The stakes are high in the craft beer game, and Wichita came to play. Those outside the Midwest might not see Wichita as a destination city with a booming brewery scene, but those familiar with the area know that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Wichita has a unique dynamic, being both the biggest city in Kansas and a college “town.” If you’re a Ted Lasso fan, you know Wichita State University as Ted’s previous coaching gig. And if you know the music of The White Stripes, you’ve no doubt heard them mention Wichita in their Seven Nation Army song.
But Wichita is also known for its budding brewery scene that makes this city a craft beer destination you have to see for yourself. Up next are our favorite breweries you have to check out when you’re in Wichita.
- Wichita Brewing Company
- Hopping Gnome Brewing Company
- Norton’s Brewing Company
- Central Standard Brewing
- River City Brewing Co.
- Sweet Allie B’s + Limestone Beer Co.
- Third Place Brewing
Wichita Brewing Company
WBC grew from its humble, in-home brewery beginnings to a full-scale brewery operation, complete with canning and distribution. They also host events at WBC and have a catering company, The Hopperoni Express.
When WBC first opened its doors, it had only five of its Tallgrass Beers on tap. Now they’ve grown to 17 beers on tap. Johnny B’s Beer Band is a fan favorite. The name is a nod to John Brown, a civil war hero in Kansas’s Free State culture. It’s a fan favorite amongst IPA lovers, scoring low on the bitterness scale but high on the hop factor.
Hopping Gnome Brewing Company
We always appreciate a clever name, but the beer itself is equally as great. Hopping Gnome was the first taproom in Wichita, with other breweries following in their footsteps. Hopping Gnome got its name from the Kansas City Royal’s garden gnome that took up residence in his home after receiving it as a giveaway from a recent baseball game. And, of course, there’s a little nod to beer’s foundation, hops!
The locals love Hopping Gnome. Most notably, the Design District Coffee Stout is one you absolutely can’t leave town without trying. This is a collaborative effort with a local coffee roaster, so it aligns with Hopping Gnome’s support of the “buy local” movement. But also, the upfront chocolate flavor with a nutty undertone aligns this one with your taste buds. This is a perfect pick-me-up if you have a full day of brewery visits lined up.
Norton’s Brewing Company
Norton’s is located right in the heart of Wichita’s downtown area, which is really a perfect mix of big-city life and small-town vibes. Norton’s is committed to the overall experience of their customers, with unique additions like their outdoor garden igloos. Visit Norton’s in December-February to enjoy your beer in one of these!
Deez Hops is a signature brew that the locals look forward to sampling when new batches are released. Each batch of this IPA features a new type of hops, but they’re all fantastic. Norton’s regulars highly recommend enjoying Deez Hops with an order of the infamous “Bacon Crack,” thick, hand-cut bacon with sweet and savory seasonings, served with a magical dipping sauce. You’re welcome in advance.
Central Standard Brewing is an award-winning Wichita brewery, taking silver at the Great American Beer Festival. Don’t let the casual, laid-back atmosphere fool you into thinking the CSB team is lax in their brewing process. These self-proclaimed beer nerds are absolute perfectionists when it comes to crafting the perfect brew. Just ask them. They’re always excited to answer any questions and show you around the establishment!
CSB has a variety of brews to choose from, including:
Sounds pretty standard, right? But, everything at CSB is just next-level good. Kansas breweries are known for their wheat beers, and naturally, CSB has nailed its version. You can’t leave this state without having a CSB White. It’s a witbier inspired by the traditional citrusy beers of Austria and Bavaria. It’s one of those beers you can literally drink for hours.
The ambiance at River City Brewing Co. is one of the best brewery experiences in the midwest. It’s been open since 1993 when it officially opened its doors as just the third brewery in Kansas in 50+ years. When you approach RBC’s all-brick exterior with a massive outdoor seating area looks so inviting, you just know you’re in for a great day full of some of the best brews… although their food is pretty excellent, too.
Are you really in Kansas if you haven’t experienced a Wizard of Oz reference? Clearly, the answer is no. So sipping an Emerald City Stout is a requirement for your Wichita trip. This dark, rich-bodied, deep stout is sure to make you feel like you’re ready to step into your ruby slippers and hit the yellow brick road.
Limestone Beer Co. is only available at Sweet Allie B’s, but it is well worth the trip. If you can, plan to make this a beery brunch stop on your Wichita adventure because chef/owner Allison makes the most delicious quiches, which happen to pair quite nicely with Limestone’s brews.
If you’re in the mood for a heavy brew, Limestone makes a New England IPA that’s hard to beat. Their Doublestein brew is made from Kansas-grown English Odyssey malt and is one that locals really love during their Saturday brunch outings.
It’s not your home… it’s not your office… it’s your third place- what a great name for a brewery! Third Place Brewing opened its doors with the idea of being a gathering place for locals to gather after they outgrew their garage. That’s right, Third Place as a concept originated in the owners’ garage. Once they decided to open a proper brewery, the community actually stepped in and helped them physically build it- it’s truly a community establishment.
Third Place is often packed, especially right after regular work hours, but regulars are always ready to welcome fellow beer fans with open arms and cold brews. The Ali’s Pale Ale is their best seller, an American Pale Ale named after one of the owners’ daughters. It’s dry. It’s piney. It’s delicious.