A few times a year my sister-in-law makes the trip north from Kansas City. It’s a guarantee that a few bottles of Kansas City’s finest barbecue sauces will make the trip. I am not talking about KC Masterpiece. I am talking about Oklahoma Joe’s or Arthur Bryant’s or some new place that I have not heard of that just might be the best place ever. They sure know how to smoke meat down in Kansas City.
Beer, however, is not something that I think of when I think of Kansas City. Part of this is because I forget that Boulevard Brewing is located there and that is a shame because I have many fond memories of Boulevard Wheat. After Fat Tire Amber Ale and a handful of beers from Summit Brewing in St. Paul, Boulevard Wheat was one of the beers that saved me from the path of PBR.
The first beer that I cracked open was an O’Fallon Brewery Black Hemp:
Okay, O’Fallon is really more St. Louis than it is Kansas City but it came from someone in KC so I am including it in the roundup. I do not understand why hemp gets included in so many things as an ingredient other than for a chucklehead laugh. You know, “He, he, he…it’s got hemp…that’s like weeeeeed.”
I have yet to try a beer that uses hemp as an ingredient where there is any discernible difference in taste brought forward by the hemp. Maybe if I had two beers that were the same save for the inclusion of hemp in one I would be able to taste a difference. Otherwise…not so much.
Once I got past the whole issue around hemp, I found this to be a competent dark ale. The beer comes across a little too dark. Too much smoke that is not balanced out by any other flavor. It’s not an overly strong beer (5.8% ABV), but it drinks a lot stronger because of the heavy charred flavors.
The next two beers come from the actual Kansas City area. The Weston Brewing Company is located in Weston, MO and produces the official beer of Livestrong Park–how long will that name stick? I was given some Ruddy Wheat:
I would like to say good things because I know people are trying hard. This beer, however, is thin. It’s really light in body regardless of the color and the flavor is almost non-existent. To further the problem the flavor that does exist is odd. I cannot pin my finger on the problem exactly.
Perhaps, the alcohol is not balanced by the body of the beer and the hops are a non-player. Trolling through reviews on Beeradvocate I noticed that the reviews chalked up some of this to the possibility of this being an extract brew. Interesting. I did not know anyone at a commerical scale would be using extract to brew. Chalk that up to my own ignorance.
I love flying monkeys. Who does not love flying monkeys? I watched the Super Bowl preview for that weird looking Oz movie and wondered where the flying monkeys were until the end. At least someone had the good sense to make sure flying monkeys were still in the picture. Flying Monkey Beer?
Not so much. I do not know what the urine of a flying monkey would taste like, but I imagine that this insipid beer would come pretty close. It seems like this is a case of good marketing taking precedence over actually making good beer. Reminds me a little of Flying Dog Brewery and the crazy names for their beers. In Heat Wheat anyone?
Apparently, this batch was made by the folks at Weston Brewing. Said so on the bottle.
So, while the good folks in Kansas City can make a wicked plate of burnt ends slathered in the best sauce in the world people would be advised to wash it down with a Boulevard beer if they want to stay local because from what I’ve tasted there is a ways to go.