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Mar 20, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.’

6 St. Louis breweries with great food

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

We know they make great beer, but area breweries have stepped up their gastronomic game, too. Some, like Schlafly and Civil Life Brewing Co., hire in-house talent; others partner with established concepts, as 2nd Shift Brewing did with Guerrilla Street Food. Still other breweries and chefs aim for something exciting and new (we’re looking you, Rockwell Beer Co. and Niche Food Group). Whether you’re hunting for tasty vegetarian ’cue or classic German fare to accompany that Pilsner, these six area breweries offer so much more than great beer.




1. Perennial Artisan Ales
Chef Kaleigh Brundick works wonders with a hot plate and panini press. Perennial’s menu changes weekly, but the humble grilled cheese with thick slabs of fontina, Prairie Breeze and a rotating jam (right now, it’s onion-thyme) is a constant that satisfies our inner child and our indulgent adult. (Pro tip: Accompany each bite with a Kicker Billy Goat chip for the perfect spicy/gooey/salty combo.) There’s always a locally sourced seasonal salad or tartine, each thoughtfully composed with pickled/shaved/raw/roasted elements that elevate this brewery fare to so much more than utilitarian snacks for continued drinking.



2. Heavy Riff Brewing Co.
Some of St. Louis’ best vegetarian barbecue is found at a rock-n-roll Dogtown brewery. Heavy Riff’s seitan actually spends significant time in the smoker and doesn’t require a deluge of sauce to make it enjoyable. Before you roll your eyes and jump to the next brewery on this list, pause and pay respect to Heavy Riff’s monster Reuben. This mountain of house-cured and smoked brisket, gooey cheese, kraut and smoked Thousand Island dressing is a force to be reckoned with. And everyone can agree to break Heavy Riff’s spent-grain beer bread; slather each dense slice with green onion cream cheese or orange-tinged butter.




3. Urban Chestnut Brewery and Bierhall
On any given night, the long wood tables at Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.’s massive Bierhall are laden with pints and trays of schnitzel, sausages and paper bags of pomme frites. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Eat. These. Fries. Order a large – for yourself – with garlic mayo and fry sauce, and live your best life. UCBC chef Andy Fair has a knack for making heavy German dishes seem lighter than they are, like the ethereal salt cod brandade beignets with house tartar sauce and puffy cinnamon-sugar churros (a decidedly not German dessert) with warm chocolate sauce.




4. 4 Hands Brewing Co.
James Beard Award-winner Kevin Nashan and sous chef John Messbarger bring a taste of Peacemaker Lobster and Crab Co. to 4 Hands, right down to the brisket po’boy and seasoned potato chips. The chopped salad lulls you into a false sense of health; surely the mountain of romaine and tomatoes (covered in ranch, bacon, egg and avocado) means you deserve another beer. We opt to split platters of meaty peel-and-eat Gulf shrimp with house cocktail sauce. Just wash your hands before you faceoff on “Tapper” – no one likes a shellfish-scented joystick.



5. Earthbound Beer
The quirky Earthbound crew has always championed Cherokee Street, so naturally they partnered with neighbor Vista Ramen to helm the brewery’s food program. Mothership is the meal you’d eat if Vista chefs Chris Bork and Josh Adams invited you to a backyard barbecue in North Carolina. Ascend to the floating mezzanine with a mushroom-y veggie burger (doctored with house Carolina mustard sauce and extra pickles, per Adams’ advice), all the sides and cornbread so good, you’d swear they stole the recipe from someone’s unsuspecting southern granny, if not for the gochugang-honey butter on the side.




6. Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.
Yes, dear reader, we know this Italian-American eatery was around long before Narrow Gauge co-owner Jeff Hardesty brewed in the basement, but Cugino’s has become the de facto tasting room for Hardesty’s stellar Northeast IPAs. Cugino’s unpretentious meaty, cheesy menu hits the spot after a drink or two. Exhibit A: Softball-sized meatballs, stuffed with a glob of Provel, then breaded and deep fried like a carnivore’s arancini. Crack them open and watch the cheese lava ooze. Exhibit B: The Luigi burger, the simplest on the menu, still weighs in at a whopping half-pound and is smothered with bacon and four cheeses. It’s not healthy, it’s not diet-friendly – and we’re so happy.


Photos by David Kovaluk, Izaiah Johnson and Meera Nagarajan

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: Guide to Beer 2018

Readers’ Choice 2017: Favorite Breweries

• Brewer in the Basement: How Jeff Hardesty made Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. an underground sensation


Elixir: Booze Cruise

Saturday, July 1st, 2017



Float trips don’t require much: a raft or canoe (or inner tube, if you must), sunscreen and a large cooler full of beer. Our days of Bud Light and Wild Turkey shoots are remembered fondly (or not at all), but our palates have grown since those first drinking days on the river. Now we sip session IPAs, crisp wheat beers and juicy pale ales as we bob down Missouri waterways. Here are the six cans – no glass on the river! – we’re floating with this year.


1. 2nd Shift Brewing Co. Brewligans
Originally meant to sustain St. Louis Football Club fans through a 90-minute soccer game, this 6-percent brew is an IPA for hopheads who want to kick back on the Black River.
Four-pack: $12. 2nd Shift Brewing Co., 1601 Sublette Ave., St. Louis, 314.669.9013, 2ndshiftbrewing.com

2. Civil Life Brewing Co. German Pilsner
For those who forage in the cooler for something besides hop bombs and fruity adjuncts, we present the cool, crisp 5.1-percent German Pilsner. This is a Pils as it should be.
Six-pack: $10. Civil Life Brewing Co., 3714 Holt Ave., St. Louis, thecivillife.com

3. 4 Hands Brewing Co. Passion Fruit Prussia
The lowest ABV in our cooler is also one of the most flavorful. 4 Hands loads tropical passion fruit into a Berliner Weisse for a 4-percent taste of the Caribbean on the Current River.
Four-pack: $11. Craft Beer Cellar, 8113 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.222.2444, clayton.craftbeercellar.com

4. Destihl Brewing Co. Wild Sour Blueberry Gose
Destihl has canned a rainbow of tasty brews in its Wild Sour series. The 5.2-percent Blueberry Gose offers a hint of salinity and puckering notes of sweet-tart blueberry.
Four-pack: $10. Saint Louis Hop Shop, 2606 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.261.4011, saintlouishopshop.com

5. Old Bakery Beer Co. Citrus Wheat
Looking for less hop and more grain? This 4.7-percent wheat beer offers a touch of citrus and coriander that pairs perfectly with southwest Missouri sunshine.
Four-pack: $9. Lukas Wine & Spirits, 15678 Manchester Road, Ellisville, 636.227.4543, lukasliquorstl.com

6. Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. Fallen Flag
Grab a 32-ounce Crowler of this juicy, hazy Northeast-style American IPA on regular rotation at the Florissant brewery. True, at 7 percent, it breaks our lower ABV rule, but it wouldn’t be a true float trip if you didn’t get just a little drunk.
$12. Narrow Gauge Brewing Co., 1595 N. US Highway 67, Florissant, 314.831.3222, narrowgaugestl.com

Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

From new additions in the Delmar Loop to the closing of a gluten-free favorite, here’s what went down last week in the STL dining scene, ICYMI…




1. Drop the scoop and pick up a scraper. Thai ice cream is rolling into The Loop. Owner Van Liu opened Snow Factory Sept. 22 at 6602 Delmar Blvd. The shop specializes in made-to-order rolled ice cream and Hong Kong egg waffles.

2. A new style is coming to the Delmar Loop in early October. Owners Thao Truong and her husband, Yun Vu, are finalizing plans to open VietNam Style, Delmar’s newest Vietnamese restaurant, at 6100 Delmar Blvd.




3. East Coast IPAs are infatuated with high turbidity and a juicy hop aroma. Now, St. Louis has these fantastic IPAs in our backyard with the addition of Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. in Florissant.

4. A New Orleans-themed food truck will soon hit the streets. STL French Quarter food truck is expecting to be on the road in October.




5. Sweet-toothed Americans are increasingly embracing bitter flavors at the bar. Here, 6 bottles that best bring out the bitter.

6. Almost a year after The Scoop reported the coming opening of California Do-nut Co., owner Felinna Love announced on the shop’s Facebook page she will not open due for professional and personal reasons.




7. After nearly six years, New Day Gluten Free closed its doors in Ellisville on Sept. 19 – but owners Garrett and Kelly Beck aren’t ruling out a new home for the gluten-free, peanut-free restaurant and bakery.





Drink This Weekend Edition: Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.

Friday, September 23rd, 2016



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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