Jim (Beer Scout jimmywags) and I visited Double Shift Brewing when they were just a newborn brewery last year on a lovely Friday afternoon when we snuck out of work early for a happy hour date before picking the boys up from day care. To be honest, we weren’t super impressed, and we hadn’t planned to go back.
— KC Beer Scouts (@KCBeerScouts) August 6, 2015
That wasn’t really fair of us – everyone deserves a second chance, right? – but we get so few opportunities to go out for a beer together, that we try to hit places we know we’ll like.
Fast forward ten months. We Beer Scouts were looking for a good spot for our May meeting, and Beer Scout Brie talked Double Shift into opening its doors for us on a Monday, when they are closed to the public. Double Shift brewer Bryan Stewart came in on his day off, poured beers for us, gave us a tour of their brewhouse, and was just super open and honest with us about the ups and downs of the brewery’s first year.
First, I have to say that the beers were fantastic! They had seven on tap that night, and I sort of hogged the flight that was sitting at my end of the table. There was not a single beer that I didn’t enjoy. Even the IPA was good, and that is definitely my least favorite style. They make small batches and they’re still tweaking and perfecting recipes, so it’s the kind of place that you can go to frequently and not get bored. While we were there, these beers were on tap:
- Annatto Wheat
- Solar Wind, pale ale
- River Pirate, oatmeal stout
- Hawp City, IPA
- Runaround Rye, roggenbier-isch
- Briar and Bramble, an English-style pub ale
I really loved the Briar and Bramble English Pub Ale, even though Bryan said it’s not quite what he wants it to be yet. My other favorites were the stout and the Maibock. You can check our beer reviews to see what the other Scouts had to say, but there were definitely no complaints in the house.
Bryan showed us their system and talked about their near-term plans for growth and expansion. Right now, they are in a small space without much wiggle room. If they get much bigger, a second production facility might be needed. (Maybe something with an event space?? Just saying…) He also talked about some of the issues with water quality they experienced early on that affected the taste of some of their beers, and just the learning curve associated with translating homebrew recipes to the larger and different equipment. Definitely a theme we’ve heard from other new breweries, and totally understandable. Double Shift has really done a great job of overcoming some early obstacles and pushing through some criticism to get to a point where they are really putting out a great product.
Double Shift Brewing Beer
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Briar & Bramble
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The location is great – right in the heart of the Crossroads. The perfect place to stop in for a happy hour (although I’m guessing they get pretty crowded on a First Friday). They have at least a dozen stools at the bar, and several varnished picnic tables in their tap room, and you can bring in whatever food you want to eat. On one wall, a garage door opens to the vibrancy of the Crossroads, and the bar area is open to a view of the brewery behind it. Plus, they have great prints on the walls and in the bathroom. It’s really hip, yet inviting—comfortable for the hipsters who live in the arty apartments around the neighborhood, the parents sneaking away for a beer between work responsibilities and family responsibilities, older folks who enjoy good conversation and craft beer, and Kansas City visitors of all ages.
Finally, I just can say enough about how great Bryan was. He was generous with his time, his beer, and his take on Double Shift’s journey so far. In fact, a middle-aged man and an older gentleman walked up to the door in the middle of our “meeting”. Bryan gently told them they weren’t technically open on Mondays, but when the younger man said, “Oh, but he’s from out-of-town and really wants to try your beer!” pointing to the older gentleman, Bryan invited them and in poured them a cold one. Fantastic guy, fantastic addition to the Kansas City beer scene.
If you’ve never been to Double Shift, go try it out! If you have, go back. Because there’s new stuff on tap all the time, and I promise you, it will be good!