As the first signs of spring touched down in Missouri’s capital, the city’s newest – and only – stand-alone brewery took flight.
Last Flight Brewing Co., owned by cousins Jared and Mark Cowley, opened in late March in Jefferson City, bringing a new variety of craft beer to the area. Located inside a former warehouse adjacent to the Greenway Bike Trail, the brewery offers guests a chance to enjoy the outdoors while imbibing.
“We want to provide a place to hang out with green space,” says Jared. “It’s been really nice, especially on sunny days, to see people hanging out with their families and such. It’s just a little bit of a different environment.”
Inside the industrial-style taproom, local art decorates the space and drafts rotate. Locals were immediately drawn to the place; Last Flight was so popular during its first month that it ran out of several beers – a surprise to both Jared and Mark. “I really thought we’d have enough beer to last us awhile, but that was not the case,” says Mark.
From the beginning, customer favorites have been the Jeff City Lager, a light beer reminiscent of a Budweiser or a Busch, according to Jared. Another front-runner is the Golden Strong, a heavier beer with notes of coriander, orange peel and “spices that people wouldn’t typically associate with beer,” explains Jared. “And it’s gone. I didn’t expect it to be so popular, but it’s gone.”
Once production catches up to demand, there will be 12 different beers on tap at all times, from classic lagers, ales and IPAs to more adventurous selections. “We’re going to try to make some things that you really can’t get, at least not around here; you’d have to go to Kansas City or St. Louis to get something similar,” says Jared.
In late April, Last Flight released a Hefeweizen, which boasts the smoothness of a lager and the hop of an IPA, along with a strawberry blonde ale and the Peach Wheat, an American wheat beer with a hint of peach. If you’re looking for a nonalcoholic option, try the brewery’s housemade root beer.
Last Flight plans to host a variety of daytime and evening events throughout the week, including food and beer pairings, beer yoga, trivia nights and art shows, and on most nights, you’ll find a local food truck, such as Rebel Tacos or La Chica Loca, parked outside.
During the planning stages of their business, Jared and Mark wrestled with the idea of including a restaurant in Last Flight’s footprint, but they ultimately decided to brew exclusively. “As much as I love cooking at home, I have no desire to try to cook food for a large amount of people,” says Mark. “My concern with doing food has always been that, when you run a restaurant, you need to keep people moving in and out so you can sell more food. What I think Last Flight offers Jefferson City is a place where you can come and hang out for three minutes or three hours, and nobody’s going to be pushing you through.”
An added benefit of going the brewery-only route was the opportunity for symbiotic relationships with other local entrepreneurs. “We can partner with these businesses that are already established,” continues Mark. “Let them do their thing, and hope that it kind of takes off.”
Right now, Last Flight’s brews are only available on tap at the brewery. Sit down and enjoy a drink at the bar, or grab a 64-oz growler or 32-oz crowler (a canned option) to take home or on a summer excursion.
In the next few months, though, you’ll be able to find Last Flight on draft at a few local restaurants and bars, which have yet to be announced. Keep an eye on the brewery’s Facebook page to see what beers, fare and events are up next.
Last Flight Brewing Co., 738 Heisinger Road, Jefferson City, Missouri, 573.606.3200, lastflightbrewing.com