Great Beer at Tallgrass Brewing in Manhattan... Kansas
My wife comes from Manhattan. No, not the cool one, the one in Kansas. Yep, the Little Apple. And yes, this home to Kansas State University, does refer to itself as the Little Apple. In fact her childhood home is just south of Houston Street, so you could technically say she’s from SoHo, Manhattan. We end up visiting the Little Apple a few times a year and with any place I visit I consider it a kind of duty to locate the local breweries. That’s how I first discovered Tallgrass brewing a few years ago. I found a tap of Ale. While lacking an interesting name, Ale is a solid Brown Ale that drew my interest. I didn’t think too much about it until I came back a year later and wandered through a Manhattan liquor store looking for a good beer. Then I noticed a collection of pint sized cans from Tallgrass. One can with the phrase “BOLD BEER” printed across the top seemed particularly intriguing. This Bold Beer turned out to be a malty IPA called Oasis and it’s rich malty flavor with a hefty helping of hops won me over. I knew then I had to eventually find my way to this brewery.
Making it to Tallgrass took longer than I hoped. Being in Manhattan during the holidays meant the brewery was closed every time I made my way around. One year I drove over only to find the doors locked. Oh, well. I did manage to try their beers each year at the Great American Beer Fest. However, this Christmas we pulled into town a little bit early and I was able to sneak away to the Tallgrass tap room. Finally! I did arrive too late for a tour, but trying their beer was the main goal anyways.
The tap room a small nondescript space with yellow walls, a small kegarator, merchandise and a few tables welcomed me with a blackboard listing of tasty brews. I stood alone in the room for a moment before Austin (the brewery tour guide) walked in and greeted me. He immediately made me feel welcomed and offered to pour me a beer. Working through the taps he poured me a new American Pale Ale called 8-Bit. This "Hop Rocketed" pale ale has a distinct aroma coming for the usage of Australian Galaxy Hops (a hop strain new to me). And "Hop Rocketed"? Well that’s a new one, too. The "Hop Rocketed" process is pretty interesting. Tallgrass takes the finished beer and runs it through a fresh tube/container of hops kind of like Dogfish Head’s Randall the Enamel Animal. Since I missed out on a tour, I am not sure if they use the Blichmann Hop Rocket or if they have developed their own system. Either way the hop flavor and aroma really jump out and make this a delicious hoppy brew.
After 8-Bit I worked my way down the list enjoying the Oasis and Buffalo Sweat as I went. Then I came to the Velvet Rooster, a Belgian Tripel. This beer is a treat especially when you consider that it comes in pint sized cans. Offhand I can’t think of a better canned tripel. Admittedly, there are not many canned Belgian style beers but Tallgrass is not afraid to point out that canned beer comes with many advantages and few disadvantages. The Canifesto on the Tallgrass website does an excellent job of explaining how they decided on using cans over glass. The best part of this is they use pint sized cans. I can’t say how much I love that!
If you have a chance, pick up some Tallgrass beer when you see it stocked in your local liquor store. And if you’re in Manhattan, Kansas you should swing by their brewery. Hopefully next time that I am there I will be able to sneak away from the in-laws for a brewery tour.