Downtown Overland Park’s Brew Lab closing temporarily as owners prepare new, larger space that will feature a taproom

Jay Senter - January 25, 2017 9:21 am
Clay Johnson (left) and Kevin Combs, two of Brew Labs' four owners, in the company's current space, which is closing Friday.
Clay Johnston (left) and Kevin Combs, two of Brew Lab’s four owners, in the company’s current space, which is closing Friday.

Bad news for home brewing enthusiasts: Downtown Overland Park’s Brew Lab is temporarily shutting its doors this weekend.

Really great news for home brewing enthusiasts: The operation will open in a new, larger spot a couple of blocks from its current home in a few months with more brewing capacity — and eventually its own taproom where people can sample craft beers created on site.

Since opening in the strip of shops at 80th Street and Foster Street nearly four years ago, Brew Lab has become a mecca for Kansas City area home brewers, offering supplies, ingredients and training sessions. But in recent months, the company’s four founders and owners realized they had outgrown their modest space.

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“We felt like we’ve been pretty successful here, but we kind of saw the peak of where this could go,” said Clay Johnston, a co-founder. “There is just more opportunity to have more craft beer and a bigger influence on the craft beer scene here [in the new space].”

The new facility, in the old pharmacy building directly across Marty Street from the Overland Park Farmers Market, will have a three barrel brewing system, six times larger than their current equipment. Brew Lab has hired its own brewer, and he’ll be tasked with creating a variety of beers — from ales to lagers to stouts — that will be offered on the dozen or so tap handles that will line their new bar.

“We’re excited about the variety [we’ll be able to offer],” said co-founder Kevin Combs. “We can do anything and everything now with the proper system.”

Customers can also try their hand at the full-scale brewing system, and will have the option of producing beers that can be offered to the public in the taproom.

“It’s going to be a beer lover’s playground,” Johnston said. “If you just want to come and drink beer, you can come and watch people brew. If you want to brew beers, you can drink our beers and drink someone else’s beers [while you’re here]. Everything is just going to tie together — with the brewery, with the kitchen, with the store.”

The owners plan to open up the features of the new facility in phases, with the retail space — which will mirror what’s in the current space — opening first, followed by the brewing-on-premise operations, and finally the taproom and kitchen, which will offer small plates to accompany the beers. The new space will also feature a stage for live performances, as well as two large garage doors that will open the interior taproom area to fresh air when the weather is nice. Johnston said the team has been toying around with the idea of offering some kind of beer brunch during Farmers Market Saturdays.

“[Downtown Overland Park] is kind of this central location for hobbyists, with the Culinary Center and things like that,” he said. “We want to add to that with even more of an experiential space for Brew Lab.”

Brew Lab will shut the doors at its current space this Friday, Jan. 27, as work progresses on its larger new home a couple of blocks away.
Brew Lab will shut the doors at its current space this Friday, Jan. 27, as work progresses on its larger new home a couple of blocks away.

 

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