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Jan 20, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drink This Weekend Edition

Drink This Weekend Edition: Schlafly Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

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Old dog Schlafly is learning new tricks with its From the Ibex Cellar series. With a nod to what beer nerds are after these days, Ibex offers all barrel-aged beers, which expand the brewery’s purview to include new projects like intensely fruited sours, a gose and foeder-aged beers.

Ibex beers have been difficult to find with small releases in large-format bottles, until now. With the purchase of a new bottling line, Schlafly will be offering more extensive Ibex releases in four-packs of 11.2-ounce bottles sporting that signature rampant goat.

The first to be bottled in this new format its Schlafly’s popular barrel-aged Imperial stout. The rich, chocolaty stout is aged in bourbon barrels for even more intensity. Its bold, strong flavor is surprisingly smooth with just a hint of sweetness. I found the crowd-pleasing beer to bring to my family’s holiday dinner. You can pick up your own four-pack for $18 at the Schlafly Tap Room and Bottleworks.

 

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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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Drink This Weekend Edition: Miracle on Chouteau Pop-up Bar

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

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{ Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r! }

 

If the crowds are any indication, St. Louis apparently had a deep need of a Christmas-themed pop-up bar like Miracle. It’s like spending time in your holiday-obsessed grandmother’s basement, surrounded by decorations collected over the past 40 years – only better, since you can escape your family and sip on drinks made by the crew at Planter’s House.  

Located at 1740 Chouteau Ave. (just look for the glow of hundreds of Christmas lights in the windows), drinks like the Jingle Bell Nog or Bad Santa hot milk punch feel right in this Christmas tree forest, but I’m partial to the cocktails with a tiki vibe on the menu.

Yule Be Singing features Plantation 3 Star Rum with Velvet Falernum, lime and a Champagne topper for an unexpected, sweet-tart holiday treat. And nothing can compete with the Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!, a tiki tipple with two kinds of rum, pumpkin-almond orgeat and lime juice served in a Santa mug dusted with powdered sugar.     

Plan on arriving early if you don’t want to wait, but there’s no bad seat, since every chair sports a Santa hat, and the whole place is dripping with tinsel and twinkle lights. Enjoy a cup of good cheer every day through Dec. 24.

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: Noble Rot Wines at 33 Wine Bar

Friday, November 18th, 2016

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Nicknaming a fungus “noble” doesn’t really make it sound better, but some winemakers celebrate when Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot, appears on their grapes. 33 Wine Bar owner James Smallwood said wines made with noble rot are immediately recognizable thanks to their thick, sweet profiles. “They’re dessert wines – and it imparts a sort of honeyed flavor,” he said.

The origin of noble rot is as much legend as history. Nobody knows why the first winemaker decided to press apparently ruined grapes, but it’s clear why the tradition continues. The juice from these half-rotted grapes is so concentrated that oozes out when pressed, which makes for some seriously intense and sweet wines that don’t tasted rotten at all.

But intensity comes with a price. Introducing even a noble rot is a dangerous game. Too much sun and dry heat and the fungus won’t show up; too much moisture and it can turn from noble to full-on destructive gray rot pretty quick. The concentrated juice of successfully rotten grapes means less yield from vines.

“It’s a manually intensive process,” Smallwood said. “Rather than harvest in a day, they harvest over a few weeks to a month.” When one bunch of grapes is ready, another might need one more day on the vine, while others probably haven’t developed the noble rot at all yet.

So excuse the price tags on these unctuous dessert wines. One of the most famous, Smallwood said, costs more than $300 a bottle. Luckily, 33 Wine Bar carries the more approachable Chateau Doisy-Vedrines Sauternes, with half-bottles available for $32.

The pale golden wine has a rich honey aroma and a round, viscous sweetness balanced by acidity that keeps it from cloying. The only other noble rot wine available is the aptly named Noble One, an Australian Botrytis Semillon from De Bortoli. A deeper, burnished honey color, Noble One is both sweeter and sharper than the Sauternes.

 

More about wine in St. Louis 
• 11 Foolproof Wine Lists
• Conquer the Wine Lists
• Drink This Weekend Edition: Underrated Wines
• 3 wines for sauvignon blanc lovers

 

Heather Hughes is managing editor for print at Sauce Magazine. 

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: Nuclear Sky Sno-cone at BBQ Saloon

Friday, September 16th, 2016

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When I heard The BBQ Saloon in the Central West End was making sno-cones with Leopold Bros. natural liqueurs, I had to try them. Adult sno-cones don’t usually come in grown-up flavors, but Leopold Bros. liqueurs have the deep, rich taste of real fruit and a sophisticated sweetness. BBQ Saloon offers the Leopold Bros. Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur, New York Sour Apple and Rocky Mountain Peach, but owner Phil Czarnec said any classic cocktail can be made into a sno-cone.

I opted for Czarnec’s favorite, the Nuclear Sky. Made with Reyka Vodka, Pinckney Bend tonic syrup, crème de violette and Leopold Bros. peach liqueur, complex fruit and floral notes dance on the palate, leaving you with the expected sweetness of a sno-cone, matured. It’s not too late to live your best summer life.

 

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