By Kevin Collison
The East Crossroads, already home to several microbreweries, is about to add another that promises to be the biggest in downtown outside the mother of all local brewers, Boulevard.
City Barrel Brewing Co. expects to open at 1728 Holmes St. before the end of the year and co-owner James Stutsman says it will not only feature “hoppy, wild and sour beers” but a full-service restaurant in its 8,000 square-foot digs.
“We’re definitely the biggest tap room outside of Boulevard,” he said.
Stutsman, a former regional sales manager for Deschutes Brewery, believes there’s plenty of room for another brewer to join an East Crossroads neigh-brew-hood that includes Casual Animal, Double Shift, Torn Label, Brewery Emperial and Border Brewing.
“After working in the beer industry and seeing what’s happening nationally, we felt we’re only starting here,” he said.
“For a city our size, we barely have enough breweries.”
Stutsman said the national average for craft beer consumption is 12 percent vs 28 percent in Kansas City.
“Boulevard paved the way for people in Kansas City to know what good beer is,” he said. “It’s awesome.”
And that thirst is underserved, he believes.
St. Louis, with a metro population of 2.8 million, has 73 active breweries while Metro KC, population 2.1 million, has only 20. Stutsman said our area ranked 47th out of the top 50 metros in the country when it came to the ratio of breweries to population.
“People drink way more craft beer here than most cities and have fewer places to go,” he said.
About half of the new City Barrel space will be devoted to brewing beers including new styles such as New England IPA and Brute IPA, a cross between champagne and IPA.
The remainder will be an upscale gastropub that will feature appetizers, sandwiches and “cool entrees.” Isaac Perry, a former chef at Stock Hill steakhouse, will be in charge of the food operation.
Stutsman’s partners at Barrel City are Grant Waner, who formerly worked for Tallgrass Brewing, and Joe Giammanco, who formerly ran Pooches Paradise in Waldo and also is a CPA.
“Grant and I started getting together and talking about this business, we’ve been brewing beer for 10 plus years,” Stutsman said.
“Joe and I have know each other a long time, we needed somebody who could manage our financials.”
As for when exactly they plan to open, sometime in December is the goal.
“We’re under construction and rocking and rolling,” Stutsman said “We’re waiting for a timeline on the finish.”
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