Brew Crew

North Kansas City has a whole lot of breweries for a town so small

According to Food & Wine Magazine in 2019, the city with the most craft breweries per capita is Portland, Maine, with 18 breweries per 50,000 people. But it looks like they may have overlooked North Kansas City in their research.

With a population of less than 5,000 (North Kansas City is not Kansas City, MO, as basically any resident with the proper amount of hometown pride will tell you), it has five breweries, so one brewery per 895 people. I’m not a mathematician, but that data says NKC has them beat. So take that, Portland Maine. You still have us beat in lobster rolls, and probably always will.

Big Rip Brewing Company

216 E 9th Avenue

Named after the hypothetical phenomenon about the ultimate end of the universe (essentially, the opposite of the big bang), Big Rip Brewing Company is all about all things sci-fi. All their beers are named after references to horror films and science fiction. 

The brewery is tucked away in the industrial area of North Kansas City, next to the railroad tracks, and is neighbors with Hawg Jaw Que and Brew. Their bright red building features a large parking lot and concrete patio, but inside is something new. While their bar was closed during the pandemic, the owners built a log cabin, complete with a porch — inside! Local artist Joanna Comstock (@artofthejoannasaurus) painted a woodland mural with sci-fi references throughout the room, and the backroom now looks like the outside, but in. It will be perfect for those hot summer days where you just want to sit on the porch, but don’t want to suffer in the humidity or mosquitoes. Big Rip will be our refuge then, and thankfully, they’ve got plenty of cold beer.

Most popular: Zelda’s Vanilla Cream

Something different: ORC (Oatmeal Raisin Cookie) American brown ale

The Brewkery

1443 Swift Street

Kombucha on draft may not be your first thought when you think of a brewery, but the Brewkery is here to open your mind – and help you detox. Owners Amy Goldman and Sean Galloway opened their storefront three years ago on Swift Street. After getting their start selling their kombucha, Lucky Elixir, in mason jars at their neighborhood farmer’s market six years ago, the couple now has five different flavors of their brightly-colored kombucha cans in grocery stores in the Kansas City area and nationwide. Their store features 11 kombucha flavors on tap, rotating in seasonal specialties like pineapple jalapeno and tamarind line, and even featuring kombucha-based cocktails, like their “komosa,” a mixture of kombucha and Prosecco.

Their kombucha brand, Lucky Elixir, now has hard alcoholic kombucha in four different flavors, like tart raspberry and peach blossom, so you can swap those out for your standard hard seltzer and get a little buzz while also helping your gut. You can find them in local retail stores in the Kansas City area, or in the Brewkery store.

Most popular: Stone fruit

Something different: Hard kombucha in tart raspberry 


119 Armour Road

Calibration Brewery’s logo, which features gears, pays homage to its roots as the auto body repair shop that the building housed before it was a brewery. The large space, with its garage bay doors that open out onto the expansive patio, is a great place to enjoy a beautiful summer day. 

Calibration was closed throughout most of 2020, but they’re back with a full kitchen, thanks to a partnership with The Happy Greek restaurant. They also have a dog-friendly patio and live blues music every Saturday, which is perfectly fitting, since all their beers are named after songs. 

Most popular: Compared To What? Scottish ale

Something different: I Scare Myself American IPA, with notes of caramel


1447 Gentry Street

Callsign Brewing got its start when owner, Steve Sirois, received a home brewing kit as a gift. He liked brewing beer so much that, after a $25,000 Kickstarter campaign, he moved his garage operation to a brewery open to the public in an old tire patch manufacturing plant — one that reminded him of an aircraft hangar. The likeness was perfect, because Steve, an Air Force veteran, names his beers after the callsigns of lost military aircrafts. 

Callsign will be moving to another location in North Kansas City at the end of August, but for now, you can still find them on Gentry Street, just blocks from the Iron District and the ROKC Climbing Gym. 

Most popular: Fighter Pale Ale

Something different: Rosie the Riveter Radler, a “beertail,” or cocktail with beer, featuring the brewery’s Huey American wheat ale, grapefruit juice and a hint of grenadine.

Cinder Block

110 E 18th Avenue

Cinder Block is probably North Kansas City’s most well-known brewery. With their urban-industrial vibes, large patio, big screens and frequent rotation of food trucks, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon watching the game and grabbing some beers with friends. 

They’re the only brewery in Kansas City that brews their own seasonal ciders, so if you’re not huge on beer but your buddies are, there’s something there for everyone. Last year, their cans of cherry limeade cider sold out in less than 3 minutes online. If you missed your chance then, don’t miss out this year when it’s back — in the can or on tap, now that they’re open again. It’s the perfect companion to a breezy summer day.

Most popular: Block IPA

Something different: Cherry limeade cider

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