Welcome to another edition of the Beer of the Week!
As always, the Beer of the Week will be presented on the Arrowhead Pride Tailgate on 610 Sports Radio between 10 and 11 a.m. on Sunday.
With so many great breweries popping up around the Kansas City area, I decided to change up the Beer of the Week for Kansas City Chiefs home games. Rather than finding something that is widely distributed in the region, I wanted to focus on great local breweries that warrant a visit for those who are traveling in for Chiefs games.
There are so many fantastic breweries that help make up the Kansas City beer scene. This week’s brewery is a relatively new one, having just opened this past April. This week’s Beer of the Week is Alma Mader Innovo Hazy Pale Ale!
You asked, we delivered. This Thursday marks the return of INNOVO, a hazy pale ale brewed with 2-row, wheat, and oats and modestly hopped with Citra and Simcoe. Innovo was a favorite for those who joined us during our opening month. pic.twitter.com/3gnM4HdZZS— Alma Mader (@AlmaMaderBrew) September 3, 2019
A 5.8% ABV hazy pale ale, Innovo uses Citra and Simcoe hops to impart a slight bitterness to the beer. Flavors of citrus and pineapple complement the wheat and oat additions to their traditional 2-row malts. Coming in at just 35 IBU’s, this is a beer that is an easy day-drinker that won’t leave you with a lingering bitter taste in your mouth.
Alma Mader Brewing opened in April on Southwest Boulevard, right next door to The Roasterie and just around the corner from Boulevard Brewing Company. The brewery itself may be small, but their dedication to quality and innovation give them some of the best beers in the city. My last visit to Alma Mader was to sample some of the fantastic lagers they had on tap — a crisp, clean lager really screams “quality” to me — and I was wowed at the craftsmanship.
This week, I reached out to Nick Mader, the owner of the brewery. Prior to opening Alma Mader, Nick worked at Boulevard Brewing, Fremont Brewing Company in Seattle, Washington, and last week’s Beer of the Week brewery Crooked Stave. Nick was very kind to answer my questions and give us a little insight into his journey as a brewer and his love of Kansas City — and of the Chiefs.
CS: What drew you to work at Boulevard?
NM: “Boulevard was my first crush in beer and one of my biggest inspirations. After graduating from UMKC with a finance degree, I made a short-lived attempt at banking and quickly realized it wasn’t for me. In college, I studied abroad in Spain (I met my wife in the same program), but after the trip I went to visit my Aunt and Uncle who were living in Amsterdam. They took me to a Belgian beer bar that absolutely blew my mind on what beer could be. Coming back to the States I had the beer bug and started following the industry. Being from Kansas City, it was a dream to get a job at Boulevard. I got hired onto their hospitality team where I primarily bartended and gave tours.”
CS: What was your favorite part about working for Fremont?
NM: “There were many things that I loved about Fremont. The first was being around so many great people and bright minds. I was pushed to be a better brewer everyday, and eventually, I was given the responsibility of running our R&D and wild beer program. The second would be the general location of Seattle. As a brewer living in Washington state you are close to the largest hop growing region in the world (Yakima Valley) and all of your grain (i.e. barley/wheat) is malted only two hours away. We had great relationships with our hop farmers and we got to select some of the freshest and best hops in the United States.”
CS: What sort of lessons did you take away after working with so much wild yeast at Crooked Stave?
NM: “Crooked Stave in many ways operated more like a winery than a brewery in the sense that it was dealing with a lot of barrel work, blending, and fruit processing. When dealing with wild yeast you learn a lot about patience. Often times, we would blend together multiple base beers, which helped us control the wild yeast and bacteria profiles in finished beer. My former boss/owner, Chad Yakobson, was an encyclopedia on Brettanomyces and gave me the opportunity to learn so much about making wild beer, selecting fruit to add back into beer, and also what it takes to run a small brewery like I have now.”
CS: Let’s get to the Chiefs. Do you have any memories of the Chiefs from growing up in the area, and what do the Chiefs mean to you?
NM: “As a kid, I can always remember my Dad having all the radios on throughout the house during game day. Even listening to the games on radio today, there’s a real sense of nostalgia around football season and autumn here in Kansas City. Right now you can’t help but love Pat Mahomes. He brings a level of excitement and confidence to the team that hasn’t been here in a long time. After living in Denver and Seattle, it’s exciting to be back home and watching the games. Also, my friends that are Broncos and Seahawks fans have finally started to quiet down a little bit about how great their teams are!”
CS: Finally — since you lived in Seattle and Kansas City — who has the louder football fans?
NM: “Kansas City. We don’t need a roof to be loud and protect us from the weather.”
Many thanks to Nick Mader for taking time out to answer some questions and for making such great beers! If you’re in Kansas City this weekend — or any weekend — make sure you stop by Alma Mader Brewing to sample some of Kansas City’s finest local brews!
Check back here this time next week for the new Beer of the Week!