brewery emperial in crossroads arts district is ecelctic with blue walls and artsy decor
Brewery Emperial

What Is Crossroad’s “Brewer’s Alley”?

Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District, located right in the heart of it all, is a locally beloved blend of urban art and culture – and it has increasingly become a sanctuary for craft beer aficionados.

In fact, a portion of the neighborhood has been dubbed “Brewers Alley” due to the high concentration of breweries all within walking distance of one another.

Those looking to do a local brewery crawl have found their haven in the Crossroads. And several of them are considered the best breweries in Kansas City.

Breweries To Visit In Brewer’s Alley

Whether you’re capping off an afternoon of visiting the local shops or embracing your inner artist at First Fridays, these eight Crossroads breweries will be ready to welcome you with a frothy brew!

1. Border Brewing Company

Border has been a local favorite since opening in 2015 – in fact, high demand meant that they were able to move to a larger location down the block from their original building. The new building is a former warehouse with industrial-chic decor and a backyard-style mulched patio out back. 

Their wide range of beer styles – from the high-octane Shiftie IPA to their lighter Strawberry Blonde – as well as cider and seltzer, ensures that anyone will find their offerings to be approachable. 

The brewmaster embraces creativity in his process, which leads to seasonal and unique offerings, such as the Campfire Porter, a favorite in the cooler months.

Pro Tip: Visit on Thursdays from 4p – 9p to test out a new small batch brew.

local border brewing facade is pink with roll up windows
Border Brewing Company

2. Torn Label Brewing Company

With two spaces under one roof, visitors can choose between the original brewery taproom with its cozy wooden accents, or the public house, much the opposite with an open, airy atmosphere. The public house features a scratch kitchen, Tacos Valentina, an excellent taqueria that uses heirloom corn from Mexico. 

All about local culture and community, they have featured several brews in collaboration with other local businesses, resulting in local flavors being infused in each glass. Be sure to try their Monk & Honey crafted with locally sourced honey and the House Brew coffee wheat stout.

Torn Label is the furthest away from the main district in Crossroads – if you are walking, you may wonder where exactly you’re going. You’ll get there, and it’ll be worth the two extra blocks. 

kansas city microbrewery flight with all light beers
Torn Label Brewing

3. Brewery Emperial

Whether you choose the intimate, kitschy indoor bar or the spacious outdoor beer garden, complete with firepits, you’re sure to feel at home. Since opening in 2016, Brewery Imperial is typically busy in the evenings, and for good reason.

The large picnic tables in the beer garden are great for groups – and dog-friendly, too!

brewery emperial in crossroads arts district is eclectic with blue walls and artsy decor
Brewery Emperial

They brew great ales and lagers – the Biscuit Ale being a local favorite.

For those who aren’t feeling a frothy brew, they have an excellent craft cocktail menu. And you’ll want to arrive hungry because their gastro-pub inspired menu, featuring seasonally and locally sourced dishes, pairs perfectly with their beer selection. 

If you plan to visit in the evening, you may want to consider a reservation. 

brewery emperial dog friendly kansas city with chocolate lab sitting on gravel
Brewery Emperial

4. Double Shift Brewing Company

With a beer list that is ever-rotating, this 5-barrel brewhouse features small-batch offerings that are approachable and popular amongst locals. The decor is inspired by firehouses – a nod to the founder, a former firefighter himself. 

The brewery operates out of a former bicycle shop complete with garage doors that are frequently open during the warmer months.

While they embrace traditional brewing methods, they enjoy a flair of creativity with offerings such as Chai it Out, a collaboration with local Equal Minded Cafe.

5. Casual Animal Brewing Company

With arguably the best atmosphere of all the Crossroads Arts District breweries – a modern, airy space with wooden decor, high ceilings, and plants galore – Casual Animal focuses on quality over quantity.

Once you order a flight, try your hand at darts, shuffleboard, or one of the many board games they keep stocked. 

They have a good range of small-batch brews, from stouts to lagers, making them approachable for any level of beer drinker. The Local Motive pale ale is especially notable. 

Sometimes featuring live music, the evenings can get crowded. They offer pre-packaged bar snacks as well as outside food. 

We love their “brew good, do good” mantra – they donate part of sales to local causes. 

kansas city craft brewery casual animal front wooden porch
Casual Animal Brewery
casual animal interior with concrete floors and wooden tables
Casual Animal Brewery

6. Nimble Brewing

Occupying a converted old print shop, the taproom retains elements of its past with vintage presses serving as decor. It’s on the smaller side, making it an intimate option for conversation over a pint – or three. 

Their single-barrel system ensures their offerings are constantly rotating. While they serve traditional brews, they also branch out into experimental offerings using locally sourced fruits and unique spices.

If you’re not into beer, order one of their craft cocktails from their full agave bar. 

This small craft brewery is family-run, and you can truly feel the care they put into every glass. 

Pro Tip: Nimble is typically open later than the other breweries.

7. City Barrel Brewery + Kitchen

More than a brewery, City Barrel is held in high esteem as a local restaurant dishing out regionally sourced and seasonal cuisine. While they have many brew offerings, wild sour ales are a focus and point of pride for their brewmaster.

There’s plenty of space between the airy taproom, which offers views of the brewing process, and the second-level barrel deck. Despite that, you’ll want a reservation if visiting during the evening.

They are community-minded, sourcing not only their ingredients locally, they worked with local craftsmen to build custom tables and chairs made of Missouri white oak.

While they have several local favorites, the hazy IPRA, Rad AF, is a standout.

Cheers!

If you’re looking to visit several notable breweries all within walking distance, Brewer’s Alley in Crossroads Arts District is your place. While the breweries vary in ambiance and offerings, they all have a good sized crowd during peak times – a testament to the brewing culture in Kansas City. 

A note that parking can get difficult, especially during evenings. There is street parking available as well as some paid lots. Be patient, you’ll find a spot eventually.

In addition to Crossroads Arts District, there are several other neighborhoods with breweries worthy of a visit.

In addition to being home to great breweries, Crossroads has some of the best restaurants in Kansas City. So, once you’ve finished your Crossroads brewery crawl, make sure you stay for a memorable dining experience!