Torn Label’s 31 Heroes and Double’s Shift’s Yellow Canary are worth trying, liquor stores get taps, Big Rip adds Hawg Jaw barbecue and Labor Day craft beer events

A few weeks ago, Torn Label released 31 Heroes. The wheat IPA, a tribute on the fifth anniversary of the deaths of 30 U.S. special forces and one military K-9 killed in a downed helicopter in Afghanistan, is one of Torn Label’s best IPAs yet, up there with the complex and fruity Magic Magic (the one with raspberries and lemon peel).

I picked up a bottle of 31 Heroes (6.9 percent ABV) at Cellar Rat, and the word citrus is going to be used a lot with this beer. The beer pours golden, with a rich, foamy head. It’s big in the bouquet and an even bigger blast with every drink. Credit the El Dorado hops for a lemon-drop burst and Falconer’s Flight for the tropical juiciness. It’s bitter only on the back end. Torn Label, please keep making 31 Heroes. Everyone else, go buy a bottle; a portion of the proceeds goes to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

In other you-should-taste-it news: Double Shift’s Yellow Canary. Double Shift’s early water-filtration issues may have soured some drinkers on the brewery, but it’s time to give the 18th Street business another chance. Yellow Canary is a Grisette-style ale, part of Double Shift’s Revival Series, which revives forgotten styles. It pours yellow and fizzy, and it drinks easy; it’s a low-ABV beer (4.7 percent), originally brewed for workers in coal mines (so maybe the slight metallic taste is appropriate). It reminds me of a saison, delivering a bit of funk and fruit on the nose. I enjoyed it a lot, and I’m looking forward to cracking open the brett IPA released as part of Double Shift’s first anniversary.

New beers hit KC
Martin City Brewing Co. (500 East 135th Street) has tapped its Big Brother Imperial Stout, aged in Scotch barrels. And a big brother it is, with an ABV of 14 percent.

Mother’s Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest is on store shelves in Kansas City, but if you happen to find yourself two hours and 45 minutes south of the city in Springfield, on Saturday, September 10, get yourself to the brewery’s backyard (215 South Grant Avenue, Springfield) for Oktoberfest in the Ozarks, from 1 to 7 p.m. Ten bucks gets you through the gates.

Summit Brewing’s latest 30th anniversary beer, West London–Style Ale, has also reached Kansas City. I easily downed a six-pack of the malty, bready beer, which gives subtle hints of fruit.

Mike’s Wine & Spirits offers growler fills; Brookside Wine & Spirits gets a crowler
As of Sunday, it’s now legal for grocery and convenience stores to sell growler fills. All three Mike’s Wine & Spirits locations are now offering growler fills (from 32 ounces to 64 ounces). Here’s what’s among the 26 taps across the three stores: Crooked Stave Petite Sour Blueberry, Grimm Psychokinesis, Jolly Pumpkin Gotlandsdricka, Mikkeller Spontan Orange, Prairie Paradise Double IPA and lots of good local beer. (Growler fills cost anywhere from $7 to $17.) Bring your own growler or pick one up from Mike’s for $3.99 or $4.99.

Brookside Wine & Spirits is now filling crowlers, the 32-ounce to-go cans. The initial tap list features Cinder Block Block IPA, Torn Label Oscar pilsner and Boulevard Saison-Brett. I’m told the taps will rotate with local favorites that aren’t “readily available in package.” Prices range from $7.99 to $13.99.

Big Rip brings in Hawg Jaw barbecue
Forget the panini press. Big Rip Brewing Co. (216 East Ninth Avenue, North Kansas City) is partnering with Hawg Jaw Que and Brew to provide food at the brewery every Friday and Saturday through the end of September. I’ll be going for a pulled-pork sandwich and a pour of Twins Cherry Cheesecake.

New beer fests this fall
A brother-and-sister duo are throwing the Blue Grass Brew Bash at Crossroads KC (417 East 18th Street) from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 22. What a great spot for a beer fest. Twenty-five breweries will be pouring, and bluegrass bands Truckstop Honeymoon, the John Brown Boys and Julian Davis and the Hayburners will jam. Tickets cost $45.

A traveling beer festival is taking over the Sprint Center (1407 Grand) on Saturday, November 5. Tapped: The Ultimate Craft Beer Festival promises more than 100 beers, wines and ciders. This is a two-session fest. The first runs from noon to 4 p.m., and the second goes from 5 to 9 p.m. The first hour of both sessions is designated for VIP ticket holders. Tickets run from $29 to $74. The arena’s concession stands will be open; expect a DJ and yard games. Lined up to pour so far are Ballast Point, Boulevard, Founders and Martin City.

Thursday 9.1
Start the holiday weekend with a Martin City happy hour at Bier Station (120 East Gregory Boulevard) from 4 to 7 p.m. Pours of Hard Way IPA, Kentucky Friar, Belgian Blond and Abbey are discounted. Or head over to Martin City’s pub (500 East 135th Street) as the taps get turned over to Breckenridge from 4 to 7 p.m. Featured beers include the Barrel Series double IPA Eureka, King’s Dish Burton-style ale and Autumn Ale.

Crane Brewing’s Barrel-Aged Apricot Weiss might see the light of day today. Stop by the tasting room (6515 Railroad Street, Raytown) to find out. If it’s not there, order an oatmeal saison. In fact, order one anyway. You won’t be disappointed with Michael Crane’s latest beer, a taproom exclusive.

Test your stein-hoisting strength tonight at the Rusty Horse Tavern (6325 Lewis Drive, Parkville) from 6 to 8, when Samuel Adams puts on a competition. Of course there’ll be plenty of the Boston brewery’s Octoberfest flowing.

Friday 9.2
The end of the work week means beer tastings. Summit Brewing’s Gordon Briggs pours you Oktoberfest at Rimann Liquors (15117 West 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa) from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Woodchuck is offering samples at Plaza Liquor (4500 Belleview) from 4 to 7 p.m. And the featured First Friday brewery at Tapcade (1701 McGee) is Nebraska Brewing.

There are also two chances to sample Martin City beers from 4 to 7 p.m. Stop at either the Lukas Liquor Superstore at 12100 Blue Valley Parkway, Overland Park, or the Lukas on the Missouri side (13657 Washington) for a sample.

Crane Brewing is throwing a First Friday party at Ruins Pub (1715 Main).

Saturday 9.3
So you hate pumpkin beer? Then go to Bier Station for Smashing Pumpkins Night: A Celebration of 1990s Music and Not Drinking Pumpkin Beers. For $10, you can play Gallagher and smash some squash in the parking lot from 3 to 7 p.m. Deschutes will give you a pour of Hopzeit Autumn IPA, and Bier Station will play all of your grunge favorites. Proceeds benefit the Kansas City City Community Kitchen. Oh, don’t worry. Those smashed pumpkins won’t be going to waste. Our friends at Beer Paws are taking the destroyed pumpkins to use in future dog treats.

Sunday 9.4
Sour Beer Week at the Flying Saucer (101 East 13th Street) starts with a beer dinner featuring our sour friends from the east (as in New Haven, Missouri), 2nd Shift Brewing Co. Seating starts at 6 p.m.

Red Crow Brewing Co. (20561 South Lone Elm Road, Spring Hill) is taking $1 off new growler sales and refills today from noon to 7 p.m. If you haven’t tried Red Crow, there might not be a better time.

Monday 9.5
Sour Beer Week officially kicks off at the Flying Saucer at 6 p.m. Look for rare tappings all week.

Tuesday 9.6
Judging begins today in Grain to Glass’ (1611 Swift Avenue, North Kansas City) fourth annual Picnique Belgique Belgian and sour homebrew competition. That wraps up September 10, with an awards dinner on Sunday, September 11.

Wednesday 9.7
The latest glass night at the Flying Saucer features Pinkus National Organic Harvest Brewery at 6 p.m.

Cinder Block brings you a Back to School Adult Spelling BEEr at Tapcade (1701 McGee) at 7 p.m. For $10, you get a pint of beer and a chance to prove you can spell without slurring.

Gordon Biersch (100 East 14th Street) is offering beer and cookies from 5 to 8 p.m. Get an 11.5-ounce beer and a cookie for $3.

The next bottle share at the Belfry (1532 Grand) starts at 6:30 p.m. Tonight’s theme: vintage. Bring a bottle and $20 to participate. Chef Celina Tio provides a bottle to the group, along with snacks and table service of each beer. I’ve been, and it’s worth it.

Boulevard starts a monthly maker series from 4 to 5 p.m. at its new visitor center and beer hall  (2534 Madison) with Green Dirt Farm. This beer-and-cheese pairing will be guided by Green Dirt founder Sarah Hoffmann and Boulevard’s Kyle Hopkins. A seat for the pairing costs $30, and that covers cheese pairings with Bourbon Barrel Quad, Long Strange Tripel, Love Child No. 7 and Saison-Brett.

Categories: Food & Drink