Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Great Kansas City Beer Bloggers Summit …

… actually happened this time! In a monumental, unprecedented meeting of the minds and livers, M'Lady, Bad Ben, Bull E. Vard, and Muddy Mo finally got our acts together and managed to share brews at one of their (and now my) favorite places, the 75th Street Brewery in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City. And I'm happy to say: what a great group of guys. It was a real pleasure to lift a glass with them. Meeting people with whom you've only chatted on the Internet is always an uncertainty, but they were fun, witty, and turned me on to some good beer.

And I'm so glad it actually happened; my attempt to arrange such a meeting met with failure in the summer, and with everyone's scattered holiday plans, we were lucky to pull this off.

Sadly absent from the festivities: Beergirl (a tragic irony, as we were in her neighborhood, but she is off in Mexico), Bull's blogging partner Wes Port, and Chris (who like me has family in KC suburb Parkville, but he'd already headed back to Orlando – too bad, we could have met up at the Power Plant).

75th Street is a mighty fine establishment. Good food, and some outstanding beers, in what appears to be a really nice neighborhood. I doubt we'll ever satisfy the wishes of M'Lady's mother-in-law and move to KC, but if we did, this would be a 'hood we'd look at.

But you want to know about the beer. I had a sampler flight: wheat, raspberry wheat, IPA, a mixture of the IPA and wheat, abbey ale, and imperial stout. The brewers are clearly shooting for a British feel: served a little warmer than is typical of most American bars, and with a nitro pull instead of carbonation. There was only one failure in the bunch: the wheat is completely lacking in flavor. Now, I'll qualify that — as I've admitted many times, I generally don't care for wheats. But even my wheat-loving wife agreed. In fact, she actually thought it tasted bad. Not a good thing in a town that boasts Boulevard Wheat, which I'm told is outstanding.

After that, things looked up – in a couple of cases, way up. The addition of raspberry improved the wheat considerably. I'm lukewarm on fruit beers, but I have a weakness for raspberry as long as it's not overdone. The IPA was solid, too — I wish I'd had time for a full glass. But I saved my full-glass drinking for the abbey and the imperial stout. The abbey was a wonderful rendition of a style for which I'm already a sucker — a rich, clean flavor that brought my tastebuds to attention. I'd compare it favorably to New Belgium's version, which I love.

But the unquestioned star — and I think everyone at the table would agree, as they all got a glass — was the imperial stout. It had a powerful, earthy flavor with a very balanced coffee note that gave it just the right depth without being overpowering, as can sometimes happen with coffeeish stouts. It was served in 8-0z. servings in a brandy snifter, and it truly deserved such an elegant presentation. Even the wife, for whom stouts are rarely the first choice, said, "Yeah, you need to get all up in that." It even had a great nose — like the best of whiskeys, I almost could have just smelled it all afternoon without even taking a sip.

75th Street is a pretty far distance south from my mother-in-law's house in the North KC suburbs, but I can nonetheless tell that this will be a fixture on future visits. It's well worth the trip.


Bull E. Vard said...

Lee, it was a great time, I really enjoyed it. I can't wait til next time, although it will probably be at Harry's which is a little more convenient for you and me too.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

That was fun! I certainly will look you and Mags up, when I go to Austin.

Bad Ben