Opening Callsign Brewing in mid-June has been an extended mission for founders Steve Sirois Sr., son Steve Sirois Jr. and Morris Loncon.
In April 2017, the elder Sirois signed a lease for the building, a structure built in 1932 that once housed a tire patch factory. He had hoped to open by fall that year, but extensive demolition and construction lengthened the timeline. The cinderblock building’s interior was covered in soot and oil and filled with debris.
The 3,000-square-foot space has been converted into a 10-barrel brewery and taproom. Now, the Callsign team is eager to finish final details and begin pouring beer for sale.
Sirois Sr., a 27-year Air Force veteran, currently serves as a flight engineer with the 180th Airlift Squadron, a unit of the Missouri Air National Guard based in St. Joseph, Missouri. He named the brewery after a call sign, or the name and number given to a flight crew. The brewery name serves as a tribute to lost military aircraft and the fellow men and women who served the country and sacrificed their life.
“The bar will be designed to look like a runway,” says Sirois Jr., a loadmaster for the same squadron as his father. “Next to the bar, we’ll have a Wall of Shame to display patches of former and active air brews. It’s an air crew tradition, but members of all military branches are welcome to participate.”
Overhead, the cavernous taproom is covered by a barrel-vaulted ceiling that evokes the feel of an aircraft hangar. “It’s the same pattern used for World Word II aircraft hangars,” says Sirois Jr.
The brewhouse is visible through a glass window and door behind the taproom and 12-tap bar.
Sirois Sr. and his son had extensive help from fellow homebrewer Loncon, Noah Vincent, Larry Walter, Steve Williams, Michael Wells and Steve Fry to revamp the building to its current state. Several of the men are retired military. Collectively, the men share a brothers-in-arms esprit de corps that extends to the men and women in the military and public service that they honor through the brewery.
Recently, Callsign helped to raise $5,500 for Cody Harter, a local airman who was killed in a road rage incident. Both Sirois Sr. and Jr. knew Harter (the elder Sirois had flown with him). “Cody and I went through loadmaster school together,” says Sirois Jr. “We both deployed in 2015 on different crews. ”
Cinder Block Brewery, Big Rip Brewing and Crane Brewing Co. each donated a keg to Callsign Brewing for the benefit. The brewery raised funds from donations for pours from the kegs as well as online donations.
“The money will help the family cover funeral costs,” says Sirois Sr. “We pulled together and helped the family out.”
Soon, the brewery will be able to pour and sell its Little Fighter Pale Ale, Hercules Amber Ale, Bomber Stout, Chinook IPA and other styles.
“My accomplishment couldn’t have happened without these folks,” says Sirois Sr.. He nods to the crew in the brewhouse still busy with final buildout, brewhouse testing, and cleanup. “It’s been a bigger job than expected. These folks came into my life for a reason. It feels good knowing we’re getting closer.”
Callsign Brewing, 1447 Gentry St., North Kansas City, Missouri, callsignbrewing.com