South 12th Street
St. Louis, MO 63118
Anheuser-Busch is the big dog in the St. Louis brewing game. It’s so popular in this area that it is simply reffed to as “AB,” and no self-respecting St. Louisan would dare order a Miller product at a bar. Located just South of downtown, the AB brewery fills the air with the welcome aroma of malted grains every few weeks. The brewery is open for free tours (featuring a tasting at the hospitality room at the end), and also offers a $10 “beer school” which uses a series of free samples to teach its students about different varieties of beer. AB was the last of the great American breweries to fall under foreign ownership, after competitors Miller and Coors were bought out and became SABMiller and Molson-Coors respectively. AB was purchased by Belgian giant InBev in 2008 creating the largest beverage company in the world, surpassing even Coca-Cola.
Beers to try: Budweiser, Budweiser American Ale, Michelob AmberBock, Shock Top.
2100 Locust Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
The Schlafly beer brand is technically produced by a company called St. Louis Brewery Inc., but since Schlafly is the only brand of beer produced by that company, the names are used interchangeably. Schlafly kick-started the craft beer movement in St. Louis when it started up in 1991 as a brewpub now known as the Schlafly Tap Room in downtown St. Louis. Schlafly began distributing bottled beer in 1993, but they relied on a third party to do the bottling until 2003 when they opened the Schlafly Bottleworks brewpub and bottling plant in Maplewood. After 20 years of defining the St. Louis microbrew market, Schlafly is gearing up to make a much bigger splash on the national scene. Large marketing campaigns are scheduled to start in April of 2011 to promote the brand here at home, and as far away as New York. Schlafly is also a major player in our city’s little cross-state rivalry with Kansas City, competing against Boulevard Brewery for best Missouri craft beer. If you ask me, it’s no contest. Schlafly all the way.
Beers to try: Pilsner, Dry Hopped APA, Oatmeal Stout, Helles Style Summer Lager.
Square One Brewery and Distillery
1727 Park Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63104
Square One Brewery and Distillery, as the name suggests, has a lot more going on than brewing beer. That doesn’t mean you can count them out on the beer front, they offer an astonishing fifty (fifty!) beers that rotate availability on a seasonal basis. There’s sure to be something in their offerings to please every beer fan, from their smooth but surprisingly complex Light Squared to their full bodied, biting IPA (by the way, this is one of the best IPAs I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot). Of course, you can’t forget the house crafted spirits they offer, which include whiskey, vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and more. Their Lafayette Square brewpub rounds out the offerings with an impressive and delicious menu featuring a wide array of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrées, and just about anything else your heart (or stomach) desires.
Beers to try: Park Avenue Pale Ale, IPA, Irish Stout, Light Squared
Urban Chestnut Brewing
3229 Washington Ave
St. Louis, MO 63103
Urban Chestnut is a pioneer of what they call “beer divergency.” Recognizing the simultaneous importance of the growing American craft beer movement and the traditional brewing styles of beers of old, Urban Chestnut offers two lines of beers each highlighting one system. Their Revolution series concentrates on furthering the ideas of American microbrews, adding experimental touches to some popular beer types. One of the highlights of this series is the Half Crown, which Urban Chestnut calls a “session IPA” (sounds like an oxymoron, I know). The Reverence series consists largely of recreations of traditional European brews. Both series have a distinct German style to them, so if you’re not a fan of German beer you may want to stick to the Half Crown in the Revolution series or the Harwood Myth (English brown ale) in the Reverence series. They don’t serve a full menu of food, but they do have a variety of small plates that are a perfect complement to a good glass of beer.
Beers to try: Wasandis, Winged Nut, Harwood Myth, Half Crown.
Morgan Street Brewery
721 North 2nd Street
St. Louis, MO 63102
Morgan Street Brewery is one of the oldest brewpubs in St. Louis, opened in 1995 in the heart of Laclede’s Landing. The expansive structure features the brewery itself on the first floor, two bars, one on the first floor and one on the second, and an outdoor dining area. In 1997 it was expanded to include the adjoining building to provide more room for private events. The beer offerings span a wide range of styles, from the thoroughly European Maibock and Doppelbock to the truly American Honey Wheat. They offer some of their beers on a year round basis, and others rotate in and out with the seasons. They also offer a full menu of satisfying brewpub food, with highlights on starters, sandwiches, and pizzas.
Beers to try: Golden Pilsner, Red Lager, Irish Stout, Vienna.
Six Row Brewing
3690 Forest Park Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108
Six Row is awfully new to the St. Louis brewery scene, opening for business just over a year ago in December 2009. They take their name from six row barley, the popular brewing malt, and from the six original owners. Their beer offerings are still growing, with offerings, recipes, and brewing styles evolving as the brewery ages. A few of their beers have been around since Six Row’s inception, including their unique Whale (wheat-pale ale). This beer was conceived when a mismatched batch of malts were combined from one of the owner’s personal home brew stock as a way to test the brewing equipment in it’s early days. Ten total malts are used in this one-of-a-kind beer, as well as a few varieties of hops and yeast. This is an interesting beer that has no counterpart, so you’ll have to go to Six Row to try anything like it.
Beers to try: ESB, Foreign Extra Stout, Strong Porter, Whale.
3100 Olive St
St. Louis, MO 63103
Buffalo Brewing is in a wonderful location, sharing a building with Pappy’s Smokehouse, one of the best BBQ joints St. Louis has to offer. Next time you’re at Pappy’s lamenting their lack of beer, you need only take a few steps to the north and you can enjoy a taste of Buffalo’s constantly rotating beer offerings. But don’t think this place is just for beer, they also feature a full menu that includes a buffalo burger and other items that showcase their namesake. You may never see the same beer selection twice at Buffalo Brewing, they’re constantly creating new beers and rotating the old favorites. Among the beers that come back on a regular basis, you’ll find what is, as far as I can tell, the only chili beer in St. Louis. Chili beers are my favorite non-traditional brew (there’s a fantastic brewpub in Columbia, MO called Flatbranch that got me hooked on their Green Chili beer), and Buffalo’s Chili Beer does not disappoint. Try it, and enjoy the bright, light-bodied flavor coupled with the lingering spicy feeling it leaves on the back of your tongue.
Beers to try: Chili Beer, Rye IPA, Buffalo Drool, Buffalo Gold.