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October

75th Street Brown Ale

   Opened in the fall of 1993, the 75th Street Brewery was Kansas City's first brewpub. As you may have guessed, the brewery is located on 75th street in the historic Waldo District. The 75th Street Brewery has earned its place in the hearts of beer connoisseurs capturing Best Brewpub honors in Pitch Weekly's and the New Times Best of Kansas City Poll. The attraction must be the warm, cozy atmosphere inviting people of all ages and backgrounds into a friendly camaraderie rooted in the mutual admiration for good beer.

Fans may enjoy a wide range of handcrafted ales including the Brown Ale, which has earned a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival. The food mirrors the environment -- warm and comforting yet exciting and adventurous. At the 75th Street Brewery crowds in the lounge and dining areas constantly keep the staff hustling. Red brick walls combine with painted yellow plaster to host decoration that include hanging beer label posters and long strung lamps draped from the painted ducting.


      The street front windows are lined with a dozen tall tables and matching stools that accommodate the lounge crowd, while the long bar features two six-tap towers that pour the house beers. The brewhouse is literally the centerpiece of this operation; it stands glass-walled, in the center of the large split-level room. The brews start life in the second-story loft above the bar, overlooking all activities below. Here the bags of two-row Briess malts are opened and fed to the mill just below. Once ground, the grains are again elevated via a flexible auger that carries the grist across the ceiling and down into the brewhouse. There, the hydrator attachment mounts to the 90 gallon Mash Tun to blend water with the incoming grains.


      Assistant Brewer Shay Baker reports that city water analysis data is reviewed monthly and normal pH adjustments involve an acid treatment while hardness is tweaked using Calcium Chloride. All brews but the Wheat see a single temperature step infusion mash, the Wheat gets two steps. After recirculation via the detachable Grant, it's on to the boil step. The 410 gallon stainless steel Brew Kettle features copper bands that ring its top, bottom, and mid-section. After the boil, a whirlpool draws solids into a cone at the center of the vessel's conical bottom so the hot wort can be passed through the plate heat exchanger. Oxygen is added as the chilled wort feeds to either of two 370 gallon or two 676 gallon fermenters. The single yeast strain used has served well for the last four years. Cyclic acid washing of the yeast keeps things pure and doesn't seem to wear them down. Following fermentation the beer heads to the six seven-barrel Grundy conditioning tanks and then later to the six serving tanks, all located in a cold room visible behind the bar.


      Two 14-barrel conditioning tanks are also available for the Wheat beers. Only the lighter beers see filtering prior to serving. Carbonation takes place in the serving vessels via forced CO2. Serving gases are a custom mix of Nitrogen (N2) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2). For the cask-conditioned special a half-barrel keg pulled from the conditioning tank gets a dose of dry malt to provide the food for the yeast to carbonate the finished beer in the vessel that it will be served from. Certain beers such as the Gold and IPA benefit from dry hopping in the conditioning or serving tanks. Others get their bittering and aromatics from pellets and whole leaf hops respectively. The 75th Street Brown Ale is well-balanced with a toasty, nutty maltiness in the body and a slight hoppiness in the finish.

Original Gravity - (Degrees Plato) 14.2
Final Gravity - (Degrees Plato) 4
Alcohol - (% by Volume) 5.36
Bitterness Units - (IBU) 18
Malts Used - Munich, Crystal, Chocolate, Pale
Hops Used - Cluster, Cascade, Willamette

Bricktown Copperhead Amber Ale

     Located in the heart of Oklahoma City's historic Bricktown District, the Bricktown Brewery opened for business in October 1992. It was recently awarded one of the biggest awards in the brewing business when at the National BrewPub Conference and Tradeshow in Chicago, the Brewery was named the best brewpub in the entire Southwest Region. The regional and national awards are sponsored annually by BrewPub Magazine with criteria for the competition based on local awards received, popularity and innovation in brewing. "This is one of the most prestigious awards that a brewpub can win," said the Brewery's managing partner Jim Cowan. "We are thrilled to be considered one of the best brewpubs in the nation."


      The restaurant still has the original brick walls and wood floors, which help it retain the warmth and spirit of the days of old. Executive Chef Mark Acheson provides "new prairie" cuisine to the hungry beer drinkers who come through Bricktown night after night to sample their fantastic food and beer. For those who want to stay and play after eating, the brewpub has 13 pool tables, tons of video games, and concerts such as Rick Springfield, who will be playing July 22nd. The Bricktown Copperhead Amber Ale is true amber ale. Domestic roast caramel malt gives this beer its distinctive amber color. This ale has a malty, full-body finish, and the use of Fuggles and Willamette hops balance the maltiness so the finish is clean, smooth, and satisfying.


Original Gravity - (Degrees Plato) 11
Final Gravity - (Degrees Plato) 3.5
Alcohol - (% by Volume) 3.94
Bitterness Units - (IBU) 11.36
Malts Used - Munich, Crystal, Cara Pils
Hops Used - Willamette, Fuggles

Pioneer Brewing Company

    One day back in the Fall of 1996, brothers Jim and David Hellman were in their offices having a meeting. Both were Criminal Defense attorneys at Hellman Law Office, the firm bearing their name. During their discussion, it became clear to each that the other was looking to do something different. With their family having been in the beer wholesaling business for the past 25 years, beer seemed an obvious choice. After deciding against opening a brewpub, the brothers talked about opening a small brewery instead. It seemed crazy to walk away from a successful law practice, but after researching the idea of a brewery, the two were ready to go.

With their friends in the legal profession stunned, Jim and David started closing down their practice and began looking for a building to house a brewery. The two started talking about a building in Black River Falls that they had seen several years prior. The building was a very old, yet impressive three-story building, some 17,000 square-feet in size, with a heavy-duty service elevator, loading docks and large insulated "cold rooms" in the basement.


    If this sounds like the perfect setting for a brewery, it should. The building at 320 Pierce Street in Black River Falls that eventually turned into the brothers' Pioneer Brewing Company is the original site of the Oderbolz Brewery that operated from 1856 until Prohibition. Although Jim and David were responsible for getting the brewery up and running, they did not have a lot of brewing experience. To solve that problem, they brought in Todd Krueger from Port Washington Brewing Company. Their choice for brewmaster paid off well as Krueger has produced several award winning beers for Pioneer. Joining Todd at Pioneer is Bret Campion, formerly of New Belgium Brewing and Left Hand Brewing, both in Colorado. Together they produce some of the best beers in Wisconsin!

     The first beer from Pioneer is their Lager. Their flagship beer is a traditional all-grain German Lager, amber in color, with a moderate maltiness and low bitterness. It is well balanced with a pleasant malty body.


Original Gravity - (Degrees Plato) 13
Final Gravity - (Degrees Plato) 3.2
Alcohol - (% by Volume) 4.6
Bitterness Units - (IBU) 15
Malts Used - Bries, Pale, Munich, Caramel
Hops Used - Cascade, Chinook

Groovy Brew

The Groovy Brew, which is brewed in the German Kolsch style, is a light, easy drinking beer. With a light malt character, it's perfect for a hot summer day!

Original Gravity - (Degrees Plato) 14.2
Final Gravity - (Degrees Plato) 4
Alcohol - (% by Volume) 5.36
Bitterness Units - (IBU) 18
Malts Used - Pale, Munich, Caramel, Crystal, Special Roast, Cara Malt
Hops Used - Cluster, Cascade, Willamette

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