99 Hops House is now open, plus Martin City Brewing Co. collaborates with Rye, Boulevard and J. Rieger release Left for Dead Batch 2 and more news and events

The guys behind 99 Hops House, the new beer bar and restaurant inside the Argosy Casino (777 Northwest Argosy Casino Parkway, Riverside), take beer seriously. Servers are required to pass the Cicerone program’s certified beer-server test.

General manager Eric Flanagan, a certified cicerone, has been training his wait staff on beer pairings as well as styles. When we sit down, he’s just come from teaching a class  on the history of beer.

“I’m not joking around with the education,” he says. “Unfortunately, three great guys didn’t pass the test, and we found other jobs for them within the casino. We’re setting a precedent. You have to pass this test. I give them ample enough time to study. I tell them to buy Tasting Beer [by Randy Mosher], which is a great book. Just read this one book and you should be pretty good. You can tell the people who are really interested and the ones who it’s just a job. We want the people who really love beer. I’d love to get it to the point where it’s like Flying Saucer, where we have bartenders who are as knowledgeable as they are. It’s going to take a little bit, but we’ll get there.”

Flanagan, who was previously with Bridger’s Bottle Shop, Westport Ale House and Leinenkugel’s, collaborated on the menu with chef Joe Cizek, a longtime homebrewer. Many menu items incorporate beer — sausage boiled using KC Bier Co.’s Dunkel, barbecued-pork nachos covered with Tank 7 cheese sauce.

The idea behind 99 Hops, which had a soft opening last week, is to reach younger craft-beer lovers and bring them to the casino.  Flanagan says his bosses have given him the freedom to order the beers he wants. Management is also behind adding the digital-pour system (similar to the one at Ruins Pub), which allows drinkers to  fill up their own snifters and tulip glasses. There also are plans to add Crowlers: 32-ounce can growlers for to-go beers. The digital-pour system isn’t operational yet — the hope is that the restaurant will receive approval in October from the Missouri Gaming Commission to begin using it.

“We’re thinking about putting the more rare stuff back there, where you might want to buy 2 ounces of at a time and go through and try everything,” Cizek says of the system.

The beer list is already a mix of local, national and international breweries and a variety of styles. Locals Crane, Cinder Block, Torn Label, Martin City and Boulevard, of course, are represented. Omnipollo Aurora double IPA, Bosteel’s Tripel Karmeliet, Founders Rubaeus Nitro and and Struise Black Albert imperial stout are also here.

“I think we’ve got a good selection of local guys, big guys, imports,” Cizek says. “We have Mikkeller. We even have some Struise on there. So we have some fun stuff on there. We’re still new, so we’re not going to pull all of the rare barrels and everything else, but I think we did a good job of finding stuff that anybody who was outside of our general population who walks in here could find something new or someone like myself find something exciting.”

The Pitch’s Steer & Beer is filling out its roster of beers. The beer-and-burger festival — Saturday, August 6 — has added some summery beers to the lineup, including Uinta’s Hop Nosh Tangerine IPA, Ready Set Gose and Flamingose Pineapple Gose.

Also on the beer list: Cinder Block (French Apple, Paver’s Porter, Unwind IPA, North Town Native), Nebraska (Wick For Brains, Pils, IPA), New Holland (Imperial Hatter, Mad Hatter, Dragon’s Milk Raspberry Lemon, Dragon’s Milk), Oskar Blues (Dale’s Pale Ale, IPA, Beerito, Priscilla, Chaka Belgian-style pale ale), Perennial (Jack Rose, Glitter & Gold saison) and Sam Adams (KMF). More to come.Tickets are available at pitch.com.

Labor Day weekend will be about homebrewing. Torn Label and Ruins Pub are throwing the KC Homebrew Festival and Competition on Saturday, September 3, in the bar’s beer garden (1715 Main). Homebrewers can compete in the keg-only people’s choice competition by entering at least five gallons of their beer. The winner gets it upscaled by Torn Label on the brewery’s pilot system, and Torn Label and Ruins will put it on tap.

Firestone Walker is taking you to beer school at Barley’s Brewhaus (11924 West 119th Street, Overland Park) on Monday, August 15. Barrelworks’ Jeffers Richardson is set to give a talk titled “The Fifth Element: A Presentation on Oak.” Taste six beers that have never been available in Kansas before: Stivo Keller Pils (Russian River collaboration), Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale (English pale ale), Nitro Double Barrel Ale, Stickee Monkee quad, Feral One blend and Agrestic sour. Tickets cost $30.

J. Rieger’s collaboration with Boulevard continues. Left For Dead Batch 2 starts hitting Monday. It’s made with Imperial Stout X Tart Cherry and Imperial Stout X Aztec Chocolate.

Martin City Brewing Co.’s collaboration with Rye, Yard Bird imperial bitter, which was aged in a single-batch Jim Beam barrel, should be on tap in the brewery’s tasting room (500 East 135th Street) and at Rye (10551 Mission Road, Leawood) by the time you read this. Also on tap at MCBC: Purple Train 2.0, a Berliner Weisse with blood orange, cherry and plum. (The first version of Purple Train was with blueberry and lemon.)

Free State Brewing Co.’s gold-medal winner (herb and spice) from last year’s Great American Beer Fest is back. Garden Party, a lager with cucumber, basil and juniper berry, is on draft and in six-packs now. Also out now: Yakimaniac IPA. And there’s a big change as Yakimaniac is now Kansas’ oldest brewery’s year-round IPA. It’s out now in mixed packs, but it’ll hit in six-packs on August 1.

These are beers that head brewer Geoff Deman developed that started out as offerings at the Lawrence pub. They’ve both since graduated to the Front Porch series of releases and now have their own dedicated packaging, which Deman says is a preview of an upcoming refresh of the look of Free State’s core beers.

Also, on tap at the pub (636 Massachusetts, Lawrence): Blood Orange Radler, Populist Pils and Hibiscus Rose Berliner Weisse. Go get a pint while you can. Make sure they’re still on draft by clicking the “use app” button on Free State’s Facebook page.

Thursday 7.28
It’s a night of beer dinners. Boulevard Brewing Co. is pairing up with Pierpont’s at Union Station (30 West Pershing Road) from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Go hang out with rep David Colgan and ambassador brewer Jeremy Danner, who will guide you through these pairings: ancho chili popcorn and Saison-Brett; ahi tuna crudo and Long Strange Tripel; crispy sweetbreads and Tank 7; lamb roulade and Love Child No. 7; and smoked maple beignets and Rye-on-Rye X — Sazerac. Get a seat for $70 by RSVPing to 816-221-5111.

Meanwhile, Mother’s Brewing Co. teams up with Smokin’ Guns BBQ (1218 Swift, North Kansas City) at 6:30 p.m. for five courses of barbecue and brews. The menu hasn’t been released yet, but the beers include Blush Pomegranate Wit, Towhead Blonde, Doozy IPA, Lil Helper IPA and Rated R Imperial Stout. Grab a seat for $25 (or $40 a couple). Call 816-221-2535 to RSVP.

Or brave the heat and drink discounted cans of 4 Hands Passion Fruit Prussia and Dakine on the patio at Bier Station (120 East Gregory Boulevard) from 4 to 7 p.m.

Eat some pizza and drink Cinder Block beer at Spin Pizza (4950 Main) or Martin City beer at Spin in Lee’s Summit (1808 Northwest Chipman Road) from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Deschutes is taking over the Flying Saucer (101 East 13th Street) at 6 p.m. Get a flight — Pinedrops IPA, Hop Slice Session IPA, Fresh Squeezed IPA, Black Butte Porter and Pinot Suave Belgian-style ale — and take home some swag.

Get specials on Martin City’s Hardway IPA and Abbey at the Blue Moose (10064 Woodland Road, Lenexa) from 4 to 6 p.m.

Friday 7.29
Happy hour is at Bier Station, and that means deals on Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed, Pinedrops and Nitro Cream Ale from 4 to 7 p.m.

Sample Tallgrass beer at Gomer’s (9902 Holmes Road) or Martin City brews at Gomer’s (3838 Broadway) from 4 to 6 p.m. Then head to the Peanut (5400 Martway, Mission) at 5 for a Martin City tap takeover, featuring Highwayman bourbon barrel–aged imperial porter.

Saturday 7.30
Christmas in July comes to Torn Label Brewing Co.’s tasting room (1708 Campbell). The brewery’s Rafi Chaudry tells me that means Bloody Christmas, a Belgian stout with blood oranges, aged in J. Rieger whiskey barrels. This taproom-only release hits at noon on draft and in 22-ounce bottles.

Martin City is co-sponsoring Phoenix Fest at the club (302 West Eighth Street) from 2 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Sample cans and then buy some beer for the indoor-outdoor music festival. Or head over to Pig & Swig, the barbecue-bourbon-and-beer festival in the Power & Light District, from 3 to 6 p.m. MCBC will be pouring Highwayman and Shunned House Brett IPA.

Monday 8.1
Zombie Monkie, Tallgrass’ fall seasonal porter, is back in stores today. Also, Tallgrass variety assortments are going from eight-packs of 16-ounce cans to 12-packs of 12-ounce cans, with Zombie Monkie, 8-Bit Pale Ale, Top Rope IPA and a brewers’ choice filling them out. The brewery is further changing its Explorer Series packs in September, adding Flyin’ Hawaiian Double IPA with pineapple. That series is going to four-packs of 16-ounce cans, but the price is staying the same.

The Flying Saucer’s Women in Craft Beer series begins at 6 p.m. with Santa Fe Brewing. Drink some Single Barrel Sour with the brewery’s owner.

Tuesday 8.2
Get to Rimann Liquors (3917 Prairie Lane, Prairie Village) for a Summit Brewing tasting from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday 8.3
Want to learn how different hops create different flavors in beer? Sign up for Schlafly’s Hop Trial, from 4 to 7 p.m. today at Bier Station. You’ll try a bunch of IPAs — Hallertau Blanc (floral), Enigma (fruity), Eureka (piney) and Brambling Cross (spicy) — and the beer bar will knock $1.50 off each Schlafly pour. Also, a keg of Coconut Créme ale gets tapped.

Categories: Food & Drink