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Free State Brewing Co.
Active Beers: 44
Beer Ratings: 1,039
Beer Avg: 3.86
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
636 Massachusetts St
phone: (785) 843-4555
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 58 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Located on the main drag, this building is larger then it looks from the outside. You will be greeted by patio seated smokers as you enter the building.
The bar is relatively small, as this is more of a dining establishment. It also seems to be catering to more of the family and older crowd. The service at the bar was swift and warm.
The beer was good, however I didn't see many seasonal or specialty beers on tap.
I did not eat the food, but it looked good and seemed to be the place for food as it was packed on a Wednesday night.
Overall, I would reccomend this place if you are looking for a calmer evening and something good to eat...and of course a good beer!
06-10-2011 21:30:33 |
More by ndolover
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
This, most certainly, is last call. Rolled (Tumbleweeded, really) an hour out into Kansas, for beer and for beer, and are now working our way back East from wherest we came to drop Randy and run. Either everything in Kansas looks the same or I’m not actually moving. Or both. Are we making any ground here? I’m just so not getting to Omaha, let alone all the way out to Des Moines tonight...
Towards the north end of the strip on Massachusetts Street, people sittin’ curbside in a small corral umbrella’d. Do they know something? And in. Through to the far corner, an “L” shaped wood bar with swivel chair seating for 7 on the straight; the bend lost to service. A pair of copper bar towers at different points along the bar hold 8 taps each. Barback is a wall of shelved glassware & shirts, with cooler space below, and strangely unreachable cupboard space atop. Stucco cement wall to the ceiling above boasting a Kansas state flag. TV’s mounted on each end above the bar, and shirts displayed to one side with a slat board holding the tap list.
Just past where I’m sitting at the end of the bar, a small, 2 floored brew room behind glass angled, with a bar counter below on its windows. A row of fermenters to one side and a brick lined kettle & mash tun to the other. I’ve seen the guy go up and down the center ladder a few times now, and can see the keg stash from here. They make beer in there.
Rafter and wood plank ceiling sporting large copper pan drop lamps over the bar, track & solo baby spots about, and spinnys with glass lamps over the mezzanine, running over the front of the room and around the side behind us. Floor is a series of the butts of 4 x 6’s showing grain, cedar, along the bar; the rest of the room done in deep red concrete. Forward wall of block stone, done lightly with framed prints, and tall narrow vertical windows blinded up front. The seating pen pillared there below the mezzanine holds nearly a dozen booths & tables, some with shared benching.
9 beers up, they don’t deal a sampler, per say, but I had some samples of some not all, yes. Had to pick and choose and got through 6 of 9 (Octoberfest, light, with but rich & malty goodness; Harvest Ale, wild Citra & Centennial wet hopped, grassy; Ad Astra Ale, an Alt, malty sweetness; Big Sea ESB, deep amber color with a big malt backbone, nice hoppiness; Thomas Paine Porter, dark roastiness, hop bitterness; Oatmeal Stout, a little thinnish, oaty, silky). Didn’t have at the other 3 (Wheat State Golden, Thunderhead Pale Ale (APA), Copperhead Pale Ale) as I’m tight on time, but I liked what I had for the most part. The Octoberfest, Big Sea ESB & Harvest Ale were the best of ‘em.
And seriously, I was thinking about the Salmon Bruchetta, but Randy gave me the “Like you’re not going to have the gumbo”, and well, yeah, who are we kiddin’? Chicken, crawfish & Andouille sausage in a dark brown roux, with the obligatory okra, and a wonderful lump pilaf of barley, wheat & brown rice. It had some good heat. You know, that was one stellar bowl of gumbo. Randy had the black bean burger as Randy does. I could’ve should’ve would’ve asked him how his burger was but I was all about me (and gumbo) at that given moment, so, um, no.
Upstairs, the mezzanine holds dozen + booths & tables to forward over the canopied front windows. Off to the side, a small meeting room with old Kansas prints, and through to a totally unexpected back area.
It’s a large open space with a balcony running around 3 sides of the room, and a blue sky stucco ceiling. More tablings below, a corner fountain, and sprawling hanging plants. You do bands here? Really? Yeah, I guess I can believe that, sure.
I got ID’d, which at twice plus the drinking age, well, it is a college town. Good crowd this afternoon, many getting their growlers filled. My (5) 2oz samples cost a whopping $1.45, which is just criminal, or criminally insane, maybe. At these prices, I could never survive in this town, state, time zone. Good food and good beer, no complaints, except that I’m in Kansas (yes, I went there).
05-03-2011 16:50:08 |
More by slander
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $
This was one of my favorite haunts when I was in college. It's used to be a student hangout but is more of a townie joint now.
I loved sitting on the porch in the summer (their own little "beer garden") and enjoying a Cyclist or two.
The beer is very very good, brewed on premises. Not a huge selection, but there's enough there to keep you satisfied for a while. And the place is on Mass in Lawrence, so there's a ton of other cool stuff in the area.
If you come to Lawrence, this is one of those must-visit places.
03-30-2011 14:14:31 |
More by cwcolby74
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
This is the more popular of the two Lawrence institutions. And for good reason. They "got it goin' on". Good luck finding an open seat there during the weekend or after a KU game. Josiah Miller IPA is my usual, but I would recommend any of their beers to a newcomer. Really, they offer a wide array of styles and all of them have been great, save for a few styles that I don't particularly like. Another item that needs mention is the food. They have what has to be a world class chef and they offer a great variety of dishes to go along with their wonderful beer selection.
02-14-2011 02:41:17 |
More by BeenJammin
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
I took my girlfriend out to eat for her birthday to FSBC. I couldn't have had a better first experience. We got there early enough to be sat immediately. If you've been to Free State you know how the layout is and we had an amazing table in the middle of the balcony on the top, overlooking Mass. St. the fact that it was decorated for the holidays made the scenery even more beautiful. The building looks beautiful inside as well and is very clean.
We started with the Oatmeal Stout which is already a favorite beer at my house. Amazing beer from the tap, as well as the bottle. Not much else to say except great beer.
The service was good. The place got extremely busy shortly after we arrived. Other than our waiter be on the quite side in an increasing noisy environment, the service was exactly what was expected.
The selection was great. There's a little bit of something for everybody. The flavors range from Cajun to Italian to just normal pub food. THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!!!! Coupled with the presentation of the meal it was superb, and the price for two was under $40.
Overall I am very pleased with Free State. I will be back in the near future.
12-21-2010 17:55:02 |
More by midwestbrewers
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
My parents live in Eudora which is just outside Lawrence, so recently when we took a family trip to KS I was looking for places to go. I did some research online and found FSBC. Now, For me this place wasnt that bad based upon the food it was more about how the waiteress had no idea about what I was asking her about the beers they had on draft for that weekend. So after not having her full faith I decided to just grab a flight and go from there. The beers were not 1/2 bad. Infact their Saison was very good. The food here was excellent and not overly priced. They did show on the menu that they use their beer with their food which was a treat because their Cheddar Ale soup was amazing. I didn't go on a very busy night Fri or Sat so I cant say what its like during a very high paced night. Im sure a lot would suffer being in a college town. Overall, was a nice place during a slow lunch to grab a flight and talk with my wife and sister.
10-18-2010 03:07:00 |
More by FosterJM
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Updated review (July, 2011) after living in Lawrence over two years.
I seek two things in a brewpub: good food and, more importantly, good beer. Free State is incredibly over-hyped, although they're trying. In the long run it's the best thing going here, but it isn't what everyone says.
Free State is a prototypical "locals' favorite" kind of establishment. Who are these locals? I don't know, but there are lots of them, and they love it here. They're not beer lovers, and they probably have way too much civic pride (the biggest annoyance in Lawrence).
The atmosphere inside is nice when it's not overcrowded, which is never at dinner hours, Mondays, and weekends. The front room is awful and the "patio" is worse--this is where the "locals" hang out--smoking cigs, talking loudly, and wanting to be seen and heard. Many aren't even drinking. The building is huge and there is tons of seating in different rooms, some of which are quite cool. But usually I find myself elbowing through the door only to stand in a crowded, overlit room for 15 minutes or more--and I'm usually seated in this giant, crowded room.
The beer menu changes a lot, which is great. However, most of the choices are boring. They don't do many big beers and they aren't into hops--perhaps this is what I dislike the most. Lots of light to medium offerings. I've never seen anything on cask. Half the beers I order are either bad or unmemorable--often a balance problem. Occasionally I get something I really like, for example a dark lager on a recent visit. The stout is good.
The service is typically slow and steady. Seating is the main problem. Refills are often a challenge, which in my opinion is a serious problem for a brewpub. Food comes out quick enough.
The food is acceptable but, and some of it is good. They change the menu often, which is a plus.
I used to like 23rd St. better, because I like the bitter professor IPA (West Coast style) ... but after going there often I can't stand it--they (23rd) haven't changed their menu in 2 years, and their service has declined significantly. They don't try anything new. So now I have to give the not to Free State, even though I don't like it.
09-20-2010 05:52:11 |
More by boogles
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $
Stopped in on a Tuesday around 6:00 on a day it was 107 degrees outside. So hot that they were dumping ice water on the large brass handle that opens the front door (which faces the sun to the west).
Pretty crowded with people who all seemed to know each other and the staff. Laid back as one would expect in a college town. I thought the interior was a bit uninspiring for a brewpub. Building seems like it was something from the 70's.
I sat near the bar and had two beers - a hop jack ale with all nugget hops (bitering, aromatics, and dry hop) and the storm chaser stout. Both beers were pretty good but I was after a bitter and citrusy IPA. They also had an interesting beer that was a cross between a hefe and american pale ale.
I went to 23rd street afterwards and had the best Kansas IPA ever and would probably opt for 23rd over Free State in the future.
08-04-2010 20:10:11 |
More by Yetiman420
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I've eaten/drank here many times since I moved to Lawrence. It has remained one of my favorite places to not only eat, but to drink in Lawrence. What is better than drinking fresh locally crafted brews?
Free State focuses on really great simple ales and a few quite wonderful specials. Their stouts are really robust, and their ales ( such as Ad Astra and Stormwatch) are quite flavorful. Overall they brew some of the best beers you can get in Kansas - some say their beers are better than the local craft brewery, Boulevard.
02-08-2010 00:23:26 |
More by acelin
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
While visiting family in Kansas, I had the opportunity to visit Free State. I was very excited to get to Lawrence and check out this brewpub I had been hearing about. Once we arrived, I found it to be pretty crowded and the dining area seemed kind of small. After a short wait, we were lead to another area and seated. There was actually a whole other room with tables.
On to the beer. They had about 8-12 house brews on tap, and I got to try Santa's Helper (Belgian IPA), Lovejoy IPA, Ad Astra Ale, Ironman Imperial Stout, an Oatmeal Stout, and Old Backus barleywine. All of the beers were great and we left very happy with the entire experience. The waitstaff was quick and friendly. The food was fitting pub fare and tasty, too.
I can't wait to be back in the midwest and end up at Free State again.
12-31-2009 19:50:59 |
More by d0ggnate
Free State Brewing Co. in Lawrence, KS
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