Where to Explore Next: BiergartensThe German tradition of outdoor drinking is rooted in gemütlichkeit, a term associated with good food, good company and – naturally – a beer or two. Traditional outdoor Biergartens have been mainstays in Europe (and St. Louis) since the 19th century, yet their growing popularity and migration across the pond has muddied their definition with a host of imitators. A real Biergarten is an open-air patio space offering beer, food and communal seating. Gather some friends and celebrate St. Louis’ rich heritage of confluences – rivers, people, top-notch suds – while you drink in all that gemütlichkeit.
The Royale Food & Spirits
3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, 314.772.3600, theroyale.com
You’d be hard-pressed to find an outdoor space better suited to community than the Biergarten at The Royale, which owner Steven Smith has developed into a space where people of all stripes gather to share their stories and a mutual love of beer. Shaded in summer, fire-warmed in winter, The Royale’s well-heeled beer list features plenty of local suds and some favorites from around the country. You’ll have your pick while you strike up a conversation with your neighbor.
Drink this: Schlafly Vanilla Milk Stout. Available only at The Royale and Schlafly, it bursts with the flavor of cocoa nibs and vanilla beans.
4747 McPherson Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.3003, llywelynspub.net
Now almost 40 years young, the original location of Llywelyn’s Pub is one of the area’s most tucked-away Biergartens. A looming mural in homage to Guinness artist Thomas Gilroy greets imbibers upon arrival, giving way to an outdoor bar that echoes the interior’s Celtic vibe. Umbrellas and the shade of a neighboring brick building make this a perfect spot for a warm St. Louis day.
Drink this: Schlafly and The Civil Life’s competing Welsh Ales, using the same malt bill but different hops: Admiral and East Kent Golding and Fuggles, respectively. A side-by-side tasting is a great way to experience subtle differences in hop notes.
The Civil Life Brewing Co.
3714 Holt Ave., St. Louis, thecivillife.com
The Civil Life’s Biergarten is the nerve center of the brewery’s communal vibe. Large, inviting picnic tables throng with eager beer drinkers, surrounded by flags from some of the world’s premier beer nations. Two outside service windows allow you to grab your pint or half-pint without setting foot inside. Whether you are into board games, books or simply hoisting a glass with friends and neighbors, avail yourself of this inviting urban oasis.
Drink this: The Civil Life English Pale Ale, served on draft (and cask, occasionally). Gentle hop notes and a creamy head are just a few things to look for in beer served this traditionally.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. Midtown
3229 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.222.0143, urbanchestnut.com
In 2012, Urban Chestnut added its traditional Bavarian Biergarten to its Midtown location. On a bright sunny day, colorful umbrellas adorn the long communal tables with bench seating. Eight beers are available at the beer window, served in traditional liter or half-liter vessels. The white stucco Central States building next door provides a picturesque backdrop to the Biergarten and its adjacent brewery room. Bavarian to the hilt (including co-owner Florian Kuplent’s birth certificate), you can do no wrong here, whether taking in outdoor movie screenings or traditional polka bands.
Drink this: Zwickel, the lightly hopped, unfiltered UCBC flagship
The Biergarten at Anheuser-Busch
1200 Lynch St., St. Louis, 314.577.2626, budweisertours.com
In 2013, the titan of brewing opened its own Biergarten, a celebration of the august history of beer in St. Louis. At 10,000 square feet and with seating for nearly 300, the communal space rivals the size of the Biergartens prevalent in this city during the 19th century. Tasting flights are available, along with a brewmaster’s tasting and glass-raise at 3 p.m. daily, the moment A-B’s brewmasters around the country sample their beer to make sure it is of the highest quality.
Drink this: Faust. First brewed in 1884 and resurrected by A-B last year, this robust Vienna lager has notes of toasted caramel, toffee and a mild hop character.