Beer Tuesday: BKS Artisan Ales

Of all the traditions my family has, Beer Tuesday is a certain favorite. It acts as a weekly champion to celebrate getting through the first part of the week and adds a little something to an otherwise boring Tuesday. In honor of National Beer Day (on April 7th), I decided to spend the month of April championing a few breweries in Kansas City who bring a little something to the area. This week, we raise a beer to Mary and Brian at BKS Artisan Ales located in East Brookside.

All photos by Grace Pritchett.

All photos by Grace Pritchett.


Mary and Brian Rooney began homebrewing about 10 years ago as a hobby. It’s no surprise they quickly grew out of their homebrew kit and started researching ways to make their brews bigger and better. This resulted in remodeling part of their basement so they could have an electric brew system before opening what is now known as BKS Artisan Ales.


The Rooneys were inspired by the beer scenes they saw while traveling in Denver, San Diego, Boston, and Seattle and wanted to make Kansas City’s beer scene something worth traveling for. At the time they were looking to open BKS, there were specific zoning ordinances for breweries. They could really only exist in much more industrial areas (think Crossroads, West Bottoms, etc.) but the Rooneys wanted to develop a beer scene close to home so they worked with City Councilman, Scott Taylor, to change the ordinance.

BKS Artisan Ales is currently the only brewery from Brookside to Downtown on the Missouri side but Mary and Brian are hoping that won’t last much longer. Like true Kansas Citians, the Rooneys don’t mind competition: “More breweries are a good thing; it creates beer tourism for Kansas City.”


They saw a lot of opportunity in East Brookside for their brewery and since they live in the area, they’re aware of the tastes and preferences around them. “The people around here love craft beer, and they drink a lot of it.” BKS produces a variety of craft beers with some extra love for IPAs, sours, farmhouse ales, and stouts. (Personal favorites include the Morningside Breakfast Stout and the Fleur de Citra Ale.) You can stay updated on all current and future brews by following BKS on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


And in terms of the future? “Take a day off,” Brian jokes. “It’s not exponential growth we’re after; it’s about balancing work and personal life.” BKS Artisan Ales plans to grow in terms of space and beer production but they still want to keep it small. “We see it as a neighborhood brewery and hopefully a destination for folks who don’t live in the neighborhood.”


I can’t stress enough how community-focused and collaborative Mary and Brian are, but I can tell you that we spent half of the interview talking about all the people and places they appreciate and enjoy in Kansas City. Special shout-out section for Councilman Taylor, John Couture at Bier Station, Trey Sabates at Flying Horse, Jeremy Danner and Kyle Hopkins of Boulevard Brewery, Nick and Tania Mader at Alma Mader, Aaron Ruth at Waldo Honey, Chris Bengston at Common Descent, Dan and Andrea Wikiera at KC Pretzel Boy’s, Plate, Farm to Market, Green Dirt Farm, Walsh’s Corner Cocktails, Bella Napoli, Charlie Hooper’s, Oddly Correct, KC Bier Co., Torn Label, Heirloom Bakery, and McLain’s. What can we say, KC is home to some excellent makers!


And finally, a shout-out to Mary and Brian Rooney for letting me hang out with them and take too many pictures of their dog, Nelson.

Visit BKS Artisan Ales:
633 E 63rd St #120, Kansas City, MO 64110
Friday 4 pm - 8 pm | Saturday 12 pm - 7 pm | Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm

Joining in on the Beer Tuesday tradition? Tag @mikcexplore on Instagram during your beer adventures for a chance to be featured.