Remember when your guidance counselor said to find something you love and make a living out of it? Bryce Schaffter was listening. After home brewing and being a craft beer lover for many years, Schaffter reached a point where his beer was in high demand. Of course there were the friends who had been at his side throughout the years—knowing a beer brewer is like having a neighbor with a pool—but then strangers started asking for it. The final nudge in taking the next step? “My wife,” Schaffter recalls, “told me to either make a business out of this or stop building brewing equipment.”
Essentially, the decision to create Cinder Block Brewing Company was made for him.
Schaffter opened Cinder Block in September 2013 in North Kansas City with a passion to bring microbrews to the everyman. “We brew a full array of beers that allows anyone to enjoy a locally hand crafted beer without taking anything too seriously,” he said. “We also have always looked at ourselves as a place for people to learn more about brewing and really get into the weeds about all the great things that make up great beer. We’ve taken our time and haven’t rushed the process for crafting our recipes to creating our processes and taking the feedback we receive from our taproom and applying to our beers. For us it’s always about quality not quantity.”
While some of their talking points could sound cliché at first pass, spending any amount of time in the taproom makes it clear that the Cinder Block crew has never met a stranger, especially if those strangers enjoy drinking beer, talking about beer and talking about making their own beer. Sitting at the bar might as well be enrolling in brewery grad school—word is that one of the staffers is a microbiologist.
Even asking which beer you should try takes some further research. “For the novice craft beer drinker, try Northtown Native or Weathered Wit,” Schaffter responds. “For a Hop Head, grab a Block IPA or Prime Extra Pale Ale. For the dark beer drinker, you can’t beat Pavers Porter. Also don’t forget about our Hard Ciders as well.”
Fortunately, the to-do list gives you more time to appreciate the way Schaffter and his fledgling team have already embraced Kansas City’s outdoor enthusiasts.
For starters, the brewery is a stop on “Tour de Bier KC”—which is exactly what it sounds like—handing out free samples and donating earnings to help support Bike Walk KC. They also enjoy a close connection with Kansas City’s Northland running group and Running Well Store, offering discounts on the group run days that start at Cinder Block as well as providing free beers at the end of their Christmas 5K & 10K. And at the Ice Bowl Disc Golf Tournament, Cinder Block supplies beer and shares charitable donations.
The Cinder Block crew doesn’t just show up for events. They also love running and biking the in the northland and throughout the metro. Even playing disc golf can be a great way for them to relax.
So what can you learn about Kansas City from Cinder Block Brewing Company?
“There are a lot of exciting things going on right now in Kansas City,” Schaffter says, “with local artisan, craftsmen, and businesses creating an eruption of culture just waiting to be experienced. Kansas City is a very welcoming community with a multitude of activities and sites to take in and a very easy, affordable place to live.”