Looking for the best German Pilsner in Kansas City? We found it! Located in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, where the old trolly tracks end off Wornall Street, you will find KC Bier CO tucked away on a small side street.
Who would know this cute little brewery with a great outdoor beer garden is producing such a high-quality authentic German-style bier experience.
KC Bier is on a mission to offer consistent quality and America’s best German-style beers right here in Kansas City Missouri. On a recent visit, I got to experience firsthand what is happening at this well-known Kansas City brewery!
When it comes to the growing Kansas City beer scene, KC Bier CO is the brewery that paved the way for many other local microbreweries.
KC Bier is all about authentic German-style brewing. Their mid-town brewery takes the German experience even further with their bier garden, German bier, German snacks, and live music.
Authentic German Style Beer in Kansas City
To the locals in KCMO, KC Bier is a favorite and has an excellent reputation for many reasons such as; the uber-popular Dunkel Munich-style brown lager, reasonable prices, freshness, and flavor of their roster of beers. Their brewing facility also offers an inside-outside pub that caters comfortably to the people and families of KCMO.
This beer manufacturer has created a simple, unique, and very authentic German-style assortment of beers. There are many good breweries in Kansas City but KC Bier seems to lead the way with distinct European style flavors.
It’s no wonder Dunkel was voted Kansas City’s Best Local Lager in 2019 and 2020 in The Pitch’s “Best of KC Awards”. It’s one of the most popular and most readily available at the local stores.
Where Bier Making Starts
Steve Holle took his love of brewing and German culture to build a brewery that produces authentic German beer styles. Steve wanted to create something extra special and legitimate, from the beginning. He didn’t just talk about it, he learned how to brew German beer as the Germans do it.
After a 25+ year career in commercial real estate investment, Steve retired from real estate to open The Kansas City Bier Company in the Fall of 2013.
In anticipation of opening the brewery, Steve attended classes at Doemens Brewing Academy in Munich as well as earned a designation Diploma in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London by completing various brewing courses.
Authoring the Handbook of Basic Brewing Calculations, co-authoring and editing the Beer Steward Handbook, researching technical brewing and cultural topics to author nearly a dozen published articles for various beer magazines, and qualifying as a beer judge for the Great American Beer Festival and Beer Judge Certification Program, have all contributed to Steve’s unique and vast knowledge of beer and brewing.
The Calculated Crafting of a Brewery
Founder and beer creator Steve Holle is the driving force of the company and was excited to tell us the story on our recent visit.
As a real estate expert, in 2012, Steve went on a mission to find a perfect piece of real estate for his dream to be one of the best microbreweries in Kansas City.
Finding the ideal facility space and place to have the Bier garden and brewery, was a challenge but all fell into place in 2013.
The Waldo property, at Wornall Road and 79th Street in Kansas City, had everything he was looking for; enough space for the industrial aspect of the beer making as well as a great bar space.
The Bier Garden has since become a popular place for locals and families, sports lovers and of course beer lovers. The outdoor patio is beautifully done, with lots of space between tables and areas for the kids to play.
It’s a perfect spot but it wasn’t just by chance.
It was destined to be a success locally and regionally because the beer was going to set it apart out of the gate.
Today it’s not only found in most pubs and bars in town, but if you head to Missouri Costco locations you’ll also see KC Bier stacked by the pallet.
The KC Bier Brewery and Team
Steve’s partner Jürgen Hager is from Bavaria and is responsible for the authentic German menu, assisting with the planning of cultural events, and booking music.
Karlton Graham is also a partner at KC Bier. He is a Kansas City beer lover who likes to homebrew and travel around the world to discover the best beers and breweries. He studied brewing theory in Chicago at the Seibel Institute of technology. After that, he did a five-month intensive study at the Domains Brewing Academy in Munich Germany.
About the beer at KC Bier
KC Bier opened in 2014. At that time, there were about 3000 breweries in the United States. Now there’s close to10,000 and it is a highly competitive market even in KCMO.
KC Bier owns a good piece of the Kansas City market with some of the best beers in town. A variety of their beers are widely available in grocery and liquor stores in Missouri and most parts of Kansas. 80% of their beer is sold in Kansas City Missouri and many parts of Kansas.
KC Bier Brewery & 3 Step Beer Making Process
During my tour I learned about the the three-step traditional German brewing practice that KC Bier follows.
1. Decoction Mashing
The beer-making method KC Bier uses is called decoction mashing. This is a European technique to regulate mash temperatures and convert under-modified malt. This was the old way to make beer, the time-consuming practice of boiling a portion of the mash to break down starch for conversion to sugar.
The chemical reaction that occurs when sugar and protein are combined with heat forms powerful flavor compounds called melanoidins (the same rich flavors found in caramel candy, roasted nuts, baked bread, and roasted meats). KC Bier Co. decocts most of their biers to produce these melanoidins to add character, body, and flavor..
2. Two Stage Fermentation & Maturation
Most of the bier produced is cold-fermenting lager bier. “Lagern” in German means “to store”, and it is the extended time in the lager tank that mellows the character of lager bier and lets the bier naturally clarify during long, cold conditioning periods.
Most craft breweries brew warm-fermenting ales that ferment quickly by fermenting and conditioning their beer in the same tank. KC Bier follows the old-world practice of fermenting in one tank and then transferring the bier to a second conditioning tank for the long, cold maturation period called conditioning.
3. Natural Carbonation
KC Bier carbonates their bier with natural carbon dioxide that is produced by yeast during fermentation. Not only is naturally produced CO2 required under the Reinheitsgebot (a law that regulates the brewing of beer), but natural CO2 is also 100% pure.
Just Four Ingredients
KC Bier uses only four ingredients to create their unique brand of great tasting beers:
- Imported German malt from IREKS — a 160-year old family-owned Bavarian maltster in Kulmbach, Germany
- Imported German hops grown on the 600-year-old Seitz Farm in Bavaria’s famous Hallertau Valley
- Yeast from Andechs, a 500-year-old Bavarian monastery, and brewery.
If they are trying to create a German European vibe, they’ve hit the nail on the head in achieving their goal. It’s no wonder that the beer tastes so authentic; the malt and hops are imported straight from Germany. The process is the same as it would be in Germany but it’s right here in KCMO.
During the tour, we learned that the tanks at KC Bier were custom designed for the space. We saw small, medium, and large tanks brewing. Some are conditioning tanks for fermentation and aging.
Some tanks contained small batches of specialty brews, while others held the most popular beers like Helles and Dunkel. The larger tanks are double batch drums that allow brewing of 800 gallons per tank.
Packaging and bottling are done in-house on their space-efficient automated machinery. This makes it easier to produce the smaller batches of beer in lower quantities such as holiday specialty brews and more.
Automated labeling and packing allow for high-volume production of great beer. From brewing beer to bottling, it’s all done in-house.
During our tour of the production area, several pallets of specialty seasonal biers were being prepared for pickup. The holiday Winterbock was ready to go. Some heading to local stores and some for in-brewery pick up for those smart enough to order in advance.
Tasting Dunkel from the Tank
During our tour, Steve offered a tasting of Dunkel from the aging tank. That was special; like going to the Guinness factory for a stout.
The core of the brand is really the Lager and Hefeweizen that they make and in my opinion, they are extraordinary.
“German beer is more about balance than impact”, says the owner Steve Holle.
One of Steve’s goals is to promote diversity in beer making. Nobody is making traditional German beers like KC Bier.
Award-winning KC Bier
This Kansas City bier company is the only American brewery to win in the German Lager category at a European beer star awards. They were awarded a silver medal for the Winterbock lager.
Brewing beer is part art and part science says owner, Steve Holle. “It’s interesting because it’s really art, history, and science all in one beer”.
If you live in Kansas City, you have seen the boxes and the KC Bier brand; it is simple, red, colorful, and very recognizable. Specifically designed to be noticeable and to strategically be the first box you go to because of its clear writing and red and bright colors. 101 Branding that works.
my three favorite KC Bier’s
I like to rank my top few beers when I do these reviews, for this Kansas City brewery it was:
Munich-Style Golden Lager
Mellow malt flavors of biscuit and honey • Thirst-quenching • Crisp, clean and refreshing • Delicate bitterness • The classic Bavarian bier
STYLE: Germanic style Golden Lager
CHARACTERISTICS: Lighter in color, fresh, golden, full body
NOTES: More bite than a regular golden lager
Munich-Style Brown Lager
Malt flavors of caramel and toasted bread crust • Hints of molasses • Low bitterness • Smooth finish • Balanced and highly drinkable
STYLE: Munich-Style Brown Lager
COLOR: Dark Brown
BODY: Full body
CHARACTERISTICS: robust darker lager, drinkable
NOTES: Not too heavy, full-body flavor
Bavarian-Style Wheat Ale
Malt flavors of caramel and toasted bread crust • Hints of molasses • Low bitterness • Pale and hazy • Bready malt flavors • Low bitterness • Fruity banana esters • Spicy clove-like phenols • Conditioned with yeast from a Bavarian monastery
STYLE: Wheat Ale
COLOR: Medium pale
CHARACTERISTICS: Slightly bigger bite than a normal Hefeweizen.
NOTES: Very good, you can taste the German ingredients and the difference in this Wheat ale.
The Bier Hall at KC Bier has a dramatic entryway, tall ceilings, nicely lit, and has bar seating and picnic tables. It’s a friendly layout with a very relaxed and fun feel. This large entry hall leads to the patio area that is quite large and where most hang out.
They serve each beer in traditionally shaped glasses similar to how they serve beer in Germany. This combined with the German snacks creates an authentic experience worth having.
Throughout the bierhalle are messages and sayings in German. You’ll also see medals and awards hanging on the walls and history about the establishment.
List of Biers at KC Bier:
The core of all KC Bier Co offerings:
- Helles Lager
- Pure Pils
- and Mandarina IPL
They are available on draught and in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles year-round at the Bierhalle and Biergarten, in bars and restaurants, and at retail stores throughout their distribution area.
Their most popular beer is Dunkel. This flagship beer sells two-thirds of what they produce. It’s extremely drinkable but not too heavy, very flavorful but not too rich.
The most popular beer at the brewery location is the Helles lager.
Flavorful drinkable and refreshing. That’s what I think about when I drink KC beer. It’s a craft beer with a bit more flavor and a bit more bite.
Bier and Cider on Tap
Bier available by the glass at the brewery location. When we visited KC Bier they had the below list of beers and ciders available on tap. This list changes often so please check the website for updates.
|Äpfel Cider||Apple Cider (Gluten-Free)||5%||0.0|
|Baltic Porter||Baltic Porter||5.8%||30|
|Dunkel||Munich-Style Brown Lager||5%||18|
|Hefeweizen||Bavarian-Style Wheat Ale||5.2%||13|
|Helles Lager||Munich-Style Golden Lager||5.1%||20|
|Mandarina IPL||Double Dry-Hopped India Pale Lager||5.8%||42|
|Pure Pils||German-Style Pilsner||4.8%||32|
|Reinhazegebot||Bavarian-Style Hazy IPA||7%||20|
Did you know they offer gluten-free cider as well? Perfect for my gluten-free wife!
They have some great events at this location like Sunday trivia and other games, as well as German music.
The beer garden at KC Bier
The outdoor beer garden at KC Bier sits right behind the brewery near the old trolley tracks off Wornall Street. There is a great grass area for families to enjoy as well as many tables and chairs to accommodate patrons.
The beer garden at KC Bier is family-friendly and big enough to have a large party of guests. KC Bier advocates inclusion and diversity, so when you visit don’t be surprised to see families with kids, regulars, and many different types of people having a great time.
Authentic German snacks
The menu at KC Bier Co is a short list of feel good German styled snacks and sides. The offerings at the Bierhalle & Biergarten are flavorful and unique and warm you right up.
Popular snacks include the Bayrische Brez’N & Obazda (pretzel with Bavarian soft cheese spread made with Hefeweizen).
For larger appetites, the Bratwurst, Dunkel Brat or Kasekrainer (cheese Brat), are a few different types of sausages made with a home-style sides.
Try the Sauerkraut made with bacon with a side of Potato salad. All snacks are made with and are paired up with a perfect brew.
KC Bier Co. Growler Club members enjoy a wide array of benefits in addition to growler fills. For a one-time fee of $55, members receive a members-only stainless steel growler, KC Bier Co. T-shirt, and first growler of bier.
Additional fun benefits are 20% off refills on Wednesdays, 10% off your tab in the Bierhalle/Biergarten and a free birthday bier.
KC Bier offers brewery tours Saturdays at 1:00 PM. Take an informative tour of KC Bier Company and learn all about how their bier is made.
You will receive a complimentary tour glass with tastings. Each tour is limited to 20 people. Tickets are sold in advance online or available at the brewery. Purchase tickets here.
Wrapping it Up!
KC Bier CO is the largest locally owned brewery in Kansas City. Some might be bigger but they’re not locally owned.
Head to KC Bier CO and visit the traditional beer garden, enjoy a beer on tap in the German-style traditionally shaped glasses. You might even feel like you’re in Germany.
We want to thank Steve and marketing manager, Katie Camlin for taking the time to meet with us and share the KC Bier story.
A little secret, Katie is also responsible for some of the great packing designs and branding as well as social media for KC Bier.
Tolles Bier!!! Bitte schließen Sie sich uns an.
KC Bier Co Address: 310 W 79th St, Kansas City, MO 64114