Station Casino - Hofbräuhaus

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The odds are good you'll hit the beer jackpot at Station Casino's Hofbrauhaus Brewpub in a moat on the Missouri River in Kansas City. The brewpub offers it own entrance, complete with decorated dual grain silos. A circular copper-clad bar offers plenty of movable stools over a dark stone floor. Two five-tap ceramic and brass towers pour the house brews and fill the occasional growler on request. For non-beer drinkers the bar hides Bud Light safely out of sight. Terraced shelves of ceramic beer steins show that the emphasis in definitely on beer here. Overhead, a metal trellis dangles interwoven imitation hop vines bearing an over abundant supply of large hop cones. The 30 foot ceiling above is painted as a partly cloudy blue sky. A cleaver ruse to mislead drinkers into believing they are really spending their money at an outdoor Bavarian beer garden. Five TVs blast obnoxious commentators covering the favorite sports teams of the visiting fanatical fans. Smoking is prevalent at the bar but the high ceiling helps. Next to the bar stands the glass-walled brewhouse in its shiny glory, rows of Mug Club members' drinking vessels on display but safely out of reach. A sign at the door reads "All visitors must dip shoes in solution." This brewery takes its sanitation seriously. 20 foot tall copper-clad fermenters nearly dwarf the large Santa Rosa Stainless Steel brewing system. The spacious brewery is very well lit and contrasts dramatically with the glitz and glitter of the hoards of slot machines 30 feet away.

The perfect place to enjoy the food and beers is the beer hall next to the brewhouse. Large German city flags hang along the faux brick walls and almost create the impression of a traditional German beer hall were it not for the large-screen TV showing the Chiefs loosing to their latest opponent. The long, rugged wooden tables make you want to order a liter of the brewer's finest, but a pitcher will also due. The Vienna Velvet is dark amber in color with a medium body and appropriately malty sweet flavor. The Dark Lager is served too cold but after a while the malty aroma comes through followed by a nice hop crispness along with a malty sweetness. The Brewers Special is a clear mahogany with a thick creamy head and dry malt-over-hop flavor. A slight sour note is barely detectable. Look for this one to rotate in style to provide some German seasonals.

As if the average business does not have enough bizarre regulations to deal with just try mixing a brewing and gambling operation. Since the casino is technically a "boat" customers can only board (enter) at periodic intervals that coincide with odd-even two-hour "cruise" times. Such logic only a bureaucrat can appreciate! Fortunately, beer drinker need not join these mythical excursions to sample the wares, the brewpub is open daily until 1 AM. Customers should feel secure in knowing that the Missouri Gaming Commission has its full, taxpayer-funded force behind employee screening practices. One server reports being subjected to more privacy-crushing questions by "Gaming" then he experienced when joining the US Navy's nuclear submarine force. With piece of mind now assured, visitors should stake out a claim at the bar and call out any name seen on a tap handle. It's a sure thing.


Hofbräuhaus Brewery & Biergarten at Station Casino
8201 NE Birmingham Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64161
816-414-7000


Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - December, 1998


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