Posted On: 05/01/2007
The American beer market is showing some refinement. Gone are the years of solid growth for standbys Bud and Miller. Instead, craft and import brews are exploding like a can of Busch in the freezer. Last year, according to Information Resources Inc., supermarket sales of import beers (Heineken, Corona, etc.) increased 10.8 percent, while supermarket sales of crafts (Fat Tire, Samuel Adams, etc.) surged
Heck, examine local and global giant Anheuser-Busch. Seeing where the dollars are moving, A-B is snapping up the American distribution rights of high-end imports like Stella Artois and Grolsch and nationally promoting craft brewers like Ray Hill of Chesterfield. The brewing giant is even going so far as to bankroll the St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival in early May, showcasing itself and six area craft brewers. Count Wm. D. Alandale Brewing Co. of Kirkwood among those six, and count its small-volume, large-taste beer as part of the
As an inner-ring suburb dominated by families, Kirkwood just can’t sustain trendy nightlife lounges, but it can nourish hearty brewpubs. So I’ll just get these not-good, not-bad facts out of the way: By 8:30 on weeknights, Alandale’s bar side is crowded with husband/wife groups, sans kids, having dinner; no bar games; few singles looking to hook up; and few patrons after 11:30 p.m.
For the space’s look, the owners’ rehab of the furniture warehouse-turned-brewpub played out well, if predictably. The bar side comes appointed in the standard brewpub look – lots of dark wood, a long bar with plenty of taps and stools, and, in the rear behind glass, huge shiny steel fermentation tanks. Unpredictably, the bar isn’t long and straight, but crooked, jutting into the room, making sure patrons note that ultimately Alandale is a brewhouse. For entertainment, almost every weekend night and occasional weeknights, there’s live music – a lot of classic, light pop-rock.
Alandale brews eight beers year-round plus a few seasonal ones. Regrettably, way too many patrons don’t care, leaving their adventurous sides at home with the babysitter and the kids. Said timid patrons – and there are many –
order Bud Light bottles at this brewpub, and, I assume, white Zinfandel in Napa. This brings forward a personal plea: Try the craft beers! They’re made in the very building in which you sit. Nearly all the beers – eight of which are poured into 16-ounce imperial pint glasses – are superb. I’m not a total beer geek, so I won’t subject you to detailed tasting notes, but I highly recommend the following: the pilsner (a fine golden-hued facsimile of the Czech Republic’s greatest invention, pilsner lager), the American Wheat Ale (smell the wheat!) and the Platinum Blonde Lager (light with a hoppy finish). Mmmmmmm, beer.
To stuff your face, order the nachos. Huge. To set you on your path to beer geekdom, where you’ll describe the beers you taste with adjectives like “subtle citrus and honey aromas” rather than “huge,” enroll in Alandale’s Brewing 105. This class by Brewmaster Daran Churovich – who co-owns the place with Dale, Doug and Dana Churovich and Bill Mathieu – teaches the basics of brewing.
The straight 411 ...
To trade up on your beer buzz with great craft beer, head to Wm. D. Alandale Brewing Co.
First of all, let me start by stating that I have never met a brewpub I haven’t liked. There is something about a place that has the ambition to take hops, barley and yeast and fashion them into a liquid that can add a little extra happiness to the rest of the world: beer. I love beer. Until the day I die, it will be my beverage of choice. I would take it over a designer cocktail any day (except, of course, for the occasional slightly dirty Ketel One martini).
After work one day, a friend and I headed to Wm. D. Alandale Brewing Co. in Kirkwood for a few drinks and apps. We were pleased to learn that $2 pints, half-priced nachos, Gus’ pretzels and pub chips are offered weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. After deciding on the Amber Ale and pretzels, we started to chat. Alandale is very conducive to good conversation. The place has a jovial vibe and a comfortable setting that lets you converse without worries of your topic being inappropriate, your voices too loud or your neighbor on the next stool too nosy. Everyone is kind of in his or her own world at Alandale, but in a good way. It is the kind of place where you can lose time and gain friends.
Though a good portion of the crowd is older and married, appetizing young singles also socialize here. The lively barroom sets a calm atmosphere for all ages to relax and enjoy the scene. A warm, wood bar lit with mission-style light fixtures exudes comfort for those perched on one of the multiple barstools to watch a game, listen to live music or simply let off some steam after a tough day at work.
Alandale’s menu of both house-crafted beers and food items is vast. Entrées can be somewhat pricey, ranging mostly from $15 to $20 – but, hey, it is in Kirkwood. Brews range from the light Platinum Blonde Lager to the heavy Oatmeal Stout Ale. All are tasty, without that awkwardness that some beers have when made in small breweries. Want to sample the milk before you buy the cow? Order a beer sampler for $4 and you get to try eight of Alandale’s creations in
The staff at Alandale is a great additive to the mix, with a relaxed approach but impeccable service skills. One bartender was extremely helpful when asked for opinions on beer and food choices. And after our first batch of pretzels came out rock hard, he rushed back to replace them with soft and warm fresh ones, even though we never issued a complaint to begin with.
My favorite part of Alandale, by far, is the fact that it is a nonsmoking environment. After a night there, I didn’t have to banish my clothes to another room until I worked up the motivation to do laundry. They actually left the establishment smelling like they went in: like fancy fabric softener and whatever food I had managed to spill on them during lunch. It’s great that there are smoky places for weekends filled with shots of tequila and dancing with strangers, but the world also needs places you can take your family without worrying about Grandma being burned with a cigarette.
Overall, Alandale is an awesome
establishment – clean, with good food, live entertainment and unique brews. What more can the world ask for? I left Alandale with only one complaint: that it wasn’t within walking distance of my loft.
The straight 411 ...
A great place to grab a drink with your coworkers, family, friends, friends of friends, dates, cousins ... you get the point.
Want to comment on this article? Login or sign up on Sauce.