The Northland’s newest coffee and beer escape
Hemingway once wrote of French Parisian cafes in “A Moveable Feast” where coffee and spirits were served and patrons visited daily to see or be seen. The old curmudgeon recorded the souls of Paris coffee and spirit shops, capturing our imaginations. He would have written about Colony Espresso & Beer in North Kansas City with equal zeal.
Hemingway’s spirit must have visited while I sat soaking up the ambience and enjoying a well-prepared cup of Colony’s café mocha. A man studied his computer, occasionally taking a sip while writing a composition as two ladies chatted over their morning coffee. The long room of tables that lead to a bar of unimaginable varieties of beer would soon be full of patrons visiting their favorite after-work spot. Some will come to see or be seen; after all, quality places attract quality people. Hemingway realized that early in the last century. Owners Zach Henderson and Drew Cobb know that too.
“We were both raised in the Northland and wanted to provide a unique establishment for our customers,” Cobb says. “Our goal is for people to come here to socialize and enjoy exceptional coffee and beer. Northlanders like to take it easy in a pleasant place where they can unwind. Yet people drive from Lee’s Summit and other Kansas City areas for our coffee. They visit and often return to discover how our craft coffee is comparable to other coffee bars.”
Cobb learned how to prepare gourmet coffee in Chicago at a large roasting establishment that offered a full training program. Highly skilled baristas from the Kansas City area have further helped develop Colony’s coffee varieties.
“We currently are serving Post or Ceremony Roaster’s coffee from Annapolis, Maryland,” Cobb says. “We occasionally feature a local roaster too.”
Patrons visit Colony for favorite versions of coffee or new treats like the recent raspberry jam on toast cappuccino. Watching both men create different styles of coffee uncovers unique styles of developing flavors. Just brewing old fashioned coffee in a pot is not enough for Henderson’s or Cobb’s customers that are spoiled with gourmet versions.
Customers are equally rewarded with over 80 varieties of beer.
“North Kansas City was very helpful in our quest to develop this unique business,” Henderson says. “We intentionally opened as a commercial tap room and specialize in hard to find beers on tap. We originally never intended on becoming a brewery, unless we found the right person. We met Rodney Beagle who spent three years working at Big Rip Brewery as a brewer. So we have begun all the paperwork and licensing to start our own Nano-brewery.”
Nano-breweries, a new and increasingly popular segment of the craft brewing world, are intentionally small and make less beer than microbreweries. These breweries usually don’t brew more than one batch at a time. This technique will allow Colony to produce their signature unique seasonal flavors.
“We hope to have our Nano-brewery producing by the beginning of 2017,” Henderson says. “We have not decided what the capacity will be, but we will always have three to five of our own beers on tap at the same time. We currently rotate our draft beers every four to five days. Current beer brewers that are specific to us include Crooked Stave, Prairie Artisan and Ales and Jolly Pumpkin Breweries. Our Friday and Saturday nights are generally busy with beer drinkers.”
Local Kansas City breweries come into Colony on occasion for “Tap Take Overs” when Colony will have all their taps taken over by one brewer. This type of event that is gaining popularity in America provides beer drinkers with more variety. Beer glasses from each featured brewery are often given away on these unique occasions.
“We are constantly changing,” Cobb says. “We are developing plans to continue growing. There is no limit to where we will go, possibly food later. For now we encourage customers to bring in their own food and just enjoy a good drink.”
For more information check their web site at ColonyKC.com or check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for beer on tap, happy hour specials—3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday for future events.