Five questions for KC Ale Trail’s Pete Dulin

The gose at McCoy's Public House.

The gose at McCoy’s Public House.

A new beer book project is brewing. Writer Pete Dulin, a contributor here at The Recommended Daily, has begun raising glasses across the metro as part of the research for the KC Ale Trail — a book documenting the recent history of breweries and beer-centric spots in Kansas City. He’s launching an Indiegogo campaign today to help fund the publication of the book. The Recommended Daily chatted with Dulin to find out more about his desire to document KC’s beer scene.

1. Where did the idea for the KC Ale Trail come from? This year marks the 25th anniversary of Boulevard Brewing Company and Free State Brewing Company. I recall drinking craft beer from these breweries in 1989. I was excited and proud that something that tasted so great was locally brewed. 75th Street Brewery opened a few years later, popularizing the brewpub concept in a neighborhood setting. Another wave of breweries has since opened throughout greater Kansas City in Westport, Waldo, Liberty, North Kansas City, Martin City and elsewhere. This growth is fueled by demand from people that enjoy drinking good craft beer made locally and across the country.

I decided that it was time to write KC Ale Trail and document this exciting local history over the past 25 years. Also, I want to share the stories behind the founders, breweries and beers, plus offer insight into where our craft beer culture, trends and community are headed next. The book is intended to appeal to both craft beer newcomers and hardcore beer geeks. As Kansas City’s reputation grows nationally as a craft beer destination, similar to Portland, Denver and San Diego, I hope this book and future editions will be an invaluable resource for craft beer tourists. It will also be a great gift year-round for anyone you know that enjoys craft beer.

kcaletrail-logo-0317142. Can you tell me more about the project itself? KC Ale Trail will feature profiles on craft breweries throughout greater Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka and Springfield, Missouri. One section will include interviews with founders, brewers and people like John Couture at Bier Station and chef/cicerone Celina Tio at The Belfry, who have launched businesses that appeal to craft beer drinkers. Another section, the Trail Guide, will include handy references such as a Trail Map of area breweries, glossary of beer terms and styles, index of selected taprooms serving craft beer, tasting notes and more.

I’m launching a fundraiser on Indiegogo to cover the cost of printing, distribution, design, photography and research for this self-published book. Research and writing will take place over spring and summer. Local designer Eric Schotland, who designed my first book Last Bite, will handle creative layout duties again. I’m using a Missouri-based printer for this perfect-bound book. Everyone in the book and involved with producing the book are locally-based. I strongly believe in supporting my community and circulating money in the local economy.

3. What have you found as you’ve begun your research? Exploring the universe of craft beer is fun and delicious. Like wine, there’s a limitless variety to explore and discover what you like. Craft beer is popular across many demographics – younger, older, blue collar and white collar, male and female, from all walks of life. Just take a look at crowds that gather at Bier Station, Cinder Block Brewery, Rock and Run Brewery, and Martin City Brewing Company each week. Similar to food, tastes have changed over the years. People seek out distinct flavors, aromas, and styles of beer. Each brand and style of beer offers an affordable experience that drinkers can savor without the objective of getting drunk.

Also, craft beer drinkers are socially active. Drinking beer at a pub or brewery is a communal experience, where you can share thoughts about life and the beer you’re drinking face-to-face. But there’s also an active discussion and exchange about craft beer on social media, be it Facebook groups, Twitter, and Untappd. And local websites like keep you informed with current updates on tap changes at area bars.

4. Excluding Boulevard, any favorite new local brews in town? I like the gose, a German-style beer that’s tart and crisp with a hint of salt, at McCoy’s, the easy-drinking bitter at Martin City Brewing, and Farmhouse Funk, an aromatic unfiltered beer from Rock and Run that I think would pair well with some stinky cheese and crusty bread.

5. When do you hope to have the KC Ale Trail out? Once the fundraising campaign is successful, I’ll work my tail off over the next few months to travel, research and write the book and hand off sections to Eric Schotland for design over the summer. The book release will be in fall 2014, ideally by October, followed by release parties, book signing events and a mini book-and-beer tour at craft breweries represented in the book.

[Images via Pete Dulin]

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender is the founder of The Recommended Daily.

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