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Jan 23, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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DTWE: Wolpertinger at Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

Friday, January 20th, 2017

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Prepare thy livers: it’s time for Urban Chestnut’s birthday party and the return of a mythological beast, Wolpertinger, this Sunday, Jan. 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. With live music including funk-centric Saint Boogie Brass Band, delicious UCBC kitchen fare, more than 35 local breweries pouring tasty suds and guest Bell’s Brewery bringing its seasonal heavy hitter Hopslam, what more could you want from a beer fest?

Answer: The debut of UCBC’s anniversary beer, Wolpertinger. This deep, dark brown brew is more robust than years past. It’s also slightly tart thanks to the addition of raspberries before it spent two years in Scotch whisky barrels. Don’t miss this, plus three other beers I’m excited to drink this weekend:

1. Bell’s Hopslam: All the hops and honey make this highly anticipated, 10-percent Imperial IPA a party in your mouth. Honey sweetness up front and good body balance out the intense bitterness. Look for grapefruit, tropical fruit and some soft floral notes.

2. Bell’s Double Brown Ale: Also from the out-of-town guest, search out the exclusive firkin of 8.5-percent cask-conditioned brew boasting a rich, chocolaty flavor profile, smooth mouth feel and a nice bitterness on the finish to balance it all out.

3. Mark Twain/The OG Collaboration Orion’s Apprentice: This recently released, 10.5-percent Imperial IPA is smooth, medium-bodied and full of tropical fruit notes from a heavy dosage of Citra and Simcoe dry-hopping. Look for juicy pineapple and vibrant grapefruit in a beer that drinks like it’s less than 10 percent.

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

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Drink This Weekend Edition: Katie’s 12 Beers of Christmas

Friday, December 16th, 2016

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As a toast to 2016, I have decided to share my 12 beers of Christmas with Sauce readers. Some are seasonal, some are year-round favorites, but all are easily accessible beers I will drink and/or have stocked in my fridge this time of year.

Disclaimer: This list isn’t ranked in any way. Also, I really like canned beer – half this list is available in cans. Happy 2016, y’all, and cheers to a bright 2017!

 

1. 4 Hands Incarnation
This is my go-to local IPA – single-hopped with Mosaic (a personal favorite), canned, always fresh AF on draft at the brewery, and an overall beautifully built beer.

2. Blaugies La Moneuse Special Winter
If I had to choose a holiday beer, this would be it – mellow tartness followed by bright citrus notes and a light, funky yeast presence.

3. Bud Light Lime
You heard me. Put her in a bucket with five of her sisters because it’s Packer season. Limey, grainy and just refreshing enough to keep going back for that next bucket or two. #GoPackGo

4. Civil Life Porter
On draft, on cask, out of a growler, this beer is perfect. Its medium body and velvety texture (especially on cask!) highlight the beautiful notes of coffee and chocolate that round out the palate.

5. Firestone Walker Pivo Pils
This is the beer the Side Project crew had in hand when we won Best in Show at the Firestone Walker Beer Invitational (obviously a highlight for 2016). With floral hops, light pepper and clean bitterness, it makes for an overall enjoyable experience.

6. Green Bench Grisette
A table beer from my favorite Florida brewery: light-bodied, dry and funky. Pair this beauty with anything on the dinner table.

7. Logboat Haller-Tang Pale
Absolutely my favorite new release of the year – clean, crisp and full of tropical fruit notes and satiable bitterness. Move over Pinner? Only 2017 will tell.

8. Left Hand Fade to Black, Vol. 1
If you made me choose, I’d put this beauty in my top five favorite beers. Only now its available in cans – so top three? Heavily roasted malt gives way to intense notes of coffee, chocolate, licorice and an aggressively bitter finish.

9. Oskar Blues Pinner
If you don’t know, now you know. This insanely crushable and fruit-forward session IPA was my most consumed beer of 2016. When in doubt, grab a Pinner – or four.

10. Schlafly Coffee Stout
Hands down, this is my most-anticipated seasonal St. Louis release: roasty and medium-bodied with intense notes of fantastically dirty diner coffee. Yes, I will take grit in my beer, please.

11. Sierra Nevada Narwhal
This is the first Imperial stout I fell in love with thanks to aggressive roast and intense chocolate. Let this bad boy warm up for full enjoyment with added notes of mellow smoke and espresso.

12. A good ‘ol bottle of rosé
The drier and bubblier the better. Not even I can drink beer all of the time.

 

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

 

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• Guide to the Holidays 2016

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Spruce Brown Ale at Old Bakery Beer Co.

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

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The St. Louis beer scene is ripe with collaborations and local support. The most recent example can be found just across the Mississippi in Alton. Old Bakery Beer Co. has teamed up with The Nature Institute to offer a series of special brews showcasing ingredients locally foraged at TNI’s managed property. This series showcases 12 cask beers offered on the first Friday of every month through October 2017.

Each combination highlights a native Illinois plant and its importance to the environment. Over the course of this yearlong series, imbibers can vote for their favorite combination. Old Bakery will brew the winner at full scale and release it to the public at this time next year. And if that wasn’t enough, half of the proceeds from specialty beer sold benefits TNI’s research and education program.

The first in this series, a Persimmon Pub Ale, was offered in November during Alton Craft Beer Week, but fear not, local beer drinkers – the second cask is tapped tonight, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. Head to Alton for the Spruce Brown Ale, Old Bakery’s A-Town Brown Ale hopped up with Simcoe and Chinook and finished with spruce tips. It’s festive, creative and sure to be delicious served at cask temperature.

Can’t make it tonight for the second release? Cask No. 3, Hairy Mountain Porter – a porter brewed with Hairy Mountain mint – debuts Jan. 6, 2017.

 

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• Sneak Peek: The Old Bakery Beer Co.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 Big Black Friday Beers

Friday, November 25th, 2016

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All the Turkey Day leftovers are stored in the fridge, a big pot of turkey stock is simmering on the stove, and you’re contemplating joining in the Black Friday insanity. Or you’re like me: anti-turkey and thus, anti-turkey stock, and more likely to avoid any mall or retail establishment without a strong drink present.

I fully endorse celebrating Black Friday with massive, full-bodied, aggressive Imperial stouts and then perusing the interwebs for fun holiday gifts. Here, three such options to toast a successful Turkey Day and a very happy Black Friday.

Disclaimer: These three options are highly sought after and may be difficult to locate – but for many, this is part of the fun. All three will be available in bottles and draft around the city. Might I suggest a Schlafly Coffee Stout to get the search going?

 

1. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2016 (13.8 percent ABV)
For most beer fans, this gnarly bourbon barrel-aged Imperial stout is the reason for the season. BCBS is chewy, sweet and showcases just enough boozy warmth to keep those toes warm in the coldest weather. Her debut on Black Friday gets those beer nerds out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to start prowling store shelves. Look for deep notes of chocolate and barrel undertones of charred oak, vanilla and smoke.

2. Perennial Abraxas (10 percent ABV)
Now that Perennial’s Abraxas Week and accompanying bottle release is over, it’s time to scour the city for bottles and draft. This Imperial stout is bitter, full-bodied and stacked with roasted malt notes and Mexican spice. The dance of the ancho chile peppers, cacao nibs and cinnamon sticks on the palate is the star of this belly warmer.

3. North Coast Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XIX (11.2 percent ABV)
In true Russian Imperial stout fashion, this lady comes forth with a boatload of roasted malt that presents itself as espresso and chocolate on the palate. Throw in some dried fruit and lingering char and vanilla from the barrel as it warms, and you have yourself a good time.

Drink This Weekend Edition: St. Louis Brewers Guild Halloween Party

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

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The annual St. Louis Brewers Guild Halloween Party in Lafayette Park returns this Saturday, Oct. 29, from 1 to 5 p.m. Like last year, I urge all you city dwellers who don’t venture into the county or over a river that often to acquaint yourselves with some amazing beer brewed outside STL city limits. Tickets are available online and at the door. Dress up and get your Halloween on!

 

1. Mark Twain Tennessee Fresh-Hopped Scrapbook Pale Ale Firkin (5.5 percent ABV)
This single-hopped pale ale boasts notes of citrus and spiced earthiness from the Columbus hops with a clean, crisp palate and biscuit-y mouth feel. Brewers Cat Golden and Dave Alley have once again fresh-hopped their Scrapbook pale ale and put it in a firkin for an exclusive Halloween Party real ale experience. Cascade, Centennial and Columbus hops from Willowbrook Farm in Tennessee provide more depth in hop expression, allowing for more intense notes of grapefruit, grass and spice.

2. Narrow Gauge Oast No. 3 (7 percent ABV)
One of the newer breweries in the St. Louis region, Narrow Gauge brings this American IPA dry-hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo and El Dorado. It is loaded with stone fruit, pineapple and dank aromas, exquisite mouth feel and juicy tropical fruit to round out the palate. Oast No. 3’s slight alcohol sweetness is balanced beautifully with a lingering bitterness you return to again and again.

3. O’Fallon Jack O’Latté (6.6 percent ABV)
Wait – another O’Fallon pumpkin beer? Oh yes, and it’s awesome. Jack O’Latte is a pumpkin milk stout that sat on Ronocco coffee beans, creating a brew filled with sweet, spice and everything nice. The sweet stout’s body states like a full-fat latte on a chill autumn day. And don’t worry, that signature O’Fallon pumpkin spice mix makes this coffee brew anything but basic. Move over, #PSL.

4. Old Bakery Beer Single-Source Coffee Lager (4.7 percent ABV)
This guy isn’t just any old lager beer. It’s stacked with heavily roasted malt for a darker appearance and richer palate, while flaked oats provide a bigger, smoother mouth feel. Complexity and intense roastiness is furthered with the addition of single-origin Honduran coffee from Kaldis.

5. Six Mile Bridge Harvest Peach Saison (5.4 percent ABV)
This lovely dry-hopped, French-inspired farmhouse ale is crisp as a fall day. Aromatics of stone fruit, citrus, flowers and hay pair nicely with juicy fresh peach, a refreshing yet subtle tartness, and clean bitterness on the palate. If the late summer transition into autumn were depicted in beer form, this would be it.

 

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

-photo courtesy of R. J. Hartbeck

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 GABF-worthy beers

Friday, October 14th, 2016

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Last weekend, I attended the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, a three-day national beer festival and competition attended by thousands each year. Though the festival itself can be over-stimulating at times, Denver is full of fantastic beer, beer people and beer events throughout the week.

Several St. Louis-area breweries poured at GABF, and even more entered the competition in hopes of procuring more medals for this wonderful beer town. While listening to the results, I realized just how rapidly breweries and beer culture are expanding – there were many I’d never heard of before. More beer for the people! Three St. Louis-area breweries medaled this year; head to Perennial or across the Mississippi this weekend to check out these nationally notable beers:

Perennial Artisan Ales Meriwether took silver for classic saison
Excel Brewing Flash Bang took bronze for American-style wheat beer
Scratch Brewing Oyster Weiss* took bronze for experimental beer

Some of my favorite nonlocal beers also medaled last weekend and are available in St. Louis throughout the year. Keep your eyes open for Bells Expedition Stout (silver in aged beer), Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale (gold in ordinary or special bitter) and Left Hand Fade to Black, Volume 1 (silver in export stout).

 

*Editor’s note: Oyster Weiss is not currently available. 

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

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I am so excited IPAs are trending once again. I’ve advocated for the style since I sat down with my first 3 Floyds Zombie Dust more than a decade ago. I’m an advocate for all IPA styles: ridiculously dank, bitter West Coast IPAs; mid-America’s preference for American-grown Cascade and Centennial hops; a national obsession with session IPAs (ahem, Pinner); and the East Coast’s infatuation with high turbidity and a juicy hop aroma. Now, St. Louis has a bit of all these fantastic IPAs in our backyard with the addition of Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. in Florissant.

Narrow Gauge is a tiny three-barrel brewery housed within Cugino’s Italian Restaurant, and brewmaster Jeff Hardesty knows exactly what he’s doing with an East Coast IPA: high turbidity (very hazy), hop aromatics for days and a juicy hop-forward taste on the front of the palate with a clean, balanced bitterness on the back.

Narrow Gauge is only available at Cugino’s and to-go in 32-ounce growlers, so grab a seat at the bar, order up some meatballs and dirty wings and settle in – you’ll want to try all the Narrow Gauge beer. Here’s what I sampled on a recent visit:

1. Single Hop Beer: Citra (7-percent ABV)
Tropical fruit, citrus zest and onion round out this perfectly beautiful Citra hop expression. Juicy aroma, fantastic texture with a bit of dryness and a lingering bitterness will leave you wanting another.

2. Single Hop Beer: Mosaic (7-percent ABV)
Some slight herbaceous dankness is backed by stone fruit on the nose and a whole lot of grass and mango on the palate. Though not quite as dry and bitter as the Single Hop Citra, it is just as juicy.

3. OJ Run (8.6-percent ABV)
Named for a stretch of road and the shenanigans that took place on said road, this Imperial IPA is like drinking a tiki cocktail in a barn right after the grass was cut. Citra, Amarillo and Galaxy hops stack this aroma with passion fruit, lemon zest, straw and fresh grass. Despite the higher ABV, this imperial is incredibly balanced and not cloyingly sweet.

 

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

 

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Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 brews older than the St. Louis World’s Fair

Friday, August 19th, 2016

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The St. Louis World’s Fare kicks off tonight at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park and lasts through the weekend. While we celebrate the significance of that historic 1904 event, I wanted to pay homage to international brewing tradition. In this day and age experimentation and adjunct-crazy recipe building, it’s good to step back and salute the foundation on which the modern brewing scene was built. These three beers were enjoyed during the 1904 World’s Fair – and decades (or even centuries) before. Raise a glass to history, St. Louis, and nerd out!

 

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1. Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier (5.4 percent ABV)
Highlighting Bavaria’s importance to beer culture, Weihenstephan Monastery stands as the oldest brewery in the world, originating in 1040 in Freising, Germany. Its Weiss beer is the granddaddy of all Weiss beers. A heavy wheat malt bill allows for a billowy body and clean canvas for that well-known Hefeweizen yeast expression. Look for intense notes of clove and banana on the aroma, a palate that follows suit with soft spice and banana and a crisp, lightly bitter finish.

2. Original Ritterguts Gose (4.7 percent ABV)
Goses have been incredibly trendy in the American beer scene these past few years, but the style itself isn’t new. Born in 1824, Ritterguts Gose is the oldest currently brewed gose in the world. A wheat beer that boasts lactic tartness, salt and coriander, it’s a refreshing treat and a great introduction to the world of sour beers.

3. Pilsner Urquell (4.4 percent ABV)
This Bohemian delight is the result of a local protest in 1838 in Pilsen, Czech Republic, during which angry beer drinkers dumped 36 barrels of “spoiled” beer in front of the town hall. In an effort to compete with the Bavarian lagers introduced to the area, Pilsner Urquell was born in 1842 – a beautiful, medium-bodied lager with satiating bitterness that pairs well with the delicate bouquet of black pepper and floral notes from the Saaz hops.

 

All beers available at The Wine and Cheese Place

Drink This Weekend Edition: Class of 2011 Collaboration Beers

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

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St. Louis Craft Beer Week kicks off tomorrow, July 29, and there is an abundance of beer-related events around the city that boast what we brew best.

This year’s highlight is the fifth-anniversary celebration of the four breweries that opened in 2011: 4 Hands Brewing Co., The Civil Life Brewing Co., Perennial Artisan Ales and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. The Class of 2011 has marked the milestone with a major collaboration effort that involved ingredient sharing, recipe building and brew days with representatives from each brewery. The result: a beer from each member of the Class of 2011 that’s slightly outside of its wheelhouse and showcases the diversity of our beer scene.

All four collaboration beers debut tomorrow from 5 to 9 p.m. at the St. Louis Brewers’ Picnic, a free STLCBW kickoff event hosted by Baileys’ Restaurants. You can also join the Class of 2011 Collaboration Tour on Aug. 3 from 5 to 9 p.m. with free shuttle service between the four breweries, and the beers will be on draft in the breweries’ tasting rooms throughout STLCBW.

Ever the diligent drink writer, I ran around the city sampling these beautiful beers and gathering tasting notes for you eager imbibers. Here’s a taste of what’s to come from the Class of 2011:

1. 4 Hands Brewing Co. brewed an incredibly satiating and mildly bitter Pilsner with UCBC’s house lager yeast. Notes of biscuit, grass, lemon and pepper dominate the nose, while soft floral and pepper notes complement bright citrus and soft stone fruit on the palate. You won’t stop at just one.

2. Perennial Artisan Ales brewed a dry-hopped Kölsch with Galaxy hops from 4 Hands and Mandarina Bavaria hops from UCBC. It has massive hop aroma, juicy tropical fruit and grass on the palate with a mild grain presence and medium body. Session IPA drinkers, get ready – this is right up your alley.

3. The Civil Life Brewing Co. made an American IPA complete with a fantastic caramel malt backbone, clean bitterness, strong notes of pineapple and mango on the nose, and juicy tropical flavors paired with bright citrus round out the palate. By far, the most assertively hoppy beer to come out of Civil Life’s brewhouse and so worth the try.

4. Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. brewed an India Brown Ale fermented with house ale yeast from Civil Life, El Dorado and Galaxy hops from 4 Hands and flaked oats and chocolate spelt from Perennial. This medium-full bodied, dark ruby colored brew is full of flavor. Herbal and spicy notes dominate the aroma, while stone fruit, toffee and light nutty notes complement the seemingly bitter palate.

Drink This Weekend Edition: 2 picks from Firestone Walker

Friday, June 17th, 2016

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The Side Project Cellar team just returned from Paso Robles, California after attending the fantastic Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. What a weekend! (A quick humblebrag for our team and the St. Louis beer scene: Side Project Brewing won the People’s Choice Award for best in show!)

California is crawling with amazing beer up and down the coast, but there is something special about Firestone Walker. They excel at nearly everything; great barrel program featuring complex high gravity beers (Look for some fun ones at a Firestone Walker tap takeover at Soha Bar & Grill on Tuesday, June 21 at 6 p.m.) and sours, ridiculous West Coast IPAs, and a pretty rad hoppy Pilsner.

If you have yet to visit California’s Central Coast, I strongly suggest putting that on your to-do list. But in the meantime, go out and find some Firestone Walker canned freshies for your weekend enjoyment.

1. Luponic Distortion No. 001 is Firestone Walker’s revolving IPA series in which they experiment by showcasing different hops. The first in this series is ripe with notes of tropical fruit, West Coast dankness and vibrant citrus, all while boasting a clean and dry finish. Look for No. 002, with it’s a new hop profile, to hit stores early July.

2. Pivo Pilsner is Firestone Walker’s nod to European Pilsner tradition. This dry-hopped beer is beaming with floral notes, a little herbal spiciness and a classic Pilsner malt finish. Clean and refreshing, this beer goes perfectly with just about anything.

 

Katie Herrera is co-founder of Femme Ferment and manager of The Side Project Cellar.

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