Terry and I got up early, so we could make our way to a coffee shop, get on the internet to do our respective work, and then book it up to Kansas City by 3pm and visit two brewpubs: Ameristar and Boulevard Brewery. After visiting the pubs the plan was to meet a couple, Ven and Michal (Ven’s wife), at their house in K.C., where they would be hosting us Friday and Saturday. We thanked Sara for her hospitality, and especially her hosting us on such short notice. Thank you!
We went into town and found a coffee shop right on the main street of Emporia. Terry and I found two tables and began working—he on his video editing and I on my blogs and listings. We worked until about 12:30pm…. allowing a little extra time to reach Kansas City. We both hopped in the car, Terry turned the ignition and the car would not start. OK, don’t panic… let’s just try again. He did, and the car still would not start. He tried a few more times, and no go. OK, now it’s time to panic. I jumped out of the car and immediately flagged down a dude in his pick-up and he pulled up next to Terry’s car. This cool guy had some jumper cables and Terry was able to start his car. The guy told us there was a car parts shop about 5 blocks away. Yes! It’s nice when you’re in a small town! We found the car parts shop and it was determined that Terry needed a new battery. We got it and were back on the road! However, too much time had elapsed and we were running late to make it to Ameristar, our first brewery in Kansas City.
Although, we arrived about 15 minutes late, it was not a deal breaker and the Ameristar staff was still able to host us. Ameristar is actually a casino and the Craft brewpub is inside it. A woman named Celeste took us to the brewery where we met up with Stacy, the brewmaster. Stacy came from a background in rock music and was just on the cusp of making it really big, when his first son was born. Then he decided to quit touring and be an at-home Dad. Seems like it’s worked out well, as he now has three kids, and he coaches their soccer leagues. Good for him. Stacy has been the brewmaster at Ameristar for nine years, and the beer really reflects his long-standing commitment. It’s freaking good especially the Face Off Pale Ale! Thanks to Ameristar, especially Celeste and Stacy for their time.
Next stop was Boulevard Brewing Company, one of the largest Craft breweries in the nation. Andrew Jenkins, the Cicerone at Boulevard, took Terry and I on a special tour of the facility. Andrew has quite the bubbly personality and one can tell that he really loves his job. It’s quite a massive operation, almost the size of a corporate brewing facility. Andrew let us sample a few beers, among them, Tank 7—a delicious sour Belgian beer. After the tour, Andrew gave us complimentary bottles of beer (one of them Tank 7!) to take away. Phew! What a day it has been! Now we can go to Ven and Michal’s, meet them, and relax.
Ven’s house was only three miles from Boulevard Brewing Co. It was located in the mid-town area of KC…affordable old-style homes next to a beautiful park, with oaks and maple trees all around. The neighborhood had a very nice vibe. Ven and Michal immediately brought us in and in no time we were talking about beer, as Ven has been brewing beer in his cellar for three years. He called some friends over and in no time, we had a group of about eight folks in Ven’s house, enjoying some beers on a beautiful Friday evening. One of Ven’s long-time friends from college—Justin—was there with his girlfriend, Diane. Justin had a recording studio at his home, was a bassist in a band, and produced some really good music. One song, called “Boulevard”, might just be the song we play in the background during the Boulevard Brewing Co tour portion of the documentary movie. It makes sense! His girlfriend Diane was a laid back girl, so you would never know what she did for a living. She was a foreman for a construction crew. The company began three years ago with just four employees and then grew to thirty-five…quite a lot of dudes to manage! She was really into tattoos, and had quite a few on herself. But they were tastefully designed, and very colorful. We talked about tattoos and I mentioned that my younger sister Liz had a small one by her shoulder blade. Diane was a really cool person.
After sampling a few more beers from Ven’s basement, I was starting to feel the effects. Combined with it being a long day at the office, I was ready to hit the sack at 10:30pm. Ven just happened to talk about how the guest bed was one of the most comfortable beds he had ever slept on. I said, “Really? Let’s check it out!” That’s all she wrote. I was done. 🙂