Crane Brewing’s Small Ball Saison is a hit, Torn Label debuts Funky Monk, and more news

A saison with brett. Sounds familiar. But here’s the curveball: This one isn’t from Kansas City’s biggest brewery. It’s from one of Kansas City’s newest — Crane Brewing Co. — and it’s sessionable.

Small Ball Saison comes in at 5.2 percent ABV, and this is another tribute to the boys in blue without saying as much (hello, Crown Town Ale). It pours fizzy and golden with a creamy, foamy head. The aroma is earthy and spicy, with the Belgian yeast prominent on the nose. The funk from the brett is omnipresent, and the saison is crisp on the tongue with a bit of bitterness from the dry hopping. I shared a bottle at a barbecue last weekend, and it was a big hit with everyone who tried it.

Small Ball Saison will be released in 750 ml bottles on Monday, May 16, so snag a couple of bottles.

Play Drinko at Bier Station
Come on down. You’re the next contestant on … Drinko. Bier Station (120 East Gregory Boulevard) unveils its Plinko-inspired game (think The Price Is Right) from noon to 2 p.m. What do you win? Beer and food. See if you’ve got the touch … you’ve got the power.

Boulevard’s Tropical Pale Ale hits shelves
A limited run of Boulevard Tropical Pale Ale in cans is arriving in liquor stores this week. Deliveries of the beer, inspired by last year’s collaboration with Cigar City, started on Monday, so keep an eye out for the six-packs of 12-ounce cans in the KC area, and get ready for a burst of grapefruit and passion fruit.  
Rock & Run Brewery temporarily closed
On May 3, a building next door to Rock & Run Brewery (110 East Kansas Street, Liberty) collapsed, knocking the brewery offline. Power was restored last Thursday to the brewery’s main beer cooler. Rock & Run was trying to determine the extent of the damage in order to plan for reopening. When the brewery returns, plans call for a grand reopening and a special beer release. More details to come.

Torn Label releases Funky Monk at Happy Gillis’ last beer dinner of the season
There’s always a good reason to RSVP to chef Josh Eans’ beer dinner at Happy Gillis (549 Gillis Street). But Thursday, May 18, the five-course dinner — the restaurant’s last beer dinner for a while — with Torn Label features the first taste of Funky Monk, the brewery’s first barrel-aged wild ale.

Torn Label’s Rafi Chaudry writes that Funky Monk is the brewery’s flagship Monk & Honey, aged for a year in Union Horse rye whiskey barrels with a variety of wild yeast strains.

“Each individual barrel received a unique array of bugs, which were then blended together in precise proportions to achieve a complex and harmonious representation of the particular characters of each component barrel,” he writes. “Funky Monk 2016 represents the beginning of a long-term solera method project: A portion of the barrel contents were retained and will be aged further to blend back in with future batches, so that each year’s release will represent a continuous expansion of included vintages, develop further over time and increase in complexity.”

Chaudry says the first batch has “notes of vanilla, oak, leather, light acidity, earth, honey-graham cracker, tart cherry and, of course, funk.”

He adds: “Don’t expect an acid bomb, however — we generally regard it as a wild ale rather than a sour ale. Because of the way the components were blended, our goal was to smooth out rough edges. That said, the further our house yeast culture sinks its teeth into the base portion currently in barrels, the more we would expect to see a more pronounced pastoral, tongue-puckering quality. So look for future releases to potentially shift from Funky Monk to Funkier Monk.”

Also, don’t look for Funky Monk anywhere in the near future. Chaudry says the beer will be a taproom bottle release down the road. Get a seat for $65, plus tax and gratuity. RSVP to the 6:30 p.m. dinner at 816-471-3663.  

Last call for 75th Street Brewery
The end is in sight for 75th Street Brewery (520 West 75th Street). Here’s what goodbye looks like. Thursday, May 12, is $2.50 flagship 75th Street beers. But I’m going to guess that you’ll want to be at the brewery Friday for a tapping of Boulevard’s Saison-Brett at 4 p.m. Saturday is 75 cent pints of flagship beers. And it’s goodnight sweet prince at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Barley’s Brewhaus in Leawood closes
And then there were two. KC Hopps has closed the Barley’s 5031 West 135th Street in Leawood. The other locations Barley’s 119th Street and Barley’s Midland are still open.

Kansas City Craft Beer Week moves
Kansas City Craft Beer Week, the June celebration of beer bookended by the Westport Summer Beer Fest and Boulevardia, is moving. Hopublicans and Maltocrats, look for its return November 7-12.

Also this week …

Thursday 5.12
Fantôme Hiver saison taps at 6 p.m. at Flying Saucer (101 East 13th Street). The recipe changes yearly, so you don’t know what you’re getting with this farmhouse ale.

The taps at the Lee’s Summit Waldo Pizza (1543 Northeast Douglas Street) go to Martin City Brewing Co. tonight from 5 to 9. Look for Mr. Vacation barleywine, Big Boy Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Banging the Enemy Red IPA and more. Also, assistant brewer Grant Bergman makes an appearance, so say hi.

The brewery of the month at Waldo Pizza (7433 Broadway) is New Belgium and that means great beers on tap. Going online at 5 p.m.: La Folie 2016, Juicy Mandarina IPA, Hof Ten Doormal Golden Ale and more.
Tallgass is doing a beer dinner at Hy-Vee (109 North Blue Jay Drive, Liberty) from 7 to 9 p.m.

Friday 5.13
Torn Label is doing a huge tap takeover at Whole Foods’ Lone Elm Taproom (14615 West 119th Street, Olathe) from 5 to 7 p.m. Take a look at this lineup: Magic Magic IPA with raspberry and lemon peel (a must!), Cosmic Cowboy English-style old ale, Leap of Faith IPA, Quadquila (the super-rare barrel-aged version), Quadjillo chili beer, Tongue Lash Dry-Hopped Sour and more. Uber it.

Sample Tallgrass beers at Gomer’s (3838 Broadway) from 4 to 7 p.m. Rimann Liquors (15117 West 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa) hosts a Boulevard tasting from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Grain to Glass (1611 Swift, North Kansas City) throws a Royals watch party with Wings ‘N Things’ mobile food truck from 6 to 10 p.m.

Saturday 5.14
Wayne Wilkes does beer-themed paintings in the biergarten of Bier Station (120 East Gregory Boulevard) from 2 to 6 p.m. Buy a set of prints for $20, and he’ll buy you a beer.

Free State Brewing Co. hosts a party at the east-side brewery (1923 Moodie, Lawrence) from noon to 4 p.m. Hop on a tour at either 1 or 2 p.m. There’ll be live music and food and drinks from Torched Goodness and KB Smokehouse.

Sunday 5.15
It’s the Tour de Bier bike ride from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bicyclists, take a break at Grain to Glass for samples of Free State’s Dirty Kanza Kölsch.

Monday 5.16
American Craft Beer Week begins, and Barley’s Brewhaus (11924 West 119th Street, Overland Park) takes a tour of American breweries — without leaving Johnson County. It starts tonight with exclusive beers from Free State.

Over at Barley’s Midland (16649 Midland Drive, Shawnee), it’s Oskar Blues night with Death by Coconut, Droppin’ Beets Saison and Mash Appeal Kentucky Common at 5 p.m.

The Flying Saucer taps Crooked Stave’s Wild Sage Brett Saison and Hop Savant with galaxy hops American pale ale at 6 p.m.

Tuesday 5.17
Barley’s Midland gets a whole lot of Free State with Oak Backus barleywine and Chili Mac imperial stout with cinnamon, vanilla, chilies and cacao nibs at 5 p.m.

Tallgrass pours samples at Hy-Vee (1525 East 23rd Street, Independence) from 4 to 6 p.m.

Wednesday 5.18
Barley’s on 119th Street’s ACBW tour continues with flights of three different barrel-aged Breckenridge 471 Imperial IPAs.

Barley’s Midland breaks out the rare Firestone Walker beers with Sucaba Barleywine and XVIII 2014 Anniversary Ale at 5 p.m.

Drink for a good cause at the Flying Saucer, which is holding a multiple sclerosis fundraiser with Left Hand Brewing Co. at 6 p.m.

Categories: Food & Drink