Find Summer Refreshment at These 8 RiverNorth District Craft Beer Taprooms

Published by Pete Dulin on

Summer is right around the corner, bringing rising temperatures and humidity.

North Kansas City’s RiverNorth District has plenty of places to cool off with a craft beer when it is hot, hot, hot.


Big Rip Brewing Company has led the local craft brewing movement in North Kansas City and recently celebrated its sixth anniversary. The taproom’s beer list changes regularly. Several beers with lower alcohol by volume (ABV) include Death By Stereo 2019 Coffee Kolsch, Drake Equation: Loral Pale Ale, and Zelda’s Vanilla Cream Ale. Gluten-free? Big Rip has you covered with its gluten-free Satine Raspberry Ale. Select beers are available for purchase in cans. Order food from Hawg Jaw Que and Brew located next door to the taproom for a quintessential local experience – craft beer and barbecue.


Calibration Brewery has several summer sippers on tap, including Let It Flow Golden Ale and Some Kind of Wonderful Hefeweizen. Seasonal brews Whole Lotta Love Grapefruit IPA and Golden Slumbers Kolsch/Weiss are thirst quenchers. All of the beers are named after rock song titles. Can you guess the band/artist while sipping on a pint? Calibration also has gluten-free cider, flights, and food on its menu, ranging from pulled pork nachos to a steak smash burger.



One of North Kansas City’s newest breweries, Callsign Brewing was founded by a veteran to honor heroes. Beers are named after the call signs of lost military aircraft, serving as a tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country. The 10-barrel brewery and taproom is adorned with military decor and a chalk tribute wall, where guests can pay homage to their heroes. Staples include year-rounders like Huey American Wheat, Blonde Bombshell Ale, and Attack IPA. Seasonals such as W.A.S.P. Waffle Ale: A Breakfast Beer with its maple vanilla finish don’t last long so fly into the airfield hanger-style taproom soon.



Head to Cinder Block Brewery to relax over fresh draft beer and conversation with friends and co-workers. The brewery often has a ball game on televisions behind the bar. The taproom is a popular destination on Tuesday evenings for a lively round of Geeks Who Drink trivia. Of course, the beer is a draw, too. Block IPA and Northtown Native are easy-drinkers like most of the lower-ABV beer and cider on tap. Hazy IPA fans can opt for Hop Cuddle. Go big (but slowly) with bourbon barrel-aged Black Squirrel Russian Imperial Stout, topping 12-percent ABV. Cinder Block’s kitchen serves up beer-friendly dishes, such as beer queso, waffle fries, and chicken sandwiches.


Whether you’re thirsty for coffee, beer, or cocktails, Colony KC has it covered. The coffee shop highlights coffee beans from various local roasters. Cool off with a cold brew, chilled chai, or tea from Hugo Tea, a tea importer based in North Kansas City. The bar serves a rotating selection of local and national craft beer on tap and in cans. Classic cocktails like negroni, paloma, and pisco sour await. Or consider a house specialty, such as the J. Rieger whiskey-based Hope You Like Jammin’ Too, accented with Big O Ginger liqueur, blueberry jam, and lemon. Hungry? Grab pickle chips, Buffalo loaded fries, Wagyu burger or black bean burger from Beerded Man’s Kitchen located next to the bar.


Grain to Glass sells homebrewing supplies and hosts beer-related classes, but the shop also has a handful of seasonal beers on tap and selected packaged craft beer in its refrigerated case. Drop in for a pint and stock up for the weekend. Owner Jennifer Helber and staff also provide helpful information about homebrewing supplies. Grain to Glass is a handy place to shop for gifts for the beer lover in your life.


As an independent theater, Screenland Armour continues to be a hotspot for a wide selection of craft beer on 20 taps and in bottles/cans. The family-friendly theater is the cultural lifeblood of RiverNorth District, a place for people of all ages to experience the magic of first-run, indie, art, and cult films. Retreat from the heat in their state-of-the-art theater, sip on a cold beverage, and nosh on popcorn, pizza, or grilled cheese sandwiches with delightful names like Attack of the Killer Cheese and Mr. Jalapeno’s Opus.


Velo Garage and Tap House combines a taproom and bike shop under one roof. Meet up with fellow fans of craft beer and cycling. The bike shop not only sells bikes and cycling gear, but also offers repair and service. Cyclists meet at Velo on Thursdays for rides throughout the city. Simply want a place to hang? Kick back over shuffleboard, darts, and table tennis. Winner buys the next round.

Join us for Part Two, as we take a look at some of North Kansas City’s classic neighborhood bars, unique new establishments, and other places in the RiverNorth District to grab a beer!


Pete Dulin

Pete Dulin is a Kansas City-based writer who covers food, craft beer, wine, and business. His work has appeared in Zócalo Public Square, NPR, Feast, The Kansas City Star, River Front Times, Visit KC, Flatland, The Boston Globe, Thinking Bigger, and many other publications. He is the author of Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Across the Heart of Kansas and Missouri, Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland, and KC Ale Trail.

1 Comment

Find Summer Refreshment at These 8 RiverNorth District Bars (Part 2) » RiverNorth District · June 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm

[…] some higher gravity craft beers? Check out Part 1, where we visit the 8 craft beer havens of North Kansas […]

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