Friday, May 31, 2013

FatCat IPA Shootout 2013!

It has been a while since I've gotten the gang together and had a good ol' fashion shootout.  The inspiration for our shootout was the testing of Midwest Supply's Furious IPA kit.  We stacked the deck with the top performers from my past IPA shootouts and were interested to see where they ranked.  As always a FatCat shootout is a blind tasting which means we have no clue what beers we are tasting at which time.  All of the preconceptions are thrown out the window and our palates are the only indicators of greatness.  We are by no means beer judges but we do fancy ourselves some pretty experienced craft brew enjoyers.  We rated each beer 1 to 5 with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best.  Can the Furious IPA kit (an extract kit no less) stand up to some of the best IPAs in the business? 


1.  Odell IPA - 15.5pts
2.  Boulevard Single Wide - 15pts
3t. Midwest Supplies Furious IPA - 12.5pts
3t. Santa Fe Happy Camper - 12.5pts
5. Ska Modus Hoperandi - 12pts
6.  Founders Centennial IPA - 11pts
7.  New Belgium Ranger IPA - 7pts

FatCat's Favorites:
1. Odell IPA - 4.5pts
2. Modus Hoperandi - 4pts
3. Furious IPA - 3.5pts

Super Spiker Andrew's Favorites:
1. Odell IPA - 5pts
2. Single Wide - 4pts
3. Modus Hoperandi - 4pts

Super Dave's Favorites
1. Single Wide - 4pts
2. Furious IPA - 4pts
3. Happy Camper - 3pts

Greg's Favorites:
1. Single Wide - 4pts
2. Happy Camper - 4pts
3. Modus Hoperandi - 3pts


The Odell IPA stood out once again in our shootout by taking top honors.  It is a wonderful blend of bright citrus flavors and a balancing malt backbone to even things out.  Second place was the hometown hero Boulevard Single Wide IPA.  It was a thinner feeling brew but had the really good bitterness to let you know that you are enjoying an IPA.  In a tie for third place there was the homebrewed kit beer, Furious IPA, and a new comer in Santa Fe Happy Camper IPA.  Falling from grace were the Founder's Centennial IPA and the New Belgium Ranger IPA.  Both of these beers had finished well in the other IPA shootouts but they didn't fare so well in this one.

Stay tuned for a detailed review on the top 4 brews and a "how to" post showing how easy it is to make the Furious Kit brew at home.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Midwest Supplies Put to the Test

Have you ever wondered what the virtues of writing a beer blog in Kansas City are? You may be asking yourself does all the money, fame, and recognition make it all worth it? Well if you consider there is no money, no fame, and no recognition and then add in astronomical liquor store bills, then you get the idea. Every once in a while you get a nice comment or hit a number of page views goal and it makes it all worth it. And then every other once in a while you get contacted by Midwest Supplies to brew and review one of their kits. Now we’re talking.

Step one brew an extract kit from Midwest Supplies

Step two review the finished beer from that extract kit…

This is where I got the idea to make this a little interesting. Why not FatCat’icize the review and throw this poor kit beer into an official IPA shootout? I ran the idea by the Midwest Supplies rep and they were confident that their kit beer could stand up to the best the commercial brewers had to offer. Blind tasting? No problem they said. The Ferocious IPA kit was up to the challenge. Game on!

Before brewing the kit I took a quick look at their website to see what this Ferocious IPA was all about. Here’s what the description had to say:

If you like a beer with a whole lotta hop, then pour a pint of our Ferocious IPA. Created with the brewers of Minnesota’s Surly Brewing, this IPA uses 6 ounces of Ahtanum hops for a bold brew that is rich in malt sweetness and infused with bright hop aroma and flavor. It's a hop lover's dream with loads of flavor and yet it's very smooth and a treasure to drink. This one requires dry hopping and has received rave reviews from our customers who like a bold beer.

SG: 1.064-1.068
FG: 1.012-1.018
IBUs = 82
Hops: Warrior Amarillo Simcoe Ahtanum

There were 119 reviews of this kit with an almost 5 star average. It looks like this should be a formidable opponent in the shootout for sure. I was excited to get this one in the fermenter and to get the shootout under way. I followed the instructions provided by Midwest Supplies to the T and the brew day went off without a hitch. The Ferocious IPA fermented well and finished at the appropriate gravity. After some dry hopping and carbonating the beer is ready for the shootout. I got some of the crew together and put the Ferocious IPA to the test. We stacked the field with the top beers from our previous years’ shootouts and proceeded to see who would reign supreme. Coming up is the how-to extract brew post with pictures and the results of FatCat’s 2013 IPA shootout! 


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Boulevard's Great Wort Giveaway 2013!

Have you ever wished that the great folks at Boulevard Brewing Company would go through all the trouble of making up some wort with the sole purpose of handing it out to aspiring homebrewers?  Well wake up Charlie, you and grandpa may well get your golden ticket to the chocolate factory.  Here's a copy of Boulevard's proposition to local homebrewers:

In honor of American Craft Beer Week, Boulevard Brewing Co. would like to celebrate the adventurous spirit of homebrewing that inspired our founder, John McDonald, to brew his first batches of beer over two decades ago. On Monday, May 13, we will brew a batch of beer with no intention of fermenting it ourselves.

Instead, we’ll open our doors on Tuesday, May 14, and share this wort with local homebrewers—all we’ll ask is they bring a finished product back and let us give it a try. We’ll then choose our favorite wort transformation recipe and invite the winner to come back and brew it again—but this time on our system.

Homebrewers who register early enough—the quantity of wort is extremely limited—will be assigned a time on Tuesday May 14 to stop by the brewery and fill one 5-gallon vessel from our wort tank. Brewers and other brewery staff will be on hand to say hello, pour you a sample in the tasting room and give you a discount on all gift shop purchases.
Wort will be extremely limited, and so you must register on this page—please note: submitting your information here does not guarantee we will be able to provide you wort this year. Registration cannot be completed in person or over the phone.

To sign up check out their website:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cornstalker or Freddy Krueger?

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Freddy Kreuger grew up on a farm in Nebraska? Would he have been a maniacal serial killer or would he have brewed a beer that embodied his secret twisted emotions? And if he brewed a beer would he pose as some menacing cowboy figure on the can? Would this cowboy figure look like he could murder you with an ear of corn and dispose of your body in a wood chipper? All of these answers lie in a single can of Thunderhead Brewing Company’s Cornstalker Dark Wheat.

A new brewery has made landfall in KC, at least on the Kansas side, and that brewery is Thunderhead Brewing. I was first introduced to this brewery at the Omaha Brew Fest a couple of years ago and the Cornstalker has been on my brain ever since.  My only option for further enjoying this horror movie in a can was to jump on I-35 north for about 3 hours.  Needless to say I haven’t imbibed in Cornstalker since that fateful day in Omaha.  That is until the other day (well like a month ago sorry for the delay) when I was wandering aimlessly in the aisles of my favorite liquor store and there it was.  There, newly perched on the cooler shelf, the can I had yearned to see locally.  The manager confirmed Thunderhead Brewing Company had landed that day and was so new in fact he had to put it in the system for me to purchase it.  I snatched up my prize and raced home to face off against that ominous Freddy Krueger-esque figure on the can.  Would it live up to my fond memories? 

The Cornstalker starts with a soft grainy character accompanied by a hint of roasty aroma.  The mouthfeel is thinner than it would appear by looking at it in the glass but was eloquently smooth.  When the Cornstalker hits your palate you initially get a bit of soft malt character (dull sweetness) up front and then some breadier grain character sneaks in.  The breadiness is almost immediately replaced by a wonderfully blended roast character about mid-palate.  There are even faint hints of bittersweet chocolate playing around in the background.  The brew finishes with a slight wheat “twang” giving this brew several levels of complexity.  The key to enjoying the Cornstalker is to let the brew warm up.  If you exercise some patience, the roasted character begins to blend with the finishing wheat character.  The entire brew coats your mouth with a unique “soft flavor”.  I don’t know how to explain this “soft flavor” other than it is very unique and delicious.  To sum it up the Cornstalker is outstanding.

If that is indeed Freddy Krueger on the can he is a hell of a brewer.  If you are looking for a lightly stouted, wheatified, soft flavor coating, pleasantly complex Freddy Krueger brew, pick up some Cornstalker.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Parkville Microbrewfest 2013!!!!

This is the one beer festival I look forward to every year.  It has the perfect blend of convenience (because it's local) and awesome beer selection.  The festival will take place Saturday April 27.  One major change I noticed was the fact that the admission will begin at 11pm but the beer sampling will not begin until 1pm and run until 5pm.  This will most likely alleviate the giant lines waiting to get into the festival (Yaaay).  This also means once the beer starts pouring at 1pm there will be a full crowd to contend with (Booooo).  Hopefully there will be plenty of special beers to go around like there was last year. 

There are currently 44 brewers slated to be at the festival:

23rd Street Brewery
4 Hands Brewing Company
75th St Brewery
Amerisports Brew Pub
Blind Tiger Brewery
Blue Blood Brewing Company
Boulevard Brewing Company
Broadway Brewery
Cathedral Square Brewery
CIB Brewery
Crazy Eye Brewing
Crispin Cider Company
Deschutes Brewery
Empyrean Brewing Company
Firestone Walker
Flying Monkey Beer
Fox Barrel Cider
Free State Brewing Company
Gella's Diner and Liquid Bread Brewing
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
Gottberg Brewery & Pub
Granite City
High Noon Saloon & Brewery
Kirkwood Station Brewing
Little Apple Brewing Company
McCoy's Public House
Morgan Street Brewery
Mother’s Brewing Company www.
Nebraska Brewing Company
New Belgium
Odell Brewing Company www.
O’Fallon Brewery
Peace Tree Brewing Co.
Perennial Artisian Ales
River City Brewing Company
Rock Bottom Brewery
Rock Bridge Brewing Company
Route 66 Beer
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Springfield Brewing Co.
Stone Brewing Co.
Summit Brewing Company
Tallgrass Brewery
Weston Brewing Co.

For more info and tickets:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Freakin' St. Patrick's Day!!!!

May all of your Irish car bombs be chugged like a pro.  Have a happy and safe St. Patrick's day!