Category Archives: Beer

Midwest Beerfest is this weekend

The only thing I like better than the Midwest Beerfest is the Midwest Winefest, but that’s not until April. So this is just going to have to do.

The annual beerfest, put on by local chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food, starts on Friday with a series of wine dinners. But the main event is the Grand Tasting, which is from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. It’s in Century II’s giant Expo Hall and will offer samples of 350 beers, ciders, hard lemonades and more.

The Midwest Wingfest, a chicken wing contest between local restaurants, also will be a part of the event. The Anchor will be there, defending its title from last year. Usually, I’m a judge, but this year, I’m out of town. Word on the street is that Miss Kansas Theresa Vail will be on the panel instead. Attendees can sample all the wings for $5.

For all the info on the Beerfest, check out my story, which is coming out in the Go! section on Friday but is online right now.

Arena’s Guitar Bar will be finished soon

A new bar under construction on the concourse at Intrust Bank Arena will offer patrons a chance to admire autographed instruments and possibly watch artists at play.

The Guitar Bar will be on the east side of the main concourse by sections 122/123. Arena officials hope it will be open in time for either the Blake Shelton on Oct. 5 or the Eagles on Oct. 7.

The arena staff has been planning the bar for a year and has been gathering signed guitars from visiting artists that will be displayed in glass on the walls. They have 18 cases and already have guitars signed by Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown and more. The bar also will feature a giant guitar hanging from the ceiling.

The bar also will feature a set of bar stools that look out over the arena’s loading dock, and sometimes, fans will be able to see artists and their crews below doing what they do pre-show. It’ll serve drinks only, including specialty cocktails.

Time to make Midwest Beerfest dinner reservations

The Midwest Beerfest’s signature event — its grand tasting inside Century II on Sept. 21  – is still more than a week away. I’ll be writing about it in detail for the Sept. 20 Go!

But if you want to attend the equally beer-rific events that precede it on Friday, Sept. 20, you’ll need to act soon. The Beerfest also puts on three beer dinners that happen concurrently at venues around town, and they usually sell out. They’re fun, informative, and each one costs $55 a person.

Last year, I attended a New Belgium beer dinner at Larkspur, and it was delicious and delightful. I met some fellow beer fans at my table, and its always fun to taste food that’s been expertly paired with beer by people in the know.

This year, the Boulevard Brewing Company will put on a dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport. Another one will be at the Wichita Marriott and will feature beers by Smithwicks  and Guinness.

And Larkspur’s beer dinner will be hosted by Peace Tree Brewing Co. out of Knoxville, Iowa, with Dan McKay, vice president of Peace Tree.

Each beer dinner features guests hosts from the breweries.

The multi-course menus for the dinners can be viewed at on the Beerfest website.

Get tickets by calling 316-682-5502 or by visiting www.midwestbeerfest.com

The Hill Bar & Grill will open on Aug. 12

The last we heard from The Hill Bar & Grill, the new restaurant going into the former Barrier’s space was set to be open by Monday, July 29.

But typical construction delays have pushed it back a bit, and now Brent Steven — who is opening the restaurant at 4800 E. Douglas with his brother, Brad — says that it will open for sure on Aug. 12.

The brothers, who also own nearby Mike’s Wine Dive, are busily putting the finishing touches on the restaurant, which they describe as an ale house that that focuses on craft beer and American fare.

Earlier today, Brent shared a sneak peek at the menu, which will include dishes such as house made pork rinds, spiced fried chickpeas, house-made pretzels with beer cheese sauce, sliders, street tacos and a variety of steaks. It’ll also offer banana pudding made with vanilla wafers and baked Alaska done three ways.  All the food will be fresh and made from scratch, he said.

The bar going in at The Hill Bar & Grill.

He’s happy with how the construction is progressing, he said, and he’s encouraged by the impatience of neighbors of the restaurant for it to open already.

“It’s going to be really nice,” he said. “We are so ready.”

The Hill’s hours will be 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Three wine and beer events this month

Wine and beer fans will have several more opportunities this month to demonstrate their preferences in public. Several dinners centered around adult beverages are planned. Among them:

Firkin Beer and BBQ at Oeno, 330 N. Mead on July 19:  Oeno’s a classy wine bar, but on July 19, it’ll be more of a beer and barbecue place. The bar will put on an event called Firkin Beer and BBQ, which for $25 a person will offer two beer tickets, access to a barbecue buffet and live classic rock from the band Back Roads. For reservations, call 316-440-5000.

Picnic Day at Grace Hill Winery on July 21: The Kansas winery at 6310 S. Grace Hill Road in Whitewater is putting on a picnic day, which will feature a menu of pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, cherry tomato salad and homemade brownies. Those who attend will buy picnic baskets, which are $15 apiece and include the recipes for the dishes plus a glass of Grace Hill wine. RSVPs for the event should be sent to info@gracehillwinery.com.

The Pink Party by Auburn Spirits on July 30: The liquor store is putting on a rose wine tasting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on July 30. The event will be at Rolling Hills Country Club, 223 S. Westlink, and will include samples of six still and sparkling dry roses paired with rose-inspired hors d’oeuvres. Pink attire is encouraged. For reservations, call 316-440-1111.

Local breweries celebrating Craft Beer Week

The annual Craft Beer Week, during which small breweries around the nation celebrate the art of  beer making, starts today and runs through Sunday.

This is the eighth annual Craft Beer Week, and two local breweries are celebrating it with activities and specials.

River City Brewing Company at 150 N. Mosley is starting week with the unveiling of six new beer taps, meaning that the brewery — which always has 10 beers on tap — from now on will have 16. From those taps, the brewery will pour the many beer concoctions it’s been experimenting with making during the past couple of years.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, the brewery will participate in a nationwide toast to craft beer, and today, it’s debuting a White IPA, called Down Wit It IPA, that it made in a collaboration with Wichita Brewing Co & Pizzeria.

That brewery, which is at 8815 W. 13th St, also will be observing the week by tapping a different firkin of beer every night through Saturday.

For more information, call River City 316-263-2739at  or Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria at 316-440-2885 .

Anchor, Siena teaming up for monthly beer dinners

Gross and Roth, living the dream

Schane Gross knows beer.

Marshall Roth knows food.

Now Gross, the owner of The Anchor at 1109 E. Douglas, and Roth, the executive chef at the new Siena Tuscan Steakhouse in the Ambassador Hotel at 104 S. Broadway, are activating their wonder twin powers for a new beer dinner series that will launch in a couple of weeks.

The monthly dinners will take place on the second Tuesday of each month in the Siena’s well-appointed dining room. They’ll feature multiple fine dining courses prepared by Roth and his staff, each course paired with a high-end beer that Gross selected.

Mmmm. Ribeye.

The first dinner is scheduled for April 9, and the duo is already taking reservations. Though they haven’t settled on a price or an exact menu yet, at a tasting a few minutes ago, the two were throwing around words such as “foie gras creme brulee” and “bananas Foster.”

Those who want to make a reservation should call Siena at 316-239-7100. Roth has clearance to offer a $119 room rate for beer dinner attendees who want to spend the night.

Also, Roth recently got a good deal on a shipment of Creekstone Farms  14-oz. rib eyes and is selling the beautifully marbled steaks, paired with mashed potatoes and asparagus, for $25 through the month of March.

Look how much he loves his steaks!

Old Chicago restaurants in Wichita being remodeled, rebranded

Old Chicago restaurants across the country are getting a makeover, and Wichita’s three locations are next.

Remodeling already has started at the local Old Chicago restaurants — which are at 300 N. Mead in Old Town, at 7700 E. Kellogg,  and at 2240 N. Tyler — and will be done in a couple of weeks.

When complete, each of the three restaurants will have a new, modern look and outdoor signage. The restaurants even will have new names — sort of. Instead of Old Chicago Pasta & Pizza the restaurants now will be known as Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom.

It’ll be high-tech, with digital screens showing when various beers were tapped and who in the restaurant is checked in on FourSquare.

The “rebranding” is intended to freshen up the look and approach of the restaurant chain, which started in 1976 and now has 96 locations in 22 states. Everything from the utensils to the plating of the food to the vintage decor on the walls, says “modern brewery” rather than “classic sports bar.”

The new Tavern thin crust pizza at Old Chicago

So far, the chain has launched the new look in three of its restaurants: two in Colorado and one in Minnesota. Topeka and Kansas City stores also are getting the new look.

Several new menu  have already been added to coincide with the new look, including panini sandwiches, new calzones and salads and “Tavern” thin crust pizzas.

The Old Town location will be ready to go on March 11, followed by the west-side restaurant on March 12 and the east-side on March 13.

Opening next week: new bar, old diner

A couple of businesses plan to open their doors next week, and one is right down the block from me.

Jon’s Ale House should open on Tuesday in the former Kelly’s Irish Pub spot at 917 E. Douglas, next door to The Beacon. Its focus will be craft beers from labels such as New Belgium, Free State, Tallgrass and more. The bar also will serve breakfast and lunch and is planning a menu filled with cold cut sandwiches, salads and soups such as a Guinness beef and vegetable soup. They’ll also have a few franks, including a quarter pounder topped with bacon and blue cheese.

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Owner Anthony Lynch has all but gutted the place, adding new furniture, new restrooms and a new bar top attractively decorated with craft beer labels.

Across town, Chuck Giles, the owner of Neighbors Restaurant & Bar at 2150 N. Amidon, says he’s almost ready to reopen Brint’s Diner at 4834 E. Lincoln. The restaurant, set up in a classic Valentine Diner building, was closed by former owner Jessie Medina back in October. Giles hopes to be ready to go by Thursday.

Drink beer in Public — and have a brisket tamale

UPDATE: Now I think this is sort of humorous, but I don’t think the person who sent me the press release does.

The beer dinner tomorrow actually will have BRISKET tamales. Not cricket tamales. Even though eating cricket and other insects is a thing, that’s not happening at this dinner. 

The culprit? iPhone autocorrect.

—-

If you read my review of Public at the Brickyard last week, you know how much I loved the warm, well-decorated interior of the new gastropub at 129 N. Rock Island.

It seems like the perfect place for a beer dinner, and on Wednesday, they’re having one.

The dinner, put on by Boulevard Brewing Company, will be at 6 p.m. and will feature a four-course meal, each course paired with a  beer from Boulevard’s Smokestack Series line of artisan beers. A beer rep will be on hand to talk about each beer. (Take note: The third course includes a cricket tamale.)

Tickets are $30 a person and are available at the restaurant. For more information, call 316-263-4044.

Meanwhile, here’s the menu:

First course: Long Strange Tripel paired with endive, cornbread croutons, asiago and Mayfair dressing
Second course: Double-Wide I.P.A. paired with cricket tamale, dirty rice and tomatillo salsa
Third course: Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale paired with rosemary pork loin stuffed with fig and brie, curry whipped sweet potato and haricot vert
Fourth course: Dark Truth Stout paired with Mexican chocolate, espresso creme cheesecake