Cityscape

Kansas City Bier Co., a brewery and taproom, opens in Waldo

Updated: 2014-02-11T23:54:42Z

By JOYCE SMITH

The Kansas City Star

Waldo’s new Kansas City Bier Co. is specializing in German brews.

The 10,000-square-foot brewery and taproom, at 310 W. 79th St., is scheduled to open at 4 p.m. today. It will offer five German-style beers on tap: Helles (a pale Munich-style lager), Dunkel (a dark Munich-style lager), Hefeweizen (a pale wheat beer), Hopfen Doof (a double Alt) and Weizenbock (a strong wheat beer). Some beers will change seasonally.

Menu items include authentic German pretzels, along with sausages and cheese plates.

Steve Holle, founder and chief executive officer of Kansas City Bier Co., grew up in south Kansas City but moved to Texas in 1992. He retired as regional director of the real estate investment office for Northwestern Mutual before moving back to his hometown to start the brewery.

Area residents had made Boulevard Brewing Co. a big success, and he figured they also would embrace a neglected beer category — locally made German-style lagers and ales.

He became interested in German beers while studying German in Germany during his junior year of college. Now a home brewer for nearly three decades, Holle has written two brewing books published by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas and has earned a diploma in brewing from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling in London.

Holle is in charge of brewing operations and sales. His business partner, Juergen Hager, a native of Bavaria and friend of Holle’s, also moved from Texas and is chief financial officer and tasting room manager. They now have about 35 other local investors in the brewery.

Karlton Graham is the brewer for the 30-barrel system. Most of the ingredients are imported from Germany, and the brewery will sell its beers by the glass.

Once the brewery is more established, Holle and Hager plan to roll out bottled beers for retail sale. They also plan to sell the beer to area restaurants and bars starting in March.

An outdoor beer garden will be on the east side of the building, overlooking the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail. A children’s play area also is planned.

“There are so many things to think about, I wake up early, and I don’t get back to sleep,” Holle said. “But we’ve had good feedback from the people who have tried the beer.”

Martini Corner

Barrel 31, a new bar and restaurant that will feature “whiskey and bourbon-inspired” drinks and “creative cuisine,” is scheduled to open in the former Velvet Dog space this spring.

Owner Chris Ridler is remodeling the 120-year-old building at 400 E. 31st St.

“We want to be a fun casual spot that offers great food and unique cocktails,” he said.

The menu includes a wide selection of tapas — deviled oysters (deviled eggs topped with fried oysters), pork belly sliders and ale cheese fondue. It also will feature sandwiches from the house-ground hamburgers on a brioche bun to the Three Pig Dip (pork belly, pulled pork and bacon). Entrees will include shepherd’s pie, bone-in short rib and duck-fat-fried chicken.

Barrel 31 plans to stock about 60 varieties of whiskey and bourbons, American craft beers and a “Paper Bag Special,” a random selection grabbed by the bartender and sold at a discounted price.

The top level of Barrel 31 will be available for private events and parties.

Ridler also owns Sol Cantina in Martini Corner and The Drop Bar & Bistro. He also is a partner in Zócalo Mexican Cuisine & Tequileria.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycekc.

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