Free State Brewery celebrates its 24th anniversary this weekend



Now you can say youre training for the Iron Man.
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  • Now you can say you're training for the Iron Man.
Chuck Magerl could probably use a beer right about now. The founder of the Free State Brewing Co. is in the midst of a whole lot of projects. The new bottling line (which will quadruple Free State's bottling speed) at the brewery's production facility is set to come online in the next few days. The sold-out Kansas Craft Brewers Expo (you might be able to find a ticket on Craigslist) is next Saturday, and this weekend is the 24th anniversary for his Lawrence brewpub at 636 Massachusetts.

"We'll be tapping some of our brewers' reserves," Magerl says of the anniversary party. "And anybody that shares our birthday gets a discount based on their age. So far, the oldest we've had is an 86-year-old. I keep telling people I want a 101-year-old person to come in, so I can pay them."

After celebrating, Magerl intends to spend the next week dialing in the new bottling line and he's excited for what's to come in the third year of his bottling operation.

"We've doubled the space at our production site," Magerl says. "The new bottling line will allow us to ramp up our capacity. We can free up space to increase our variety of beers and expand our distribution range."

This spring, Free State will be looking to be on more taps in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as liquor-store shelves. And with the additional production capacity - Free State is on pace to produce 8,000 to 9,000 barrels this year - Magerl plans to roll out new beer styles and limited-release aged selections. Although a final decision won't be made for a few weeks, he hinted that the first styles could potentially include a Barleywine or an Imperial IPA in a 22 oz. or 750 ml bottle.

"We have a portfolio of beers that we're excited about," Magerl says. "The brewpub serves as our test kitchen. We have beers that we've been aging for eight years and barrel-conditioned beers that are approaching five years."

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