When Clay Johnson and his partners opened up Brew Lab in downtown Overland Park four years ago, their goal was to become a hub for the booming home brewing culture in Kansas City. In a tiny storefront off Santa Fe Drive, they offered everything a home brewer could need to craft their own beer, from equipment to malt and hops to lessons.
That slate of offerings was so successful that the group set their sites on a new goal: a business that offered people the chance to experience the joys of beer brewing at every step of the way. The original location’s home brewing supply store and on-site brewing opportunities would factor heavily into the mix. But people would also have the chance to sample an array of great small-batch beers — and have some tasty food pairings as well.
Last month, that vision became a reality.
After months of work to renovate part of the former pharmacy space at 7925 Marty, just a couple block away from the original storefront, the Brew Lab team opened in its expanded space, complete with tap room and kitchen in July.
“I can’t experience childbirth, so I don’t know if it’s an accurate comparison or not,” said Johnson, “but I will say it was a very profound experience to see all this work and frustration finally pay off and come to fruition.”
The tap room features a selection of the company’s beers crafted right on site, from straightforward offerings like the Brew Lab Lager (affectionately dubbed “dad beer”) to the more adventurous rosemary and rye saison. Brew Lab also features selections from other local craft breweries, like Crane Brewing Company in Raytown and Red Crow in Spring Hill.
Johnson said the goal was to become a “craft beer lover’s playground” where people can make, drink and share world class brews. To that end, the brew-on-premise operations, where customers can make and bottle their own beers on high-end equipment, are located right in the tap room.
“We wanted that to be kind of part of the show,” Johnson said. “The people in here brewing their own beers are part of the experience.”
The team has also worked to ensure that non-beer lovers have interesting drink options. The menu includes a selection of local kombucha as well as cocktails with Kansas ingredients.
Brew Lab is closed Mondays, but open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.