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Apr 26, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drink This Weekend Edition: Celebrate St. Louis Craft Beer Week

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

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It’s the most wonderful time of the beer lover’s year: The seventh annual St. Louis Craft Beer Week kicks off Saturday, July 25, a nine-day celebration of the best in the St. Louis-area beer community. This year, more than 130 tastings, festivals, release parties, tappings and pairings are scheduled from Oakville to Alton. It all kicks off Saturday with the sold-out Midwest Belgian Beer Festival, but fear not – there are plenty of other events to jumpstart your week.

The official Midwest Belgian Beer Fest After Party starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at 33 Wine Bar with a draft lineup featuring Perennial’s new Suburban Beverage and standouts like Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA. You can also raise a glass of Bell’s Brewing’s Sparkleberry, Deb’s Red or 2014 Third Coast Ale on The Loop at Three Kings’ opening night celebration Saturday at 6 p.m.

Drink plenty of water Sunday morning in preparation for Cans, Chicken, Cine, Ice Cream at 4 Hands’ new Container Bar outside the brewery. This all-day extravaganza starts and noon and features brews from 4 Hands and Bell’s, hot chicken brats from the Southern and Byrd & Barrel crews and made-to-order ice cream from Ices Plain & Fancy. As for the cine portion of the evening, grab a seat at 9 p.m. for a screening of Wet Hot American Summer. Looking for something indoors that day? Check out Craft Beer Cellar’s Beer Geek Fest from noon to 6 p.m., where a total of 24 breweries will sample, and new offerings debut every two hours.

For a sit-down affair, get tickets for chef Ben Grupe latest installation of his pop-up dinner series, Soigné. This family-style, multi-course meal features dishes like maple-braised bacon with heirloom tomatoes and semolina dumplings all paired with local offerings from 2nd Shift, 4 Hands and Perennial.

The party rolls through Sunday, Aug. 2. Here, some quick highlights of what’s in store throughout next week:

• Monday, July 27: Art Bar hosts Bits ‘n Chips, a night of Tallgrass beer flights paired with the finest Dorito flavors to munch while you play more than 7,000 video games.

• Wednesday, July 29: iTap Central West End hosts Strange Invasion II, when the Strange Donuts crew pairs their creations with some of St. Louis’ best local brews.

• Thursday, July 30: Get your tickets for a six-course Beer and Burger Pairing at Heavy Riff. Southern California food truck Grill ‘Em All will prepare six sliders to enjoy with six brews from Heavy Riff and Excel Brewing.

Check out the full list of St. Louis Craft Beer Week events here.

 

Editor’s note: Eric Hildebrant is vice president of St. Louis Craft Beer Week, and Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of this event.

Drink This Weekend Edition: 2nd Shift Technical Ecstasy

Friday, June 19th, 2015

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It wasn’t hard to find area brewery employees at the St. Louis Brewers Guild Heritage Festival last weekend. You just had to walk over to 2nd Shift Brewing’s booth, where a gaggle of brewery workers and beer nerds were all waiting to try owner-brewer Steve Crider’s new Czech-style Pilsner.

You see, a Czech Pils is a very technical beer style. It takes a deft hand not to screw it up. The style’s delicate nature means any flaws in the brewing process stick out like a sore thumb in the finished product. But Crider, who is best known for his top-notch IPAs and foray into Brett beers, was tempted to try this ambitious style after experiencing them on their home turf, Pilsen in the Czech Republic. And so, Technical Ecstasy was born.

Brewed with Bohemian Pils malt and Saaz hops (the standard for a Czech Pils), Technical Ecstasy pours a stunning hazy straw color with an enormous dense white head, the hallmark of a fresh Pilsner. The hops’ floral, slightly spicy aroma immediately lures you in. The medium-bodied mouth feel produces a soft, crackery maltiness immediately followed by spicy, slightly grassy notes. At 5.4 percent ABV, Technical Ecstasy is extremely crisp and refreshing; this beer can stand alone or pair with anything from chicken wings to a delicate pasta.

Technical Ecstasy is now available in 750-milliliter bottles at locations like Bombay Wines & Spirits and Fields Foods, and draft pours will be available at larger craft beer bars in the St. Louis area. Grab a bottle this weekend to see what all the fuss is about before our area brewers drink it all up.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 4 Hands Send Help

Friday, April 17th, 2015

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When Send Help skateboards jumped on board (see what I did there?) for a collaboration with 4 Hands Brewing Co., the perfect summer beer was born. Send Help, a crushable, dry-hopped blonde ale, is light enough to satisfy in summer heat and hoppy enough to pacify the biggest hopheads.

This beer takes a grain bill similar to 4 Hands Single Speed and ramps it up with Amarillo, Simcoe and El Dorado hops to lend a crisp bitterness and abundant aroma reminiscent of citrus and fresh-cut grass. At 4.5 percent, Send Help is light on ABV but big on flavor. Pour it in a glass or drink it straight from the can this weekend, then head to the official launch party at Flamingo Bowl Tuesday, April 21 at 9 p.m. for a round with the 4 Hands brewers.

Send Help is a can-only release for now, with draft available at the brewery. You can find it through July all over the Metro area at bottle shops and grocery stores. An early frontrunner for beer of the summer, Send Help is sure to quench a lot of people’s thirst, so whether you’re a veteran on your skateboard or a poser looking for a refreshing brew, stock up on this one.

 

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Schlafly AIPA

Friday, March 20th, 2015

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Despite a seeming proliferation of hop haters, IPAs are consistently the top-selling craft beer style in the U.S. An India Pale Ale is generally brewed with pale malts and has a strong hop presence. A few years ago, Schlafly decided to showcase the different IPA styles in a series of special release beers, beginning with its AIPA. This year’s version has recently hit shelves in all its hoppy glory.

American IPAs are generally drier and are brewed with more intense, American-grown hops that offer more floral, piney, citrus-y or tropical characteristics than their English-style counterparts. Schlafly AIPA fits the bill with a bombardment of Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe hops from the Pacific Northwest that give pleasant citrus bitterness, while its grapefruit aroma is reminiscent of many West Coast IPAs. Though hop-forward, the malt bill stands up nicely to balance out the bitterness, making it a perfect pairing for a spicy curry or a juicy burger.

When Schlafly first introduced AIPA, it was draft only. After the masses clamored for more, it was bottled in limited supply. Thankfully today, Schlafly AIPA is pretty easy to find on draft and in bottles at better beer stores, grocery stores and beer bars until August. Get out and see what all of the hoppy buzz is about.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Heavy Riff and Excel Brewing’s Two Frenchmen

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

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Even a brew-savvy city like St. Louis can overlook a beer style every now and then. Heavy Riff Brewing Co. in Dogtown and Illinois-based Excel Brewing set out to change that with their bière de mars Two Frenchmen, debuting Saturday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m.

Bière de mars, or “March beer,” is related to the more common saison and bière de garde. This classic French style is often floral, slightly fruity and was traditionally made in late winter or early spring for quick consumption. Two Frenchmen is brewed with orange peel and a touch of elderflower for added complexity. This amber beer is mildly malty with a slightly dry finish. The French farmhouse ale yeast strain gives the beer an added spicy character. The restrained hop character puts the focus on the fermentation characteristics and the subtle spice additions.

If you haven’t been to Heavy Riff lately, this is a perfect opportunity for a visit. The brewery, which celebrated its first anniversary last fall, now regularly has eight to 10 of its beers on tap. In addition to the bière de mars, Heavy Riff will also feature a cask of its new IPA Left Coast Envy and its Dark Days American rye stout. Excel is bringing its new double IPA, Plague Bringer.

If you miss the party, you’re in luck – Two Frenchmen will soon be on tap at better craft beer establishments around town.

Eric Hildebrandt is the moderator and ambassador for STL Hops. Find him on Twitter at @EricSTL6.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: The Nightmare Before Christmas at iTap

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

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Head to Soulard and explore the big, scary side of beer at iTap’s Nightmare Before Christmas, one of its biggest parties of the year this Saturday, Dec. 20. The fourth annual event is a chance to try some high alcohol, highly sought-after brews brought up from iTap’s cellar beginning at 11 a.m.

This year’s lineup has something for everyone, whether you’re into local offerings or a beer nerd who lines up hours in advance for hard-to-find brews. Half-pours will be available to try some these sought-after beers. A full list of everything on draft can be found here. My two picks:

2nd Shift LSD with Blueprint Coffee is one of the best Imperial stouts brewed with coffee. Thick, rich and delicious, the big coffee notes are a perfect way to start your day at this event.

For something big but not black, try Firestone Walker Sucaba. With notes of caramel, toffee, butterscotch and brown sugar, this barleywine warms your belly and stands out among the stout offerings.

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Mother’s Winter Grind

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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St. Louis loves its craft breweries, but the state of Missouri has more to delicious brews to offer outside the county lines. Take, for instance, Mother’s Brewing Company in Springfield. Mother’s opened just four years ago inside an old bakery and has grown at a rapid pace ever since. Mother’s isn’t available in St. Louis city or county (yet!), but the 20-minute drive south on Interstate 55 is well worth the trip to find out what the rest of the state is talking about.

November brings one of Mother’s best-known seasonals. Winter Grind is a delicious coffee stout made with a cold brew-espresso blend from another Springfield anchor, Mudhouse Coffee. The result is a wintery treat to please lovers of both coffee and beer. Winter Grind pours jet black with a beautiful light brown head, and the aroma packs a big espresso punch with hints of malt and smoke. The first sip hits the palate with big black coffee notes, and if you dig deeper, you’ll detect cocoa and chocolate. The medium-bodied mouth feel means this beer is rich without cloying, and at 6 percent ABV, this is smooth and easy to drink.

Winter Grind is a perfect beer to sip as the temperatures drop, but St. Louis city and county residents will have to travel a bit to find it. It’s available bottled at most grocery stores in Arnold, Imperial and much of Jefferson County, and Weber’s Front Row in Arnold pours draft Winter Grind as long as the season allows. Until Mother’s expands its distribution, take the short drive and see what the (coffee) buzz is about.

 

Eric Hildebrandt is the moderator and ambassador for STL Hops. Find him on Twitter at @EricSTL6.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Perennial and New Belgium’s Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

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Collaboration beers between St. Louis brewers are nothing new, and we’ve been fortunate enough to try a number of tasty beverages brewed between friends. However, Perennial Artisan Ales recently took collaboration to a new level by partnering with craft beer industry veteran, New Belgium Brewing.

This brew came about thanks to the friendship between the Perennial crew and New Belgium’s Lauren Salazar, who happens to be a fan of Perennial’s stouts. It makes sense, then, that the partnership resulted in the Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout, part of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series. To put the craft beer giant’s size – and the collaboration’s significance – into perspective, New Belgium produced more of this one beer than all the beer Perennial makes in a year.

Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout pours as a rich, pitch-black masterpiece with a head that puts off the delicious aroma of baker’s chocolate and dark fruit esters. The creamy mouth feel makes this beer a decadent treat, and the slight salty touch complements the sweet chocolate, a combination that sets your taste buds firing. Weighing in at 9 percent ABV, this one is sure to keep you warm this fall and winter.

Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout can be found at most beer bars and bottle shops, along with the tasting room at Perennial. In addition, you can hang out with the fine folks who collaborated on this beer tonight, Oct. 16 at SoHa from 4 to 6 p.m. and at Bridge from 7:30 to 9 p.m., where they’ll pair small plates with beers from both breweries. Tomorrow, Oct. 17, Salazar and Perennial brewmaster Phil Wymore will hang out at iTap’s Central West End location from 3 to 6 p.m.; join them to try a number of New Belgium and Perennial beers, including this fantastic new collaboration.

Eric Hildebrandt is the moderator and ambassador for STL Hops. Find him on Twitter at @EricSTL6.

 

Guide to Drinking 2014: Cider Comes Back Hard

Monday, September 29th, 2014

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While the craft beer boom continues to brew, it’s hard to ignore the presence of its up-and-coming cousin, craft cider. Sometimes barrel-aged, generally artisanal, and often naturally gluten-free, these fermented apple beverages are being produced not only by cider-focused establishments such as Crispin, California Cider Co., and Colorado Cider Co., but also by many craft breweries as a beer alternative.

Local breweries such as Urban Chestnut and Schlafly have made hard ciders readily available to the market, while others like Crown Valley Brewing regularly experiment with recipes for seasonal releases. Looking for a sweet way to enjoy the remainder of summer? Grab some cider, find some sunlight, sit back and swill.

2012 Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie
Unfiltered and unpasteurized, this French “cider under cork” smells of green apple, while the flavor profile packs a bittersweet punch of bleu cheese and honey. Its effervescence holds a subtle funk and natural sweetness that doesn’t linger on the palate.
Fields Foods, 1500 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.3276, fieldsfoods.com  

Apple Knocker Hard Knocks
Fermented in American oak barrels with Belgian yeasts by Illinois cider house Apple Knocker, Hard Knocks boasts the flavors of deliciously tart apples and citrus. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, try its cousin, Sweet Knockers.
The Wine and Cheese Place, all locations, wineandcheeseplace.com

Urban Chestnut Bushelhead
Wine-like, full of apple aroma and flavor with big alcohol warmth, this local cider truly is apple juice for grown-ups. Try Bushelhead on draft at Bailey’s Range with the restaurant’s cinnamon ice cream, and you will taste perfection.
Bailey’s Range, 920 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.241.8121, baileysrange.com  

Schlafly Hard Apple Cider
Complete with a robust Granny Smith apple aroma, a crisp, almost effervescent mouth feel and a slightly dry palate, this refreshing hard cider on draft at Schlafly Bottleworks is perfectly balanced for even the pickiest of cider drinkers.
Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.241.2337, schlafly.com  

Ace Pineapple Cider
The California Cider Co.’s pineapple cider is deliciously sweet up front with a tart finish. The wonderful pineapple scent gives summer patio drinking a touch of the tropics. This seasonal has been flying off the shelves; if you see a bottle, nab it.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Drink This Weekend Edition: Oktoberfest St. Louis at UCBC

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

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One of the world’s biggest beer parties kicks off this weekend in Munich as the Germans begin their annual Oktoberfest celebration. Lucky for St. Louisans, there is one among us who knows a thing or two about throwing an authentic Munich-style party: Urban Chestnut brewmaster Florian Kuplent, who hails from Munich. Urban Chestnut and Schlafly team up for Oktoberfest St. Louis 2014 this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21, at UCBC’s Midtown Brewery.

Oktoberfest St. Louis is two days of German food, music, and, of course, beer. Fill your stomach with bratwurst, currywurst and pretzels, then dance to music provided by the likes of Über Cool, The Deutschmeister Brass Band, Larry Hallar and more. UCBC Oktoberfest will also have some fun traditional Oktoberfest games. Flex your muscles (or your thumbs) and prepare for a round of Masskrüge (stein holding, pictured), Fingerhackeln (finger wrestling) and Baumstamm sägen (log sawing).

But this is Oktoberfest, and when hosted by two of our city’s best breweries, it’s all about the beer. Imbibe with at least six styles of German beers from UCBC and Schlafly, including Oktoberfest, Kölsch, Schwarzbier, Fest Bier (Oachkatzlschwoaf), Weissebier (Schnickelfritz), Zwickel and dunkel (Dorfbier).

No tickets needed for this awesome party, but buy a commemorative glass stein for $8 in advance or $10 the day of the event. Refills are $8 for a whole liter during the entire festival. Bring cash to cut down on wait times; UCBC will only have one stand accepting credit cards.

This is always one heck of a party– don’t miss it. Prost!

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of this event.

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