By Kevin Collison
With a place called Alma Mader Brewing, it’s appropriate that Nick Mader may be the best educated new microbrewer to join KC’s booming craft beer scene.
Mader not only has the academic chops, he received his master’s in brewing from Heriot Watt University in Scotland after graduating with a finance degree from UMKC, but also paid his dues in the industry.
He started as a bartender at Boulevard Brewing in 2012, then moved to Denver to help grow a fledgling microbrewery called Crooked Stave and finally to Seattle where he eventually became head of the R&D department at Fremont Brewing.
And now, he’s back in Kansas City ready to open Alma Mader, his dream microbrewery in former industrial space at 2635 Southwest Blvd. next door to The Roasterie’s central operation.
“I caught the beer bug in college when I visited Europe and went to Amsterdam,” he said. “I loved their beer culture.”
As his career bubbled along, he also lapped up the beer culture in two of America’s great beer cities, Denver and Seattle.
“Fremont Brewing is one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “Washington is a great place to live as a brewer. There’s a great connection with the farmers because hops and barley is grown there.
“My goal was to always come back to Kansas City with the education and experience to make great beer consistently and add to what exists here.
“I have nothing but great things to say about Kansas City as a beer community after moving back.”
After putting together a business plan, lining up a small group of investors and taking out a loan, Mader found his spot on Southwest Boulevard in April.
He described it as a great urban corridor and also enjoys the proximity to the grand marshal of the local craft beer scene, Boulevard.
The new space will have a 1,000 square-foot tasting room and a large area in back for brewing what he describes as “hop-forward” Pilsners, Pale Ales and IPAs.
“My central them is approachability and a more moderate alcohol percentage,” he said. “If I’ve learned anything in the industry, it’s your biggest fans are in your own back yard.
“This is an opportunity to have a positive impact on the neighborhood and the city…it will help make Kansas City a better beer city so people will want to travel here for a beer weekend like they do in Denver.”
Mader anticipates completing his brew house in early February and open the tasting room to the public by late spring.
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