Local Breweries Prepare for Midwest Beerfest

By: Jordan Shefte Email
By: Jordan Shefte Email

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Beer connoisseurs, get your taste buds ready.

This weekend is the 12th Annual Midwest Beerfest in Wichita, where more than 350 beers will be available for tasting.

To get in the mood for the event, we toured one of the local breweries, where we learned how malt and hops are used to create your favorite cold one.

"It's really just a hobby gone wild," said Wichita Brewing Company owner Jeremy Horn, who turned an old garage past-time into a business.

Inside a small building, he makes beer the same way commercial breweries do.

"We just put a little more love into it," Horn said.

We decided to see just how beer is made in a microbrewery. Jeremy gave us a tour, which started at three brewing kettles, each of which have a different purpose.

"The hot liquor tank just heats water, and the mash ton is kind of where the magic starts," Horn said.

In that tank, malt is mixed with hot water and is heated to about 150 degrees.

At that temperature, enzymes become active and in about an hour, starch is converted to sugar.

"Afterwards, we transfer the liquid into the boil kettle," Horn said.

It's in this step that the hops are added.

"Then we go in here, into one of these, we have ten, fermentation tanks," Horn said.

Inside these tanks, yeast eats the sugar, in turn making alcohol.

This process takes about 10 to 14 days.

Then it's time to carbonate, fill the kegs and it's ready to serve.

"We're trying to always have new recipes in the pipeline," Horn said.

This weekend, Wichita Brewing Company will be able to compare their brewskies to others in the area at Beefest.

"I think we have over two thousand breweries in the country now, and there's everyone's trying to do the next great thing and just keep it fresh and new and exciting," Horn said.

Jeremy says that the craft beer culture is growing throughout the country, but that Kansas has been slow to adopt the trend.

He says that events like this one help increase appeal.

"Craft beer has been huge for longer than it has in Kansas, but now that it's starting to grow in Kansas, people want to go to events like that," Horn said. "They want to taste new things, taste new beers."

The Midwest Beerfest begins with a dinner Friday night, and continues with the tasting Saturday afternoon between 1 and 4 p.m.

Because of the popularity from previous years, the event is being moved to a new venue at the Expo Hall of the Century II Center.

For more information, click the link below.

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