Posts tagged with Free State Brewing Co.

Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition returns to Lawrence March 5

Here’s a bit of cheery news on a dreary Monday, at least for those of us who appreciate a good beer: The wildly popular Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition has set a date for this year’s event in Lawrence, slated for March 5 at Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St.

(“Wildly popular” is not hyperbolic newspaper speak here: Downtown Lawrence Inc., a co-sponsor of the expo, reported that 500 tickets were purchased in a single minute during last year’s sales.)

The fifth annual event, which attracts craft breweries of varying sizes from across the region, will offer two sessions this year, from noon to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 7 p.m. Also on the roster: food, music, merchandise, informational and educational displays, and beer samples galore.

John Bourneuf, left, of Lawrence, and Maria Vopat, of Mission, have a taste of the Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition on Saturday, March 3, 2012, at Abe and Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., among hundreds of other beer enthusiasts.

John Bourneuf, left, of Lawrence, and Maria Vopat, of Mission, have a taste of the Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition on Saturday, March 3, 2012, at Abe and Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., among hundreds of other beer enthusiasts. by Richard Gwin

The Kansas Craft Brewers Guild, along with Downtown Lawrence Inc., sponsor the annual event with help from organizer and Free State Brewing Co. owner Chuck Magerl.

Tickets are slated to go on sale Friday. The expo's website claims tickets have already sold out, but a representative from Downtown Lawrence Inc. has assured us the website simply hasn't been fully updated since last year's event, hence the premature "sold out" notice. Tickets will go on sale Friday as planned.

Details, including ticket information, are available at

Reply 1 comment from Greg Reno

Wunderbar! Inaugural Oktoberfest Lawrence coming this weekend

If you missed out on last month's Oktoberfest at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, you're in luck: This weekend promises even more German food, beer and merrymaking when the inaugural Oktoberfest Lawrence takes place.

The Chamber and Downtown Lawrence Inc. are teaming up to host the event, slated for 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Public Library Civic Plaza, 707 Vermont St.

Sally Zogry, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., says the idea was originally discussed more than two years ago, when she and DLI board member Mike Logan considered the possibility of a fall event with a cultural element. Oktoberfest, she says, stuck out to her because of our state’s widespread and celebrated German heritage — “you gotta have an Oktoberfest in Kansas,” Zogry says.

Some of you may be wondering how the St. John celebration, which was held late last month and will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, factors into this. (It doesn't.)

“That’s such a longstanding and very loved event by not only the St. John community but the Lawrence community as well,” Zogry says. “That’s why we wanted to space ours a month apart, so we wouldn’t be seen as competition for them.”

Zogry is expecting about 2,000 people at the inaugural Oktoberfest Lawrence, which will be held “rain or shine” at the library plaza.

From the looks of the online schedule, it’ll include all the basic tenets of the traditional German celebration: a biergarten tent sponsored by Crown Automotive with around a dozen different varieties of beer plus wine, alpine music from the Happy Wanderers and Festhaus-Musikanten, and a Samuel Adams Stein Hoisting Competition in which contestants battle it out to see who can hold a stein filled with 32 ounces of beer the longest without their poor arm falling off.

(That’s an exaggeration, obviously, but 32 ounces — well, let’s just say I never could complete a pull-up in gym class. Strong people, take note: Winning this contest earns you a chance to compete for the national championship and a trip to Munich Oktoberfest in 2016.)

For those under 21, Oktoberfest Lawrence boasts plenty of family-friendly fun, from a strolling stilt-walker to a vaudeville show to face painting.

Then, of course, there’s the food. The Burger Stand, Fine Thyme Food, Free State Brewing Co., Leeway Franks and Juice Stop will all be on hand with a variety of authentic German (or German-inspired) treats for sale.

Meat lovers should have plenty of options, as you might expect — no shortage of bierocks, sausages and schnitzel here — but Zogry says vendors tried to incorporate more than a few vegetarian options as well.

The Burger Stand is offering a veggie burger, Fine Thyme has a local root vegetable goulash pretzel bierock on the menu, and, this being Oktoberfest, German potato salad will abound.

Zogry already has her sights set on Fine Thyme’s German chocolate cake crepe.

“It’s got a chocolate batter and a chocolate filling, with coconut and caramel,” she says. “My mouth is watering just thinking about it.”

Tickets for Oktoberfest Lawrence range from $10 to $20 (children under 12 get in free) and can be purchased in person at The Chamber, Downtown Lawrence Inc., The Granada Theater, Phoenix Gallery, Weaver's department store or at the door the day of the event.

For more information, including a full schedule of events and how to purchase tickets online, visit


Free State Brewing Co. takes home gold medal in Great American Beer Festival

None by Tommy Kelley

Lawrence’s beloved Free State Brewing Co. scored big at last weekend’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, taking home the gold medal in the Herb and Spice Beer category for its limited edition Garden Party lager.

"It feels great, it really does. It's a pretty prestigious recognition, a jury-of-your-peers sort of thing," says Steve Bradt, Free State's director of brewing operations. "When you manage to win a gold medal in a category with 142 entries in it, you feel like you did OK."

Free State released the light and refreshing brew (it’s flavored with cucumber and basil from Linwood's Irick Farms, plus juniper berries) back in July as part of the outfit’s limited-release Front Porch series.

Bradt says the winning lager ended its run on-tap at Free State (which is closed Monday and Tuesday for scheduled maintenance and repairs, it should be noted) a few weeks back, though he's hoping an extra keg or two might resurface. Cork and Barrel is still selling bottles at its Mississippi Street and 23rd Street locations.

Free State's third Front Porch outing, Yakimaniac, should hit Lawrence liquor stores as early as Monday or Tuesday, Bradt says. Named for hop hotspot Yakima, Wash., the unfiltered IPA boasts some "hoppy" and "fresh, citrus-y flavors," he says.

None by Free State Brewing

Locally, Kansas City’s McCoy’s Public House and KC Bier Co. also performed well at the festival, earning a gold and silver medal, respectively, for Ursa Minor (an imperial brown ale) and Weizenbock in the Other Strong Beer and German-Style Wheat Ale categories.

Held every year in Denver, the Great American Beer Festival is the largest of its kind in the U.S., and this year awarded 275 gold, silver and bronze medals in 92 categories.

Check out a full list of winners here.