Monday, October 31, 2011

The Mugshot Progressive Beer Tasting

Moving backward in time from the Halloween Ball last Saturday, we next visit the first of what is hoped to be many more annual Mugshot Progressive Beer Tastings. My friends Linda and Shannon accompanied me on what would surely be an arduous task: visiting five locations in downtown Excelsior Springs, tasting a sampling of four craft brews in each. The event was a fundraiser for the Downtown Excelsior Partnership and judging by the crowds at each location (and on the street), this beer tasting was a bonafide hit.

We kicked off at the historic Atlas Saloon, which proved to be a bit of a revelation for me. I used to go to the Atlas when they served up some kickass Cajun food a few years back, but never actually explored the bar itself. The main bar is a classic saloon; still reflective of its long history, dating back to 1894. The dark wood interior and central shuffleboard table are seriously cool but the highlight for me were the vintage Schlitz lamps next to the front door and the bar itself. These lamps and several others pay tribute to the Atlas's origins as a Schlitz saloon and truly add to the atmosphere. A bit more about that Cajun was truly excellent and I miss it but word is that they are working up some new grub and its getting some good word-of-mouth. They were hosting a chili cook-off when we were there and the aromas were making my stomach rumble.

The rest of our beer tasting wound through Ventana Gourmet Grill, Ryan's Pizzeria, Broadway and Penn and finally, Willow Spring Mercantile. Along the way, I introduced my friends to Molly Robert's awesome studio and gallery where Linda bought a very cool purse. Each place we visited was rocking, especially the Atlas and Willow Spring, which featured live music. As for the beers? There were favorites, to be sure, and here were mine:

The Atlas- Tallgrass Halcyon Wheat
B & P- Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Ryan's- Tallgrass Ale, Boulevard Double-Wide IPA and Boulevard Tank 7
Ventana-Moose Drool Brown Ale and Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat
Willow Spring-Weston Brewing Irish Cream Ale

Ooh, I do hope this is indeed an annual event. The beer was great, the atmosphere welcoming and we totally dug our mugs that turned orange when the cold beverages were added. The Mugshot was big, hoppy fun!


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