This’ll be the best Mother’s day EVAR!

I try and leave important things to the professionals…or at least those who know better than I do. Brewing beer and interviewing people who brew beer are better handled by someone other than me, and luckily they’re both happening here in the Queen City of the Ozarks.

The news that the old Butternut Bread factory on South Grant was being turned into a production brewery was the best beer-related Springfield news in…gosh…since Springfield Brewing Company opened in 1997? That’s a heckuva dry spell, pun intended, and it’s about to be snapped by Mother’s Brewing Company some time this spring. The company has been all over social media, with an informative Facebook page and an active Twitter account. Mother’s Brewing also has a Web site, but it’s bare bones for the time being, save for links to their social media presence and a place to sign up for their e-mail list.

But what about the actual beer? What about the men behind the Mother? The Midwest Beer Collective has posted an informative Interbrew with brew master Brian Allen, owner Jeff Schrag and sales and marketing man Jeremy Wicks.

For an even more local spin on local beer, gives us Beer Buzz, with local blogger and home brewer Ben Stange. Dude knows his stuff, so it’s with great interest that I’ve read his three updates on Mother’s, including a mouth-watering account of his personal encounter with three flagship beers: “Towhead,” and American blonde ale; “Three Blind Mice,” a darker, malty beer; and “Li’l Helper,” and IPA. Well, Stange didn’t actually try Li’l Helper, because the sons of Mother’s had drank it all themselves – a great testimonial to the quality of the drink, as Stange points out.

Stange has also posted a series of Q&As with the team at Mother’s, starting with Wicks, and followed – today as a matter of fact – by Schrag. I can’t wait to read the Q&A with Allen.

Even more than that, I can’t wait to put Mother’s beer in my mouth. So until you can wet your whistle with an actual Mother’s, make sure you’re whetting your appetite by Liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter, and signing up for their e-mail blasts.

Spring can’t get here fast enough.


Aunt Martha gives a whole new meaning to hotcakes

Aunt Martha's Pancake House

Fire has damaged Aunt Martha's Pancake House, but it can't destroy Springfieldians' burning passion for flapjacks.

A Springfield institution – featured in this very blog’s banner – caught fire Jan. 13. Aunt Martha’s Pancake House will now be shut down for a short period of time as the assess and repair the damage.

Don’t worry, though. Most of the food was undamaged, the fire was contained and they could be re-opened this weekend.

According to the Springfield News-Leader:

Firefighters were told the blaze started when plumbers used a torch to thaw a frozen pipe, Springfield Fire Department Capt. Steve Stinnett said.

That’s a huge relief. I was worried it was a kitchen fire, because the last time I ate at the Pancake House, I actually watched a dude smoke a cigarette as he cooked my blueberry flapjacks.

And you gotta believe me when I tell you, those pancakes were menthol-icious.


Heroes to the rescue for southwest Springfield

Heroes Coffee

Coming to the rescue of coffee lovers in southwest Springfield

There’s been a void in southwest Springfield since Cassil’s Coffeehouse closed its doors. We’ve been grossly underserved when it comes to coffee.

Sure, there’s a Starbuck’s kiosk inside the Price Cutter Plus at Kansas and Republic, but some of us would much rather buy local. That means outside of Mudhouse’s location inside the Library Center (with hours limited by TLC’s operating hours), you have to go downtown to get the good stuff. That’s not always an option, at least not a good one.

But the appropriately-named Heroes Coffee has come to the rescue. They’re now operating inside the Pasta  Express in the Golden Pond center, on Republic Road between Scenic and Golden. I love their location at Chestnut and National (conveniently located near Drury for me) and they have the best iced coffee in the 417, hands down. The coffee nerd in me is rejoicing.

Heroes owner Tim Ferguson was kind enough to give me some info via e-mail and shed some light on the situation.

“At Heroes, our main business is actually helping others open their own coffee shop, especially within another business,” said Ferguson. “Since we are a roaster and distributor for many of the things used inside a cafe, we are uniquely setup to be a one-stop shop for a cafe owner.”

Ferguson said the cafe-within-a-restaurant setup at Pasta Express is a little unique for them – their Web site claims locations inside Cox South Hospital as well as supermarkets in Bolivar, Sedalia, West Plains, and Pittsburg, Kans.

“As we do with several other businesses, we have a licensing agreement with the owner of Pasta Express that allows them to use our branding and recipes,” said Ferguson. “We expect this to be a real win-win-win. It should increase the revenue of Pasta Express by allowing them to reach a broader customer base with their current building, it helps build the Heroes Coffee brand and reach in the marketplace, and it allows the poor deprived coffee lovers in southwest Springfield an opportunity to enjoy some great coffee close to home!”

And enjoy it I have. I stopped in the other day to warm up with a latte (The HERO, dark chocolate and toffee), which was great…except for the fact they were out of soy milk. It was a little strange ordering coffee inside a pasta joint, but I can get used to it. The Heroes-Pasta Express campus has one perk that Cassil’s couldn’t offer, though: a drive-through window, which an employee told me opens at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday. She also said demand for coffee has been a bit on the slow side, but it’s likely because it’s a new concept and most people don’t know it’s there.

The menu will look familiar to anyone who’s been to Heroes Coffee before. There are lattes and cappuccinos, along with brewed coffee, espresso and Americanos. Other warm drinks include hot chocolate, chai latte, chocolate spiced chai latte, and hot tea. There are blended drinks for sale, too, as well as Italian sodas.

The Verdict: Okay, so it’s not a stand-alone coffee shop, with coffee shop hours and coffee shop ambiance, but this is a victory for southwestsiders. If you need a boost on your way to work, they open early and you don’t have to get out of your car – a plus during cold snaps like this. The biggest thing to me is the product is both high quality and local, so I feel good about where my money is going.

Now that Heroes and Pasta Express have filled the void, it’s up to the consumers to determine the next step. My hope is that business will be good enough the Pasta Express locale could justify hosting some bonafide coffee house events, though that’s not likely in the short term.

“There are not any plans currently for live music or events similar to those scheduled at the Chestnut and National location, but who knows, if enough customers are interested a movement could be started,” Ferguson said.

Well, then, let’s get a movement going! Viva la coffee revolucion!


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