didn't mind.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Get some IBUs in an IBA

Happy Friday!

It's been a long week and I'm glad the weekend is nearly here. To save you from end-of-weekend blues, this coming Monday (the 13th) Schlafly posted on Facebook that they'll be tapping a cask of India Brown Ale at the Foundry in Westport starting at 4pm (happy hour).

What's India Brown Ale? Pretty much what you think. Schlafly's website says, "this unique brew has the color of a brown ale, but the aroma of an American-style IPA. This beer will prove just how complex a brown ale can be."

I haven't had many IBAs, but the couple that I have had are super delicious. Dogfish Head's is the first that comes to mind which, of course, we can't get here. Saranac, though, makes one but I can't recall seeing one out here. I know Lukas in Overland Park typically carries a pretty big selection of Saranac - does anyone know if they carry the IBA? Any other IBAs in town?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wichita - Home of Aged Craft Beer

We drove down to the Air Capital of the World this past weekend, primarily so that I could take the BJCP exam. I wrote furiously for three solid hours, trying to let everything I know about beer, malt, water, and styles pour onto the pages. I'll find out how I did in a handful of months...

After completing the exam, Mr Wort Hog and I headed over to Goebel Liquor, home of Rob's World of Beers. There are several refrigerated cases of beer there, and I think about 3 full aisles of beer as well as an entire wall. Selection is not lacking at this place, and you're bound to find something you've never had. But what really sets this place apart is the selection of vintage beer. They have magnums of Anchor's Our Special Ale going back to 2005 (and at $9.99 each, we couldn't NOT buy some!). They had 6 years of Anchor's Bigfoot. Several years of Avery's Mephistopheles, JW Lee's, Ola Dubh, and a bunch of others. These guys have done an incredible job of setting aside beers to age & bring out later. I loved it.

Goebel Liquor

After stashing the beer in our temperature-controlled hotel room, we made our way over to The Anchor and joined most of my fellow examinees for a round and some food. The food was quite tasty (their house-made potato chips were awesome), but the beer selection is really the reason to go. Their draft list seems to frequently update and included Tumbler and Old Rasputin on nitro (yum!). They also have quite a few bottles in coolers, including some Boulevard Imperial Stout.

After a couple of beers, though, everyone parted and we headed over to River City Brewing Company in Old Town (not to be confused with either River City Brewing Company in Sacramento or Jacksonville). It was just a short walk away, and it's always fun to check out the local brewpubs. I tried ordering their oak-aged saison, but they'd just run out of it so I got their ESB instead. I was happy with what I got, but it wasn't anything special. Mr Wort Hog's chocolate bock was a bit on the sweet side, so after finishing off our beers we headed back to The Anchor to wrap up the evening - which included a bottle of that Imperial Stout.

It was a little on the syrupy side and I thought John's observation that it had that occasional aged-stout "soy sauce" characteristic was spot on. It was good, but to be perfectly honest I liked it better when it was young. 

The Anchor's Strong Ale Fest is coming up in November (on the 6th) so mark your calendars. It's all day long and is followed by a Hair of the Dog Brunch the next day. Sounds like a fun time, and they're sure to have some excellent brews.