Five years ago, Aaron Ogilvie thought the space at 412 E 18th Street would be perfect for a brewery. A squared-off brick building in the Crossroads, it was the right size and location. But the property was just a notion – the kind of idea you bring up over a few beers as an avid home brewer.
Before long, the spot was rented. An art gallery opened in the space. And Ogilvie forgot about it. Until last Monday when he signed the lease for 412 E 18th Street, where he intends to open the Double Shift Brewing Company in April 2015.
“In my head this was always 10 years down the road,” Ogilvie, 26, says on a recent Wednesday. “But with everything happening in Kansas City right now, the time was right for this to happen.”
Ogilvie, 26, is a firefighter (the brewery is named for the double shifts he sometimes pulls), who has spent the past 100 weekends brewing his own beer. His passion for making beer initially guided him toward a brew on premises facility.
But the further Brew Lab – which opened last summer in downtown Overland Park – got along in the process, the more Ogilvie realized that he wanted to be the one actually brewing. So, he developed a business plan, created a test run of five beers and made a presentation to potential investors. Mike Pollock, Paul Star, Rick & Joan Redhair and his father, Scott Ogilvie, all signed on after hearing his pitch.
“I saw something recently that ranked Kansas City as the third best beer city in the country. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think we totally can be,” Ogilvie says. “We have this world class brewery in Boulevard and when I looked at a place like Cinder Block, it all just clicked.”
Ogilvie has spent time talking to several owners of the breweries that have popped up over the past year to get a handle on the local brewscape. Cinder Block Brewing Company’s owner Bryce Schaffter talked to him about the business side, while the Big Rip Brewing Company invited him in for a day of brewing.
After searching for a property for the last 10 months, Ogilvie signed the lease for the space last week and is in the process of finalizing his floor plans. He wants to shift the entrance from the west side to the south side facing 18th Street. The plans call for a small taproom with 10 taps and 60 seats inside the door, and a five-barrel production facility on the north side of the building.
“It will be a pretty industrial feeling,” Ogilvie says, gesturing to the white brick walls. “I don’t want to be a brewpub with a brewery in back. It will be a brewery with a small tavern in front.”
Since there won’t be a kitchen on site, Ogilvie is looking to have a local source for soft pretzels and a rotating cast of food trucks on the weekend. Double Shift will sell beer in growlers and will keg its brew to start. The brewery will launch with five year-round brews – a Saison, a pale ale, a rye, a Double Wit IPA and a White IPA – as well as a rotating monthly special.
“I love making Saisons. I feel like it’s old, like it connects you with farmers in Belgium that just made beer in their barn,” Ogilvie says.
Double Shift’s Pale Ale is brewed with wheat, which Ogilvie believes “lightens up the beer and mellows it out. It gives it a little smoother body.”
Their rye brew is made with rye malt and is the most likely candidate for a future barrel-aging program. It placed fourth overall at the High Plains BrewHoff — Brew Lab’s recent home brewing competition and festival. The Double Wit IPA is the big brother of the bunch. It’s 10 percent ABV and 120 IBUs.
“It’s fun to make because we put almost two pounds of hops in a 10-gallon batch. But it’s not super harsh, it doesn’t kick hard,” Ogilvie says.
The fifth brew is a White IPA that was a happy accident. While home brewing several years ago, Ogilvie and a friend doubled their hops for a batch of Wit (a Belgian wheat beer). The result was a beer with the sweetness of Wit, but the aroma and slight bitterness of the hops. The version today is dry-hopped with Willamette hops.
“I love that piney, woodsy smell,” Ogilvie says. “And you just get that right away.”
The rotating brews will be where Double Shift puts its spin on traditional brews.
“We’re dry hopping a tripel and we’ll use dark malts to make a black IPA or maybe a black summer beer,” Ogilvie says. “We’ll do something spiced in winter in order to coincide with the seasons.”
Double Shift is part of a new crop of breweries that are all expected to open in the Crossroads over the next six months. Before signing the lease, Ogilvie reached out to the Border Brewing Company, which is just across the parking lot at 406 E 18th Street. He’s hoping they can jointly host a street festival in the spring or fall. In the East Crossroads, Torn Label Brewing Company is currently brewing test batches in The Studios Inc. building at 1708 Campbell [read about them here].
In addition to being the managing partner and brewer, Ogilvie wants to offer advanced brewing classes at Brew Lab, focusing on the step between making beer in your garage and opening a microbrewery.
“I think Kansas City has the potential to do really cool stuff,” Ogilvie says. “And people here are already doing really cool stuff.”