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Kansas Tourism: South-central Kansas is full of craft breweries that provide a unique taste of the state.

March 1, 2024

7 Slides

By Colby Sharples-Terry

If there's one thing Kansans know how to do right, it's brewing a good beer. Welcome to the heartland's best-kept secret — the thriving brewery scene of south-central Kansas.

This article is your friendly guide to the Sunflower State's liquid gold, and I'm here to share the tales of those adventurous souls who make tourism a hoppy affair by embarking on a sudsy pilgrimage through the breweries that define our landscape. (With the help of a friendly designated driver, of course.)

Our adventure kicks off at Walnut River Brewing Co. in the charming town of El Dorado. Nestled near the Walnut River, this brewery is a hidden gem that captures the essence of Kansas hospitality.

Known for its award-winning Warbeard Irish Red, Walnut River Brewing Co. offers a warm and inviting atmosphere to savor its finely crafted beers. The taproom provides the perfect backdrop to enjoy a pint while soaking in the laid-back vibe of Eldorado.

Next on our itinerary is Three Rings Brewery in McPherson, a place where tradition — over 500 years to be exact — meets innovation. Step into a world where old-world brewing techniques blend seamlessly with modern creativity. The Three Rings team crafts an eclectic array of beers, from their core series to experimental small batches that push the boundaries of flavor. Be sure to check their events calendar for fun events such as Trivia Night or Food Truck Fridays.

Our journey leads us to the heart of Great Bend, where Dry Lake Brewing has been making waves in the craft beer scene. With a commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, Dry Lake Brewing delivers a farm-to-glass experience. The brewery pays homage to Barton County with fun names for their rotating taps, such as Cheyenne Bottoms Up and Hops on the Range.  Visitors can enjoy the beer garden, creating the perfect setting for sipping on a cold one.

Venturing right along, we arrive in Hutchinson, home to not one, but two standout breweries. Salt City Brewery, a community-driven establishment, is where locals and visitors alike gather for a taste of handcrafted goodness. Their name derives from their home city’s nickname, Salt City, as Hutch is the salt mine mecca of Kansas. Stop in to try their four core beers and a variety of seasonal taps.

Meanwhile, Sandhills Brewing, known for its innovative and artisanal approach, introduces beer enthusiasts to unique flavor profiles inspired by the surrounding sandhills that the region is known for. Their bird-themed beers pay homage and respect to the native birds of Kansas and makes a case on how a brewery can affect conservation efforts. 

As our beer expedition continues, we make our way to Cheney, where Hank is Wiser Brewery stands as a beacon for beer aficionados. This family-owned brewery combines a passion for brewing with a commitment to community sustainability.

Named after the founder, Hank spent 35 years traveling and exploring breweries around the nation before his dream of opening his own place happened in 2005. The laid-back atmosphere encourages patrons to unwind and savor the moment, which is fairly easy when barbecue and beer is involved.

Our final destination brings us to Winfield, where Ladybird Brewing adds a touch of elegance and grit to the craft beer scene. This woman-owned brewery embraces a spirit of creativity and empowerment, reflected in both its beers and the welcoming ambiance of the taproom. Serving as a community hub for the Winfield locals, you are sure to fit in with the laid-back and welcoming vibes of these south-central folks.

Cheers to the brews, the views and the unforgettable moments all to be found in the SC!           

Sharples-Terry is public relations and communications manager for Kansas Tourism. Kansas Tourism aims to inspire travel to and throughout Kansas to maximize the positive impacts that tourism has on the state and local communities. For more trip inspiration and to order a free Kansas Travel Guide, head to travelks.com.

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