If there are two things synonymous with Kansas City, they're booze and barbecue. While the rest of the country sneaked sips at Prohibition-era speak-easies, Kansas Citians rollicked in the streets with liquor in one hand and some kind of barbecued meat in the other.
So now that it's the season of all things smoked, the Department of Burnt Ends has turned its trained staff of tasters on to the very thing that combines barbecue and booze: BBQ-flavored beers. Here's our take on four unbelievable new beers offered by Missouri breweries.
Peanut butter and jelly might sound sick until you try it; similarly, the flavor of slow-cooked pulled pork goes perfectly with OFallon Brewery's rich porter. You can almost taste the spice-rubbed sections of pulled pork bark above the caramel-flavored porter. It's like going to Oklahoma Joe's, only without the need for a toothpick.
They do barbecue differently in St. Louis, and Schlafly Brewery's lager highlights the spicy flavor of a dry-rub barbecue, with rich tones of black pepper, salt and even a shot of Worcestershire sauce. This sipping beer, with a rich head and a high alcohol content, goes perfectly with a plate of sauceless smoked meat. Afterward, you'll almost need a dollop of coleslaw.
Parkville's Power Plant Restaurant & Brewery brewpub offers on tap a beer that's as close to putting barbecue in a glass as you can get without actually sinking a rib bone into your pint. The hops in this otherwise classic pale ale complement the smoky flavor imparted by apple-wood chips. Molasses, mustard and mace give it the flavor of a sweet, tangy sauce you'll find on the tables of Kansas City rib joints. This one will make you want to lick your fingers.
Leave it to Missouri mega-brewery Anheuser-Busch to make a barbecue brew that's the Kansas City Masterpiece of BBQ-flavored beers. This one poured almost as clear as a Bud Light, with the pink tint of a white zin. And it had only a bit more flavor, with a slight aftertaste of very burned burnt ends. Imagine throwing table scraps in a pint and guzzling it down. We needed a moist towelette after this one.
Drink responsibly. Do not consume alcohol and operate heavy machinery or word-processing programs. Do not search for these beers at your local liquor store.
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