Meg Jernigan, Demand Media
Boulevard Brewing Company (boulevard.com) opened in 1989 and quickly grew into one of the premier craft brewers in the Midwest. A tall chimney stack emblazoned with the company’s name, historic brick buildings and gleaming tanks mark the brewery’s location on Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri. Begin your exploration of Kansas City’s beer heritage with one of Boulevard’s daily tours.
About the Company
Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City’s largest independent brewery, brews more than 20 specialty and seasonal ales and lagers. In 2012, the company’s ZON beer and Reverb Imperial Pilsner beat out 4,300 other beers for the gold at the Great American Beer Festival. Construction of Boulevard’s Bavarian-style brewhouse began in 1988, and the first keg of the company’s first offering, a pale ale, was delivered to a local restaurant a year later. By 2012, the facility had grown to a three-story, sustainable brewery producing 600,000 barrels of beer a year. Boulevard doesn’t have a brewpub, but it does have two event spaces and a tasting room.
Year-Round Public Tour
Free tours of the brewery, available seven days a week, take about 45 minutes. They include insights into the company’s philosophy, history and brewing methods and end in the tasting room. Visitors under 21 are welcome on the tour, but they can’t participate in tastings. A variety of the brewery’s offerings, as well as a seasonal or specialty beer, are on tap in the tasting room. Tours are limited to 40 people, and reservations are required for Saturday tours, which fill up quickly. An online reservation form allows visitors to find tours with openings.
Unlike the year-round public tour, visitors must be at least 21 for the Unfiltered Tour, wear closed-toe shoes and be able to climb three flights of stairs. These tours, limited to 15 people, are conducted on Saturday and Sunday. Boulevard charges admission for this tour, which lasts an hour and a half and explores areas the public tour doesn’t, such as the hop cooler. Make reservations online the first Monday of the month. While there is no specific charge for large group tours, Boulevard requests groups make a donation to a charitable organization. Large group tours take place on Monday and Tuesday.
Other Area Beer Tours
Kansas City supports a number of brewpubs, but at the time of publication in March 2013, Boulevard was the only brewery in the city with guided tours. The Beer Mapping Project (beermapping.com) publishes a map of Kansas City and the surrounding area that highlights sights of significance for beer lovers. Beer History (beerhistory.com) has published a driving tour of Kansas City’s lost beer greats, like the Muehlebach and Ferd Heim breweries. The annual Tour de Brew (tourdebrewkc.com) bicycle tour hits the high spots of Kansas City’s brewing history. Cyclists can ride the 15-mile Lager tour, the 30-mile IPA tour or the 62-mile Dunkel route.
About the Author
Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.
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