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Jun 29, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drinking

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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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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DTWE: 8 beers that pair perfectly with your favorite jelly beans

Friday, April 14th, 2017

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Many area children will spend Easter loading up on all the sugary goodness that furry little bunny delivers. But don’t let the kids have all the fun. Grab a bag of my favorite Easter candy, Brach’s Classic Jelly Bird Eggs, and pair each flavor with locally available brews. Consider it the adult version of an Easter egg hunt – a Beer-ster Egg Hunt, if you will.

1. Lemon: Pair these citrusy yellow jelly beans with a Radler at The Civil Life. This half German wheat ale and half sparking fruit soda concoction is just what this lemony bean needs. On draft at The Civil Life Brewing Co. 

2. Lime: Do you like tiki drinks? Then pair this little green bean with a Schlafly Coconut Cream Ale. You’ll taste an island paradise with the mix of lime, coconut and pineapple flavors. On draft at Schlafly Bottleworks 

3. Grape: Eat a grape jelly bean and then drink some 4 Hands Absence of Light to relive those days of childhood peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. On draft at 4 Hands Brewing Co

4. Cherry: Enhance the cherry flavors in North Peak Archangel with those little red juice bombs of a jelly bean. This pale wheat beer is light and dry with just a hint of cherry. Available at Friar Tuck in Crestwood

5. Raspberry: Goose Island Lolita 2017 just hit shelves and is available in 12-ounce bottles for the first time. These sweet little pink jelly beans are a great counterpoint to all the sour raspberry funkiness going on in this beer. Available at Lukas Wine & Spirits

6. Orange: These citrusy, sweet orange jelly beans meet their match with the brightness and light tartness of Six Mile Bridge Beer’s seasonal Blood Orange Wit. On draft at Six Mile Bridge Beer 

7. Vanilla-Pineapple: Pair these opaque white jelly beans with a funky, Brett-fermented farmhouse like Green Bench’s Les Grisettes. Brett often creates intense notes of tropical fruit, and the vanilla adds a nice soft note that rounds out an often herbaceous, grassy character. Available at Saint Louis Hop Shop

8. Licorice: Does anyone actually eat these anise-flavored black jelly beans? Toss these spicy guys in the trash and end your Beer-ster Egg Hunt with a shot of Jägermeister or Fernet instead. You’ll be happier for it.

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

Photo illustration by Michelle Volansky 

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DTWE: 3 tea-infused cocktails to try at Retreat Gastropub

Friday, March 31st, 2017

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 { Creole Colada at Retreat Gastropub }

 

When Retreat Gastropub bar manager Tim Wiggins comes up with a tea-themed cocktail menu, it’s going to be more than boozy glasses of your grandma’s finest.

“A lot of people hate tea,” Wiggins said. “These don’t taste like tea cocktails – they taste like cocktails with unusual elements.” The menu ranges from sweet and fruity to spicy and savory, balancing bold, unexpected flavors in strange-sounding, but highly drinkable cocktails.

1. If you like earthy flavors, the Parasol Shade combines the lush funkiness of Wray & Nephew overproof rum with a rooibos tea Wiggins said tastes like rich soil, all brightened by white rum, mango, cream and lime. The overproof rum’s raisin notes meet the mango’s sunnier sweetness, grounded by cream and a lively zip of lime on the finish. The complex combination is balanced – you’ll keep sipping as you try to figure it out.

2. If you like juicy and floral, try the tiki-inspired Creole Colada. Sweet, fresh pineapple juice and coconut cream are tempered by a full ounce of Peychaud’s bitters, Jamaican aged rum and an infusion of hibiscus and lemongrass. The drink is finished with a spray of hibiscus-infused absinthe and a sprinkle of nutmeg. A creamy pink, it looks throat-coating sweet, but it goes down easy with a hint of herbal spice and a pleasantly tart finish.

3. If you like vegetal drinks, order the Bells and Whistles. The savory, subtly sweet flavors of orange and yellow peppers are paired with Cana Brava rum infused with fragrant, tannic jasmine, along with green tea, honey-like white port and amontillado. Finished with a hint of lemon La Croix and garnished with a lemon wheel, it has a bright acidity and savory sweetness.

Photo by Meera Nagarajan

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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: 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: 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.

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