3 can’t-miss St. Louis homebrew clubs at Heritage Festival
Y’all know I am an avid supporter of the local beer scene and will shout our awesomeness from a mountaintop (if we had mountaintops anywhere close to here). In that same spirit of celebration, the St. Louis Brewers Guild throws its annual Heritage Festival tomorrow, July 14, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Grand Basin at Forest Park.
Of course, you should check out the 60-plus local-ish breweries pouring samples for you thirsty fest-goers, and of course, you should swing by Saint Louis Hop Shop’s rare beer bar set up in the middle of the fest. But if I could suggest one very important item to add to your festival to-do list (besides drinking a lot of water), it’s this: check out what the homebrew clubs are pouring.
Some of your favorite pro brewers cut their teeth in these groups, where they hone their skills and brew quality beers. The clubs are an important part of what we offer as a beer city, and these hobbyists have created some top-notch brews to share.
1. St. Louis homebrew group Brewminati is full of talented brewers and really wonderful people. Stop by its tent for a sample of Paul and Susie DeLong’s Fil Mishmish, an apricot saison boasting a juicy apricot character and a touch of floral and spice from the yeast. Farmhouse beers aren’t your thing? Get after Steve Lapin’s German-style Mittlefruh-hopped lager with mellow, sweet malt and delicate herbal hop characteristics.
2. The OG, the all woman homebrew club led by Third Wheel Brewing Co. brewer Abbey Spencer, continues to dominate this hobbyist culture. Try their collaborative SMaSH IPA (single malt, single hop) for a classic, American-style brew showcasing high IBUs, a balanced caramel malt backbone, and bubblegum and pineapple from the Pink Boots hop blend. If bitter isn’t your forte (though beer festivals are the perfect opportunity to try new things), give their Ginger Honey Wheat beer a shot. This gal incorporates a pound of honey and fresh ginger in the five-gallon batch for spicy ginger on the nose and a clean, dry finish.
3. The Garage Brewers, St. Charles County’s homebrew community, keeps it real across the river. Swing by its tent for a try of Dan Voorheis’ FruhlingWeiss, a classically-inspired German-style wheat beer with tons of banana and clove-driven spiciness. Feeling the need for something dark but not aggressively roasted for this hot weather? Try Michael Stewart’s Tropical-Style Foreign Export Stout for a nontraditional twist on a traditional beer. It uses organic dark brown sugar for added sweetness akin to rum and molasses.
Katie Herrera is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine, account manager at Craft Republic and director of beer at STL Barkeep.
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