Hop on in. Brewery Emperial is one of Kansas City’s craft breweries, situated in the East Crossroads Arts District.
Editor Bella sat down with owner Keith Thompson to chat about the history of Brewery Emperial + what the beer biz has to offer for Kansas Citians (besides tasty brews).
Dust off the history books
Master brewer Keith Thompson has an extensive background in the beverage industry where his love + interest in craft beer was born.
After spending years at other spots like Free State Brewery and McCoy’s, Thompson ventured to open Brewery Emperial in 2016.
“Before, you would drive by this building and blink and miss it. The main building was here, but it was all covered with rod iron and basically storage,” Thompson told us.
“My favorite part about this spot was that it had dirt, which was hard to find downtown. We wanted a beer garden with communal feeling which brought us here.”
Earning its name
Understanding Brewery Emperial’s name requires a bit of unraveling. Part of its name is a historical nod to Imperial Brewery, a pre-prohibition era brewer known for its lager.
It’s also important to note that “Emperial” is a combination of two words: empirical and imperial:
- Empirical meaning “that’s a fact.”
- Imperial meaning majestic, of a demanding quality, or worthy of royalty.
In addition to the history book homage and dictionary deliberation, Brewery Emperial embraces a European tradition of “brewery” first — representing their intention to keep beers the primary focus of the biz.
How it’s made
Sadly, beer doesn’t grow on trees. At Brewery Emperial, they create all of their beer on site using a 15 bbl four vessel system that consists of a mash mixer, lauter, kettle, and hot liquor tank. Then, it transfers to custom-designed fermentors that pitch the yeast.
Single walled serving vessels flow directly to the taps from the cold cellar — that means you’re getting really fresh beer.
Plus, the fermenting and serving tanks were purchased from Custom Metalcraft in Springfield, MO, with the intent to keep the biz as Midwest-focused as possible.
A unique space
As if the on-site fermentation wasn’t enough, the atmosphere at Brewery Emperial is also one-of-a-kind. The spot features:
- An indoor bar + dining room
- Covered outdoor space
- A beer garden with various outdoor games