Big City Taste in Small City Beer
Sometimes the Universe works in mysterious ways, so maybe the fact that Kansas Citians Matt Moore and Chance Adams met each other was written in the stars. The two became fast friends due to their shared love of, wait for it, sailing. Now, I haven’t done the research, but I’m guessing that our land-locked metro is NOT a hotbed for those who possess such a passion. Whether preordained from time eternal or not, the friendship that formed between these two men has turned out to be a boon for local beer aficionados.
Many a brilliant plan is conceived over a friendly meal. And, Martin City Brewing Company is no exception. But, for Moore and Adams, this pipe dream was an actual possibility. Moore’s family was already established in the Martin City area with two long-time restaurants. When the ideal building for a brewpub went up for sale, it set up a perfect opportunity for these entrepreneurs, and plans were underway.
Owners Moore and Adams and their wives, Kara and Amanda, had every intention of the new venture being a brewpub; however, local liquor laws and the costs associated with having a working brewery resulted in a delay. “We really wanted to open as a brewpub from day one. But, it just wasn’t going to happen. Even though we knew some people might give us flack on the beer blogs and message boards for calling ourselves a brewing company and not brewing our own, we went ahead and opened under that name. We figured it would be better to grow into our name than to have to change our name later.” Fortunately, it was the right call. When MCBC opened in June of 2011, they were minus house beers. But, they had outstanding food and a great craft beer selection on tap, a combination that garnered the attention of area diners and beer connoisseurs.
Before getting to the beer, let me mention the food at Martin City Pizza and Tap. Patrons can start out by selecting one or more of their array of appetizers and fine cheese plates. As for the main course, they have numerous Italian-style sandwiches and over a dozen wood-fired pizzas, including the unique Bacon and Eggs pizza, made with two types of bacon and Alfredo sauce, as well as their spicy Sausage and Peppers pizza, made with multiple peppers and a delicious cheese blend. You can even build your own pizza, on a gluten-free crust if desired, topped with an assortment of meats, specialty cheeses, and other toppings. All are delicious complements to their beer menu.
This past February, Moore and Adams finally saw their dream become a reality when the first six Martin City Brewing Company beers were tapped at the grand opening of Martin City Pizza and Tap. The first beer brewed on their brand new system was the 7.2% ABV Belgian-style Abbey. “So far the Belgian-style Abbey has gotten the best feedback. However, because it was made over a long, 20-hour brew session that included a lot of small issues, it is going to be hard to replicate,” said head brewer Nick Vaughn, formerly with Liberty’s Doodle Brewing Company and Boston’s Harpoon Brewing Company. I, for one, am praying daily to the beer gods for Vaughn to be able to recreate that particular magic. It was delectable.
Vaughn is a big fan of brewing and drinking Belgian style beers, so another of the original beers was C.O.E Wit, a Belgian-style witbier and their lightest offering at 4% ABV. He plans on brewing more Belgian style beers and is experimenting with aging some of the Abbey in used Jim Beam barrels to give it a nice sour flavor.
More selections in the original line up were a tasty porter, an India Pale Ale, their highest ABV offering which tipped in at 7.8%, and a darker than usual Saison. Finally, another customer favorite is the English-style Extra Special Bitter simply called “Bitter”. Despite the name, this copper-colored beer is not as bitter and overwhelmingly hoppy as a typical India Pale Ale.
Currently you’ll find six beers on tap; however, the plan is to release some darker beers in the months ahead. “Our plan is to age some of our Imperial Stouts in Lenexa’s Dark Horse Distillery barrels, and those beers should be ready this summer, too,” says Vaughn. In addition, he looks forward to introducing a Biere de Garde. “I have dozens of styles I’d like to brew.” Judging from what I’ve tasted, Kansas City beer drinkers are in for a treat.
It is obvious that Moore and Adams have the community front and center in their minds. Cocktails are made with 360 Vodka from Weston and Clear 10 Vodka from Kansas City. Post-brewing grain byproduct is offered to Voboril Farm in exchange for fresh produce used in the restaurant. And, solar panels on the brewing building provide 20% of the electricity for the brewery and the taproom.
As MCBC continues to grow, you will be able to find their beers in local restaurants, bars, and liquor stores which means greater ac- cess to some great beer for all of us. Once they get settled in their new space, locals can enjoy weekend tours and other special events at the brewery. With a beer garden going in between the new brew house and Pizza and Tap, MCBC will be a nice destination for people to come and unwind. Appropriately enough, they’d even like to plant some hops in the Bier Garden, climbing up a trellised back wall, if weather cooperates.
The planets have aligned and the beer gods are smiling.
Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy.