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Nov 23, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Guide to Beer

Guide to Beer 2017: Get festive with STL beer fests

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

festivals_mar17

 

Grab your calendar, prepare your liver and save the dates – St. Louis is awash in beer festivals this year.

FestivAle
March 4, Delmar Hall, St. Louis, festivalestl.com
More than 30 regional breweries descend on FestivAle from Point Labaddie Brewery to Charleville Brewery. Fill your glass, then grab bites from Wicked Greenz, Bogart’s Smokehouse and more. This event is sold out.

Schlafly Stout and Oyster Festival
March 10 and 11, Schlafly Tap Room, schlafly.com/stoutandoyster
Choose from 15 Schlafly stouts and a selection of small-batch, experimental options, then enter the Shuckerdome and watch pros battle it out, shucking oysters at lightning speed. Free admission.

Ales for Tails Homebrew Festival
March 25, American Czech Educational Center, St. Louis, stlpivo.com
Dozens of homebrewers share their concoctions to benefit local animal nonprofits alongside artisans selling handmade pet toys and cookies. Tickets available online.

Lupulin Carnival
April 1, Midway at Union Station, St. Louis, lupulincarnival.com
4 Hands Brewing brings down the War Hammer, its annual Imperial IPA. Take a turn on the Ferris wheel and super slide, and sip beers from 65 local and national breweries, including heavy-hitters like Toppling Goliath. Tickets available online.

Mile Marker 68.3 Bier Fest
April 29, Missouri Riverfront, Washington, Facebook: Mile Marker 68.3 Bier Fest
Friendship Brewing, Standard Brewing, Trailhead Brewing and more than 20 others come out to support Missouri River Relief. Not a beer fan? Sip samples from distilleries like Pinckney Bend and Wood Hat. Tickets available at John G’s Bierdeck or online.

St. Louis Microfest
May 5 and 6, Forest Park, St. Louis, stlmicrofest.org
This two-day festival has three sessions to sample around 125 international and craft breweries like 4204 Main Street Brewing. Tickets available online.

Indihop
May 20, The Grove and Cherokee Street, indihopstl.com
Shuttle between two of St. Louis’ more eclectic neighborhoods and taste up to 50 local beers at participating shops, bars and breweries. Tickets available online.

Heritage Festival
June 3, Gateway Arch, St. Louis, stlbeer.org
Sample more than 100 brews from members of the St. Louis Brewers Guild and end your evening with fireworks above the Arch. Tickets will be available online.

St. Louis Craft Beer Week
July 28 to Aug. 5, St. Louis, stlbeerweek.com
This ninth annual festival spans the city and county with more than 100 events including the Midwest Belgian Beer Fest, tap takeovers, classes and beer dinners. Schedule and tickets will be available online.

Schlafly Hop in the City
Sept. 16, Schlafly Tap Room, St. Louis, schlafly.com/hop
Hop to Schlafly Tap Room to sample nearly all Schlafly’s extensive portfolio, including special-release brews. Tickets will be available online.

Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival
Oct. 7, Augusta, augustabottomsbeerfest.com
It’s a party on the flood plains at Augusta Brewing Co.’s annual festival. Last year’s event included nearly 40 breweries. Tickets available online.

St. Louis Brewers Guild Halloween Party
Oct. 28, Lafayette Park, St. Louis, stlbeer.org
Don your favorite costume and trick or treat with St. Louis brewers. Previous years’ festivities included a costume contest and a Hefe Ride (a hayride with a keg). Tickets will be available online.

The Great St. Louis Czech Beer Festival
Dec. 9, American Czech Educational Center, St. Louis, stlpivo.com
Last year, nearly two dozen breweries offered their iterations of the Czech Pilsner at this celebration of the clean lager style. Tickets will be available online.

 

Editor’s note: At the time of publication, tickets were still available for FestivAle. It has since sold out. The online version of this article has been updated with the most current information. 

Catherine Klene and Brianna Velarde contributed to this article. 

Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

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Guide to Beer 2017: One Glass to Rule Them All

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Guide to Beer 2017: One Glass to Rule Them All

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

glass_mar17

 

Different beers have their own styles of glassware for a reason, but few of us have enough space or money to buy a full portfolio of beer glasses. Keep things simple by enjoying your next brew in a wine glass. The standard shape – wider at the bottom and narrow at the top – helps focus aromatics, which will enhance your enjoyment of most styles, especially if you don’t fill it as high as Tammy Taylor.

2nd Shift Brewing Co. co-owner Libby Crider especially likes to use wine glasses for barrel-aged beers, which tend to be more delicate. “They’re great for beers you want to treat like wines,” she said. “You can swirl, aerate and really get the whole experience.”

 Photo by Jonathan Gayman

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Guide to Beer 2017: Get festive with STL beer fests

Guide to Beer 2017: Class of 2017

Guide to Beer 2017: Class of 2017

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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The St. Louis beer scene is always expanding, but with a dozen breweries slated to open this year, we’re entering a new beer boom. Meet the St. Louis brewers’ Class of 2017.

Top row from left: Greer Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner Chris Greer, Greer Brewing co-owner Becky Greer, Two Plumbers Brewery & Arcade head brewer John Simon, Wellspent brewer-co-owner Kyle Kohlmorgen, Good News Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner Josh Miller,Steampunk Brew Works brewer-owner David Deaton

Middle row from left: Rockwell Beer Co. brewer-owner Andy Hille, Design2Brew head brewer Donn Christian, Third Wheel Brewing head brewer Abbey Spencer, Missouri Beer Co. brewer-co-owner Dave Johnson, Good News Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner Dan Tripp

Bottom row from left: White Rooster Farmhouse Brewery brewer-co-owner Mike Deutschmann, Senn Bierwerks brewer-co-owner Dustin Chalfant, Center Ice Brewery brewer-owner Steve Albers, Senn brewer-co-owner James Hellmuth

 

Photo by Ashley Gieseking 

Guide to Beer 2017: Where Brewers Drink

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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Brewers can drink their own beer all day. Here’s where they go when they’re off duty.

With a big group
“We like Basso or Three Kings in The Loop. We live in U. City, so Three Kings is usually where we’ll go with friends.” – Ryan Sherring, Six Mile Bridge brewmaster-co-owner

Neighborhood spot
Frailey’s Southtown Grill in South County. I know the owners – it’s more of a regular’s place. … For what you get, I think it’s the best bang for buck in St. Louis. And everyone who works there is great. It has that family feel to it.” – Brian Ilg, Kirkwood Station Brewing Company brewmaster

“My favorite spot would be Main Street in Edwardsville – there’s a couple good restaurants and bars. A go-to is Recess Brewing down there. It’s nice to have places within walking distance.” – Patrick Thirion, Peel Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner

Something other than beer
“This is probably going to be your weirdest answer, but my place is Pho Grand on South Grand to get their French iced coffee.” – Thirion

“If I want to get a decent whiskey, there’s a couple places I like to go: Montrey’s in Ferguson. It’s a cigar bar. It’s right by the brewhouse, so that one’s easy. And I enjoy Eclipse. You can get a decent drink, and it’s a cool atmosphere. And you can’t go wrong with Shaved Duck, or BBQ Saloon always has a good whiskey selection.” – Taylor Wright, Ferguson Brewing Co. head brewer

Day drinking
“For outside in summer, a great place is 21st Street Brewers Bar. Or Square One – they do a mean grilled cheese.” – Sherring

“Pretty much anywhere that has games – anywhere I can play bubble hockey, shuffleboard or darts. And iTap in Soulard is always a good day drinking spot because it’s not going to be overly busy – you can have good conversations.” – Wright

 

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Guide to Beer 2017: Whale Hunting

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Guide to Beer 2017: Whale Hunting

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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Beer nerds spend hours at bottle shops and grocery stores searching for new and trendy bottles to add to their collections. But some beers are so special, so elusive, they can make even the most mild-mannered beer enthusiast go Captain Ahab on local aisles. “The more rare or difficult it is to find, that’s what people refer to as a whale,” explained Ryan Nickelson, co-owner of Craft Beer Cellar. While Nickelson’s Clayton shop is stocked with brews from around the world, he sometimes receives just one case of a rare bottle. Here, Nickelson shared four tips for intrepid drinkers hell-bent on finding their own white whales.

1. Join the club. Many bottle shops have membership programs that reward participants with rare beers through raffles, special events and even allocations. Craft Beer Cellar also keeps some rare bottles on a cellar list for on-site consumption, so many can get a taste.

2. Follow the distributors, not just the beer. Distributors like Shelton Brothers will sometimes drop hints of what’s coming to the market. Nickelson also named beer blogs like The Beer Temple and Good Beer Hunting as prime resources.

3. Go to beer releases. Here is where you’ll find local whales highly coveted across the country, like Perennial Barrel-Aged Sump and Side Project Brewing bottles.

 4. Shop frequently. Nickelson said whales are sometimes announced with little fanfare. Successful hunters have sharp eyes.

 

If you stumble across these brews in stores, don’t think – just buy:

4 Hands Madagascar

Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout

Cantillion Brewery beers

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Proprietor’s Vintage Series

Avery Brewing Co. Barrel-Aged Series

Stone Brewing Small Batch Series

Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

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Guide to Beer 2017: Fresh to Death

Guide to Beer 2017: Spring Forecast

 

Guide to Beer 2017: Fresh to Death

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

fresh_mar17

 

It happened again. You let that half-empty jug of milk sit past its best-by date. Way past its best-by date. You remove the cap, take a cautious sniff … then retch and promptly chuck the whole thing in the trash.

While old beer doesn’t produce quite the same visceral reaction, bottling or drink-by dates should be given the same consideration. If you’ve ever ordered a beer you thought you liked and found it unexpectedly flat or nasty, you’re familiar with the concept. Discovering you’re sipping a skunky lager or hop-less IPA is as disheartening to the brewer as it is to the consumer, according to 4 Hands brewery manager Martin Toft.

“After (the drink-by date), the beer isn’t going to be bad for you or unsafe to drink, it’s just not going to be the same beer that we want the consumers to drink,” Toft said.

That IPA you saved for a special occasion? Celebrate soon. In general, hoppy beers like IPAs and American pale ales should be consumed as soon as possible and definitely within two to three months.

“Those really bright, vibrant hop aromas will fall off, and it can start to get cardboard-y, sometimes kind of cheesy is another descriptor for old hops – a lot of really unpleasant flavors and aromas,” Toft said. “All those really pungent, citrusy, fruity, tropical flavors and aromas you find in IPAs, those are the ones that fall off the fastest.”

Less hop-forward styles with lower ABVs like Pilsners and blond ales can hold out a little longer, Toft said, but no more than six months. Sours and robust, high-gravity stouts can cellar quite nicely for years in the right conditions, but be warned – you may lose delicate flavor notes like vanilla and coffee.

“There are a lot of beers that cellar well, which means that they aren’t going to age as rapidly as other styles, but we put that beer in package because we wanted you to drink it right away,” Toft said.

Bottom line: Drink up. “If it’s in that bottle, it’s in there for a reason.”

 

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Guide to Beer 2017: Get festive with STL beer fests

Guide to Beer 2017: Spring Forecast

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

spring_mar17

 

This spring, several of my favorite breweries are hitting St. Louis with fun releases – some brand new, others making a return appearance, all highly anticipated.

 

Just Released
1. Left Hand Brewing Co. Well Played

Although known for its nitro beers, don’t deny a try of this carbed-up red IPA. Expect a sweet, malty front ridden out by a nice clean, bitter finish, all while boasting a bouquet of experimental hops from the Yakima Valley.

2. Logboat Brewing Co. Bennie Mocha Stout
And another hit from the guys out of Columbia, Missouri. Massive coffee aroma is paired with cocoa nib sweetness up front, balanced by Fretboard Coffee bitterness in this roasty, medium-bodied stout.

Early March
3. Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. Peach OJ Run Imperial IPA and Pineapple Mordecai APA

STL’s best hazy pale ales are seeing fruit for more dank and tropical juiciness in your glass. Look for these bad boys from Florissant this month.

March
4. Oskar Blues Brewery Hotbox Coffee IPA

If combining two of my favorite things isn’t heaven, I don’t know what is. This Simcoe-hopped IPA meets its match with the fruity nature of Hotbox Roasters’ Ethiopian coffee bean. Weird? Absolutely. Tasty? Most definitely.

Late March
5. Mark Twain Brewing Co. Abracapocus

If you take a well-done base saison and add 100 pounds of peaches, what do you get? A little grain; a grassy, peppery yeast expression; and a whole lot of juicy peach. Catch this small batch release at the brewery while you can.

April
6. Earthbound Beer Cardamom Pepper Tea Blonde

This annual release is brewed with cracked cardamom pods, black pepper and Lipton’s black tea. It’s refreshing enough to journey into spring, and spicy enough to carry those last cool days of winter.

 

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Guide to Beer: Where should I get a beer?

Friday, March 11th, 2016

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It’s the age-old question: Where should we grab a beer tonight? Mix up the same old rotation of watering holes and try one of eight new tasting rooms in the St. Louis area perfect for any situation. With the kids? There’s a brewery for that. Is there a vegetarian in your midst? There’s a brewery for that. Click here and follow the flow chart to find where you’re drinking tonight.

 

 

Guide to Beer 2016: Bold New Brewers

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

St. Louis breweries don’t exactly adhere to reinheitsgebot purity laws or the strict hierarchy of traditional German brewing. Instead, laissez faire experimentation and collaboration have produced as many exciting new brewers as beers. Local favorites like 4 Hands Incarnation IPA and Perennial Suburban Beverage weren’t concocted by owners or brewmasters, but rather these rising talents.

 

030916_brewer4

 

Luke Oldham
Assistant Brewer, 2nd Shift Brewing, New Haven
Areas of interest: The entire process. Though Oldham hasn’t debuted a beer of his own (yet), he has taken on 2nd Shift Brewing’s day-to-day responsibilities (brewing most of its beers) while co-owner and brewmaster Steve Crider focuses on growing the brand.
Praise from the boss: “Luke is truly a go-getter. He’s a person who does exactly what you need him to do with zero problems,” Crider said. “And he’s also a goofball.”

 

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Andy Hille
Brewer, Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis
Beers: Regalia, Stefon and Suburban Beverage
Areas of Interest: “Everything: recipe formulation, experimental styles,” Hille said. When developing recipes, he’s in pursuit of balance. “More like a culinary approach to beer – beers that don’t sway too far one way or another with flavor.”
Praise from the boss: Perennial co-owner Phil Wymore is impressed by Hille’s creativity as much as his skill. “Andy is very freeform and creative,” Wymore said. “And he helps us incorporate a lot of pop culture in our brand.”

 

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Andy Burgio
Lead Brewer, 4 Hands Brewing Co., St. Louis
Beers: Incarnation IPA, Prelude
Areas of interest: Recipe development – especially for sour and barrel-aged beers. He is focused on achieving efficient brewing without compromising on quality.
Praise from the boss: “Andy’s passion is unparalleled,” said Kevin Lemp, 4 Hands owner and founder. “He isn’t satisfied easily, and from an owner’s perspective that is really what you’re looking for – because you don’t want to just put out a product. Andy helps us make sure that we’re putting out the very best beer we can.”

 

030916_brewer2

 

Brandon Stern
Brewer, The Civil Life Brewing Co., St. Louis
Beers: Burton-On-Holt pale ale, Wee Bit Heavy Scotch Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Belgian-Style Table Beer, Belgian-Style Dubbel Ale, Big Belgian-Style Blond Ale
Areas of interest: Recipe development. “Playing around and experimenting with new ingredients – continuing education and research,” Stern said. He is leading Civil Life’s Belgian series, as well as the brewery’s new cask beer program.
Praise from the boss: “He has a lot of skill,” said head brewer Dylan Mosley. “But also, I like (that) he doesn’t always agree with me. He’s not afraid to speak his mind. Brandon is definitely not for hire.”

 

030916_brewer1

 

Jonathan Moxey
Brewer, Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis
Beers: Fête de Nöel Winter Ale, Anniversaria, Dubbel Block, Dealers’ Choice cocktail series beers
Areas of Interest: Barrels and wild yeasts like Brettanomyces. “(But) my main interest is introducing people to the wonderful relationships beer has with food and how well it can work together when you find the correct harmonies and contrasts,” Moxey said. “My brother Brian (Moxey) is the chef here at Perennial, and I really enjoy making beer for his food and encouraging him to make food for my beer.”
Praise from the boss: “Like being a great chef, great brewers need to have a good palate to be able to be critical of a beer and perfect certain elements,” said Perennial co-owner Phil Wymore. “That’s something that Jonathan has in spades, and it makes him a really talented brewer.”

 

-photos by Greg Rannells

 

Guide to Beer 2016: The Rookie’s Guide to a Side Project Release

Friday, March 4th, 2016

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The forums are abuzz; Twitter is atwitter. The latest Side Project Brewing creation will be released tomorrow at Perennial Artisan Ales, and this time, you’re getting your hands on some of the world-class beer. But before you bumrush the bar, take note: A certain standard of behavior applies. We chatted with brewer and co-owner Cory King – and stood in some long lines – to make sure you don’t look a fool at your first bottle release.

1. Do get there early. A recent Side Project release started at 4 p.m., but the line started at 8 a.m. Make a fake dentist appointment and leave work ASAP. However …

2. Don’t panic. “If the release is at 4 p.m., as long as you get there by 4 p.m., you’re going to get some beer,” King said. “I never announce beforehand how many bottles there will be.”

3. Do bring a bottle. Hell, bring a cooler. The Perennial and Side Project teams are fine with bottle shares. Just don’t run your mouth about your latest and greatest without offering neighbors a pour.

4. Don’t get shitfaced. Some of those fancy beers pack a punch. Have fun, but stay classy.

5. Do trade. Swapping one of your prized bottles for an equally rare treat is called good fun. Auctioning a bottle to the highest bidder is called profiteering. Rude.

6. Don’t hire a beer mule. And yes, this actually happens. If you want more than your allocation, do what everyone else does and lie to your friend about how long you’ll wait in line.

7. Do inform your neighbor. If you need to leave the line for a bathroom break or to hit the bar, that’s cool. Just give a heads up so the people around you know you didn’t abandon ship.

8. Don’t cut. Look, ninja, we all saw you. If you really want to stand with your BFF Steve, you can both go to the back of the line.

9. Do clean up. Glass bottles go in the recycling; trash goes in the dumpster. The sidewalk should not look like Soulard Mardi Gras.

10. Don’t be a loner. “Be prepared to meet some locals, be prepared for beer to be shared and be prepared for a calm release,” King said.

-illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

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