When I woke up on Saturday I was exhausted. The kind of tired where the back of your eyes hurt and makes you feel slightly sick to your stomach. I hate it when that happens. Knowing that our time is running out I was determined to press on and make the thirty minute drive to Weston, Missouri to explore the town (#17) and also partake in the one o’clock Weston Brewery tour (#12). That means I did two brewery tours in one week ya’ll…I am crazy!
Much like the main drag of Lawrence, Kansas, downtown Weston feels as though you have entered an era of days gone by. The main street, aptly named Main Street, is dotted with awning dressed storefronts selling local wares. One hotel and a few restaurants are mixed in between a bevy of antique stores, a candle maker (no really), a hardware store and even a local distilling company.
Since most places were closed when we arrived a little before ten, our first stop was The Weston Cafe for some breakfast. I failed to snap any photos but the place was a classic hole in the wall diner. Mismatched tables and chairs, a counter sporting a few bar stools and a few older local gentleman reading their morning papers (and smoking…inside…I was floored), and traditional country breakfast fare like biscuits and gravy.
Stopping off at spots like this can often yield fantastic results. Authentic soulful cooking which lacks all pretense and replaces it with hearty dishes full of flavor. Sadly this was not the case at the Weston Cafe. I went with the heart stopping, “Weston Benedict” which replaced the english muffin with a biscuit, the hollandaise sauce with sausage gravy, and had two sausage patties to boot. Sadly the biscuits and sausage were clearly pre-frozen and the gravy (which thankfully I asked for on the side) had no flavor of any kind. The hash browns weren’t half bad though.
With breakfast now sitting like a cholesterol laden rock at the bottom of my stomach, we hit Main Street for some window shopping. My favorite stop being 5B & Company Candles. A charming little outpost filled with a kaleidoscope of beautifully colored, and gloriously scented, votive candles. All of which are poured and scented on site. We picked up two votive’s for ourselves: a spiced cinnamon, and musky yet sweet fruit scented candle called Grandpa’s pipe. They filled our car with a delightful fragrance for the entire ride home.
A few other shots for ya:
After sufficiently exploring Main street we had a little time to kill. We picked up a map of the Historic Homes of Weston, at the Weston Visitors center, and took ourselves on a little drive to check out the Antebellum style homes which surrounded main street. I don’t have pictures of this portion of the day because I was too busy laughing at all of the stories Jürgen was making up involving each house.
Then the clock struck one and it was time to learn, once again, about how all beer begins with malt, water, yeast and hops. An interesting aspect of this tour was we were all filmed for a local ABC affiliate program which highlights Kansas City area businesses. They interviewed a few people but didn’t choose to talk to Jürgen or myself. I mean don’t they know who we are?
The Weston tour definitely fell on the more laid-back end of the brewery tour spectrum (which for the record, I am totally down with by the way). Our tour began in front of what used to be the largest ball of string in the world. No no, you read that right, a big ol’ ball of string. The former Brewery owner collected oddities, and the string remains.
We then we moved into their brewing space which contained maybe (I didn’t count) three mash tons and five fermenting tanks. A quick overview about how beer was made and then it was onto the “secret cellar” which is what makes their brewery tour unique.
Located underneath their on site pub, called O’Mallys, the secret cellar was used to make Lager style beers (which need to ferment at colder temperatures) back in the 1800’s. Weston has renovated this cellar to make two functioning bars underground, but they have one area they have left untouched which you can only get two by lifting up a staircase.
It was too dark to get any good photos but just imagine being in a big, dusty, musty crawl space lined with stone and that’s what the hidden cellar looked like. Still it created for a fun little adventure.
We concluded the tour with a tasting of six beers in their lower bar: Royal Lager (their version of BudLight…their words not mine), O’Mally’s Cream Ale (the first beer they made), Drop Kick Ale (a sort of American brown Ale and English style Ale combo), Festival Ale (brewed in the Brown Ale style), Rip Van Winkle (a German Bock style brew) and the O’Mally’s Stout (a dry Irish style stout). I am not a beer expert by any means, but I have to be honest and say I was not crazy about the beers at Weston. All of them felt a bit watered down to me and they lacked any sort of structure or balance of flavor. Still the tour only cost five dollars, and I think there is just as much to learn when you don’t like something as when you do. And who knows, perhaps my taste buds were just as exhausted as I was.
The one regret I have about the Weston trip is that I didn’t really start researching what to do until the night before. As a result of my negligent behavior, I missed the opportunity to schedule a tour of Green Dirt Farm. A Weston, MO based sheep farm that makes cheese, yogurt and grass-fed lamb. Their products have been featured on lots of menus across Kansas City and I just think it would have been such a cool experience. So friends, you heard it here first…if I am ever back in Kansas City I will make it my mission to pay Green Dirt Farm a visit.
After a day of biscuit and beer consumption, followed by attempting to tackle Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon, I had to come home and take a nap. What can I say, exploration can be exhausting sometimes.