Review: Wellspent Brewing Co. in Midtown St. Louis
Wellspent Brewing Co. is working hard to be a Midtown gathering space for all. The brewery has been pouring lagers, sours and Belgian-style beers at 2917 Olive St., since last March, and has developed an impressive list of events targeting everyone from science nerds to sports nuts and families.
Something fun (and usually free) is going on nearly every day. Events change seasonally, but trivia on Wednesday, cornhole league on Thursday and movie night on Friday are current mainstays. Whether the events draw a crowd is hit-or-miss (it seems there are always a few Saint Louis University students hanging around), but it’s clear co-owners Kyle and Angela Kohlmorgen are always thinking of new ways to get people in the door.
The brewery is situated in an old abandoned movie theater, its long, narrow shape and gilded plaster marquees hinting at the past. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the front open up what could be a dark and claustrophobic space. Crisp, black-and-white decor makes the space bright and modern, with a minimalistic yet welcoming look. Long, narrow communal tables bring some intimacy to the set-up, and the bar is like a hipster reimagining of a midcentury soda fountain with shiny chrome, black accents and the bar wall tiled in a handsome British racing green.
Outside, there’s a large patio with picnic tables, string lights and a small, grassy yard for cornhole. When it’s warm, Friday night movies are projected onto one of the patio’s brick walls. It’s an inviting space that encourages lingering with both human and canine buddies.
But the beers are why you’re here. Kyle was a celebrated St. Louis homebrewer before launching the professional brewery. Start by trying his Pilsner, an unfiltered lager with a light floral aroma from dry-hopping. The clean taste of a good lager isn’t easy to pull off, but Wellspent manages it beautifully. The Buck, a Belgian-style single, has a yeasty nose with slight hints of clove and banana. Like the Pilsner, it’s smooth, easy-drinking and simple in the best possible way. Superhero Theme Music, Wellspent’s session stout, is lacking a bit in complexity but has nice notes of strong-brewed coffee and a creamy finish.
Although Belgian-style brews are the focus, Wellspent always has cider, but no wine or cocktails. For a brewery so laser-focused on beer, however, I was surprised Wellspent was out of multiple house brews on consecutive visits. There is also no flight available, which may irk those who like to try a little bit of everything. The bartenders will, however, offer you tastes before you commit to a full pour.
The Tamale Man, a family-run farmers market favorite, provides Wellspent’s food menu. Handmade pork, veggie and vegan black bean tamales come out wrapped in foil and accompanied by a side of spicy green salsa. Each one is hefty, the cornhusk enveloping a thick layer of creamy masa and savory fillings. A few snacks are also available, including Billy Goat Chips.
With solid Belgian-style beers and a grade-A patio, Wellspent is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy the good life.
Stephanie Zeilenga is a longtime critic to Sauce Magazine.
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