Boulevard Brewery Tour

Does anyone out there like Boulevard Beer?  You would be hard-pressed in Kansas City to find someone who is not a fan of this impressive company.  We had the privilege this past weekend of taking a tasting tour of the facility and learning about the process behind the midwest’s best craft beer brewery.

Our tour started with a look at the original vintage brewhouse founder John McDonald imported from Bavaria and a taste of a current brew in the testing stage, Black Rye I.P.A., not yet being produced for sale.  A little on the bitter side for me, but one in our group loved it!

We viewed the fermenting tanks, which just recently held the Nutcracker Ale that will be in the stores in just a few weeks.

We also had a look at the Barrel Room.

Then we moved to the tasting room where our tour guide enlightened us on the history of the company while we sipped on Long Strange Triple coupled with Green Dirt Farm cheese.  Now this is a GOOD beer!   I love how local companies support other local companies!!

We were able to get up close and personal with the new brewhouse, even to the extent of peering into the very large, very deep vats.

In this room we were treated to the taste of Double-Wide I.P.A. and then taken to the hops room to experience the aromatic dried flower that adds flavor to beer.

The last tasting of the day, The Sixth Glass, was taken on the roof of the new brewhouse and packaging building which is a testament to Boulevard’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen.

In addition to the plant covered roof that decreases the building’s carbon footprint, Boulevard has implemented several corporate sustainability measures including the founding of Ripple Glass which is the areas only glass recycler and a commitment to be a zero land-fill facility.  Kansas City should be proud Boulevard calls this city home.

To learn more about Boulevard Brewery or to sign up for one of their tours, click here.

Cheers Everyone!

Day Trip to Weston

On Sunday we decided to take a day trip about 30 miles north of Kansas City to the town of Weston, Mo to shop, eat and have some family time.  Weston is a small, delightful town listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Sitting close to the Missouri River, Weston has many restaurants and small boutiques that sell a variety of items including home décor, clothing and art.

Our day started with brunch at the Avalon Café which included omelets, pork chops and very spicy Bloody Mary’s.  So, so good!

We walked around town browsing and buying in several of the shops,  including  the McCormick Distilling Company gift shop.  For a quarter you could choose a shot of one of the many flavored vodkas available for purchase.  The flavor combinations were very interesting to say the least.  We may or may not have tasted this one, and a few of us may or may not have bought some to take home.

Don’t judge until you try!!!

Another fun location on our itinerary was the Pirtle Winery.  Besides wine tasting, you can purchase a basket of sourdough bread, cheese and sausage to enjoy along with a bottle of wine in the garden.  It was a little too hot on Sunday for us to have a picnic, but we did enjoy the wine tasting of several varieties of wine from dry to sweet.  One in our group who recently turned 21 seemed to be having a particularly good time.

Our next stop was the Green Dirt Farm and the main reason I wanted to go to Weston.  Green Dirt Farm is a small sheep dairy farm that produces award-winning sheep cheese, yogurt and 100% grass fed lamb.   I had heard about Green Dirt Farm on the Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations episode about Kansas City

We were able to tour the facility, including the milking barn, and taste several of the different cheeses and yogurt the farm sells at Farmers Markets throughout the Kansas City area.

We learned several interesting things about the farm, including the fact that sheep dogs actually live with the herd, and protest loudly if anyone or anything gets too close to the sheep, including the farmer.  The cheese tasting was fabulous and I absolutely loved everything we tasted.  It was hard to decide which items to purchase at the end of the tour but I finally decided on two fresh cheeses, rosemary and garlic peppercorn along with some feta which is a fairly new product for the farm.  Tonight for dinner we grilled some chicken breast stuffed with the rosemary cheese and today at lunch I made a salad of melon sprinkled with the feta.  I wish I would have brought home twice as much.  It was SOOOO good.

Our last stop before heading home was O’Malley’s Irish Pub which operates the Weston Brewing Company.   The brewery is available for tours but was not open on Sunday so we had dinner and tasted a few of the local brews.

Although it sounds like all we did was partake of adult beverages, we really did have a fun, full day (seven hours) of shopping, eating and hanging out with family.  If you live in the KC area, I would highly recommend a day trip to Weston.  If you are not close enough for a day trip, Weston has several B&B’s plus there is a State Park within hiking distance of the town.  It will make for a memorable day!

Fall Day Trip

Fall is my favorite time of year with crisp, cool mornings and warm sunshine in the afternoons.  I love apples, pumpkins, cider, football and bon fires! In celebration of the season we decided to take a little road trip down memory lane.  Our first destination was Warrensburg, Missouri where we toured the University of Central Missouri and reminisced over places I knew well and spent time many years ago.  First stop was the Sigma Kappa sorority house.

My favorite memory of the soroity house was the night we called 7-11 and talked the clerk into delivering ice cream sandwiches to us after he got off work.  I can’t imagine what we said to make him do that, I am sure he was disappointed when the house mother would not let him near our door!

Another stop was Dockery Hall where I learned all the dark secrets and rituals of the accounting world.  I actually can not think of anything fun about this place.

And finally there was Old Barney’s……I might have hung out here a time or two….

We ended our Warrensburg tour with lunch served by a cute waitress that looked really familiar.

From Warrensburg we headed north to Lexington, Missouri where we attended the Apples, Arts and Antiques festival.

Lexington has several gift and antique shops that also happened to be opened on Sunday.  I found several treasures  that I just could not live without.  As we walked down Main Street we noticed the Courthouse that still contains a Civil War cannonball embedded into one of the columns.

After the festival we drove through town and I stopped for pictures at a few familiar places.   The first stop was the Maid-Rite drive in.

If you have never had a Maid-Rite sandwich you need to make them for dinner tonight.  It is VERY simple, but VERY good and VERY close to the real thing.  Brown and drain 1 ½ pounds of ground beef.  Pour in a can of Campbell’s French Onion soup and ½ can water.  Bring to a boil, and then sprinkle the top with 1 Tablespoon of flour.  Stir to make a gravy then pile on to a soft hamburger bun, topping with mustard and pickles.  Eat and enjoy!

Across from the Maid-Rite is the old high school football stadium called the Goose Pond.  I was surprised that the high school that sat high on a hill above the goose pond was no longer there.  It must have been torn down.

We next drove by a house my family lived in for a short while as we were making the transition from California to Kansas City.  I would have loved to knock on the door and asked for a tour but I was not brave enough.  I remember this house having a large claw foot bathtub and a bay window in what was my brother’s bedroom.  I also remember my sister and I playing house in her room.  She made me eat oatmeal which is something I hate to this day.

The next stop was my Grandmother’s house that looks totally different than it did when I use to visit.  The original four room house was stucco,  but now has siding and room additions.  I remember the front porch being much, much bigger.  We use to sit out there and snap beans that came from the large garden next to the house.  One thing that was still there was the small square of concrete in the side yard that use to sit under the apple tree.  This platform covered an old well that use to have a hand pump on it.  I would pour buckets of water down that hole and pump for hours thinking for sure I would bring it back to life and water would come gushing out.  That never happened.

Our last stop was at Fahrmeier Farms, a multi-generational family run farm that grows vegetables, fruits, flowers and wine grapes.  We picked up some apples and pumpkins at the farm stand while looking at all the gorgeous mums.

In 2008 one of the old barns on the farm was converted into a winery and event space.  We enjoyed sampling a few wines and listening to the winemaker talk about how he got into the business.

We also discovered that there are five wineries in Lafayette County alone.  I think there could be a few more day trips to that area in our future.

It was a delightful day, perfect weather and perfect fall fun.