Wichita Wednesday - The Hopping Gnome & Central Standard Brewing

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
For the longest time, when you wanted a local beer in Wichita you had one choice – River City Brewery. And don’t get me wrong, I love RCB! Their wheat beer is one of my favorites. Then Wichita Brewing Company came along with another bunch of great beers and delicious pizzas.

But a new crop of craft breweries has been popping up, helping Wichita earn a little more respect with all of us craft beer lovin’ millennials. These local breweries have made for some pretty great weekend sipping.

The Hopping Gnome is a great little brewery right in the middle of the Douglas Design District. The space is small with exposed ceilings and brick, but the beers are big on flavor and their gnome game is spot on. As a former gnome-loving child, I immediately fell in love with this place when I walked in. I didn’t even need to taste their beer, but when I did, I loved it more.

Their Hopping Gnome motifs are so great - you can purchase shirts, glasses, growlers, and stickers with the cute little logo. The bar features illustrations from one of my favorite childhood books, “Gnomes.” Did I mention how much I love the gnome theme?! There are even boy and girl gnome signs on the restroom doors. 

Ok. On to the important stuff – the beer! Their beer is really good. The first time Mike and I went they only had the ICT IPA and Frank’s Oatmeal Stout on tap. Both are beers that Mike and I typically wouldn’t go for, but we were anxious to check the place out, so Mike chose the IPA and I went for the Stout – both were really fresh and full of flavor. When we returned later this summer, we both agreed the The Earl of ESB (Extra Special Beer) was our favorite.

The Hopping Gnome doesn’t serve food but every time we’ve been there they’ve had a food truck parked outside. It makes a great stop for a pre-dinner beer when you’re out and about, too.

Central Standard Brewing’s space is really, really great. If you want a cool place to hang out on a lovely fall evening with a flavorful beer, it’s the perfect stop.

Located just south of Douglas on Greenwood Street, CSB has a large patio area with picnic tables, twinkling string lights and whiskey barrels. As you walk in you immediately notice the cool factor – a marquee light sign that reads the beers, a wide variety of retro furniture, and huge garage doors that open up the brewery to the outdoors on nice evenings. My favorite CSB beer so far is Tawny Dancer. (their beer names are great!)

Another cool thing? You can buy a Crowler. Yep, you heard me. Not a Growler, but its smaller cousin in 32 oz. can form. You pick the beer, they seal it up and label it, and before you know it you’re walking out the door with a freshly canned beer. They claim that they are the only brewery in Kansas where you can purchase one. It’s pretty fun.

If you’re hungry there are a few meat and cheese trays, and a food truck parked outside. But really you’re going for the beer and the atmosphere, which is just fine.

I’m excited to go back to both of these new breweries – especially as the seasons change and different beers will go into rotation.

Go try them out if you haven’t! Happy sipping!  
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