There are a growing number of wineries, distilleries and microbreweries in the Kansas City area. To explore start north of the airport in Weston, Rushville, Liberty and Platte City.
Weston was an area of rolling hills known for its tobacco growing and bourbon distilleries. Holladay Distillery/McCormick Distilling Co., founded in 1856, is a great brand to look for. It is the oldest, continuously operating distillery in the country. Tours are now available of the historic buildings plus there is a tasting room. They are in production of their famous bourbon which will be available in early 2019.
There are now a number of wineries in the area. Our recent finds include:
Weston Wine Company produces dry reds and whites, semi-sweet red, white and roses and a sweet red, white and apple wine. I enjoyed tasting the King Brilliant Cut, a blend of Norton and Chamburcin. The tasting room also has a small cafe where you can enjoy a cupcake and wine pairing or a cheese and wine pairing.
Pirtle Winery: Since 1978, they feature a large number of reds, whites, roses, fruit wines, port and meads in their downtown Weston tasting room. The grapes are grown locally. 501 Spring St.
Just north of downtown Weston is Green Dirt Farm Creamery at 1099 Welt Street. They share space for a tasting room by TerraVox Vineyards and their TerraVox wines. They make a number of red and white wine. I am a red fan and enjoyed the Norton which is a full-bodied red with notes of dried cherries. Their vineyard is located further south in Parkville.
Jowler Creek Vineyard & Winery is northeast Platte City and east of I-29 in rolling countryside. They feature Chambourcin a light-bodied red wine, a full-bodied Norton red wine, a Vignoles white, a blush wine, a semi-dry white, a sweeter red and a dessert wine. 16905 Jowler Creek Rd.
Riverwood Winery is in Rushville north of Weston. They produce a number of white and fruit wines, red whites and dessert and port-style wines. The Norton red, was very good. They have an attractive tasting room at 22200 State Route 45 N.
Weston also has the Weston Brewing Company at 500 Welt St. It is known for its ales and lagers. Originally established in 1842 by German immigrants, the brewery offers tours, and operates O’Malley’s Pub and the American Bowman restaurant.
Belvoir Winery and Inn: This is a winery and inn located 1325 Odd Fellows Rd, just south of downtown Liberty off of Highway 291. It is located in the historic Odd Fellows Home from the early 1900s. This historic building also now contains an inn with attractive rooms and is a popular wedding and event space as well.
The winery produces a number of sweeter white and dessert wines along with a number of full-bodied and medium-bodied red wines. I enjoyed the Norton which is a popular varietal in this area. Missouri Chambourcin is used in some of its blends as well.
In Kansas City you will find:
Amigoni Urban Winery, 1505 Genessee: There, an attractive tasting room and wine storage facility is located. They grow their grapes in central Missouri and feature Rhone-style wines and no sweet wines. There are reds, whites and a rose. You can also taste beers produced by Boulevard Brewery a short distance away. The building housing production and additional storage is a few blocks away. I really enjoyed the Urban Blend which is a smooth red featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot aged for 14 months in oak barrels. Their Cabernet Franc was really good also. It is their signature grape and number one seller. Cheese plates and other plates are offered along with the tasting. It is aged for 18 months in white oak barrels.
Boulevard Brewing: Founded in 1989, Boulevard has grown to be the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest. They have a huge brewery where you can tour the operations, have a tasting of their products and buy their beers and gifts in their store. They produce a number of ales, IPAs, wheat beers, porters, stouts and seasonal releases. Their Smokestack series ales are some of their best. I sampled and bought some of the Harvest Dance which is part of this series. It was a great choice.
J. Rieger & Co. Distillery: Originally founded in 1887 in Kansas City, it was a distillery with over 100 different products. It closed as a result of Prohibition. It was reopened in 2014 by members of the Rieger family and produces products including a Kansas City Whiskey, a Midwestern Premium Vodka, a Midwestern Dry Gin and a Caffe Amaro made in conjunction with a local coffee roaster. My favorite is the Kansas City Whiskey. Their spirits can be found in some of the best cocktails in Chicago, New York and New Orleans including the Aviary in Chicago. Make sure to stop in to pick up a bottle or sign up for a tour or tasting. Check out their website for details. 2700 Guinotte Ave. Their expanded tasting room opened in the Spring of 2019. The expansion also included the new The Monogram Lounge, overlooking the production floor, where you can enjoy cocktails, small plates and local craft beer as well as the Hey Hey Club for craft cocktails and small plates.
Newly opened in 2021 is their Electric Park Garden Bar which is a park-like space complete with fire pits, a swing set table and lounge seating. “Electric Park was an amusement park located in our neighborhood from 1899-1906. The park was owned and operated by the Heim brothers, who owned the Heim Brewery in the neighborhood and who bottled their beer in what is today our distillery building.”
Tom’s Town Distilling Co.: A great new addition to the downtown area is Tom’s Town Distilling Co. It is downtown Kansas City’s first legal distillery since Prohibition. It draws inspiration from the country’s most polarizing and corrupt political boss, Tom Pendergast, and is named for him. They feature and produce Pendergast’s Royal Gold Bourbon, McElroy’s Corruption Gin and Ely’s Stongarm Vodka. Tours are available and their tasting room/bar features craft cocktails using their spirits as well as a food menu. I enjoyed my first visit and loved the decor and the great old fashioned. 1701 Main.
Monarch Bar: Located on the west side of the Country Club Plaza at 4808 Roanoke Pkwy., this is a sleek, contemporary bar serving craft cocktails and small plates. They have a nice patio for the warmer months, but I loved the atmosphere inside with its wonderful art and design. I found it a great spot to have a drink before dinner on the Plaza or the surrounding area.
Green Lady Lounge: I went there on my last trip with friends and loved the warm and cozy atmosphere of the popular jazz club, that offers live music 365 days a year. The walls are painted a velvet red and decorated with vintage oil paintings. So grab a great Old Fashioned and listen to some wonderful music! They often have three or four groups a night. So you can go early or late. They also have a performance space on the lower level. 1809 Grand.
Kelly’s Westport Inn: Located in one of the oldest buildings in KC from 1850, this is a popular Irish pub that features live music on weekends. It is a fun spot to visit when you are in town. 500 Westport Rd.
Westport Ale House: To watch your favorite game, this is a fun sports bar serving pub food from pizza, burgers, wings and tacos along with draft beer and cocktails. 4128 Broadway.
Lifted Spirits: Opened in late 2016, this is a local distillery featuring their own gin and vodka. They will be working with a local bourbon distillery to start production there soon. They feature cocktails plus a small selection of food items as well. Tours are available. The distillery building was originally a stable for the Smith Brothers Steam Bakery, in the late 1800’s. The horses in our building delivered bread all around Kansas City. 1734 Cherry St.
Around the corner is Double Shift Brewing Company at 412 E. 18th St. Stop in at their tasting room to try one of their ales, saisons, stouts, lagers and IPAs.
City Barrel Brewery + Kitchen: This is a local brewery and brewpub at 1740. I found it while last in town. Unfortunately it was closed, but I will plan on going on my next trip. They make a number of lagers, IPAs, pilsners and stouts.
Located in the River Market is Strange Days Brewing Co. at 316 Oak St. They make a number of ales, lagers, stouts, IPAs and a cider.
Brewery Emperial: Located at 1829 Oak St. in the East Crossroads area, this new microbrewery and restaurant opened in late 2016. It has a fun, comfortable and casual environment. They feature ales and lagers plus food with a menu of starters, sandwiches and large plates.
SoT: SoT is new cocktail bar in KC. They promote themselves by saying “So come escape. Enjoy our eclectic vibe in the back treed patio or the bar itself enjoying a cocktail, bubbles, vino, brew or snack at the new best kept secret in the city.” SoT means South of Truman or drunkard in 15th century olde English. They feature a number of craft cocktails and small plates. 1521 Grand Blvd.
Stockyards Brewing Co.: This microbrewery is located in the West Bottoms in the historic Golden Ox building at 1600 Genessee St. The Golden Ox was started in 1949 and was the top steakhouse in town. After they closed for good in 2014, Stockyards Brewing took over in 2015 and has kept the historic bar in tact. This is a fun spot to taste one of their ales, lagers, pilsners, stouts or porters. You can also have a cocktail and a small bite. The classic decor and old murals are well-worth the visit. The Golden Ox has now reopened. I can’t wait to try it!
Also in the West Bottoms is West Bottoms Whiskey Co. I went on my last trip to visit their recently opened distillery and cocktail parlor. They are currently producing their Kansas City Whiskey, a blend of bourbon and rye whiskeys with just a touch of dry Sherry. I thought it was excellent with a very smooth finish. You can stop in for a tasting, cocktail or tour.
BKS Artisan Ales: Opened in December, 2017, this is a small tasting room of this local micro-brewery that is open on Saturdays. They feature their ales, stouts, saisons. Some are actually brewed using locally roasted coffee from Oddly Correct. 633 E. 63rd which is a growing corridor east of Wornall and Main. Next door is Golden & Pine which is a really lovely store featuring beautifully designed home goods and accessories. Make sure to stop in before or after you visit BKS.
In south Kansas City in Martin City, you will find Martin City Brewing Company. There is the Pub which features food and 50 different beers. Next door is the Taproom & Pizza Restaurant. Here you can sample one of their own brews consisting of blonds, IPA’s, pilsners and ales. I thought their Alchemy Coffee Stout was very good. 500 E. 135th St.
On my most recent trip I went to a wedding event for my niece in the fun tasting room at the Casual Animal Brewing Co. at 1725 McGee. This is small batch brewery that features a number of ales, IPAs, lagers, wheat beer, stouts and porters. I really enjoyed the amber ale and their hard cider. Next door is a really fun, dive bar The Brick for drinks, live music along with casual fare of of burgers, sandwiches, bowls and hot dogs. They also feature poetry readings, storytelling and local art on the walls. 1727 McGee.
Not far away is Mean Mule Distilling Co. at 1733 Locust St. Opened in 2019. they make a number of sprits from the agave plant shipped from Jalisco, MX. It is similar to a tequila, yet because the company’s agave is not made in Mexico, the spirit is not technically considered tequila or mezcal. The brands include their Silver Blue Agave, Gold Blue Agave finished in white oak barrels and Heritage Blue Agave aged in MO white oak barrels for a year. It has a tasting room and an attractive cocktail bar called the Agave Lounge which features their products and those of other local distilleries.
In North Kansas City there are two microbreweries and one distillery to visit.
Cinder Block Brewery: Make sure to stop by their attractive taproom to taste one of their wheat beers, ciders, porters and IPAs. Tours are available, plus they have outdoor food trucks. It has a great outdoor patio for warmer months. 110 E. 18th St. North Kansas City.
Restless Spirits Distilling Co.: At 109 E. 18th Ave., this is a local distillery celebrating the owner’s Irish-American heritage since 1853. They feature their Builder’s Botanical Gin, Duffy’s Run Vodka, Sons of Erin Irish Whiskey and Stone Breaker Whiskey. Sign up online for a tour and tasting.