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Eat and Drink Local at Black Stag

This family-owned pub is known for brew and burgers

Who knew a biopharmaceutical career was an ideal background for brewing great beers? At least that was the case for head brewer John Hampton of Black Stag Brewery and Pub. He and his wife, Kathryn Myers, and father-in-law, Bill Myers, opened the restaurant almost four years ago, where he brews approximately 15 different styles of beer with the help of brewer and jack-of-all-trades Alex Ward. He also hand-cuts the steaks and grinds the trimming to make the pub's famous burgers.

"The restaurant is a locally owned and operated family business," says Kathryn, a former lawyer who takes care of the restaurant's administrative side. "Well, John is from Osawatomie, but he came here to go to school, met me, and never left. My dad went to school here and never left. We are a true craft brewery and independently operated."

The brewpub has been busy with KU football fans stopping in after a game. There is also a loyal group of regulars who come not only from Lawrence but also from Topeka, the Kansas City area, and western Kansas. They supported the restaurant through the Covid shutdown by picking up takeout food and beer to go.

"And people were so nice. They would come in, get their beer, and leave $100 because they know how hard things were," Kathryn remembers.

As Thanksgiving approaches, the restaurant is preparing to help Demetrius Kemp give out meal baskets. The pub closes for the holiday, but inside, employees and regulars who don't have any place to go will join Kathryn and John for a traditional turkey meal and lots of football.

Kathryn describes the restaurant's design as & "industrial lodge." It has a laid-back, cozy atmosphere despite its large size.

"We spend a lot of time thinking about how to dampen sound" she says. "I find restaurants are just very loud. We want people to be able to come in, have a conversation, enjoy themselves, and feel relaxed. Not hurried."

Customers can see the shiny silver fermenting tanks when they walk into the restaurant.

Brewer Alex Ward says the popular beers are:

  •  Founding Fathers Tavern Ale—a light, smooth cream ale crafted from the recipes of George Washington, Ben   Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. It is the beer style likely served in public houses around the northeastern   colonies.
  •  Mosaic Dream IPA—an easy-to-drink crowd-pleaser made with hard-to-find mosaic hops.
  •  McCools Irish Ale—named for the giant who saved Ireland, this is an amber-colored ale with a medium caramel malt sweetness.

Regarding the restaurant's food menu, the burgers are so popular that the kitchen has to work at double speed to keep up with the orders on weekends. (You might want to order The Jayhawk, a burger topped with blue cheese, bacon, and Franks Red Hot Sauce.) The onion rings and fish and chips are also big hits. The hand-cut rings and fish batter is made with a Black
Stag beer. "The burgers really are good," Kathryn says with a grin. "I allow myself one a week. Don't open up a restaurant or brewery if you don't want to have to watch everything you eat."

The Black Stag is open daily. You can find the beer listing and food offerings at