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Dec 12, 2017
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beer

Plantain Girl will open Alpha-Teria inside new Alpha Brewing space

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

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One current local brewery trend has nothing to do with beer. Breweries tap a local restaurateur to provide quality eats for taproom customers while brewers concentrate on what they do best – beer. The latest of these collaborations is between Alpha Brewing Co. and Plantain Girl owner Mandy Estrella, who built a following for her Caribbean catering services and pop-up events.

As The Scoop reported in April, Alpha is currently constructing a new facility at 4310 Fyler Ave., slated to open in mid-February. In addition to a 15-barrel brew house, co-owner and head brewer Derrick Langeneckert said the new digs will also boast a taproom, restaurant and beer garden area with seating for approximately 300.

The restaurant, called Alpha-Teria, will feature Estrella’s signature Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican cuisine. The menu will include shareable plates like empanadas, pollo con queso and a rotating selection of tacos, along with mains like the ropa vieja plate (braised flank steak, white rice, black beans, maduros, pickled red onions and cilantro), and sandwiches like the tripleta with diced steak, pork, ham, Swiss cheese, grilled onions, lettuce and tomato on toasted French bread.

 

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Langeneckert said he was looking for something different to complement Alpha’s variety of beers. “Our beers are more aggressively flavored,” he said. “We just didn’t want to do the typical hamburger or pizza, because the food would get really lost. We were looking for something spicy.”

Langeneckert happened to visit Six Mile Bridge Beer during one of Estrella’s pop-ups there, and the rest was history.

“We were getting to the point where we were already going to phase out the pop-ups,” Estrella said. “We were about two years out from opening some form of a Latin fast-casual restaurant, so when Derrick approached me with this, it wasn’t exactly what I was going to do, but was kind of the middle ground. I could open a kitchen without having to open a full restaurant. It seemed like a great opportunity with less risk.”

She said the built-in audience of Alpha fans was also an incentive, as well as the fact that many Plantain Girl followers are from the Tower Grove area, where the new Alpha location will be. Estrella said she’ll continue to cater under the Plantain Girl moniker.

Plantain Girl photo by Ashley Gieseking

Matt Sorrell is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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• What I Do: Mandy Estrella of Plantain Girl

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Wellbeing Brewing Co. launches St. Louis’ first nonalcoholic brewery

Monday, November 27th, 2017

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St. Louis has long been a center for innovation in beer, and now there’s another to add to the extensive list: nonalcoholic craft beer. Wellbeing Brewing Co., a new brewery that specializes in NA beers, aims to have its wares on area shelves by Jan. 2, as reported by the Post-Dispatch.

Husband-and-wife team Jeff Stevens and Genevieve Barlow started Wellbeing, one of the country’s two breweries dedicated to solely brewing nonalcoholic beers, earlier this year. Although he has an extensive background in marketing beer and spirits at companies such as Momentum Worldwide, Stevens stopped drinking alcohol when he was 24.

“I went to tastings, had to write beer copy, knew a lot about the brewing process and how all kinds of beers around the world were brewed, but never got to drink any of it,” he said.

Stevens said he always looked for booze-free options when he went out and often came up short. Then about a year ago, he was in London with some coworkers who showed him how popular nonalcoholic beers were becoming in Europe. The experience inspired him to try his hand at brewing his own version.

“The market [in the U.S.] isn’t quite there yet, but I think all the signs point that way,” Stevens said. “I think bars and restaurants are going to have to give people who don’t drink alcohol just as good of an experience as those who do and offer just as many choices, versus just a Diet Coke or a coffee.”

Currently, Wellbeing contract brews through O’Fallon Brewery to produce Wellbeing’s first release, Heavenly Body Golden Wheat, a dry, crisp wheat beer. Next up is Hellraiser Dark Amber, available Feb. 1, which Stevens described as pale ale-like with more of a hoppy characteristic. He said future offerings will include a stout and a Radler. The beers will initially be sold in bottles with cans and kegs following later next year.

Stevens said he’s content to brew at O’Fallon while he judges the response to his beers. “We should be good [at O’Fallon] for a couple of years,” he said.

He said Whole Foods in Brentwood and Fields Foods have expressed interest in stocking the beer come January, and Tapped in Maplewood has committed to putting Wellbeing on tap when kegs are available.

Photo courtesy of Wellbeing Brewing

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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4 big Black Friday beer events in St. Louis

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

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After the kitchen is clean and leftover turkey soup is simmering on the stove, seek relief from bargain shopping and imbibe at some of the beer-related events that break up the otherwise consumerist hell we call Black Friday.

In the beer world, Black Friday designates the highly anticipated release of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. This massively rich, boozy, succulent Imperial stout paved the way for barrel aging in American craft beer today. People seek BCS and its variants all over the St. Louis area, and lines form for draft pours and bottles – sometimes immediately after dessert is devoured, as the lines are hours long (of course).

When Black Friday comes, there will be more than just BCS at your favorite local establishments, and there are some awesome events planned to highlight the essence of these gnarly, “probably-shouldn’t-have-eaten-that-pie” black beers.

1. Black Out Friday at Llywelyn’s in St. Charles
This bar not only taps 2015 and 2017 BCS, but it has also decided to throw on Perennial Artisan Ales’ heavy-hitting 2017 Imperial stouts: Abraxas, Fantastic Voyage and 17. Other fun big guys are slated to pour, too, starting at 11 a.m. This is your Black Friday event for big, fun adjuncts.

2. Winter Beer Release at International Tap House in Soulard
ITap pairs its BCS release with the tapping of more than a dozen seasonal holiday beers during this annual event starting at 11 a.m. Look for this year’s BCS and a variant, as well Boulevard Nutcracker Ale, Odell Isolation Ale and Schlafly Christmas Ale at this annual winter beer showcase.

3. Whiskey Scented Santa Release at Charleville Brewing Co. and Tavern
If you’re not feeling the BCS, but you still want big, dark beer, head to Charleville’s new home at 11 a.m. for the draft and bottle release of its barrel-aged Imperial stout, Whiskey Scented Santa. This guy is always a hit with a big whiskey aroma and some booze on the palate underlined by lovely, mellow notes of vanilla and dried fruit. It’s quite limited, so get there early.

4. Beer : Barrel : Time and Derivation Blend No. 8 at Side Project
Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones who purchased a bottle of Side Project Brewing’s Beer : Barrel : Time 2017 before it sold out online. This blended, barrel-aged, no-adjunct Imperial stout is beautiful, complex and could be St. Louis’ newest Thanksgiving weekend beer tradition. If you missed your chance for a bottle, don’t worry. She is available to sip on-site at The Side Project Cellar and Side Project Brewing all weekend alongside Derivation Blend No. 8.

 

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

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3 can’t-miss beers at the Brewers Guild Halloween Party

Friday, October 27th, 2017

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It finally feels like fall, Halloween decorations adorn the streets of Lafayette Square and we’re stuffing our faces with fun-sized candy bars. That means it’s time for ghosts, goblins and beer drinkers to unite once again for the annual St. Louis Brewers Guild Halloween Party.

Snag your tickets online and head to Lafayette Park this Saturday, Oct. 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. in your classiest Halloween costumes. You’ll enjoy some of the sudsiest the local craft beer scene has to offer. Don’t miss these brews for a spooky good time.

1. 2nd Shift El Gato Negro (7.6-percent) is the cat-worshipping brewery’s ode to Halloween. If you are a fan of El Gato Grande, then go “getchyasum” of this delicious full-bodied black IPA. The hop profile is the same, but the more heavily roasted, darker malt bill creates a beautiful bittersweet chocolate aroma and flavor that pairs perfectly with the resin, citrus and spice notes coming from the Citra, Amarillo and Columbus hops.

2. Third Wheel Imperial Oktoberfest (7.4-percent) is the perfect complement to this chilly fall weather. A touch heavier than most Oktoberfest-style offerings, this medium-bodied, malt-forward original from brewer Abbey Spencer and company will keep those toes warm. Caramel malt, earth and cereal notes drive a palate that finishes with just a touch of biscuity malt sweetness and boozy astringency.

3. 4 Hands Tiki Chocolate Milk Stout (5.5-percent ABV) is probably the greatest of the 4 Hands’ Chocolate Milk Stout family. Coffee, chocolate and coconut are at the forefront in this, dare I say it, Mounds Bar-esque adult beverage. You know, because sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. It’s deliciously sweet and medium-bodied with aromatics dominated by coconut and chocolate and balanced on the back with a lingering dark chocolate and coffee bitterness.

Photo courtesy of St. Louis Brewers Guild

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

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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. 

Related Content 
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• Civil Life will expand brewery, tasting room in 2018

• First Look: Saint Louis Hop Shop on Cherokee Street

First Look: Saint Louis Hop Shop on Cherokee Street

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

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After being closed for nearly a month, Saint Louis Hop Shop recently reopened at its new location 2600 Cherokee St., offering a larger selection of beverages for craft beer connoisseurs and beginners alike.

At the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Cherokee Street, the 1,500-square-foot storefront is a few doors down from its former address at 2606 Cherokee St., but it gives co-owners and brothers Justin Harris and Ryan Griffin nearly double the space to grow.

“[The other space] was small and we could see that we needed more room,” Harris said. “We really liked what we developed over there, and the goal is to bring that same formula over here and expand on it.”

The new location offers increased refrigeration and more shelving for beer, apparel and glassware. Additionally, a larger variety of ciders, spirits and imports, including more Belgium and lambic options, will be available. The new Hop Shop also features a larger bar area with six rotating taps. Harris said guests can expect a different brew every seven to 10 days.

“We do a lot of sixth barrels, so that gives us the flexibility to constantly bring in new stuff,” Harris said.

Brews currently on top include Dogfish Head Lupu-Luau Coconut IPA, Modern Brewery Citrapolicious, Ace Pineapple Cider, Prairie Artisan Ale Birthday Bomb, Urban Chestnut O-Katz and 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout.

With more space, Harris and Griffin also plan to host monthly events and weekly tastings through October. “It gives people a chance to come in and try some seasonal stuff before having to purchase it,” Harris said.

Saint Louis Hop Shop hosts a grand reopening this Saturday, Oct. 7 from noon to 10 p.m. The new location is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Here’s a First Look at what to expect from Hop Shop’s new home:

 

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Photos by Caitlin Lally 

Caitlin Lally is a contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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What I Do: Justin Harris and Ryan Griffin of Saint Louis Hop Shop

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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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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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First Look: Center Ice Brewery in Midtown

Friday, July 21st, 2017

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It’s blistering hot outside, but Center Ice Brewery is keeping things cool in Midtown. The hockey-themed brewery opened today, July 21 at 3126 Olive St., just a couple doors down from Pappy’s Smokehouse and Southern.

As The Scoop reported in August 2016, Center Ice is the brainchild of owner-brewer Steve Albers. “I’ve been playing hockey since I was a kiddo. It’s in my blood,” Albers said. “Breweries represent the brewer’s personality – and that’s me.”

The 5,000-square-foot brewery features reclaimed materials from the old St. Louis Arena – the wood bar and tables in the 2,000-square-foot main bar area used to make up the arena’s roof, and the old penalty box door can be found as a photo-op box adjacent to Center Ice’s brewing equipment. The brewing floor is separated from customers by a low rink wall, which also curves around a private event space that will accommodate 30 to 40 people and offers 10 private taps.

A long time homebrewer, Albers planned to open with three of his own brews along with supplemental taps from area breweries like Main & Mill and Charleville Brewing Co. Center Ice’s opening lineup includes Golden Contract (an American golden ale contract brewed with Charleville), Hop Shelf IPA (a West Coast-inspired IPA) and Off Season Saison (a light, summery example of the style).

Albers said he chose approachable styles to open, but plans on starting a berry series made with fresh fruit and other more unusual beers soon. “With so many beers out there, you should set yourself apart and make something exciting,” he said.

Center Ice is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect from St. Louis’ first hockey-themed brewery:

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Heather Hughes is managing editor, print at Sauce Magazine.

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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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