Monday, October 15, 2012

St. Louis: Brick City Becoming Beer City...Again

In passing I heard a local news story on one of those bets the Mayors of San Francisco and St. Louis made over who will win the 2012 National League Championship Series. 
The Mayor of the losing city will change his Twitter profile picture to the logo of the winning team for a day. Also, the losing Mayor will send food and beverages traditionally associated with the respective cities so the winning Mayor can invite the community into City Hall for a party to celebrate. Mayor Lee will send dim sum and Anchor Steam Beer. Mayor Slay will send St. Louis barbecue, toasted ravioli and a court of St. Louis brews, led by the King of Beers.  source
In the couple of seconds that took place before naming what the STL mayor would offer up, I was thinking what beer the mayor would choose from to represent our city...there are so many.  Then they said he would offer up several local beers.  Wow, how cool...several beers.  San Francisco isn't exactly a beer city...but we are.
I love the brewing history of St. Louis.  I love how the German immigrants lagered beer in the caves under our fine city in the days prior to refrigeration. They wanted to make beer like they had at home and keep their European traditions alive in the new country...and St. Louis was and still is a beer brewing heavy in the United States.  There were many breweries throughout the city and taverns on almost every neighborhood corner.  And with the influx of Irish, there were plenty of loyal customers (ba dum dum).

Ghost signs of these former breweries can be found all over the city:




Anyhow, I love how the Anheuser-Busch brewery was part of growing up near St. Louis.  The AB song ("Here Comes The King") and the Clydesdales are synonymous with Cardinal baseball and the memory of Jack Buck and Mike Shannon together on the mighty KMOX meld very nicely into a lot of great memories.


I love smelling the hops in my neighborhood when the wind is just right.  It's simply a great traditional beer city....especially American lagers.

But the thing is, it's gotten exponentially better in the last 5 or so years.  If you like craft beer you are in heaven.  We have (if my numbers are correct) 9 microbrews in addition to the big one on Pestalozzi Street to choose from right here in St. Louis.  Did you know since the In-Bev takeover, we now brew Becks in St. Louis City?  How cool is that? 

And if that's not enough, there are another 2 micro breweries slated for opening in the near future.  Per a recent Post-Dispatch article by the great "Hip Hops" PD reporter Evan Benn, Alpha Brewing is set to open by February, 2013 at 1409 Washington Boulevard in the Downtown West Neighborhood.  Here are a few words from the 26 year old owner Derrick Langeneckert:
Owner and head brewer Derrick Langeneckert, 26, a St. Louis native, says he plans to begin build out immediately on what will be a small craft brewery and modern-style tasting room with seating for about 60 people...Langeneckert chose a location downtown because he used to live there (he's since moved to south St. Louis) and wished he had a brewery within walking distance.  "Urban Chestnut is really more midtown than downtown, and 4 Hands is closer to Soulard. And Morgan Street is on Laclede's Landing, which is a different beast entirely. I just wanted something I could get to without having to get in my car."  His space is located in the back of 1409 Washington Avenue, facing City Museum. The front part of the building houses a credit union.
Another, Heavy Riff Brewing, is set to open in the awesome Clayton/Tamm Neighborhood of Dogtown at 6413 Clayton Avenue. 
So add that to the already existing list:



Buffalo Brewing in Midtown




Wow, what an impressive lineup; am I missing any?  It's hard to keep up, heck I haven't even tried all these yet.  How many other cities can claim 12 breweries in a city of ~320,000 people?  Many of the smaller micros are now being distributed in bottles including Perennial, UCBC and Six Row.  The suburbs and surrounding areas of St. Louis have a few as well:  O'Fallon, 2nd Shift, Schlafly Bottleworks, Crown Valley, etc.

What other American city has this kind of beer scene going on?  Boulder?  Milwaukee?  I think the Brick City takes the cake as the nation's Beer City capital.  Cheers to St. Louis!  Cheers to all the smart, dedicated young men and women working so hard to open small businesses in the city of St. Louis that give our city a feel and an identity.  Cheers to all those who support the locals!  Cheers to the tasting rooms and beer gardens popping up all over town that give us unique and soulful PLACES to hang out.  Thanks for choosing the city...Beer City U.S.A.

2 comments:

TTTStLou said...

Cathedral Brewing doesn't have a bar yet, but you can find their beer at Schnucks and elsewhere in town. I think the beer is brewed in Mid-town.

BTW, the craft beer craze was hot and heavy in Portland OR back in the mid-90's and is still going strong. We can definitely be proud of our burgeoning craft scene, though.

schmidtal said...

I've been in STL for about 3 months now. It didn't take me long to figure out this city is in the midst of a love affair with beer! Some really good beers too. :)
Also, I love the logos these breweries have created...good stuff.
Thanks for sharing this!!