Aero Plains Brewing is Wichita’s newest brewery, and last week, I got a tour (and stayed for a tasting.)
Please take a moment to watch my video tour.
The brewery, which is in an old warehouse at 117 N. Handley (just a block off of West Douglas), is simply huge, set up in an 11,250 square foot space, and beer sippers can choose from lots of seating options – at the bar, at tall tables, at picnic tables and in living room setups. There’s a big outdoor patio, too, that’s lined with lights.
Behind-the-scenes is also impressive. From the picnic table seats, visitors can see back into the brew house, which has 20 barrels that can create 620 gallons of beer at a time. The facility can produce about 10,000 barrels of beer a year and has room to expand if the owners are as successful as they hope. It even has a giant, 920-square-food refrigerated space just behind the bar.
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The owners have chosen an aviation theme for the interior to match the name. Along the bottom of the bar is a metal wing of an old airplane, and aviation-themed photographs line the walls.
Another cool feature: The end of the bar has a section that electronically can raise or lower because Minor, a former marine, promised his fellow veterans that even if they were wheelchair bound, they could still take a seat at his bar.
Aero Plains also will double as an art gallery and already has lot of local art lining the walls. Owners plan to start Final Friday events there soon.
As for the beers, I sampled them all and they were good. Minor describes his brewing philosophy as straight forward.
“My brewing philosophy is to make well-balanced and approachable beers,” he said. “Not everyone likes crazy hoppy beers or sour beers. Maybe they just want something that’s a little more traditional. I like the German brewing tradition. Every one of our beers has some type of German hops in it.”
So far, the beers on tap are Friendly Aviator, a classic, easy-drinking Northern German pilsner; Pretty Penny Pale Ale, which has a mild hops profile; Bingo’s IPA, which has more than 8 percent alcohol by volume; Dove Runner Red, a red wheat weizenbock; Concourse Porter; and Pride of the Island Irish Red.
The owners already have a distribution deal with House of Schwan, and some of their beers will show up on liquor store shelves soon.
Hours for the brewery are 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays: noon to midnight Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. The new food truck The Food Guy will be serving there today, Oct. 28, from noon to 5 p.m.