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Mar 28, 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

DTWE: 6 must-drink beers at Lupulin Carnival

Friday, March 24th, 2017

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It’s almost time for 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s yearly hop-induced coma: Lupulin Carnival. It takes place April 1 at Union Station this year, and it means the return of carnival acts, the smell of dank IPAs (and sweaty festival goers) and the release of 4 Hands’ Imperial IPA, War Hammer. (Tickets are available online.)

Beer festivals can overwhelm, especially when the lineup is ridiculously amazing. Some of the best breweries in the IPA game pour at Lupulin, highlighting their prodigious hop usage. Heed some sage advice from an IPA fiend: Do not pass up that beer you’ve had before.

Why? With all the variations in hops, styles and brewing techniques, this is your chance to see just how versatile hops can be. Look for classic West Coast-style usage from Ballast Point or Stone Brewing Co., the trendy Northeast-style pale ales from local breweries like Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. and Shared, and game changers with some of the best hop experimentation in the game (i.e. Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s Leo v. Ursus and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Tropical Torpedo.)

There will be too many beers to try (because you will all be responsible drinkers), so prioritize with my six must-try beers at Lupulin 2017:

1. Yes, War Hammer is the guest of honor, but surprise! 4 Hands hopped up a Pilsner for its second City Wide offering. City Wide Pils is a Citra dry-hopped American Pilsner that’s perfect for crushing during the hot St. Louis summer.

2. If one Imperial IPA wasn’t enough, 4 Hands’ also debuts an Imperial wheat IPA, White Flannel, rumored to be aggressively hoppy with intense notes of tropical fruit.

3. Expect lots of hoppy goodies from Chicagoland breweries. One of Chicago’s finest breweries (IMHO), Half Acre Beer Co., brings Tuna Extra Pale, its 4.7-percent ABV brew ripe with citrus, tropical fruit and a slightly sweet malt bill to uphold that flavor.

4. Pipeworks Brewing Co. rolls in with Ninja vs. Unicorn, an unfiltered, balanced Imperial IPA with massive amounts of peach and citrus aromatics and extreme drinkability. Be careful, y’all – this one does not drink like it’s 8-percent ABV.

5. Mile Wide Beer Co., a new Louisville, Kentucky brewery and brainchild of former Schlafly brewer Kyle Tavares, brings Idlewild Pale Ale (5.5-percent ABV). This crisp, light-bodied pale ale sees a new hop addition every few months for a refreshing and fun take on the classic American style. It currently boasts Mosaic and Equinox hops for a dank and tropical fruit aroma.

6. Finally, try one of the first breweries that got me into the hop game: Ale Asylum. Its Velveteen Habit has juicy hop presence with a mildly sweet malt undertone is finished with a satiable bitterness. Look for light grassiness, citrus, pineapple and a little herbal character as you drink.

Photo by Ed Aller for 4 Hands Brewing Co.

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

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of Lupulin Carnival.

 

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DTWE: 6 STL coffee beers to drink this weekend

Friday, February 24th, 2017

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It’s that time of year again: Good Beer Hunting’s annual Uppers & Downers festival, a celebration of all things coffee beers. As I head back to Chicago to partake in this festival of my two favorite things, you should take an adventure down Manchester Avenue from Maplewood to The Mississippi and try the plethora of coffee beers available from some outstanding breweries.

Start your coffee beer exploit at Side Project Brewing. Nestled amongst the cozy walls of barreled funk, you’ll find Cory King and Co.’s newest project, Shared Brewing. Try a pour of Shared Coffee Shop Vibes: a rich, silky Russian Imperial stout that was finished on Colombian coffee beans from local roaster, Sump. It boasts loads of chocolate and coffee notes with a soft, underlying raisin character.

Next, walk east a few blocks to Schlafly Bottleworks for a quick Schlafly Coffee Stout (my favorite seasonal release coming out of St. Louis, but faithful readers knew that already) or the deliciously deceptive Double Bean Blonde Ale. Despite its yellow straw hue, it boasts aromas and flavors reminiscent of chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Continue down Manchester and into the The Hill neighborhood for a pit stop at 2nd Shift Brewing. This weekend, these cool cats debut Coffee Cat Spit Stout: a chewy oatmeal milk stout with the brightness and sweetness of Blueprint’s Peruvian Cajamarca cold toddy.

Finally, end your coffee beer journey at 4 Hands Brewing Co. with a Bonafide Imperial stout brewed with Edwardsville-based Goshen Bonafide coffee and vanilla beans or a Devil’s Invention, a coffee stout that’s crushable despite the 7.2-percent ABV. Get your buzz on this weekend.

 

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

 

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DTWE: Wolpertinger at Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

 

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: 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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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

 

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