The plan was to open Nimble Brewing, the newest brewery in the Crossroads, the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. After twenty-plus years of homebrewing, Kevin Gittemeier, an accountant by day, was ready. He’d taken a week off work to see that the launch of his longtime dream project went smoothly. With a full bar, plenty of space and some TVs, he was looking forward to hosting fellow Jayhawks during March Madness.
Like so many things scheduled for The Lost Spring, that didn’t happen. Instead, Nimble Brewing quietly cracked its doors in early May, offering four-packs of milkshake IPA to go.
“We thought we were going to have, like, seven customers and our friends,” says Jodie Gittemeier, Kevin’s wife.
The couple posted on Instagram that Nimble was open, launched online sales and went to bed. They logged on in the morning to find they’d sold out in a few hours.
“Whatever he likes is what he brews,” says Jodie, with whom Kevin has six children aged ten to twenty. “What’s unique about him is his palette is so intense.”
“He can tell if the pH is off in any way,” says oldest daughter Mary Jane Gittemeier. “We can’t even get the pH strips to figure it out and he’s got it down.”
Longtime homebrewers tend to be traditionalists, which is why so many gravitate toward old English and German styles even when they go pro. Maybe it’s his background as an accountant, or maybe it’s raising six kids in Old Leawood, but Kevin has instead aimed to make the beer he doesn’t want to buy.
“I like all kinds of beer,” he says. “But I’ve always brewed what I wanted to buy in the store but it was too darn expensive. Stuff that’s twenty dollars for a four-pack? Yeah, I can make that,” he says. “With most of the traditional stuff, I can go to the store and buy a good six-pack of that for five bucks.”
Among the twenty-buck four-packs sold during the opening was Fluffhead Milkshake IPA with a burst of pineapple and a kiss of coconut. Kevin demonstrated a careful hand in balancing a beer that could have gone gimmicky.
For now, the Gittemeiers aren’t exactly sure when or in what format Nimble will be open for customers who want to sample Kevin’s wares on draft. If you’re going to open a new business during a global pandemic you have to be, well… nimble. However, they’re hoping to close the alley behind the bar to open up more space for distancing drinkers who want to work it into a crawl between the Crossroads’ enviable and growing collection of craft breweries.