Kansas beer drinkers will get an early Christmas present as a quartet of Crane Brewing Company’s beers — Saison, Farmhouse IPA, Orange Gose and Apricot Weiss — in 750ml bottles are expected to on tap (with the exception of the Saison) and on shelves next week.
“It’s exciting that we get to share our beers again,” Crane vice-president and co-owner Chris Meyers says. “These beers are going to allow us to continue to grow.”
The new brewery in Raytown, Missouri, is holding a grand opening party this Saturday (tickets are sold out) in advance of its Kansas launch. Last May, we chatted with Michael Crane about his success as a homebrewer and how that propelled him to open a microbrewery in his former furniture manufacturing space. This week, we chatted with Meyers (the team also includes former Boulevard brewing intern Steve Hood, Randy Strange and Aaron Bryant) about the four brews headed to Kansas and the future plans for the brewery.
The Farmhouse IPA, Orange Gose and Apricot Weiss are all likely to be available on draft and in bottle next week, while the Saison will only be available in bottles to start.
“The Farmhouse IPA is our take on an IPA-style beer. We use more citrusy, tropical fruit hops,” Meyers says. “It’s not super malty, but it’s definitely our version for hop lovers. The Saison is a good take on the traditional farmhouse-style ale with lots of esthers, banana, bubble gum and a little clove.”
The Saison and Farmhouse will likely be core beers for Crane, but the brewery will also see how the beers do in the marketplace.
“The Apricot Berliner Weiss is very light and fruity. You’ll get stone fruit. It’s pretty tart and very effervescent,” Meyers says. “The Orange Gose is very juicy. We use orange zest from over 500 oranges for each batch. Zest is the only way to get that level of citrus because of the oils.”
Crane is also busy on a host of other brews. They’ve got a barrel program in place that they’re looking to expand by 10 to 15 barrels every few months. Their current barrels were High West Distillery barrels used by River North Brewery and red wine barrels. Brewers Hood and Strange recently brewed their first lambic. Meyers also teased a Saison with brettanomyces (a wild yeast) and another ingredient that he wouldn’t divulge, which is already in barrels.
“It will be a whole different thing once we launch the barrel series beers,” Meyers says.
The Raytown brewery will continue to work on getting their beer distributed in Missouri — they’ve had an application in since October — and will start construction on a tap room this winter that will open in 2016.
“We’re essentially a group of Kansas City families at the brewery,” Meyers says. “We’re all in love with this city and we’re excited to be part of the growing beer scene.”
Crane is holding a series of launch events next week and will be the featured brewery at an installment of Barley’s Beer School at Barley’s Brewhaus (11924 W 119th Street, Overland Park, Kansas) on Monday, December 14, at 6 p.m.