When we decided to make a trip out to St. Louis, Missouri, we knew we wanted to eat and drink our way through this Midwestern city. My best friends (both who I met in culinary school) live in STL and one of them was getting married, so the weekend event turned into a week-long stay at one of the most historic hotels in St. Louis, the Union Station Hotel. One thing on our list was local breweries. We wanted to tour and visit a few, to get a feel for the STL brewing scene and how the community interacts with them: the food, the beers, the markets. Thanks to our gracious brewery host, Troika Brodsky (Communications Director at Schlafly Beer) we toured not only Schlafly, but we also visited Urban Chestnut and 4 Hands.
After traveling through the UK, Dan Kopman and Tom Schlafly, founders of Schlafly, decided they needed a place to hang out and drink beer with their buddies. In a town that was ruled by Anheuser-Busch (and still is the largest producer of beer in the world), people thought they were insane to open the brew pub in Anheuser-Busch’s backyard. Downtown St. Louis in the 1980′s was a deserted town – vacant buildings, dark alleyways. The current building where the Taproom is located was built in 1902 and you can view what the brewhouse looked like decades ago. The brewpub became the talk of the town and people started to ask for beer on draft! Currently brewing about fifty styles of fresh beer, Schlafly Beer is St. Louis’ largest locally owned independent brewery. “The Schlafly Tap Room in Downtown St. Louis opened its doors in 1991 and holds the distinction of being the first new brewpub to open in Missouri since Prohibition.” – Schlafly Beer
After tasting a few of the beers on draft and a quick tour of the brewery, we headed to the next stop: Urban Chestnut! “Urban Chestnut Brewing Company is an unconventional-minded yet tradition-oriented brewer of craft beer. We like to call our unique brewing philosophy Beer Divergency—a ‘new world meets old world’ brewing approach wherein UCBC contributes to the ‘revolution’ of craft beer with artisanal creations of modern American beers, and pays ‘reverence’ to the heritage of beer with classically-crafted offerings of timeless European beer styles.”
The latest news from Urban Chestnut? They’re partnering with Green Street to construct a brand new “green” brewery in St. Louis, MO. Estimated cost of $10MM, it will allow Urban Chestnut to brew about 15,000 barrels of beer a year, a significant amount that will get their beer to more people. Read more about this partnership on their site.
Last but not least on the tour was 4 Hands Brewing Company: “4 Hands Brewing Company, located in the LaSalle Park neighborhood, will provide the craft beer enthusiast a handcrafted portfolio inspired by the American craft movement that pushes the limits of creativity. Our barrel -aging program will produce a truly unique line on beers. The use of wine and spirit barrels containing an array of fruit, herbs, and spices in conjunction with wild yeast strains will enhance the flavors to produce a one of a kind beer.”
Want to learn more about the craft beer movement in St. Louis? Be sure to Check out STL Hops, a site dedicated to all beer, all STL, all the time! Also, head on over to Craft Beer if you’re passion is craft brewery – you’ll find a ton of information on beer styles, educational classes, and more.
Not only did we taste their entire beer line, but we ordered a few items off their menu. Our favorites? The Peach Habanero Wings, Bacon Jam Pizza with Cheddar, and the Spicy BLT with Chipotle Mayo, Red Onion, and Fried Egg. Every item was decadent, flavorful, and paired wonderfully with the refreshing beer. A must visit for some great food and beer!
Disclosure: Tours were provided free of charge to us by our generous host, Troika. When I emailed him wanting to connect and tour Schlafly, he insisted we visit several other local breweries. And we’re so glad he did!