USA, MO: Strawberry Hill Brewing Co. aims at 2019 opening
You never know what happens when you talk to your neighbors. Derek Kempf was on paternity leave three years ago from the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department, and he was chatting with Larry Murray, who lived across the street, the Flatland reported on October 9.
The two decided to try a test batch of home brew. A wit went wrong. A stout had legs. And over the past three years, the duo became an unintentional home brew club when Larrys brother, Ben, and two friends, Phil Kuzila, and Joe Collins, all moved into Murrays house.
Homebrewing changed our appreciation for beer, Kempf said. We had no intention of opening a brewery when we started, it was more of an organic thing.
At this past years KC Nanobrew Festival, the reaction to the beers that Strawberry Hill Brewing Co.s five partners brought convinced them to pursue the idea in earnest. Kuzilas father owned the building at 601 Central Ave. and agreed to lease them the property. This week, they started working on the hardwood floors with a goal of opening in 2019.
All five of us were born in Kansas City, Kansas, Kempf said. And staying local was important to us. We just want to be part of the revitalization of Strawberry Hill.
The brewery will likely launch with what Kempf calls the starting five.
Everything we do has a good balance to try to encourage people to try styles, Kempf said.
In the plans are The Long Road Ahead Stout, a Wyandotte IPA that Kempf said has a good balance of malt and hops, a Berliner Weisse that could be drunk with or without house schuss (syrup), Water Tower Hefeweizen (a nod to the water tower that was long part of the Strawberry Hill landscape) and a Bramber.
Its too dark to be an amber ale, but its very light bodied. It doesnt fit into normal brown ales because of its lighter mouth and body feel, Kempf said of the Bramber.
The brewery will have a one-barrel system. Theyll use the basement for fermentation and have a beer cooler on the ground floor. The taproom will be upstairs.
Were not a museum, but the decor will have the history of the Strawberry Hill and Central Avenue area, Kempf said.
Kempf will brew alongside Larry Murray. Kuzila will assist with brewing and building maintenance, Ben Murray will bartend, and Collins is managing the finances and permitting.
Right off the bat, well stay central to serving at our bar, Kempf said. [That] we get to be right on the foothill of Strawberry Hill and tie into such a historic area makes it all worth it.
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