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Posts tagged with Free State Brewing Co.

Free State Brewing Co. owner reflects on success with induction into Kansas Restaurant Hall of Fame

Free State Brewing Co. owner Chuck Magerl, seen here in this 2010 photo, was recently inducted into the Kansas 
Restaurant Hall of Fame.

Free State Brewing Co. owner Chuck Magerl, seen here in this 2010 photo, was recently inducted into the Kansas Restaurant Hall of Fame. by Richard Gwin

At first, Chuck Magerl was surprised to hear the news.

The longtime owner of Free State Brewery Co., 636 Massachusetts St., is the newest member of the Kansas Restaurant Hall of Fame.

“It was completely unexpected,” Magerl says, remembering the congratulatory phone call from Adam Mills, president of the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association. “And then I thought, ‘Well, I guess I have been in business at Free State a little over 25 years now.'”

In the winter of 1989, Free State Brewing Co. became the state’s first legal brewery in more than 100 years.

Much like the pioneers of Kansas' early years, Magerl says he didn’t know what to expect in the beginning.

“When we opened, there was nobody between Chicago and Denver doing what we were doing,” he says. “We were out there in the wilderness.”

In those days, there wasn’t as much familiarity here in the Midwest with the more flavorful varieties of beer popular in Europe.

The public’s “widespread embrace” of craft beers and microbrews over the past quarter-century has contributed to Free State’s success, he says.

“It’s been gratifying to see what had been seen as perhaps bland American food culture become one of the most diverse and encompassing in the world,” Magerl says.

Free State’s flagship brews (Ad Astra Ale, Copperhead Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout and Wheat State Golden) have since become legends of the Lawrence dining scene. And, with the recent start of distribution in Iowa, Magerl has “no intention of resting on the past.”

At the induction ceremony last month in Wichita, Magerl received a hand-blown glass sculpture from the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association. He hasn’t found a secure place to display it at Free State, but he hopes to sometime soon.

“It’s a really beautiful piece of art,” he says. “I’d be proud to show it off.”


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Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Free State Brewing Co. to release limited-edition Owd Mac’s Imperial Stout

Free State Brewing Co.'s Owd Mac's Imperial Stout

Free State Brewing Co.'s Owd Mac's Imperial Stout by Photo courtesy of Free State Brewing Co.

This week's frigid temperatures could not come at a more perfect time for Free State Brewing Co.'s release of Owd Mac’s Imperial Stout.

The "warming and festive" ale will be offered in 750 ml bottles for the first time ever. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until the beer is gone) Saturday, Nov. 22, Free State will host a dock sale of Owd Mac's Imperial Stout at its production facility, 1923 Moodie Road.

Visitors can also purchase other Free State beers and merchandise, as well as check out the facility and chat with brewers, who will be on hand to answer questions.

Nearly two years in the making, brewers kept the Owd Mac's in Templeton Rye Whiskey barrels for a year before bottle conditioning. After primary fermentation, the beer is transferred to American Whiskey barrels for extended aging, where it takes on aromas and flavors from vanilla, rye whiskey, figs cocoa and port wine.

Only 60 cases of the limited-edition beer the are being released, with a four-bottle-per-customer limit. Bottles cost $15 each.

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Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Toast to Lawrence’s post-raid rebirth with a cold glass of Free State’s Phoenix Rising

A glass of Phoenix Rising at Free State, a beer the brewery created to commemorate Quantrill's 1863 raid on Lawrence and the city's rebuilding after it.

A glass of Phoenix Rising at Free State, a beer the brewery created to commemorate Quantrill's 1863 raid on Lawrence and the city's rebuilding after it. by Sara Shepherd

Today marks the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, and thus a great afternoon or evening to toast to the city’s remarkable rebirth. Free State Brewing Co. has created the perfect beer for this — a special commemorative brew called Phoenix Rising, now on tap at the brewpub.

Bartender Ian Sotomayor said Phoenix Rising has been popular so far. It will be available as long as supplies last, and Sotomayor estimated the brewery has enough to serve it for another week or so. Besides the beer itself, Free State also created special commemorative glasses to serve it in. There’s a limited number of the glasses, which aren’t for sale — so soak in the cool “From the ashes, immortality” design while you’re sipping because you don’t get to take it home.

A close-up of the "From the ashes, immortality" design on a commemorative glass used to serve Phoenix Rising lager at Free State.

A close-up of the "From the ashes, immortality" design on a commemorative glass used to serve Phoenix Rising lager at Free State. by Sara Shepherd

Here’s Free State’s full description of the bold but easy drinking brew: “This red, fiery-hued lager, named for the mythical bird that adorns Lawrence’s official seal, honors the spirit of Lawrence, in the wake of Quantrill’s raid on August 21, 1863. The attack left more than 150 dead and most of the buildings burned to the ground. This year marks the 150th anniversary of that fateful day. Pilsner and Munich malts combine with Vanguard hops, creating a balanced, malty lager with just enough hop presence. (O.G. - 13.1 P/1053 Hops - 25 IBUs)”

In related border war history-inspired beer news, Free State also is currently pouring Josiah Miller IPA. (It’s OK, I didn’t know who he was, either, even though I probably should. Free State’s beer description to the rescue.) “Josiah Miller was an anti-slavery man raised on South Carolina that moved to Kansas in 1854 and began the anti-slavery paper, Kansas Free State. He was credited with coining our state motto, Ad Astra per Aspera. This medium bodied, deep copper IPA is slightly silky from the addition of unmalted oats to the mash and definitely hoppy, with the addition of fruity/citrusy Citra hops. (O.G. 14.8 P/1060 Hops - 68 IBUs)”

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Free State brings home hardware from Great American Beer Festival

Instagram photo courtesy of Free State Brewing Co.

Instagram photo courtesy of Free State Brewing Co. by Sara Shepherd

Free State Brewing Co. calls it a beer fit for a blacksmith — and apparently beer festival judges.

Free State’s Iron Man Imperial Stout nabbed a bronze medal in the American-Style Stout category at this weekend’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, touted as the world’s largest commercial beer competition.

“It’s kind of a testament to the craft of brewing,” brewer Geoff Deman said of the beer, named in honor of a local blacksmith who frequents the brew pub.

With ten malts and five hop varieties, Iron Man starts with deep roasty flavors and finishes with a slight malty sweetness, according to Free State’s description. The beer tips its hat to history, as Imperial Stout was a key British export in the Baltic trade that elevated art and industry in Russia and England during the 18th century.

Two other area breweries joined Free State on the medal list, according to results from greatamericanbeerfestival.com. Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kansas City, Mo., got two gold medals — one in the Belgian-Style Witbier category for its ZON, and the other in the Other Strong Beer category for its Reverb Imperial Pilsner. Topeka’s Blind Tiger Brewery and Restaurant took gold in the German-Style Kolsch category for its Capital City Kolsch.

This year’s festival, which ran from Thursday through Saturday, drew its largest competition field to date, with 4,338 entries from 666 breweries across the United States and Guam. The festival awarded a total of 254 medals for the best examples of each style beer.

Free State's Iron Man — a small batch brew — is not on tap at the brew pub, 636 Mass. However, bottles are expected to be shipped to select area liquor stores at the end of this month.

In other crafty beer news, 23rd Street Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway, just tapped a 2010 Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout, according to their Twitter account. And Free State is playing host to its first-ever happy hour Thursday night (it's only been legal for, oh, almost four months now, so I'm sure Free State fans will be glad the brewery's finally on board!). The pub is advertising $2 select pints from 9 p.m. to midnight, plus chances to win Free State stuff.

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