KC Nanobrews: More than a Festival. A Community.
One of Kansas City's fastest growing beer festivals, Nanobrews, will be coming to KC on May 26th, at Berkley Riverfront Park. It is one of, if not the largest home brew festivals in the United States. Starting from humble beginnings in someone's backyard as a simple gathering of friends, socializing and sharing their experimentations and love of beer, it has grown exponentially since then. This will be its ninth year in existence, bringing together brewers from all over KC and the surrounding areas. Emily and I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Rob Rys, not only one of the over one hundred brewers descending upon us this Memorial Day Weekend, but one of the men that has kept the event running all these years. He does so along with Chad Cummings, Chad Moats, Tim Sady, and Frank Rydzewki. Over the course of the visit, Rob welcomed us into his home and gave us a brief history of the event, what makes it different, and what he appreciates about it.
Rob was not initially part of the group that birthed Nanobrews. First, he was just an attendant, but it sparked his interest in the craft and he's been doing it ever since. This group of people shared their knowledge and love, which led him to dabble in the art of ales, and has become a near obsession since that time. Rob has won several medals across the country over the years since, and showed us the assortment of beers he was working on in a variety of stages in his home. Of particular interest was his jalapeño beer. Not something I would ever have thought I'd like, but it really was quite delicious. It had a strong aroma of jalapeño, but the spice was actually quite mild, and the beer remained refreshing. So be sure to check out Supernatural Brews when you go!
Nanobrews has been held at several locations in the past, but Berkley Riverfront Park will be its home for the foreseeable future. It's right on the south bank of the Missouri River and allows for a large number of brewers along with enough space for the roughly two thousand beer lovers they anticipate being in attendance. There's easy parking available and a laid-back vibe. I think that's the thing that stuck out to us most– the way Rob spoke about the community it's fostered, and the interaction between the brewers themselves. All the brewers share their recipes, their personal stories, their success, and their failures. The goal isn't to find out who makes beer best. It's to find out how to make the best beer.
This offers the unique opportunity, not just for them to interact, but for you to talk with the people that actually crafted the beer you're trying. The whole thing is about getting brewers together, so they can learn from each other, share the fruits of their labors with as many people as possible, and possibly inspire the next great home brewer to come forward. A few brewers Rob recommended personally were SandhillsBrewing, Rusty Tin, and Eye for an Eye Brewing Co., so keep an eye out for them at the 2018 Kansas City Nanobrew Festival.
Be sure to get your tickets ahead of time ($35)– it has sold out every year! Along with the purchase of your ticket, you receive a full beer glass and a $5 voucher to go towards any of the number of food trucks they'll have available. The event runs from 2-6pm. on May 26th. See you there, and bottoms up!