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 .

Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys and brrrrrrrrrrs

The Flying Stove’s Jeff Schauf at last year’s Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys

I’m excited about attending Friday night’s Second Annual Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys at Botanica– though I’m not very excited about the non-springlike forecast. A 51 degree high on May 3? Unacceptable!

The event was fun last year and featured local restaurants such as Newport Grill, The Anchor and Scotch & Sirloin, competing to make the best Bloody Mary. The Candle Club won with a traditional concoction floating with green beans, gherkins and a hunk of beef jerky.

Those who have a $40 ticket will be invited to roam the grounds sampling each of the Bloody Marys, or if they choose, stopping for a beer. The best part: The Flying Stove food truck is catering, which means the Schauf boys will put out a whole lot of their best dishes, which patrons can just walk up and take. That’s worth the price of admission all on its own.

This year’s event starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Botainca, 701 N. Amidon It will include live music by Spirit of the Stairs, beer provided by Wichita Brewing Company and River City Brewery, and lots of Bloody Marys, made using sponsor Pinnacle’s vodka.

Tickets are $40 and available at 316-264-0448 or by visiting botanica.org.

The Candle Club’s winning Blood Mary from last year

River City Brewing Co. gets a menu remodel

River City Brewing Co., Wichita’s original brewery at 150 N. Mosley in Old Town, recently has revamped its menu a bit, adding a long list of dishes that focus on using beer as an ingredient in the cooking. The new menu rolled out on Monday.

Owner Chris Arnold sent me the descriptions of some of the new dishes, which made me pretty hungry. Among them:

–Shrimp salad made with shrimp that’s been marinated and  cooked in wheat beer and chipotles with fresh greens, avocado, tomato, cucumber, peppers and queso fresco.

– Bone-in pork chop grilled and topped with Brown Ale mustard cream sauce alongside roasted baby potatoes and fresh veggies.

– Fish tacos filled with tilapia marinated in herbs and Amber Ale with fresh lettuce, avocado relish, queso fresco and a sauce of chipotles and beer on corn or flour tortillas.

– Herb marinated chicken breast marinated in wheat beer and spices then grilled and served with roasted baby potatoes and veggies.

–  Beer brat pizza featuring a beer crust topped with ale mustard sauce, thinly sliced beer brats, beer braised onions, red peppers and mozzarella cheese.

 – Beer cheese steak sandwich made with sliced beef topped with onions, peppers and mushrooms then slathered in homemade beer cheese sauce.

 – Stout Brownie dessert composed of a chocolate brownie made with Emerald City Stout and topped with chocolate ganache, salty pretzels and a big scoop of homemade vanilla stout ice-cream and caramel sauce.

Arnold also told me about a stout float, which he makes by pouring vanilla stout beer over a serving of the stout ice cream. As someone who’s been experimenting with wine floats for years, I approve of that idea heartily.

River City Brewing Co. is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-263-2739.

Question of the week: What beer do you order?

Some of the beer pulls at Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria.

My story for this week’s Go! section is about craft beers and the people in Wichita who make and serve them, including River City Brewing Co. in Old Town and Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria on the west side.

This assignment has made me very thirsty for beer, which I plan to consume this weekend, likely at some of the places I’ve written about in my story. I’m also dreaming about a road trip around Kansas to try out the various brew pubs hidden in unexpected places.

My question of the week is inspired by this thirst: When you feel like going out for a beer in Wichita, where do you go, and what specific beer do you most frequently order?

I really liked the seasonal beer on tap at BJ’s Brewhouse – a Belgian beer called Nit-Wit, and I’ll never turn down a Blue Moon on tap.

Let me know your favorite in the comments section below.

Local breweries celebrating American Craft Beer Week

It’s American Craft Beer Week, an annual nationwide celebration of locally brewed beers. And Wichita’s two local brewers – River City Brewing Co. at 150 N. Mosley and Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria at 8814 W. 13th St. are celebrating with specials all week.

They’ve even paired up to create a local mega brew, which both will serve on Friday.

River City’s observance of the week includes daily beer and food specials. Each day, the restaurant will feature a different beer from its collection and sell glasses — normally $4 — for $1.50. The food special will incorporate the beer of the day into the recipe. For example, today’s beer is the Old Town Brown, which was used to make the rich cheese sauce on today’s Philly cheese steak sandwich.

Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria also is offering beer specials all week. Today, it has $2 Porter pints (normally $4), and on Wednesday, IPA pints will be $2.

On Friday, both breweries will offer a beer called ICT Conspiracy, which they teamed up up to create. It’s a mixture of River City’s Belgian Triple and Wichita Brewing Co.’s IPA that’s described as light in color but very hoppy.

OH, and if you want a free koozie (and who doesn’t?) all you have to do is stop into River City today and sign the Declaration of Beer Independence, which demands life, liberty and the pursuit of hops.

Where to get your Lenten fish

Newport Grill in Bradley Fair

Even though Wichita is no where near an ocean, we still have some decent fish and seafood in town. We even have several restaurant’s whose No. 1 focus is fish.

Recently, I’ve heard from several Lenten observers who are asking for alternatives to Long John Silver’s. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Long John Silver’s, home of the fabulous hushpuppy.)

Here’s a list of ideas.

FINE FISH DINING: Wichita has two finer restaurants whose focus is fish: The upscale Newport Grill at 1900 N. Rock Road and the popular chain Bonefish Grill at 10250 E. 13th St. There’s also always Red Lobster, the reliable chain that has stores at 555 S. West St. and 333 S. Towne East Mall Drive:

FAST AND FRIED: Fish fans also can choose from less fancy fish places, many of which have a loyal local following. Fast fried fish is available at In And Out Fried Chicken & Fish at  447 N. St. Francis and Wichita Fish Company, 1601 W. Douglas, and Pirate Pete’s Seafood Restaurant, 1648 S. Rock Road.

SUSHI SPOTS: Wichita’s list of great sushi places keeps growing. Among the spots to consider sampling during Lent: Kanai at 12111 W. Maple, Hana Cafe at 325 N. Mead, Sumo at 11233 E. 13th St. and Wasabi, which has locations at 912 E. Douglas Ave. and 3242 N. Rock Road.

ALSO: River City Brewing Co. at 150 N. Mosley offers some of Wichita’s most popular fish and chips. Freddy’s Frozen Custard always offers fried fish sandwiches and fish and chips during Lent. And When Pigs Fly Bar-B-Que at 7011 W. Central will offer fish specials such as lemon pepper smoked salmon and BBQ tilapia tacos on Wednesdays and Fridays through April 6. And The Seafood Shop at 6470 E. Central Avenue sells not only fish and seafood to be cooked at home but also carryout fish lunches.

Restaurants that start with ‘R’

River City Brewing Co.

A reader named Cathy wrote to let me know that she and her girlfriends had embarked upon one of my favorite type of dining adventures: Dining through the alphabet.

They’d arrived at “R” and were stuck. They asked me to suggest a “nice restaurant that serves alcohol.” And starts with ‘R’.

Here are a few of my ideas. Anyone else??

Redrock Canyon Grill, 1844 N. Rock Road: I do love Redrock, a restaurant with nice, dim lighting, plush furnishings and American food that’s approachaable and simple in a gourmet way. And do they ever serve alcohol. Try their “Perfect Margarita.”

Red Beans’ Bayou Grill, 7447 W. 21st St. N. One of Wichita’s oldest Cajun restaurants is still hagning on, serving dishes such as fried pickles, gumbo, jambalaya and more. There’s also a full bar. Hurricanes for all!!

River City Brewing Co.: The downtown brew pub has recently undergone a remodeling and added a few beers to the tap. People love their pizzas and their mac-and-cheese. But they have more high-falutin’ fare, too