Kickoff: Saying goodbye to KW's best basement bar (not in a basement)

Posted by Rob Hern on

It kind of just happened this week and it made me sad. Kickoff is  … done. This Wednesday I sat in my walk-in fridge bottling the collab beer I did with Bill and I was just sad. To be honest, it has always upset me that Kickoff didn’t get the love it deserved for being a unique bar in Kitchener-Waterloo. It's getting better, but we are still starving for bars that are not cookie-cutter shit holes. When SFBC first started sending beer to bars, it was on the list of 4: Kickoff, Arabella, Jane Bond, and the Elbow. The best part of that list is that 50% of those bars are carpeted. I fucking love it. People would ask where to get Short Finger beer and it was easy to give them a list (arguably it has gotten easier with the current crisis, but not in a good way). 

The one surprising thing that I always ran into was the sheer number of local KW people who did not know about Kickoff. I get that it was a student hangout (but not like Phils), but it was so much more. Over the years, it turned into a solid craft beer spot... I actually don’t know where or if I ever want to do our Wax Poetic poetry night with Sawdust City Brewing again?! 

I would always tell locals who hadn’t heard about Kickoff that it was my favourite place to drink on carpet. Maybe not the selling feature people were looking for, but it was an experience well worth having. I won’t blow smoke: drinking at Kickoff always felt a bit like drinking in a basement decorated by 21-year-old Troy, but it was cozy as hell. Bill, everyone’s favourite bartender, is a gem of a human who takes no shit; once you get him on your side, you’ll have his ear all night (and he’ll have yours).  If you are one of the locals that knows Kickoff - a hearty Cheers to you. If you are someone that never had the unusual pleasure of drinking there, it’s your loss (seriously). There will never be another Kickoff … there just won’t be.

We had one remaining 30L keg of the last collab beer that I did with Bill, Bill’s Morning Coffee. We released it for the birthday bash and it was available only at Kickoff. The plan was to send this last keg there when this pandemic shit was over but … I guess that isn’t a thing. So, I bottled it in the walk-in fridge and got cold and lonely ….and sad. After a 14-hour day at the brewery, I won’t be able to pop up to Kickoff anymore and let Bill keep the conversation flowing because I am tired, need a beer and am just not ready to go to bed.

We have 56 bottles of Bill’s Morning Coffee. It is a Barrel-Aged Amber Sour that was aged on blackberries and coffee. We’ll be selling it for $15/bottle. $10 from every bottle will be tipped out to Bill and Troy as a last thank you for giving us a welcoming place to drink, watch sports, play foosball, and talk shit.

***UPDATE: Bill's Morning Coffee sold out in record time. So quickly, in fact, that we didn't even get a chance to announce that it was live on the site. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for showing up and sharing the Kickoff love.***


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