North Kansas City’s newest brewery includes full menu
If there’s one thing that the Northland is spoiled with, it’s breweries. In North Kansas City alone, Big Rip Brewing, Cinder Block Brewing and Grain to Glass, a homebrewing store, all provide ample places to drink the local tipple. But there’s one thing that all of these places lack–a kitchen. Sure, food trucks fill in the gaps and they will let you bring your own food in to eat but there’s something about being able to sit down with a flight of local favorites and a pile of wings to share with friends that simply can’t be beat. Now there’s a place to do that–Calibration Brewing.
The newest brewery in North Kansas City resides in a building that has been owned by its founder since 1994. Glen Stinson is an entrepreneur and beer aficionado and owns not only the building at 119 N. Armour Road, but founded Calibration Brewing this year. The brewery opened this summer and if the population of the dining and tasting room is any indication, it is already proving successful.
Calibration brews on site with a seven-barrel system. Glen Stinson started home brewing with his son, Nick Stinson, but has hired Pat Sandman, the head brewer at the now defunct 75th Street Brewery, to oversee the operations in NKC. At this writing, they offered eight brews ranging from the light and easy drinking For What It’s Worth Strawberry Blonde Ale to the stauncher Carry On Milk Stout. Beers are available by the pint, of course, but are also offered as a tasting flight.
So what can you nosh on while imbibing? One would expect a selection of greasy, alcohol-absorbing gut-busters but I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the food menu. There are definitely brew pub favorites here–warm, soft pretzel sticks dipped in creamy beer cheese brings Oktoberfest to any month–but there are also healthier options available.
On my first visit, I was feeling virtuous. I ordered the open-faced avocado sandwich for $8.95. While honestly not expecting much,I was pleasantly surprised by the hearty 21-grain bread that was spread thickly with black bean hummus, melted sharp cheddar cheese and topped with freshly sliced avocado, tomato, lettuce, and sprouts. A sprinkling of salty feta cheese finished the dish. Although vegetarian, the sandwich was surprisingly filling and tasty. I would definitely order it again if I could resist the tempation of the rest of the menu.
On the heavier side of the menu, there are four options for gourmet hot dogs–Chicago style, bacon and beer cheese, chili and cheese, or kosher kraut. All are served with fries for $7.95. As a friend dug into the Chicago style, it was clear that they have a winner on the dog side of things as well.
On my next visit with a group of friends, we tried the pretzels ($6.95) as well as the beer cheese and chili fries ($6.95). Both were great for sharing, if you have friends that won’t gobble. The beer cheese is thick and sharp, the perfect consistency for both dishes. The chili was surprisingly good as well. Topping medium cut french fries with a noticeable crunch, the chili and cheese offered great flavor without leaving the fries soggy.
For dinner that evening, I tried another unorthodox menu item for a brewpub–the gyro. While many of us have availed ourselves of the gyro truck after a night of overindulgence, having it on menu was a welcome change. It didn’t reinvent the dish but it was a good representation–seasoned lamb and beef with a topping of feta, grilled onion, tomato and lettuce all topped with tzatziki sauce. On a warm, toasted pita round, and served with fries, it was quite satisfying.
The other benefit to Calibration is the truly welcoming environment. The room is a good mix of low tables, couches and high tops. A fire place adds a warm, homey feel to the back section of the room. And in nice weather, it will be hard to beat their spacious patio set up. Calibration is sure to become a destination for beer drinkers looking for a good hang in the Northland.