(Frank) Today won Around Kansas we wrap up the stories from the Kansas Sampler festival from the most popular tent at the event…the alcohol tent. See what great beers, wines and liquor are being produced right here in the state of Kansas.Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission.
The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.(Frank) OK, now the fun part of the Kansas Sampler is the wine and
microbrewery tent and here we are with Bob DesRuisseaux with the Prairie Fire Winery. And Bob where is your winery exactly? (Bob) We are located in Wabaunsee County. We are between Paxico and Maple Hill on the south side of I-70, exit 335 on Snokomo Road. (Frank) Now, let me ask you – you use your own grapes, you have a vineyard there? (Bob) We do. (Frank) OK. (Bob) We do and we also work with several vineyards here in the state. All of our wines
are made with grapes that are grown here in the state of Kansas. (Frank) Wow. How many different varieties do you have? (Bob) Several, we’ve several different varieties and we have 17 different wines that we produce. (Frank) Wow. So, from sweet to dry to… (Bob) We do red to white, sweet to dry, we have a mix of everything. Everyone likes different coffees, if you think about how we drink our coffee, I drink black coffee, some people drink
coffee with sugar and cream and we like different things. So, we’re not going to like the same wine as well. So we make a variety of wines so that everyone can find something that they like. (Frank) You guys have a champagne right? Can you call it champagne? (Bob) We can’t because it’s not made in the champagne region, but it is the first traditional method, or method Champenois sparkling that has been made in Kansas history. (Frank) Wow. And now, we showed you opening these bottles and I’ve never seen a
champagne opener like that and then this reseals them? (Bob) Yes, this is a… the cork’s are quite large that fit inside, so they’re in there pretty tight, so we use this as a champagne key that we use to open the cork and then these seal the top and help keep the bubbles in, they stay in there really well. (Frank) OK. So can this reporter try a little of that?
(Bob) Absolutely. (Frank) Must try some of that. (Bob) You’re here, you got to. (Frank) I’ve got to. We have a long day but that’s OK, this will keep it going. Look it there. (Bob) Look at those bubbles. (Frank) Look at the bubbles. Ah, that’s cool. Oh man. (Bob) Isn’t that delicious. (Frank) Not too sweet. (Bob) And because it’s a traditional method you still get the toastiness of the yeast but yet you get that green apple and that fruit still comes through from the grape. (Frank) Is the grape that you use with this, indigenous or is this one you have to bring in? (Bob) The Vidal Blanc is actually a French American hybrid, and so that was bred many years ago
and we do bring them in, they’re not native. Most of the grapes that are grown are not native to the state of Kansas, so we bring them in from nurseries and vineyards and they love our Kansas soil and our limestone.
(Frank) Well, the booth is getting busy here, so we won’t keep you away from customers. (Bob) That’s OK. (Frank) I know you are here to sell some stuff too. So very quickly give us an idea of what the wines are here.
(Bob) Absolutely, we have several of our whites; we have our dry, semi-day and sweet whites, like our Storm Chaser White our Bare Mare And then in the Reds, for example we have our dry red Chambourcin, this is the most widely planted grape in our state. We have more acres of Chambourcin than any other grapes. Our Storm Chaser red is a semi-dry red, has a little bit of sweetness, brings out the fruity fruitiness in the wine. Very nice. Purple Grins are sweet red. And of course we have our Brut and our Doux which means sweet method Champenois sparkling as well. (Frank) Very good. Now, you’re off of Interstate 70 but you do have a tasting room at the winery?
(Bob) We do. We have a tasting room, there’s a beautiful pergola out front, anyone can come out grab a bottle of wine, have a picnic, sit at the picnic tables, we have beautiful views of the Flint Hills. (Frank) So, what kind of hours do you have? (Bob) We are open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 to 6. (Frank) OK, so Prairie Fire Winery is the place you want to go. Get some real Kansas wine. Thank you Bob. (Bob) Thank you Frank, appreciate it.(Frank) Of course, we’re at Kansas Sampler on Around Kansas. And the idea is to bring people in from all over the state to display their wares and goods and what have you. And we have David Bahre with us. He’s from Wichita and David tell us what it is you do. Looks like you’re…. (David) We are Wheat State Distilling, we’re the first distillery to be in Wichita and we are a field to bottle distillery, so we buy directly from Kansas farmers.
You can take our batch and bottle numbers, type them in on our website, trace it all the way back to the field in Kansas where we bought the grain.
(Frank) Wow. Really? (David) We buy only premium grains as well, and we are 100 percent Kansas based. (Frank) OK. You said that the licensing and all that has only been in effect how long? (David) Well, we’ve been licensed for almost a year, I’m sorry, since January, we’ve been on the market since January, but this process has taken more than three years. (Frank) Because you could not, you couldn’t distill… you couldn’t make this before in the state? (David) This business model was illegal as of 2012, so it’s brand
new into the state, where we can sell directly to the public at the
distillery, that’s the new part of it. And we open up the distillery to the public as well. So come and take a tour. We have vodkas out on the market right now, we have gin as well, rum coming out this month. We have bourbon and wheat whiskey in barrels aging right now. (Frank) What kind of distribution do you have? Are you in liquor stores around the state? (David) We’re distributed with Standard Beverage, they’re the largest distributor in the state. So, we’re available at every liquor store in the state. We’re currently in 240 locations and if we’re not in your local liquor store ask for us and they can get it within a week. Every liquor store in the state. (Frank) All right. (David) So, we’re building. We get about ten new ones a week. (Frank) OK. Wheat State Distillery in Wichita.
Another great product from Around Kansas.
(Frank) Of course at the Kansas Sampler Festival in Wamego and of course we are at Tallgrass Brewery and we’re going to be talking with Christina. Hi there. (Christina) Hi how are you? (Frank) So, tell us about Tallgrass. You guys have so many lines now it’s unreal. (Christina) We do have a lot of beers. We’ve been open since 2008 and started canning shortly after that.
That’s what sets our beer apart from other breweries in the area. It’s recyclable, it’s cheaper. We’re opening up a brand new brewpub in October of this year that we’re very excited about. And that will be downtown in Manhattan on Poyntz. And then we’re bursting at the seams right now. We are brewing 24/7 so we’re getting a brand new facility, a $5 million facility out by the Manhattan airport. And that should be opening next year. (Frank) Good grief. So, you’re in Manhattan, Kansas, and you’re distributed what, all over Kansas and where else? (Christina) All over Kansas. We’re all throughout the Midwest. Minnesota loves our beer. So, that’s one of our
biggest places other than Kansas that we sell. And this summer, we just had our Halcyon beer come back out, so that’s our unfiltered wheat. And then our IPA (?) is also great for the summer as well. (Frank) So how many different brands or should I say flavors do you have? (Christina) I think we have eight. But we have new beers coming out all the time. We do a lot of seasonal beers, so one of our favorite beers is Zombie Monkie and that comes out in the fall, and that’s a darker beer with lots of coffee flavor in it. (Frank) OK. (Frank) We’re getting close to summer, what’s your summer beer then? (Christina) Halcyon Wheat is our summer beer that we do
and then we’re also going to have our Farmhouse come out, and that’s a plum flavored beer and very tart and delicious for our summer drinking. (Frank) Wow. Tallgrass Brewery out of Manhattan. We’ll be back.
(Frank) The fun continues at Kansas Sampler and we’re with Lb. Brewing out of Hays. Did I get that right? (Brendan) Yeah. (Frank) And your name is? (Brendan) My name is Brendan Arnold. (Frank) And what do you do there? (Brendan) I’m the Front House and event manager at Lb. Brewing Company. (Frank) Well, tell us about the brewery, tell us about the establishment. (Brendan) Well, we have a great brew pub in downtown Hays, Kansas. Actually we encompass four renovated storefronts in downtown Hays.
We’ve got great quality of food, great quality of beer there, great quality of service. We really try to push all three aspects. But really our company is about the revitalization efforts of the downtown in Hays. And we’ve got a couple of developers that are really pushing for… really to stimulate the local economy with the revitalization and bring in more local businesses.
So, we’re really all about the downtown. And really trying to preserve that in Hays. (Frank) Well, tell us about the brewing. (Brendan) Brewing. We brew really great beer. We’ve been very fortunate with the awards we’ve won at the Great American Beer Festival as well as the World Beer Cup. And we really focus on the quality of the beer and being very stylistically true with each different variety of the beer. One great aspect about our beer is
that we truck in a thousand gallons of water twice a week from the Ogallala Aquifer, so it’s really about the quality of the water and our brew masters passion for all of this detail in the beer and brewing process. (Frank) Wow, so do you have several different…what do I want to say, flavors? I see a dark here. (Brendan) We have several different varieties. Our most
popular beers are wheat beer and our American Hefeweizen, which is an unfiltered wheat beer and we’ve also won awards on the opposite end of the spectrum with our Oatmeal Stout and our Liberty Stout which we’ve had have here, which is an American style stout. We’ve been very fortunate with gold medals on several of those beers. We tend to have more variety on our menu
than most brew pubs. So we have about 9-10 house beers on at a time, ranging from wheat beers to more malty ambers and browns to stout beers.
And we also come out with a new seasonal beer every month that is a little more diverse to really kind of broaden people’s horizons with craft beer and we’re still in that conversion process too. So we’re trying to get more people to try the craft beer and give them something maybe that they couldn’t have an opportunity to try otherwise. (Frank) Well, I’d love to stick around and talk with you but have some other business to attend to. (Brendan) Well, I will fill that jug for you before you go, how about that? (Frank) Okay!
(Frank) And now we’re going to talk to the people who kind of help all of the wine makers get going. This is Scott Kohl. Hi Scott. (Scott) Hey, hello. Good to see you again. (Frank) Now what is it you do at Highland?
(Scott) Well the college has a grape and wine program. We have degrees in both grape growing and wine making. And our students enroll in the classes and they help us with making the wine and growing the grapes. The whole process from start to finish. Bottling the wines and everything. (Frank) OK, so you have your own wines and are they for sale? (Scott) They sure are. Yes. They are. (Frank) Around the state? (Scott) We’re pretty small, so we’re just selling the wines right there at the school for now. We’re hoping to eventually get into the liquor stores and do all that, but we’re
not quite that big yet. We’re still pretty tiny. We just have one acre of vines and we just don’t have that much wine yet. (Frank) So, if someone wanted to start a winery and let’s say they’ve got some land and they would come to you and say I want to start a winery, what would you do? (Scott) I would tell them to enroll in our Intro to Viticulture class, which is intro to grape growing, Wrote (?) a little bit, get some fundamentals of how grapes grow. And what kind of grapes to grow in Kansas. Different kinds of
grapes grow better here than what you might have heard of on the west coast, some of that stuff, it’s too cold to grow here. So you’ve got to learn what kind of grapes to grow and then take our introduction to Enology class, which is intro to wine making. And from there, they just kind of follow their interest, if they want to get more in depth into the grape growing or into the wine making or a little of both, we’re happy to teach them what they want to know. (Frank) Cause I know, I’m going to reach over here and show this. Highland Community College Winery summer classes. So if
you want to learn about wine making or just wine in general, it might be a great class to take. I think I might come take that. (Scott) All right. Cause you know Kansas was at one time a forest. (Scott) Yes. We were at the tops back in the 1890s. We maxed out in 1895 with a little over 7,000 acres of grapes. (Frank) Wow. (Scott) And the prohibition and depression and armistice freeze and all those things kind of pile up and the industry kind of went away for a while, but now we are up and coming again. (Frank)
Carrie Nation came through and chopped down all… (Scott) There was a little bit of that too. (Frank) All right. Highland Community College, viticulture you pronounce that… (Scott) Enology, viticulture and enology. (Frank) There you go. That’s the place to start making wine.
(Frank) Borrowing some information from the Kansas Sampler Foundation website, 11,728 people traveled to Wamego for the Annual Kansas Sampler Festival this year to discover things to see, do, taste, hear, buy and learn in Kansas. Marci Penner and her father started what has become a full-blown festival at their farm 25 years ago. It has since grown to huge proportions with displays from eateries, historic sites, vintners and microbreweries, recreational areas, performing venues, landmarks and so much more. The Kansas Sampler Festival is hosted by communities around Kansas. Each hosts the event for two years before it moves to another city or town. This year and next the festival was and will be in Wamego. If you’d like to keep up on news for events and places to see and do in Kansas, visit the Kansas Sampler Foundation website at kansassampler.org. What you have seen in our shows these past few weeks is only a very small representation of what the Kansas Sampler Festival has to offer. It’s also a very small representation of all the things one can see, do, hear, learn,
taste and buy in this great state of Kansas. Yes – we’ll be back in Wamego next year – first weekend in May at the 26th Annual Kansas Sampler festival. Hope you’ll join us!
Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission.
The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.