Friday, June 3, 2011

St. Louis Brewpub Tour

It's the eve of Philly Beer Week so I'm going to combine my posts about St. Louis into one very long one. Or maybe not so long, I guess we'll see. Over Memorial Day my wife and I went to St. Louis for a wedding and since we had a couple days to kill, we decided to check out a couple of the brewpubs in the area. My wife was even the one that created the map! I'm finally affecting her!

We weren't staying in St. Louis proper so it took a short train ride and a longish walk to get everywhere. Our first stop on the trip was Square One Brewery and Distillery in Lafayette Square. Smallish interior that opened up on to a really nice courtyard area. Sort of villa-like with a waterfall on the wall and some nice tables. They had about 4 or 5 year round beers and 4 or 5 specialty ones so I started with a sampler to try to hit as many as I could.
From right to left, I had: Maibock, Single Malt Scotch Ale, New World Strong Ale, and a Honey Oatmeal Stout. The Maibock was very tasty with a sweet and tangy nose, almost bready. First sip was caramel and toffee with a fruity edge. Not as sweet as a doppelbock but getting there. The Single Malt Scotch ale smelled a a little like barley, a little like wort. Again, sweet with caramel notes but no tanginess like the maibock. Interesting spicy character and also pretty good. Next was the New World Strong Ale which had a perfumy, floral nose on it. Very interesting. Thick body and pretty strong. Mix of hops, chocolate, and bitterness. Sort of went sweet, then bitter, then back. Very interesting combination of flavors and didn't taste any where near its 9.25% ABV. Last was the Honey Oatmeal Stout which was a little disappointing although still decent. Mostly roast in the nose with Jo saying it smelled 'Bacony.' Flavors were mostly of roast as well with maybe a tiny bit of sweetness. After getting past the nose, I probably liked the New World Strong Ale the most as the flavors were the most interesting. They were all drinkable I thought.

Up next was their regular IPA.
Very similar floral and perfumy nose as the New World Strong Ale which isn't surprising since they were brewed with the same base set of hops according to the waiter. Citrusy flavors follow and it was only mildly bitter. Felt very balanced to me and I really enjoyed it.

We ended up going home with a growler of their Pale Ale as Jo and I both really enjoyed it. I also got to meet two guys who were in the planning stages of starting their own brewery in the area that they named Hat Trick Brewing. I'd link you to their website but it doesn't exist yet. Nice guys and their concept of brewing was very similar to what I want mine to be except they actually do it and I'm lazy. Start with a style, brew it well, then start adding crazy stuff to it and hope it still tastes good. Why brew a wheat beer, when you can brew a mango-pineapple wheat beer? Why brew just a porter, when you can brew a caramel vanilla porter? Etc. Seems like a good idea and I wish them luck.

So that was it for Square One and Friday. Up first on Saturday was meeting my friends for lunch at the Schlafly Tap Room aka the Saint Louis Brewery.
Note that if you are in St. Louis and meeting people at Schlafly, there are actually two restaurants and you should be sure to specify which you are meeting at otherwise you may go to different ones. Not that it happened to us. No sir. Nope. Okay maybe. Luckily they aren't too far apart. I started off with a glass of their Grand Cru while waiting for them to arrive.
Sweet and fruity nose with a little bit of spiciness. First sip had caramel, some fruit (think apples and pears although not quite as sweet), and a little hint of the spiciness in the aroma. I assume the spiciness is from the hops but I'm not sure. Lets say I'm right to make me feel better.

Next, with lunch, was the Oatmeal Stout.
Sweet and roasty nose, very nice combination. The sweetness keeps the roastiness from overwhelming. Starts with a little roast followed by some sweetness and even a little vanilla coming from something. Nice body. Very enjoyable oatmeal stout.

The food at Schlafly was pretty good too. I'd never had a Monte Cristo and it was pretty hilarious and delicious. Nothing like a fried sandwich to get the arteries pumping. After lunch it was already time to head out. I wish I had been able to try a couple more of their beers as they had quite a few offerings but we had plans so oh well. I did pick up two bottles by them so I'll get to try some other stuff at least.

After visiting the Arch near the Mississippi, we headed to Morgan Street Brewery. This one seemed to be in a more touristy area and sort of looked it. Lots of outdoor seating, huge inside with lots of tables. We didn't have much time so I was only getting one and got their Dopplebock as I love the style.
Mild caramel nose. First sip was caramel and toffee, basically what you'd expect from a doppelbock. I thought it was decent but nothing great. I guess I prefer my doppelbocks with a little more body and a bit more flavor. My wife's Altbier was pretty good although it was a little buttery. Still, the beers weren't bad just uneventful. It wasn't a bad spot and absolutely huge so it's worth visiting if you are down near the Arch.

So that was our brewpub tour of St. Louis. There were two more we wanted to hit up, but the city decided to close the metro stop that was close to them and I couldn't convince my parents to drive us there. Ah well, three in two days is still pretty good. I was happily surprised by the quality at Schlafly and Square One was very cool. Definitely places I'd visit again if I was ever in St. Louis. My trip also got me some more bottles for my beer shelf as I can't help but buy stuff if I'm in a city with different distribution. Woo, consumerism!

And now Philly Beer Week begins. I posted my tentative scheduleand am super excited. Not sure my liver is as excited but it will just have to deal for a week.

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