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Oct 23, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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DTWE: Love it or hate it – pumpkin beer season is back

Friday, October 13th, 2017

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Leaves are turning and a slight chill has actually embraced the Midwest. Though we’re in for some fluctuating temperatures this weekend, the beer scene in St. Louis has been overwhelmingly autumnal this month – pumpkin beers are everywhere. However polarizing this style may be, there is no denying the creativity and diversity across this spiced beer spectrum.

1. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
This 8-percent beauty –arguably the most sought-after local pumpkin beer in the city – just brought home a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival last weekend. It’s truly a pumpkin pie in a glass with a rich sweetness that embraces spicy undertones of flavor dominated by clove, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Schlafly Tap Room and Schlafly Bottleworks, schlafly.com

2. Crown Valley Brewing Pumpkin Cider
21st Street Brewers Bar hosts its Pumpkin Beerfest all month, showcasing a pumpkin beer each Friday in October. Tonight, Oct. 13, 21st Street shines the spotlight on Crown Valley Pumpkin Cider. Sweet, spice and everything nice, this 5-percent cider is stacked full of ripe juicy apple and pumpkin bound together with balancing notes of allspice and pumpkin pie spice.
21st Street Brewers Bar, 21stbrew.com

3. Nebraska Brewing Wick for Brains
This seasonal amber ale is reminiscent of walking through a pumpkin patch in the middle of a fall afternoon. Soft fruit, melon and spice dominate the nose, while ripe, fresh pumpkin, grain and nuances of clove and nutmeg embrace the palate. On the subtler side for sweetness, this easy 6-percent drinker finishes a bit drier than most.
Randall’s Wine & Spirits, shoprandalls.com

 

Katie Herrera is a contributor to Sauce Magazine and account manager at Craft Republic. 

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DTWE: 3 lambics to celebrate Zwanze Day 2017

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

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Cantillon Zwanze Day is this weekend, and the beer nerds are amped. Zwanze Day is Brasserie Cantillon’s salute to lambic and is marked by a worldwide toast of that year’s Zwanze beer. The Side Project Cellar hosts this sold-out celebration again this year, but you can still imbibe a glass of lambic around St. Louis and join in the international toast at 2 p.m.

Lambic beer is the spontaneously fermented, barrel-aged beauty from the Pajottenland region of Belgium, just southwest of Brussels where Cantillon is located. Breweries that specialize in this funky, wild product are highly regarded for their aging and blending techniques.

Although we don’t tend to see much in the U.S. due to the smaller batch size and delicate nature of the product, there are a few places in St. Louis that curate thoughtful bottle lists that often include lambic – some more rare than others.

If you’re looking to add a little funk and sour to your weekend, go explore the beer world for lambic and join this international recognition of tradition and beauty.

1. Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René
This lambic is Champagne-like with incredible effervescence and bright flavors. Tart apples and funk resonate on the nose while sour grapes and tangerine dance on the palate. Friar Tuck, various locations

2. Tilquin Gueuze (and any fruited variants you can find)
A blend of one-, two- and three-year-old lambic, this mouthful is vibrant with notes of grain, barnyard, stone fruit and citrus zest. Its acidity is balanced, so it won’t leave your mouth watering after each sip. You can try one or all of the past four years of this complex brew at Hair of the Dog.
Hair of the Dog, Facebook: Hair of the Dog

3. St. Louis Fond Tradition Kriek
Wood, fruit and funky yeast undertones run deep with this one and are driven across the palate with a mild carbonation and pretty significant sour character. Ripe cherry and a hint of spice and earth steal the show as you continue drinking this delightfully refreshing beer.
Craft Beer Cellar, cbcclayton.com

Katie Herrera is a contributor to Sauce Magazine and account manager at Craft Republic.

Drink in the limelight with these 5 brews

Friday, September 1st, 2017

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Bud Light Lime is my go-to for easy-to-find, perfect-in-a-bucket beer that won’t leave you slobbering at the table while watching your favorite team. It might not be beer nerd-approved, but there is something about that sweet, zesty lime character paired with Budweiser’s adjunct lager graininess that gets me. Now American craft is jumping on the bandwagon, too, with these easy-drinking lime beers.

 

1. Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale
Invigorating and fresh, this tart wheat beer is stacked with zesty lime notes on both nose and palate. Salt complements a fantastic grain bill that intensifies the beer’s texture and body. A nice rounded acidity completes this margarita-like beer, leaving you most certainly asking for una otra.
Six-pack: $12. Craft Beer Cellar, 8113 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.222.2444, cbcclayton.com

2. New Belgium Brewing Citradelic Exotic Lime
This mellow beer presents with just a hint of fresh lime that subtly hits your nose. A sweet grain character on the tip of your tongue and a balanced bitterness complement the light citrus character that moves from the front palate to the back, disappearing with one quick swallow.
Six-pack: $8. Lukas Wine & Spirits, 15678 Manchester Road, Ellisville, 636.227.4543, lukasliquorstl.com

3. Uinta Brewing Lime Pilsner
Clean and effervescent, this lime lager is reminiscent of those suckers you’d get at the drive-thru bank teller as a kid – you know, the ones with the looped stick. A big and bright limey nose gives way to a lightly sweet, yet balanced malt character. Is this just a glass of limeade? Either way, it’s delicious.
Six-pack: $9. Friar Tuck, 4635 State Hwy. K, O’Fallon, Missouri, 636.300.4300, friartuckonline.com

4. Tallgrass Brewing Co. Key Lime Pie
Dessert-like and vivacious, this beer is like a heaping plate of Key lime pie complete with aromas of crumbly crust, fresh lime zest and just a hint of vanilla. The intense, sweet-tart flavors bounce around the palate.
Six-pack: $12. Beer Sauce Shop, 318 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St. Peters, 636.328.7972, beersauceshop.com

5. Old Bakery Beer Co. Cerveza Con Lima
Vibrant and refreshing, this bebida is super juicy with notes of ripe citrus upheld in the glass by a medium-bodied beer with a subtle but lacy head. Tart lime lingers across the palate as cereal permeates the nose.
Four-pack: $10. Larder & Cupboard, 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995, larderandcupboard.com

Photo by Izaiah Johnson

Katie Herrera is contributing writer for Sauce Magazine and account manager at Craft Republic. 

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DTWE: 3 beers to try at Mojo Craft Beer & Music Festival

Friday, August 18th, 2017

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If you are as big of a fan of live music and fermented beverages as I am (and really, is there a better combo?), then head down to Jefferson Barracks Park this Saturday, Aug. 19, for 105.7 The Point’s Mojo Craft Beer & Music Festival.

The event features nearly 30 local and national breweries and headliner Story of the Year, as well as P.O.D., Unwritten Law, The Orwells and more. Breweries like Stubborn German Brewing Co., Public House Brewing Co. and Deschutes will pour samples until 4 p.m., and the music continues into the night. (Tickets are available online.)

I cannot wait to rock out to Lucky Boys Confusion while I reminisce about dancing to their music in my freshman dorm room some 15 years ago, and I’m pairing my trip down memory lane with these three new, locally available brews on tap at the festival.

1. Wellspent Brewing Co. Olivier & Galaxy (3.5-percent ABV)
I am as excited for this upcoming St. Louis brewery as I am for Lucky Boys. This saison won’t disappoint. Look for an assertive bitterness that holds up to the beautiful yeast-driven notes of spice and fruit. A generous Galaxy dry-hopping lends itself to a light hoppy aroma and subtle notes of tropical fruit.

2. Heavy Riff Brewing Co. Left Coast Envy (6.7-percent ABV)
It is only fitting that The Lou’s music-themed brewery provides festivalgoers with a bangin’ West Coast-style IPA before it’s launched into the market. Left Coast Envy offers a pretty intense bitterness to rival the West Coast greats. Caramel malt sweetness, juicy tropical fruit aromatics from a Mosaic dry-hop, a touch of bubblegum and a lingering bitterness are all she wrote for this face punch.

3. 4 Hands Brewing Co. Story of the Beer (4.5-percent ABV)
If it wasn’t obvious, this Kölsch-style ale is the easy-drinking collab between 4 Hands and Story of the Year. Look for classic Kölsch characteristics in the soft fruit notes that linger with a clean and mellow bitterness that follow the juicy American hop aroma characteristic. This debuts at the festival, and a small amount will head into the market in the following weeks.

Photo courtesy of Mojo Craft Beer & Music Festival

Katie Herrera is an account manager at Craft Republic. 

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5 can’t-miss STL Craft Beer Week events

Friday, July 28th, 2017

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If you haven’t cleared your schedule for next week, do so now: St. Louis Craft Beer Week is upon us.

It begins today, July 28, and features more than 130 events scattered across the metro area during its nine-day span. Sip suds at beer dinners, tap takeovers and a rare beer tapping sprinkled in here and there, and learn from industry professionals and drinkers alike. Enjoy the beer camaraderie and education, STL, and stay safe.

 
1. If you miss your college days like I do (Madison, Wisconsin is perfect in the summertime.), then enjoy Sunday Funday on July 30 at Beer Olympics at Charleville Brewing Co. and Tavern. Starting at 1 p.m., witness Herculean feats during drinking games like beer pong (an undergraduate staple of mine), corn hole and flip cup. And if Long White Cloud Pilsner is flowing, don’t miss it.

2. Odell Brewing takes over the taps at The Crafty Chameleon in Ellisville on Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. Enjoy pours of malt-forward 90 Shilling, hop bomb Myrcenary and Brazzle, the sour and funky oak-aged ale that sat on golden raspberries. Super rep Jake Snyder will raffle off an Odell river tube – summer ain’t over yet, y’all.

3. South Grand Avenue staple and vegetarian restaurant Tree House hosts organic brewery Old Bakery Brewing Co. for a fantastic eco- and veggie-friendly five-course beer dinner on Aug. 2. Spaces are available for two seatings at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Pro tip: Check out the menu on the STLCBW website. A peach-coconut ice cream float with OBB’s Cerveza con Lima? yes, please!

4. When a group of female craft beer industry professionals get together, some really wonderful things happen. Join these women (some of whom are pictured above) from breweries like Side Project Brewing, Civil Life Brewing Co., Earthbound Beer, Perennial Artisan Ales and many more for the Aug. 3 release of NaSTLy Woman, an oak-aged sour brown ale full of empowerment and beauty, at 6 p.m. at 2nd Shift Brewing Co. Proceeds from this collaboration benefit Planned Parenthood.

5. International Tap House in Soulard hosts its seventh annual Firkin Fest on Aug. 5. This showcase of real ale, or beer on cask, is truly a fun concept. Nowhere else in St. Louis will you find this variety of cask beer. Starting at 2 p.m., iTap lines the bar top with 5-gallon firkins, and when the time is right, wallops each barrel with a mallet, spurring the flow of beautiful, uncarbonated beer served at proper cask temperature.

Photo courtesy of 2nd Shift Brewing Co. 

Katie Herrera is co-founder of Femme Ferment, an account manager at Craft Republic and participated in the production of NaSTLY Woman. 

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DTWE: 6 Kölsches to kill the heat wave

Friday, July 21st, 2017

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Whoa boy, St. Louis. You really got hot all of a sudden. I was very much enjoying the lack of the 100-plus-degree days and the abnormal heat index at 8 a.m. while walking my dog. Alas, humidity and sweltering heat have taken over. To counteract this obtrusive weather this weekend, go get yourself some approachable, light-bodied beers that taste great extra cold.

Kölsch, the German-style lagered ale originally from Köln, is one of my go-to styles for hot weather. These clean and crisp low-ABV beers are über flavorful with delicate fruity aromatics, low levels of Pilsner malt graininess and subtle hop bitterness. Their refreshing nature is enhanced with adequate carbonation that drives soft flavors of cereal, pear, citrus, grass and even grape at times. These balanced brews tend to finish with an energizing zip leaving you ready for your next.

Here are a few locally available Kölsch-style brews to pack in the cooler for these dog days of summer:

1. Schlafly Kölsch (4.8-percent ABV) Available on draft, in bottles and in cans in mass quantity around the St. Louis area, this is one of my first favorite local beers.

2. Mark Twain Brewing Co. Clemens Kölsch (4.4-percent ABV) A new canning line for Mark Twain means this summer crusher is now available in a get-out-on-the-river float trip ready package.

3. Missouri Beer Company Kölsch (4.5-percent ABV) If you find yourself near O’Fallon, Missouri this weekend, stop by this new(ish) brewery and grab a Crowler for the weekend – it’s delightful.

4. Boulevard Brewing Co. Kölsch (4.6-percent ABV) A winner from the other side of the state, it’s available on draft and in cans for pairing with your favorite summer pastime.

5. Left Hand Brewing Co. Travelin’ Light Kölsch (4.8-percent ABV) This Colorado stud of a brewery jumped on the session ale train and canned this new-to-the-market refresher. Another canned goody means more variety for your outdoor adventures.

6. Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. Bap (4.9-percent ABV) Of course the most German-inspired brewery in The Lou is going to knock this German-style bier out of the park. Grab a growler at The Grove brewery and Bierhall this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Schlafly 

Katie Herrera is co-founder of Femme Ferment and a brand representative for Craft Republic. 

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DTWE: Keep your cool with Berliner Weisses and goses

Friday, June 16th, 2017

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The heat and humidity have kicked into high gear in The Lou. I’ll take hot weather over snow any day, but I know how to keep cool in these extreme conditions. Rather than sitting in a stagnant, air-conditioned room, I find pleasure imbibing crisp, refreshing, low-ABV beers to stay cool.

Two of my favorite styles to enjoy in hot weather have their roots in Germany: Berliner Weiss and gose (pronounced GOHZ’-uh). Fortunately, the American beer scene is seeing an influx of these approachable, soured wheat beers alongside the increasing demand for sour beer.

Well done Berliners and goses tend to have beautiful, balanced acidity that plays well with the billowy nature of the heavy wheat malt bill, creating an exquisite, crushable, thirst-quenching beverage. Goses are brewed with salt to increase satiability and texture and to add another dimension of sensory depth. Often, vibrant lemony citrus and herbal notes drive flavor.

If you want to try an assortment of German-style sour wheat beers this Saturday, head to Main & Mill Brewing Co. for its Summer StreetFest featuring a 5k, 12 bands and a plethora of new beer releases including eight fruited Berliners and goses.

Main & Mill has absolutely nailed its green chile ale, so I am sure the tropical chile gose with mango, papaya and green chiles is going will be almost juicy and margarita-like. I also can’t wait to try the Sangria Berliner stacked with strawberry, lime, orange and cherry. It sounds like a perfect way to beat the heat this weekend.

Katie Herrera is account manager at Craft Republic. 

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Readers Choice 2017: Favorite Breweries Beer Tour

Readers’ Choice 2017: Favorite Breweries

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

The St. Louis beer scene is inviting and ripe with awesome people and delicious suds. Every place is doing something different, so spend your weekend imbibing at your Favorite Local Breweries:

 

TastingRoom_4Hands

{ 4 Hands tasting room }

4 Hands Brewing Co.
Nestled just south of Busch Stadium, 4 Hands boasts one of the most creative beer portfolios the city has to offer. Hops, barrels and experimental collaborations are no stranger to this brewery’s lineup. The team behind the City Wide beer project, 4 Hands is synonymous with community involvement and support. Stop in before the next Cardinals game, check out the new upstairs bar and game area, order an Incarnation IPA, and grab grub from Peacemaker and Sidney Street Cafe’s new 4 Hands kitchen program.

 

TastingRoom_UCBC

{ Urban Chestnut Brewery & Bierhall in The Grove } 

Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.
As polka fans know, “In heaven there is no beer/that’s why we drink it here!” German-influenced Urban Chestnut has given St. Louis beer drinkers three options for imbibing. Planning a quieter date night or want some sun? Hit up the OG brewery and Biergarten in Midtown. The much larger and industrious brewery and Bierhall in The Grove plays a great host to happy hours and large groups, and the newly developed URB (Urban Research Brewery) across the street from the Bierhall is great if you want to nerd out over a Stammtisch and grab a slice of pizza.

 

TastingRoom_Schlafly

{ Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood } 

Schlafly
The original craft brewery in the land of Anheuser-Busch, Schlafly set the scene for the boom of smaller breweries in The Lou. Bar seats at the original Tap Room downtown are always filled with Billiken, Cards and Blues fans and lifelong regulars there to see their favorite tenured barkeep. Looking for a more broad and inclusive brewery experience? Head to Bottleworks, the production facility in Maplewood – that also plays host to some fantastic events – and reserve your spot for the super informative brewery tour. End your experience on the covered patio for some live music, nachos and a pour of Schlafly Kölsch.

 

TastingRoom_CivilLife

{ Civil Life tasting room }

Civil Life Brewing Co.
Consistently cited as the “brewer’s brewery,” Civil Life is the industry home away from home. True-to-style English- and German brews, friendly bar staff and a humble pub atmosphere all combine to create one of the most spectacular places to drink in the Tower Grove South neighborhood. Stop in on Sunday for chef Tony Collida taco offerings – or soup during the cooler months – and join in the camaraderie of friends, brewers and families. Although you can’t go wrong with any of Civil Life’s offerings, grab a pour of its Vienna lager or opt for anything on cask.

 

TastingRoom_SideProject

{ The Side Project Cellar }

Side Project Brewing
Just a few moments spent within the walls of Side Project’s new tasting room or at The Side Project Cellar, its beer bar down the street, and you’ll understand why the beer receives worldwide recognition and the James Beard Foundation gave a nod to The Cellar for Outstanding Bar Program in 2015. This Maplewood brewery houses barrel-aged beers that showcase funk, complexity and depth, as well as a knowledgeable staff (full disclosure: I used to manage The Cellar). Sip on a pour of Grisette and you’ll understand why this place draws the attention of beer hoarders and beer drinkers alike.

 

TastingRoom_Perennial

{ Perennial Artisan Ales tasting room } 

Perennial Artisan Ales
Home to Abraxas, Southside Blonde, an extensive barrel program and Thursday night hand pies, Perennial’s tasting room is bright, inviting, and always full of chatty locals and out-of-towners on their way through this beer city. Located in deep South City, this newly expanded brewery is kid friendly and has a wonderful patio for Saturday day-drinking after the 2 p.m. brewery tour. Looking for a weekday adventure? Stop in Thursdays around 6 p.m. for a weekly new beer release.

4 Hands and Side Project photos by  Michelle Volansky; Urban Chestnut and Perennial photos by Jonathan Gayman, Civil Life photo by David Kovaluk; Schlafly photo courtesy of Schlafly

Katie Herrera is account manager at Craft Republic. 

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DTWE: Mosaic IPA at Six Mile Bridge Beer

Friday, May 19th, 2017

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If you’re sick of all my hop talk, well, too bad. It won’t slow down this summer for two reasons: one, hops are my favorite, and two, many local breweries are spectacularly showcasing the diverse and dynamic world of hops.

Cases in point: Schalfly’s SMaSH program is still rocking. 2nd Shift Brewing Co. brewer and hop whisperer Steve Crider is introducing more hoppy beers to his lineup. Perennial Artisan Ales continues to pop out experimental IPAs (look for IPA 16 to hit in the next few weeks). I cannot get enough of 4 Hands Brewing Co. Table IPA, its collaboration with Northeast-style pale ale producer Narrow Gauge Brewing Co., and Shared shows off its hop skills with its Proof of Concept series. Even malt-savvy Civil Life Brewing Co. is playing around with “excessive” hop usage in its American session ale.

Six Mile Bridge Beer has also joined the hop wave and will release the first in a series of single-hopped IPAs on draft this weekend at the Maryland Heights brewery. This juicy Northeast-style IPA is hopped with Mosaic, a Simcoe/Nugget hop hybrid that is used predominately for intense aromatics and easily one of my favorites to enjoy.

This hazy IPA presents itself with an intense aroma dominated by tropical fruit. As the beer opens a bit, the pineapple and papaya give way to a touch of bubble gum, ripe citrus, a little melon, and an ever so elegant waft of dankness. Super low bitterness and adequate alcohol (6.8-percent ABV) allow for ripe cantaloupe and grain to resonate on the palate. This beer is easily quaffable and a perfect warm weather offering. I look forward to more single-hopped IPAs in this series.

Photo courtesy of Six Mile Bridge Beer

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

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DTWE: 7 cans to crush at Global Brew’s Can Jam

Friday, April 28th, 2017

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Global Brew in Rock Hill is back with its annual Can Jam on Saturday, April 29. This celebration of canned beer from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. highlights the environmentally friendly nature of canning and outdoorsy breweries’ famed canned products.

I did my investigative research and got the can list, and attendees will be drinking some pretty rad and tasty, thirst-quenching beers – all perfect for outdoor drinking.

Of course, canning pioneer Oskar Blues Brewing Co. will be there with what I hear are some extremely fresh Pinner cans. 4 Hands Brewing Co. will crank out Contact High, one of my favorite seasonal St. Louis releases.

Ballast Point Brewing Co. will show up with tropical fruit bomb Mango Even Keel Session IPA, while Odell Brewing Co. will bring fruit and a little sourness to the party with its tart German-style blackberry gose, Brombeere. And if you are looking for those 16-ounce cans, Sierra Nevada will offer its flagship, hop-focused beauties, Pale Ale and Torpedo EPA.

Perhaps most intriguing to this beer can lineup is Left Hand Brewing Co.’s new seasonal, canned farmhouse release, Saison au Miel. Underlying layers of funk and soft floral notes from the Belgian yeast play nicely with the drying nature of the Colorado wildflower honey. You can’t go wrong with a fun twist on an old-school saison. Well done, Left Hand. Well done.

Photo courtesy of Left Hand Brewing Co. 

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

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