A few weeks ago June and I took a long weekend to visit friends in St. Louis. We’ve wanted to get up there since they moved from Nashville and heard it was a great beer town. The rumors are true, the beer scene is thriving! There are several breweries in town and we hit most of them, and found each had a unique personality and style. Unlike the craft beer boom of the 90s where every brewery did the same traditional beers, it feels like everyone is trying hard not to do the same thing as everyone else. Every brewery we visited had it’s own unique charm and style.
We flew in to STL Friday morning and headed to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery first. Think what you will about Bud, it’s quite impressive they can brew millions of barrels of beer consistently. Although we’re not fans of most AB-InBev brews (Goose Island being the exception), we still wanted to see the brewery. The tour starts in the Clydesdale stables, which don’t look like stables at all. It is nicer than most people’s homes! The brewhouse was beautiful too. Every brewery is basically the same, but this one was massive, the biggest we’ve ever seen. Just think of the beer they could brew there if really put their minds to it!
After AB, we had lunch at the Schlafly Tap Room, the original location of the Schlafly Brewery, established 1991. Every craft beer town has the big-dog, its original craft brewery, and in STL it’s Schlafly. You know they’re doing something right to survive and thrive in AB’s backyard. The Tap Room food was delicious and they had several special beers brewed on premise. June had traditional Belgian Moules Frites (Mussels and Fries) paired with a perfectly tart Berliner Weise. I had the Fish and Fries, paired with a sampler of Schlafly brews.
Most Schlafly beer is brewed at the Bottle Works facility and they use the smaller Tap Room brewery to make smaller batch beers. The Tap Room has some intriguing art, including the coolest painting ever, a monkey riding a dog. After lunch, we met Schlafly’s Director of Communications and got a double-secret tour of the Tap Room, including the basement where they keep the magic. The best part was the barrel cellar. It was kind of spooky in there, but felt like we were in the cellar of an old monastery. Coolest barrel storage we’ve seen yet. No matter what breweries you visit in STL, do not miss the Schlafly Tap Room.
After some rest at our friends’ apartment, we sampled Crooked Stave and Prairie Artisan Ales at The Wine & Cheese Place in Clayton before heading out for dinner. The Shelton Brothers had just re-started distribution in MO, so we timed our visit well. Next up was dinner time. St Louis is a great food town and we enjoyed every placed we dined. St Louis is also a great beer town and you could tell by the beer lists at most of the places we visited.
That evening we explored the town and had amazing Pizza at Pi Pizzeria. This is a must go place if you love pizza and visit STL. The deep dish was thick and filling, and new to us, the sauce was on top of the toppings and cheese. The appetizers were delicious too, almost too filing. Also, the tap list was as good as the pizza, with many local offerings and a lot of beers we can’t get in TN.
After a tour of the town we went out for a chocolate nightcap at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, the first of the Bailey’s restaurants scattered around St Louis. The Chocolate Bar specialized in desserts, chocolate drinks and fabulous beer. June had a cheese plate and I opted for Chocolate Inebriation, a rich chocolate cake with cinnamon ice cream. It paired well with a St. Bernardus Tripel.
It had been a long day and we were tired, so we headed back for some sleep. Friday was big, but Saturday would be even bigger. This post is getting too long, so we’ll tell you about our Saturday in STL soon. So for now, cheers!