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Martin City Brewing Co.

Although they have “brewing” in their name, there’s no actual beer being made here at Martin City Brewing. That’s not to say that they won’t eventually, as are part of the master plans that I’ve heard of, but prepare to be deceived for a few years by the name… assuming it’s still in business in a few years.

Let me start by saying that I thought the food was great. Not just good, but great. Not amazing, but great. I really wanted to explore their menu and possibly get something tasty, like the chicken burger, but they crossed it out… I guess after being open for only a week they either ran out of ingredients or people hated it. I’m assuming the prior. They had 4-5 items crossed out, so they’re probably still tweaking their menu.

Our group started out by looking over the beer menu. I expected it to be much larger considering the restaurants name, but I wasn’t entirely disappointed either. I was glad to see a handful of the local favorites on tap, as well as some not-so-common handles. The prices didn’t seem too off, but could have been $.50-1.00 cheaper per pint. The Boulevard seasonal was listed at $7, which had I seen before I ordered I probably would have avoided, but I knew it was Two Jokers, so I had to get it… I didn’t look all that closely, but I think when I paid by bill at the end, it might have only been $6.50 for the pint, which isn’t bad for something normally served in a tulip.

Now let’s get back to the food… because that was the best part… which really felt like the only good part. Considering the location and size of the restaurant, I expected things to cost a little less than they did. We started with the Fried Risotto Balls, which were amazing. Plated with 6 balls total, you get enough for a small group, but with a price of $8, you’d expect a little something more. Like I said, they were quite delicious, but not $1.33 per ball delicious. $6 for 6 would be ok, or maybe even ‘wow’ me for $5. I would order them again for $5-6, but not $8, that’s ridiculous for the quantity.

We ordered a variety of items off the menu for the main meal… a couple of burgers, the beef n blue sandwich, the roasted pork sandwich and the brisket sandwich. I only tried the last two, so I can’t comment too much on the first items, but my friends said they were good. The waiter told us they were mind-blowingly good, but everyone disagreed with that statement. KC has a tough burger crowd, so if they said they were good, I’m taking their word for it. The beef n blue was quoted as being decent, but she was really turned off by the lackluster salad that she had to pay a $2 up-charge on instead of getting the fries. It’s a side salad folks, not a salad and fries… $2 for a pile of lettuce will keep people from coming back.

Now, here’s where things turn from ‘ok’ to ‘great’… the pork and the brisket. I couldn’t decide between the two, so I talked my friend into ordering the opposite of me and sharing. The pork was soft and tender. I’ve never had sauteed spinach with pulled pork before… but then again, I had never had pulled pork without BBQ sauce before either. The sandwich was excellent and very flavorful. It alone would make me consider going back again. The brisket, although oddly named that, was also excellent. The sandwich would be better titled “pot roast” or “shredded roast beef” because there is nothing about the meat that makes you think of brisket. If you’re going to name something brisket and serve it in KC, it better be smoked and served with some BBQ sauce. Instead, it was served with an egg. A nice touch, but not what I expected. I would order either sandwich if I return…

(Brisket upfront and pork in the back)

Ok, so this is where the ‘good’ went from being ‘great’ into ‘I don’t know that I’ll come back again’. As a new restaurant, I like the idea of using cool apps and technology in your restaurant, but my God man, pen and paper! PEN AND PAPER! The servers each carry an iPod Touch that they have to manually select which table you’re at, which seat you’re sitting in at the table, select your food item, what toppings you want, or don’t want, type in special instructions and then send it back to the kitchen… they do this with every person sitting at the table, and then go back and reread it to you. It was the slowest ordering experience I’ve ever had. I get the idea of it being instant, but if you write it down, you can then go away and punch it into the computer instead of hovering over my table for 12 minutes typing in orders.Oh, but it doesn’t end there… if you’re paying with a debit or credit card, they run your card on the iPod and ask you to sign with your finger. Great idea, but if they don’t tell you that you can input a tip, they still have to bring you a paper receipt from across the building for you to add a tip to and then resign in ink. Seems like flawed process… once again, it’s a cool gadget, but if you’ll just walk away from our table for a few minutes, you can run the cards and return with the receipts instead of us all sitting there watching the staff work for 7 minutes instead of letting us continue with our conversation while you print everything.

And that brings me to negative point number two… the service is super slow. I’m going to blame it on new employees at a new place trying to figure out a new system, but man, thank goodness none of us had to be anywhere in a hurry. Everything about our meal took forever… but, they’ve only been open for less than a week, so I’ll cut them some slack.

In closing, the place is small, there’s very little decor other than a few flat screens and creative dining tables, smelled like fry oil, which in turn makes YOU smell like fry oil, but at least the food was good.

I wish them well and hope they’ll stay open and be successful, because I want more brewpubs in town (which this really isn’t a brewpub until they start brewing). I’ll also probably go back, but not anytime soon… they’ve got some kinks to work out before I come back and spend $30 for lunch!

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Not Beer

 

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Truth in Beervertising

To kick of American Craft Beer Week, I wanted to share some awesome new videos that Breckenridge Brewery recently put out.

Their new “Truth in Beervertising” spots are being aired in Colorado as a little poke to the Big 3 who tout swirls, color-changing labels and triple-hopped yellow water. Although you won’t find these on your TV anytime soon, unless you live in Denver, but you can find them popping up all around the interwebs and through beer blogs, such as the KC Beer Blog (which is where I first saw the videos, but then started seeing them pop up in my daily marketing industry emails, like this).

Anyway, check them out and enjoy. They’re only 15 seconds long, so it’ll only take you a minute, literally, to watch. Oh, and don’t forget, May 16th-22nd is American Craft Beer Week, so be sure to try something new that doesn’t contain the name ‘Bud’, ‘Coors’ or ‘Miller’. There are plenty of great beers out there from the more than 1,800 designated ‘craft brewers.’

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Beer

 

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Old Clarence – Boulevard Brewing Co

UPDATE: Looks like I was only partially correct in my posting about this beer… and by partially, I mean not really close at all. I’ll blame Marla for that one!

I just received this message from Jeremy Danner, a brewer at Boulevard about the beer that is much, much more accurate than what I wrote: “Old Clarence is a Bully! Porter that’s been aged in a whiskey barrel. It’s named for Clarence “Mikey” Prince, one of the original brewery employees. The picture was actually taken by a friend of his named Sam Bustamante who works on our bottling line. It’s not from a movie, it was taken at his house. He’s not “in costume” as those are clothes he would regularly wear and that’s his personal gun. Let me know if you have any other questions about this beer.”

Original post, which is somewhat, or almost entirely, inaccurate. The acquisition story is true:

Although you’ll never see this on the shelf, I’d like to send a huge thanks out to Marla at Boulevard for this wedding present! (sorry for the crappy photo)

On Friday, April 29th, I had 20 of the 40 slots for the 1pm brewery tour for friends and family who were in town for my wedding. While touring the upper floor in the brewery, I ran into Marla, who runs events at the Brewery, and who was so helpful and gracious in allowing Amanda and I into the brewery a few months back for our engagement session with Matt O’Laughlin.

Anyway, while we were there, Boulevard was hosting one of their Brewmaster Luncheons. Marla was working the event, so I chatted her up for a little bit while we were on the tour… which was my eighth or ninth one, so I could basically give it by now. She asked about the upcoming wedding, not realizing it was the next day. We talk about how everything was all set and how most of the people on the tour that day were friends and family in for the wedding. After talking for a few moments, she told me to hold on and that she’d be right back. She stepped into the kitchen and came out a few minutes later with a cold bottle of something I had never seen before… Old Clarence.

Although we didn’t have much time to discuss the history of the bottle, she did inform me that the photo on the front of the bottle is of a Boulevard employee, Mike, who had recently passed away. She also noted that he had been in a movie, Old Clarence, which is where the picture came from… although I can’t find anything about the movie online, nor vet and other info about the beer, but I trust Marla that she’s not leading me astray… at least not too much!

Part of the reason that you won’t find anything about this beer online is that it was a special brew that was only made for employees of the brewery to commemorate Mike’s life and time at the brewery.It was also being featured at that day’s luncheon.

Although I haven’t opened it yet, I’m really looking forward to this special edition Porter. I’ll come back later once I pop ‘er open… which might be tonight!

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Beer

 

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Stone Brewing Co’s Greg Koch

During lunch I swung over to Royal Liquors on State Line and 103rd St. Greg was supposed to host a tasting and signing from 12-1p… I showed up right around 12 with no one in sight…

No worries, they were running 20 minutes late. So, I swung over to Taco Bell for something I’m sure I’ll later regret, then headed back to Royal to meet the man himself. I only chatted with him for a few minutes, as others were lined up to meet him and get their bottles signed. I did however get a few bottles signed, a signed DVD and this quick photo. Not bad for a lunch hour!

Tonight Greg will be at Flying Saucer and the Foundry, so be sure to catch up with him for dinner tonight. I’m hoping to make it to the Foundry and get a table before it gets too busy.

Welcome to Kansas City Greg. Glad you brought your beer!

Stone Brewing Co’s beers can be found at any liquor store worth visiting in Missouri. Royal Liquor and Lucas Liquor both have a large selection of Stone brews. Be sure to pick up an Arrogant Bastard while you’re there… it’s the #1 selling 22oz bomber on the market!

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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Beer

 

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Boulevard… good for your Mother (Earth)

Note: this is Boulevard’s press release

Boulevard Celebrates Earth Day with “Green” Initiatives

Date: April 19, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 19, 2011 – Installing solar panels, transforming itself into a zero-landfill facility, and investing in an electric vehicle (EV) charging station are just some of the latest ways Kansas City’s hometown brewery is expressing its commitment to the environment. While the timing of these projects aligns with Earth Day, the practice of sustainability is an everyday event at Boulevard.

“Anyone who knows John McDonald, our founder and president, is aware of his common sense commitment to Mother Nature,” said Jeff Krum, Boulevard’s chief financial officer. “He has a keen sense of the delicate balance of life, and a rural kid’s instinctive affinity for conservation, waste minimization, and environmental preservation.”

Establishing zero-landfill status was the first major objective achieved by Boulevard’s BREW (Brewery Resource Efficiency Workgroup) team. The last trash dumpster was removed from the brewery in January. Now, most “waste” is recycled with local companies (including Ripple Glass, formed by Boulevard employees in 2009), composted, or, in the case of the company’s spent grain, fed to cattle. The little material that remains is used by a local cement manufacturer as an alternative fuel source.

This week, the company will begin to generate some of its own electricity as it completes the installation of an array of solar panels atop its green roof, and will flip the switch on a public EV charging station, just the fifth such port in Greater Kansas City. But the BREW team is already working on new ideas.

“For example, we constantly assess water usage throughout different phases of the brewing process,” said Mike Utz, Boulevard’s Director of Engineering. “Our team recently pinpointed a few key spots where consumption can be materially reduced, so we’re making immediate changes in those areas.”

Boulevard credits its success in matters of environmental responsibility to a philosophy that calls for empowering the people who use the equipment and work in the facility on a daily basis. The company takes pride in its role as a local leader in sustainability, and plans to continue to push the envelope of environmental excellence.

About Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to be the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest, dedicated to the craft of producing fresh, flavorful beers using traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques. The company’s portfolio of year-round and seasonal beers is available in fourteen states, primarily in the Midwest, with selected offerings distributed in an additional six states. For more information about Boulevard, visit http://www.boulevard.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/Boulevard, or on Twitter at twitter.com/Boulevard_Beer.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Beer

 

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This speaks for itself…

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Stone started distributing today! That’s all I need to say.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Beer

 

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Founders Red Rye P.A.

Sorry some of these posts are so short… I had intended to do write-ups a while ago, but got sidetracked. I thought I had posted the images to the blog, but something happened when uploading from my phone to the site.

The picture doesn’t do one bit of justice to this nectar, but I think Founders beers speak for themselves. The Red Rye P.A. poured a nice light amber. Two fingers of foam fall quickly, leaving a nice heavy lacy along the top of the pint glass. Aroma is light citrus with a slight malty smell.

Although not as heavy as some of their other beers, the Red Rye has a great pale ale flavor with that extra grain punch that’s not overpowering. At 10 bucks a sixer, it won’t be in my fridge all the time, but is definitely worth going back for when looking to take a couple of nicer beers to a dinner party to share with your friends.

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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Beer

 

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