Story by Dave Eckert | @eatsanddrinkswithdave | Intro photo courtesy of Sandhills Brewing
I don’t know about you, but I am personally relishing the arrival of fall. Having grown up in Chicago, I’m no fan of winter, but fall, with its often warmish days and cool crisp nights, is just what the doctor ordered after another smoking hot Kansas City summer. I’m also a big fan of the adult beverages that arrive with the cooler temperatures from beers and wines to fall-themed cocktails. I’ll leave the wine to another time and focus on beers and cocktails perfectly suited to this time of year.
Fall Colors on Tap
When it comes to craft beer, there is no greater expert locally, in my opinion, than Pete Dulin. Dulin literally wrote the book on local brewing with “Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland,” and recently founded a local craft beer digital magazine called KC Ale Trail, kcaletrail.com.
I asked Dulin for his thoughts on local beers for quaffing on these increasingly cooler days and nights. “Crisp cool autumn afternoons and evenings prompt a shift from light pilsners and lagers to more robust flavor profiles and beer styles. Lately, I’m craving coffee beers that range from bold chocolate to subtle hints of fruit and nuttiness. And hand me a seasonal Oktoberfest beer over anything pumpkin spiced any day of the week,” Dulin weighed in.
As for specific local beer picks, Dulin spread the love with these metro-area brews.
- Tiramisu White Stout from Wind Shift Brewing in Blue Springs.
- Rochester Original Coffee Stout from Rochester Brewing and Roasting Company in The Crossroads Arts District.
- Stocktoberfest from Stockyards Brewing Company in the West Bottoms.
- Festbier (a personal favorite) from Kansas City Bier Company in Waldo.
- The NEIPA (A New England-style IPA) from Sandhills Brewing in Mission.
- The Sybil 21 (A German-inspired bock) from Red Crow Brewing in Olathe.
Thanks, Pete. Great picks!
Pick of the Patch
Now, onto fall-inspired cocktails with three stops. First, a place you might not think of for cocktails, but perhaps you should – Brookside Poultry Company. There, I found Angelica Greco, BSPC’s manager, whipping up a Tuesday Tipple, an Old Fashioned using Lifted Spirits Wheat I Whiskey, and named after, as all the restaurant’s signature cocktails are, regular customers. “I don’t know if I should say this, but we called Tuesday a ‘bad ass,’” Greco laughed. This is the drink you will find her sipping on here at the bar almost any time.
Photo courtesy of Brookside Poultry Company
Greco says Brookside Poultry is very laid back about its cocktail program specifically, and its bar program in general. Requests are taken without question. Creation is encouraged. And being a loyal customer is clearly rewarded. Who knows, if I lived closer, perhaps they’d come up with a ‘Dave’s Dream’ or some other collaboration. It might just be worth the drive.
Next stop, a perennial favorite of mine – Affare where Bar Manager Chase Ihde is always up for a change of seasons and some cocktail creation. This year, in addition to new cocktails, Ihde is carrying over one of his favorite summer cocktails into the fall – The Brass Bijou. Ihde says this popular concoction, featuring Apricot Eau De Vie and Chartreuse Vermouth is the perfect weight for both seasons. “I love this one and wanted to do more with it. It’s just beautiful and delicious,” Ihde said.
Photo courtesy of Affare
Ihde says he definitely enjoys the creativity that comes with a new season. “I do between four and six new cocktails on each new menu. It’s not a full menu revision, but it keep things fresh for me and for the customer,” Ihde mused. Ihde is also able to up his game while contemplating how his cocktails will pair with Martin Heuser’s terrific modern German cuisine, creating the perfect cocktail portrait at Affare.
Finally, a visit with cocktail master, Mari Matsumoto, who will be heading up the bar at the new venture by Waldo Thai owner, Ted Liberda, Buck Tui. Matsumoto says Buck Tui, which means ‘fat boy,” a nickname she says Liberda had and embraced as a child, will be opening in Overland Park, hopefully sooner rather than later. She also says Buck Tui is much more endearing in Liberda’s native Thai than translated into English. I’ll have to take her word on that.
Photo courtesy of Buck Tui
Like Ihde, Matsumoto says she loves looking to the kitchen for inspiration. “I think it’s so fun to work with the chefs and see what they’re bringing in and seeing what they’re going to create. I get inspired just by that,” Matsumoto shared. As for the cocktail she featured for me, it was called the Phat Punch featuring oils extracted from orange and lemon rinds, which are combined with sugar and left for a week before adding Thai chilis, basil, and ginger. Add some hot water to make a simple syrup, combine with bourbon, and you’ve got a Phat Thai! Clearly a labor and time-intensive creation, Matsumoto says the Phat Thai will be made in batches and served on tap at Buck Tui.