Free State Brewing Co.
Active Beers: 48
Beer Ratings: 1,161
Beer Avg: 3.9
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 57 | Show All Ratings:
4.44/5 rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
One of the cooler places to visit when in the Lawrence area. It is downtown. Very walkable, and very crowded. Have been in there on a Thursday during summer (so less college studens from KU) and was there on a Friday during lunch hours in October. The place was packed, absoltuely packed both times. That means something good is happening at Free State.
The beers are unique and consistently and across the board good. Need to keep something dark on tap, but otherwise good brews all around.
The food was very, very well prepared. I can not speak to the local, sustainable or organic -ness of the foods. But what I had was prepared very well and had a unique Lawrence flavor. Anytime you are in Lawrence, Free State needs to be at least the first place you stop.
10-12-2013 03:47:15 | More by wapcap
4.35/5 rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
If you like personal space and a nice, quiet dinner, Free State is not the place for you.
But if you like a bustling atmosphere filled by locals who appreciate good beer and a bit of raucous fun, then you have to make a pilgrimage to this Lawrence, Kansas brewing icon.
I've been here so many times that it seems silly to review based on a single visit, so I will review based on my overall impression from years of going here. My last visit was, alas, a month and a half ago. For starters, as noted, it is very noisy. The main room has lots of hard surfaces, including a massive wall of windows looking into the brewing tanks, and there is a loft, so it is a two-story room. This all makes for a place for lots of noise and echoes. The bar area is often crowded with people either waiting for tables or sampling the beers, but there is a nice porch on the front of the brewpub that allows for a little more space and ample people-watching in warmer weather.
The selection of beers relies on a list of everyday classics, interspersed with some seasonal favorites. To me, Free State has always struck me as a fusion of German and American brewing traditions. Ad Astra altbier and Free State Golden kolsch are a couple of their long-standing favorites (that they now bottle), but they also have a healthy rotation of various IPAs and stouts. And there is nothing quite like sampling them from the source.
The food is actually quite delicious, and they work hard at incorporating beer into the menu items. Their best dish for my money is the fish and chips, a pub staple. But you really can't go wrong with anything on the menu.
Service is hit or miss, but never bad. Sometimes it's excellent, and other times it's just fine. And it's never bad enough to ruin the great food and wonderful beers. Fun fact: Free State had to petition the state to become the first legal brewery in Kansas after the repeal of Prohibition.
05-15-2013 20:56:44 | More by LambicPentameter
3.95/5 rDev -4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 5 | selection: 3.25 | $$
Another stop on my Kansas City BBQ trip. The atmosphere was fantastic as expected in a college town. The people were also top notch, friendly and courteous in almost every way. I found the beers for the most part to be ok, but not top shelf as others I have tried on the Pacific coast and the Midwest. Still it was fun place to visit and I have deviated from the consensus before. I do intend to stop again for another round in the future as the reviews are very strong on here, with Lawrence seeming to be a very fun town.
03-15-2013 01:09:05 | More by MilwaukeeCrusher
4.08/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
The food is just alright, but the beer is top notch, and the people are some of the best you will find anywhere. The beer prices are excellent especially when you get to try some of the barrel aged selections. Try to make sure you go when they have their Imperial stout on, and/or their barleywine.
02-22-2013 02:13:28 | More by mlee117
Northwest Territories (Canada)
3.9/5 rDev -5.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Was in town to watch KU football get steamrolled. There was a pretty good crowd at the restaurant, and it was still 4 hours to kickoff. We waited about 20 minutes or so for a table. They have a nifty text messaging system to tell you when the table was ready. I liked that.
The bar had a few spots open so we grabbed some beers while waiting. The brewery has kind of an open arrangement. It's sort of a modern ski lodge type theme. Parking is a pain in the ass since pretty much every spot in town is metered, and there's not many open spots anyway.
They appear a pretty decently sized brewery for a restaurant. If you check the reviews, they have an insane number of beers past and present. On tap there might have been eight or 10 beers.
Overall, the beer was on the high end of average, low end of good for a craft beer. That's not a bad thing considering I'd say it was about the 60-75% percentile of all beers I've ever had on an aggregate.
The service was good. We had plans on doing some serious work at an open bar function later in the day so kept lunch light. We ordered a few starters. I had a deviled egg platter. I don't even remember the last time, other than a Lutheran wedding or funeral, I had a deviled egg outside my home. It was quite a treat. Fantastic. It came with sourdough toast, potato salad, home made pickled beets. I hate pickled beets. Hate them. But these were amazing. I had to try them. It is the one and only pickled beet I have EVER liked and did not retch (literally retch) after eating. If that isn't an endorsement, I don't know what is.
Onion rings were nicely hand battered. A bit greasy, however. Nice stone ground mustard to compliment the toast. They have a nice arrangement of beer friendly platters. Like cheese and fruit, wings, etc.. really nice variety of starters.
As for the beer, I tried about 6 or 8 of them. They were $3.75 for about a 10-12 ounce tap. All served in the appropriate stemware, I might add. Hands down the best they had on tap was a C4 Imperial Black IPA. Outstanding. The worst, and I would avoid this at all costs, was some wheat beer. It was awful. I don't remember the name.
I don't know that I would return here on a gameday without plenty of time to kill, but any other time, I would certainly go back. Great place.
09-02-2012 22:46:39 | More by Living816
3.83/5 rDev -7.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Stopped by on a Saturday for lunch, was pretty busy. Makes me wonder how packed this place is when U is in session
The place had a nice open & airy feel, but not a place that just reeks of atmosphere
The quality of the beer ran from good (most) to very good of the 5 I tried
Service was good & friendly
8 Beers on tap one lager & 7 ales
The food was tasty & there were many items left on the menu I will try in the future
Beers & food weren't too pricey, niether was the grower I purchased ($11 for a jug &a fill )
Not a place I would go out my way to hit again unless Bachus is on tap. But will visit this again when near Lawerence
07-08-2012 23:17:22 | More by russpowell
3.6/5 rDev -13%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
Stopped by Free State on a 1/2 day road trip to Lawrence and Topeka while visiting a friend in KC.
It's in the cute downtown area of Lawrence. We found easy street parking and fed 50 cents to a meter.
There's a nice patio space out front, and the interior is great. Big open space with some lofted seating and brewing equipment behind glass. Unfortunately it was busy when we got there, so they led us into a drab back room.
Beer selection was pretty good. Eight on tap, including a decent IPA.
The food was not that great. The burger was a little dry and served only with lettuce, on an onion bun that was a bit burnt. The fries were good though. The thai noodles were bland and just tasted like soy sauce.
Our service was good enough, especially considering they were busy.
10-04-2011 00:54:57 | More by shivtim
4/5 rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
A - Free State overall is a great place. It is situated in a nice old brick building right on Mass St. There is a lot of character to the place, and has a nice neighborhood pub feeling to it.
Q - I found the quality (of beer) to be excellent. I tried the Copperhead, A blend of Champage and hibuscus ale (I forget the name and don't recognize anything in the list) and the Cyclone Black Lager, I had intented on trying more but the Cyclone was so good I got suck on it and had a couple. My only gripe is the lack of a flight offering, would have been great to work through more of their line-up.
S - Service was good, no complaints.
S - Beer list and menu have a wide variety of choices, sure to appeal to anyone. I had the fish and chips which were great, delicious beer batter, obviously.
F - As mentioned above found the variety to appeal to many different tastes and I found the quality of my entree to be quite good. It is also hard to go wrong with a plate of deep-fired food.
V - Found it to be a pretty reasonable value, left full and with a nice buzz for just over $20 (not including tip).
07-28-2011 17:14:59 | More by therobot
4.14/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $
It was mobbed here on a Saturday night, and despite that the bartenders were quick and helpful. We stopped in just to give it a look see and have a beer at the bar. Lots of groups in here, diverse folks, families, couples, all types really. Two floors, dining area upstairs, tables and bar below, with a view of the brewing equipment behind the hanging board of house beers.
The selection was good, a range of styles with a seasonal English Strong Ale "Stingo" and a pair of tasty IPAs. They also serve a house radler (blend of pale wheat and lemonade) on tap called "Cyclist". Other year round favorites were on, like Ad-Astra, Copperhead, and a seasonal Marzen and Pilsner. They keep their rotating drafts updated online.
The space was open and airy with the second floor overlooking the bar area. In the restrooms were German ads for hops, and a map of hop-producing areas in the Pacific NW region... pretty cool. Overall a fun place, bustling on the weekends. Will return to eat and sample more Free State beers one day.
06-27-2011 16:10:50 | More by emerge077
4/5 rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
My wife loves this place. We have been numerous times while visiting family in Kansas and even more while we spent this past year living in Kansas.
I think its good. Its the best around this area, I am pretty sure of that. I did notice some new places, so I should hit them before all my stuff is out of Kansas.
Atmosphere and quality are great. The location is prime on the main drag of Lawrence and its the kind of place you just want to hang out in and kill some time. . . and a few pints.
Anyway, the food here is good. The beer is good, but there have been a couple clunkers over the many visits. I would go ahead and say that this place is a "don't miss" if you are within an hour for more than a few days. If you are in Lawrence and need to eat one meal. . . stop in. As far as nationwide, I think my review numbers are pretty fair. Its good, but you have to leave room for a few places above it.
06-23-2011 00:21:10 | More by Ragingbull
Free State Brewing Co. in Lawrence, KS
92 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.