Thursday, August 30, 2012


I have ventured to the outer reaches of the earth (not really) and now I’m back to tell the tale. It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog and I’m sure all of you are very concerned about the wellbeing of FatCat and whether the action will continue on the blog. Rest assured FatCat is alive and well. Some minor shifts in interest have taken place in the past few months which have limited my blog posts and my involvement in Kansas City’s great craft brew culture. I’ve recently been on a “craft beer hiatus” and on a “bulk hombrew infatuation”.

There has been a nasty epidemic going around and I was unable to avoid it. I’ve caught the let’s-buy-homebrew-ingredients-in-bulk-bug. As hard as I try to fight it I have not been able to shake it. Hundreds of pounds of grain? Yes please. Pounds of hops? Thank you sir may I have another. $1.70 six packs of homebrew? Um yeah! How about having enough kegs on tap in your garage to rival some bars? SOLD! I think I’m am too far gone to be saved, you should save yourselves.

A few stars aligned and fate has steered me into this wonderful delirium. It all began last year when I was “hunting” down all the special release brews that I could get my hands on. I had a solid plan, spend enough money at a single liquor store to pay their rent. Surely, I will be on “the list” then? Well it turned out like a solid plan and I was able to get most of the limited brews released in the KC area last year. I gathered friends to share in the brewing gold contained within these limited edition bottles and we came to a disappointing conclusion. Most of the brews didn’t really live up to their hype. They were good, but on several occasions we agreed that we preferred some non-limited releases to the limited ones. This started the shift into thinking, “Hey this may not be worth it”. A little more time passed and the dreaded Boulevard Chocolate Ale fiasco hit the area. The new wave of Chocolate Ale related insanity left a sour taste in some of the local stores managers/employees mouths regarding special releases. Facebook comments about people being overly obnoxious and/or rude while searching for Chocolate Ale were numerous. A conversation with my beer guy revealed he had to deal with numerous criticisms from customers about how special releases were being handled. That seemed to signal the downfall of my plan to support a single store with my beer/bourbon purchases in exchange for being on “the list”. Ever since then when I inquire about limited releases over the phone, I basically get hung up on. At one point I was told to call back tomorrow after 2pm and see if someone is available and they will decide if I am “eligible” to buy it. This solidified the point that special releases are clearly not worth the hassle for me. As such there is no need for me to patronize a single store anymore.

As all of this “special release” clarity was becoming apparent I was lucky enough to acquire some brewing partners. With a few of us involved we were able to make large batches of homebrew in about the same amount of time. A few equipment upgrades, some yeast farming, and a few bulk homebrew ingredient orders later we are producing some $2.00-$3.00 six-packs of homebrew. No real need to visit the stores anymore right? Well I’ve held out as long as I can but it’s that time of year when Oktoberfests start making their appearance and are usually followed by imperial stouts. I have a built in weakness for these styles so I’m afraid resistance to commercial brew/prices will be futile. I was looking the other day and saw one of my favorite Oktoberfests from Free State at $7.99. I thought to myself immediately, “Man that is expensive!” When I came back to reality, I realized how ridiculously good of a price that was for commercial brew. I told you I'm delirious.

I did manage to get to the liquor store a few times this summer so I have a couple reviews on deck. I also found the perfect brew to drink out of the Spiegelau glasses. Hopefully I can get the crew together for a second annual Oktoberfest Shootout! Big things are coming don’t miss it!