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Though it may not be the first place to come to mind when you think of beer culture, St. Louis is making its way onto beer scene. With the number of trendy craft breweries rising, the Gateway to the West is beginning to hold its own. As the home of Anheuser-Busch since 1852, brewing is second-nature to this city. Whether you’re a newcomer to St. Louis, or you’re looking to branch out from your usual brewery, here are some of the best ones to visit:
This craft brewery is known for being a great spot to meet friends for a local brew. It was originally located in New Haven but has recently relocated to St. Louis’ Hill neighborhood. Their new spacious taproom has plenty of seating, a large free parking lot, and, according to the owner, “craft beers that attack your senses like battle bots attack their own.” Steve Crider’s interest in brewing started with a brew kit he received for Christmas and eventually grew into opening this brewery. At first considered his “second shift”, the brewery has since transformed into the successful brewery you can visit today. With a great range of beers on draft, games to keep you and your friends entertained, and food from Guerrilla Street Food, this brewery merits several visits. They’re open Tuesday-Thursday 4-10pm, Friday-Saturday 12-11pm, and Sundays 1-6pm. Try their Liquid Spiritual Delight (LSD) imperial stout.
With a downtown and midtown location, Urban Chestnut gives St. Louis residents options. This brewing company is known for being the best German-style biergarten in the city, with dunkels, zwickel lagers, Berliner weisse bocks and more to delight your taste buds. They refer to their brewing philosophy as “beer divergency”, where modern American methods meet more traditional European methods. Their location in The Grove has a bierhall that’s set up in a traditional German style — with long wooden benches to seat visitors family-style. You can even take a self-guided beer tour while you’re there and learn a bit about the brewing process. Come with a friend or two and sample some of their delicious food, like their Schnitzel Sandwich, Poutine of the Moment, or even their Liege Waffles for dessert. One draught to try is their Toasted Coconut Kinsale, a foreign extra stout with toasted coconut. Across the street from their Grove location, you can sample some test-batch brews at their Urban Research facility. Their downtown location is similar, but offers a great biergarten as well.
If it’s hops you seek, this brewery should be on your list. Narrow Gauge is a small brewery in Florissant, MO, less than 30 minutes from downtown St. Louis. They opened in June of 2016 and began brewing and serving their carefully crafted brews out of the restaurant, Cugino's Italian Bar & Grill. Here, you can pair one of Cugino’s delicious plates with a pint or a flight of Narrow Gauge brews. They primarily rotate hoppy beers like American and Imperial IPAs and offer an American Porter as well. They don’t distribute yet, so this is the spot to grab your cans and fill up your growler if you’d like to take some home with you. For the ultimate in hops, try their King Fallen Flag, an Imperial IPA double dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic.
While not a part of the craft beer trend, you can’t talk about beer in St. Louis without mentioning this historic brewery. You’ll find the Anheuser-Busch brewery tucked away in the Soulard neighborhood which holds a history all its own. This area was chosen for its proximity to the Mississippi River as well as for cave formations that served as optimum places to store beer pre-refrigeration. Today visitors come for the free brewery tour and great samples, as well as to get a sense of the history of one of the largest and oldest breweries in the country. From the architecture to the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses at the 1885 stables, there are many reasons to visit. They also host special events like their Brewery Lights at holiday season, as well as beer classes and Happy Hour specials.
For a diverse offering of sour beers, check out Alpha Brewing Company. They also offer everything from their Atheist Ale, a Belgian style IPA, to their Believer’s Brew, an oatmeal stout. They even have their Alpha Cider for those looking for something different. For sours, try their Apocrypha, a sour black ale aged in Pinot Noir barrels. The owner and brewmaster, Derrick Langeneckert, creates experimental barrel-aged beers, using his Biology degree to his advantage. Since 2013, Alpha Brewing has been crafting unique brews to delight the tastes of St. Louis beer enthusiasts. They recently moved from their downtown location to their new spot on Fyler Avenue, where you can also munch on Latin fare from their kitchen, Alphateria. Visit them Mondays and Thursdays from 4-10pm, Fridays and Saturdays 3-11pm, and Sundays from 3-8pm.
Within the last 5 years alone, St. Louis’ beer scene has expanded with the opening of countless new craft breweries. Whether you prefer to stick to German beers, you’re looking for a great hoppy IPA, or you want to branch out and try a new sour, the city has plenty of interesting choices to scope out. With its historic Anheuser-Busch roots and emerging creative brewing scene, St. Louis doesn’t disappoint.