A Kansas City Craft Brewery Tour
Kansas City may be known to some as the barbecue capital of the world, but what’s a barbecue feast without a cold beer to wash it all down? From key craft beer players like Boulevard Brewing to the intimate and small-batch spots like BKS Artisan Ales, Kansas City is a desirable destination for Midwestern brew enthusiasts. Kick off a self-guided KC brewery tour with these 10 breweries that are big on both atmosphere and flavor.
Boulevard Brewing Company
It’s not a tour of craft breweries in Kansas City without stopping by Boulevard Brewing, which originally opened its doors in 1989 and has grown to become the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest. Boulevard’s beer hall is situated on Madison Avenue in the city’s Westside and serves up inventive craft brews seven days a week. If you’re already familiar with Boulevard’s signature wheat beer, spring for something different, like the 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat or the Frequent Flier Session IPA.
Big Rip Brewing Company
Big Rip Brewing Co. is small but mighty and pours hearty craft beer in North Kansas City, Wednesday through Sunday. Because Big Rip specializes in small-batch brewing, expect to see a heavy rotation of beers each time you visit. Reach for a tall pour of the hop-forward Groovy Pale Ale or the lighter Umbrella Kolsch when you stop in.
If wild and vibrant ales are right up your alley, look to Crane Brewing to get your fill. Crane’s brewing team places a heavy emphasis on fermentation, which results in an array of wild and sour beers that are big on flavor and ABV. Slide up to the taproom’s live-edge bar and order a Tea Weiss, which is brewed with berry rooibos tea.
Find Fringe Beerworks for handcrafted brews that radiate the heart of the Midwest. Although Fringe is a newcomer to Kansas City’s craft-beer scene, the brewery serves up a hefty array of ales, IPAs, stouts and more. Check out the award-winning Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Wheat for fruit-forward flavor that’s fit for a picnic with friends.
Stockyards Brewing Company
Located in the heart of Kansas City’s West Bottoms neighborhood, Stockyards Brewing Company was founded with the mission of encouraging community and brewing great beer in a sustainable way. Stop by Stockyards’ taproom for beer, cocktails and low-key bar eats in a relaxed setting. Don’t know where to start on the beer menu? Ask for the Black IPA, which is brewed with Columbus, Chinook and New Zealand Pacific Jade hops.
Cinder Block Brewery
Cinder Block Brewery’s story started with a humble beginning in homebrewing but has since evolved to encompass a full taproom and barrel-aging program in North Kansas City. Stop by Cinderblock throughout the week for the Geeks Who Drink trivia series, karaoke nights, movie screenings and more, all with a robust selection of craft beer at your fingertips. Current beers on draft include the Pavers Porter, the Unwind IPA and the Black Squirrel—a barrel-aged Russian imperial stout that packs a punch, at 12.5 percent ABV.
Border Brewing Company
Located in the Crossroads Arts District, Border Brewing Company seeks to unite craft-beer beginners and aficionados alike with its approachable brews. Border’s taproom offers an array of fresh craft brews on draught and additional specialty beers in bottles, with a little something for everyone. New to the craft-beer world or Border in general? Order a tall pour of the Backyard Blonde, which is an approachable ale with notes of orange, lemon and grapefruit.
Torn Label Brewing Company
Torn Label Brewing Co. is the culmination of brewing influences from Southern California, Chicago, Belgium and beyond—with a Midwest twist. The result is challenging, adventurous craft beer that will please the palates of beer fans seeking a memorable brew or two. Feel like walking on the wild side? Order the Shake Hands With Danger, a full-bodied imperial brown ale bursting with coffee and coconut flavor.
KC Bier Company
Classic German ales will never go out of style, and KC Bier Co. is the perfect spot to sip on a pilsner or guzzle a dunkel in Kansas City. Stop by the brewery’s lively bierhall and biergarten to sample authentic German beers while chowing down on beloved sausages, bread and cheese, too.
BKS Artisan Ales
Sometimes, a small and intimate brewery is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Enter BKS Artisan Ales, Kansas City’s purveyor of unique and small-batch craft beer in an upscale setting. Expect a heavy lineup of Belgian-inspired beers—like the Fleur de Brett, with notes of citrus and cherry; and the farmhouse-style Biere de Ferme, with notes of white wine and lemon.