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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Square One Brewery and Distillery’

Drink This Weekend Edition: Make it a flight night

Friday, February 8th, 2013



Just as a tasting menu gives a diner a glimpse into what’s stoking the creativity of the kitchen crew, flights – a series of small pours of beer, wine or spirits – can be one of the best ways for a drinker to get a sense of what’s stirring the excitement of the bar team. Some watering holes let you design your own flight, but when you opt for a themed flight, you might learn a thing or two about your drink of choice as you compare, say, multiple expressions of a single grape varietal, production styles or stages in aging. Right now, two places in town are offering flights which might just pique the palate of the most adventurous drinker.

Each month at Olio, a wine bar in the Botanical Heights neighborhood, its wine whizzes design different wine flights. February flights, priced between $13 and $22, include: Checkpoint Charlie: From Behind the Iron Curtain (pictured left); Patience Rewards; and Historic Series Madeira (pictured right). Checkpoint Charlie is the entry point to white wines of the former Eastern Bloc. Among the trio of 2-ounce pours is a dry wine made from furmint, the dominant grape varietal in the Tokaji wine region of Hungary; a Romanian chardonnay, and a golden-hued rebula by boutique Slovenian winery Edi Simcic. Patience Rewards celebrates a threesome of patiently cellared red wines that are now in their prime from France, Spain and Italy. Finally, the Madeira flight, which Olio’s assistant beverage director Brandon Kerne calls “the most awesome” among this month’s flights, includes four 1-ounce pours featuring each of the four noble grapes of Madeira (Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey).

At Square One Brewery and Distillery, bar manager Tim Kosuge is offering whiskey and rum flights. Each flight, priced at $9, includes one ¾-ounce of a Square One base spirit plus three other ¾-ounce pours of house-infused versions of the spirit. For example, the rum flight features Island Time Amber Rum, plus Island Time infused with coffee beans, another pour infused with cacao nibs and a third flavored with house-made falernum. Another flight, the infused whiskey flight, begins with Square One’s flagship JJ Neukomm. The infusions include Vermont Night (sweetened with Vermont maple syrup); a sassafras-infused version; and a bacon fat washed whiskey. When spring arrives, Kosuge plans to switch to a gin flight, using the distillery’s Spirits of St. Louis gin to debut the likes of an Earl Grey-orange zest flavor of gin and an herbaceous cucumber infusion.

No plans this evening? Take a flight.

— photo by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Square One brewmaster hopes to open Shaw Garden Brewery

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Dr. John Witte, brewmaster at Square One Brewery and Distillery, is hoping to open a brewery of his own next year. If all goes according to plan, Shaw Garden Brewery will open doors in spring 2014 at 4066 Russell Blvd., in the Shaw neighborhood, as first reported by Evan Benn of the Post-Dispatch.

But, as Witte noted in a conversation with The Scoop today, many factors have to fall in place before Shaw Garden Brewery becomes a reality. Witte is currently working on arranging financing to purchase the property, which is owned by the city of St. Louis. “I haven’t submitted the request for proposal because I am still working on the financing,” he said. “Once the proposal goes in, I go before the Shaw neighborhood. I’ve opened a lot of breweries, but I’ve never had to do this end of it,” explained Witte, who was the first brewmaster for Trailhead Brewing Co., when it opened in St. Charles in the mid-1990s. He has also consulted for breweries.

A post yesterday on the brewery’s Facebook page reiterated that Witte’s project was still in its infancy: “As of today we have the support of many of the people we’ll need to make this happen. We do not yet have the full proposal submitted, or approved. We have equipment estimates and a pretty good idea of rehab costs. All the financing is not complete and we must have that to complete the proposal for the city to be able to approve the project.”

Witte’s concept for Shaw Garden Brewery is a brewpub similar to his current place of employment. “We want to be for Shaw what Square One continues to be for Lafayette Square,” he explained. The 3,000-square-foot space would offer dining and bar seating for about 70 and “a really nice beer garden outside,” he added. Like brewing operations at Square One, Shaw Garden’s beers would be available only on tap, on-premise. John Stuhlman, former executive chef at Eclipse who has since spent a short stint in the kitchen at Sauce on the Side, is currently developing the “upscale pub food” menu and the kitchen layout, said Witte. “If there’s an opportunity for John to be part of that and the running of the operation, I would love that but I’d defer it to John. It would be his decision.”

Witte expects financing to take approximately six months, followed by another eight months for a build-out before Shaw Garden Brewery could open. “We’re talking March at the earliest,” he said.

St. Louis Classic Cocktail Party to celebrate local distilleries

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The St. Louis craft distilling scene is booming, and we can’t think of any better way to celebrate than with a toast. Area distillers Square One Brewery and Distillery, Pinckney Bend Distillery, Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co., The Big O, Mastermind Vodka and St. Louis Distillery will be showcasing their artisanal spirits at the St. Louis Classic Cocktail Party at Lafayette Square Park on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. Held in conjunction with the park’s free Summer Concert Series, entrance to the event is free, while a $2 drink ticket will allow you to sample a spirit or cocktail made with one of the local elixirs. Proceeds benefit The Arts Council of Lafayette Square.

If you want to get a jump-start on your gin, vodka, whiskey and ginger liqueur samplings before the St. Louis Classic Cocktail Party, you’re in luck, as many area restaurants will be showcasing these local products during the week of September 3. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, for instance, Sub Zero will host a vodka tasting. On Thursday, Sept. 6, Square One is throwing a whiskey dinner that pairs various Square One whiskeys – including experimental batches – with each course. And throughout the week, TasteSalt, Niche and Demun Oyster Bar will feature cocktails made using local spirits, while Sanctuaria will shake St. Louis spirits in cocktails paired with food.

Check out the St. Louis Classic Cocktail Party Facebook page for more information on events.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Doing the proof on cocktails at Pi downtown

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Confession: Once upon a time, I was a math geek who got kicks from solving trigonometric equations and thinking in terms of limits at infinity. For my first job out of college, I even used the mathematical symbols ≈ and ∴ as shorthand for “approximately” and “therefore,” which landed me a raise because my bosses (engineers) realized their new secretary wasn’t entirely a dimwit. The folks at Pi Pizzeria are far headier about formulas and symbols than I ever was; they’ve given nerdy number names to the beverages on the cocktail list at the newest Pi location downtown at 610 Washington Ave. So, do these drinks live up to their catchy labels? Yes, but let’s do the proof – you know, just for fun.

Keyan Still, Pi bartender and trainer, is the mastermind behind the cocktail menu. His list of 10 summer cocktails is broad enough to offer something interesting for just about any palate. The beverages that piqued our interest were the patio drinks, beer cocktails and a couple of the boozy heavy-hitters.

Irrational Number is unquestionably the drink to order when you want to kick back with something light and delicious. Grapefruit juice provides lovely citrus and floral notes on this tall gin drink while a topping of ginger beer (Fitz’s will soon begin bottling ginger beer for Pi.) keeps each sip refreshing and sprightly. For a change-of-pace margarita, get Thymes Infinity, which is nicely herbaceous thanks to the house-made lemon zest-thyme syrup.

Craft beer-lovers may have already tried Collaboration PiPA by local brewery 4 Hands, but it’s a whole new concoction when you put it in a Right Angle cocktail with rum, house-made rosemary-soaked port and grapefruit juice. As Still noted, the smooth finish and lack of any lingering bitterness posits the Right Angle as a “beer cocktail to get non-beer drinkers drinking beer.” (During happy hour, this $10 drink is priced at $5.) Another beer cocktail, the Uncommon Denominator, uses Pi Common – a brew made exclusively for Pi by Schlafly. Loca-drinkers should give this riff on a whiskey sour the nod for being an almost all-local cocktail, with J.J.Neukomm malt whiskey and Stone Hill Winery Cream Sherry making it into the mix.

In the mood for a boozier beverage? The Euclidean Formula takes the best of old and new Sazerac recipes (cognac from the good old days, rye whiskey in the here-and-now) and splits the difference, using equal parts of both. And while The Repeating Decimal (pictured) is a head scratcher for the odd combination of ingredients (Campari, Drambuie liqueur, rosemary syrup, lemon juice and tonic water), the strong drink earned Still a perfect score for taste in a local cocktail competition held earlier this year.

And now for the “If A then B” part of the proof: If you like well-balanced, creative drinks made with local products and house-made mixers, then you will love (to the nth degree) the cocktails at the new Pi downtown.

The Scoop: Square One to expand distilling operation

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Square One Brewery and Distillery owner and distiller Steve Neukomm can barely keep up with demand for his hand-crafted spirits. However, he continues to add to his Spirits of St. Louis brand with products like the just-released nine-times-distilled, twice-filtered vodka made from Midwest spring wheat (pictured). So it was just a matter of time before Square One expanded its physical footprint.

And it’s doing just that, with plans to add on to Square One’s existing space fully in the works. Neukomm signed a sales contract on the vacant lot directly behind Square One at 1727 Park Ave., in Lafayette Square and plans to build a one-story brick structure that will become the main production site for the distillery. The space will house a custom-built 250-gallon still and will serve as the location for bottling and warehousing; previously, these tasks were done in the basement of Square One. A portion of the new building will also house a walk-in cooler and preparation area for kitchen use. The existing 50-gallon still visible in the restaurant’s dining area will be used for artisanal batches, while the larger still will be dedicated to making the company’s core spirits: Regatta Bay Gin, J.J. Neukomm Whiskey, Island Time Amber Rum and tequila-like Agave Blue.

Square One, Local Harvest Café to soon offer all-weather eating options

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

010212_Frosty temperatures have you dreaming of the flip-flop-wearing months? Join the club. Well, two local restaurants are making improvements that they hope will enhance your dining experience during the chilly winter season and beyond. Square One Brewery and Distillery recently enclosed a portion of its patio, adding some 30-plus seats for any-weather eating. The folks at Local Harvest Cafe also have plans to add a seasonal enclosure to its patio that will nearly double seating capacity. Blustery winds be damned, we’re enjoying eating this winter!

Drink This Weekend Edition: Growing up with gin

Friday, June 24th, 2011

062111_gintonicIt is the high season for a gin and tonic, a drink so simple to make I won’t bother with a recipe. Rather, I’d like to share some lessons that Lady Gin has taught me and offer a few suggestions for my fellow gin imbibers.

Gin has always been my favorite spirit. I admit to having begun with Gilbey’s, but bottom shelf was pretty much all I could afford in college. I upgraded to Tanqueray and Beefeater while in graduate school, and I distinctly recall the day when my husband, who also fancies gin, purchased a bottle of Gilbey’s intent on making gin and tonics. It was a bittersweet moment when we realized we could never go back to the cheap stuff; a good G&T demands quality ingredients. Our wallet might suffer but our palates wouldn’t.

Some 20 years later I’m still exploring gin and, with the explosion of gins on the market, there’s no better time to let gin stoke your curiosity. (The Bartender’s Gin Compendium by Gaz Regan is a helpful guide with great recipes to boot.) I like funky Bols Genever, made with malt wine. I enjoy cocktails crafted from sweeter Old Tom Gin, by Ransom Spirits in Oregon. And everything feels right with the world when sipping Small’s, a small-batch, highly botanical, cardamom-spiced gin also made by Ransom Spirits. Chicago-based North Shore Distillery is contributing to the gin craze as well with an American dry (No. 11), a London dry (No. 6) and even flavored gins. A bottle of North Shore doesn’t last long in our liquor cabinet.

Want a gin made closer to home? Look no further than Square One Brewery and Distillery. Its Regatta Bay Gin, like other “modern gins,” has less of a juniper jump compared to a traditional London dry style and, among the nine botanicals, Square One embraced its origins as a brewery by adding hops. Square One’s gin is so crisp and clean you might not even need a squeeze of lime in that gin and tonic. Look for it under the Spirits of St. Louis label at numerous area liquor stores and on-premise at the brewery in Lafayette Square.

As for tonic water, if you haven’t popped open a bottle of Fentimans or Q Tonic, you are missing out. And if you buy liter bottles, try using one of those pliers-like metal nutcrackers to close the cap tightly so the tonic doesn’t go flat. Like I said, I’ve learned a thing or two by drinking gin.

The Scoop: Neukomm sells Augusta Brewing Company, wins silver medal

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

050510_augustaSteve Neukomm, owner of Square One Brewery and Distillery, has sold his other beer operation, Augusta Brewing Company & Beer Garden. The Augusta, Mo., properties have been purchased by Terry and Jeri Heisler, owners of John G’s Bier Deck in nearby Washington, Mo., and longtime Augusta Brewing Company customers.

Neukomm told Sauce that he sold the small microbrewery and beer garden primarily because of the difficulty of running operations in two locations that were separated by a three-hour round-trip drive. “I was feeling frustrated because I couldn’t be everywhere at once,” stated Neukomm  on Wednesday during a phone conversation between breaks at the American Distilling Institute’s annual Whiskey & Moonshine Distilling Conference in Louisville, Ky.

Neukomm purchased the assets of Heartland Brewing Company in 1999. A year later, he bought the Augusta property that is now the home of the Augusta Beer Garden and also changed the name of the brewing company to Augusta Brewing.

Selling the Augusta operation will enable Neukomm to focus on Square One, particularly the small-batch distillery. Since becoming a licensed spirits distiller in 2008, the entrepreneur has released some inventive craft liquors, yet these products are currently available only at Square One’s location in Lafayette Square. “The first product we are going to put on the market is the cherry wood-smoked malt whiskey,” said Neukomm. “We are working on packaging and getting distribution for it in area restaurants and stores.”

Even though he no longer owns Augusta Brewing Company & Beer Garden, Neukomm doesn’t expect to stay a stranger to the business that he ran for 10 years. “I still have a house down there,” he added.

Update: Neukomm informed Sauce that Square One took home a silver medal in the whiskey liqueur category of the ADI’s whiskey competition held yesterday during the distillery conference. Square One’s Vermont Night is made of whiskey aged in oak that is infused with orange, lemon, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla bean, and sweetened with Vermont maple syrup.

– Ligaya Figueras

Square One offers custom decanters

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that spirits enthusiast on your list? Just in time for the holidays, Square One Brewery and Distillery is offering its Agave Blue tequila-style libation in custom bottles made by area glass artist Sam Stang. Square One owner Steve Neukomm said the first half-dozen of these unique creations will be available at the restaurant by Thanksgiving, and they’ll be produced as needed through the holiday season. One of these decadent decanters will set you back $110, but the smile on your favorite alcohol aficionado’s face will be priceless. Contact Square One for more info at 314.231.2537.

– Matt Sorrell

Your chance to make burger history

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

If you’ve dreamed of culinary superstardom, fantasized about your creations being served to the masses and envisioned people clamoring for your recipes, then head to Square One Brewery and Distillery tomorrow night for your chance at the big time. Every Tuesday, the Lafayette Square pub hosts Build a Burger Night, where guests create their dream burgers from a list of 30 toppings. The custom burgers have proved so popular – and customers’ creations so creative – that Square One has decided to turn the weekly special into a weekly contest. Here’s how it works: Buy a beef burger for two bucks, (or a game or veggie burger for four) and then customize that patty with toppings that range from chili to Cotswold cheese, smoked tomatoes to sauerkraut, coconut mayo to Pale Ale mustard. The restaurant’s chef and its owner choose a winner, who scores a coupon for a free burger, a shout-out with a recipe on Square One’s Facebook page and serious bragging rights, since the winning creation gets a seven-day stint on the menu as Burger of the Week. Next stop, Top Chef.

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