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Archive for December, 2007

Dave from O’Fallon Brewery reported on the BA forums that there will be a new brewpub opening in St. Louis not too far from the new SLU arena.

Sometime in January “Buffalo Brewing Co.” will be open in St. Louis. The location is at Olive and Compton just behind the new SLU arena in the Parrish Laundry building.
Updates soon.

No Round-Up today, it’s  pretty slow due to the holidays.  It’ll be back next week.  Have a Happy New Year.

Mr. Claus was very nice to me this year bringing me a bunch of beer related toys:

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 If you’re not familiar with the items above, here’s a list:

  • Stainless Sparge Arm
  • March 809HS-PL Pump
  • Stainless Steel Ball Valve (For the pump.)
  • Stainless Coupler (For the pump.)
  • Stainless Hose Barb
  • Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer
  • $50 to Lukas Liquor (from my brother.)

Weee, this is going to make brewing just that much more fun.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, have a very Merry Christmas and I’ll see you Wednesday at the Tap Room for the Schlafly 16th Anniversary Party.

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Who’s ready for some Christmas? Eh? Eh? Well I know what I’m ready for, Festivus. Tonight we’ll be airing our grievances and then come the feats of strength. It’ll be a lot of eating, drinking and yelling. If that’s not what the holidays are all about, I don’t know what is.

Stuff from around the web

Beer Releases and News

  • Paul at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton alerts me to some new beers he has in stock:
    • O’Fallon Brewery – Chocolate Cherry
  • Paul also informed me that after a 97 year wait, the “real” Absinthe is back. Absinthe with the wormwood. So if you’re looking to see the green fairy, nows your chance. He also informs me that his XMas beers are on sale for the holiday.
  • Jerad from Piasa Winery let’s me know about some beer beers he has to offer you:
    • Lagunitas – Lumpy Gravy
    • August Schell Brewing Co – Snowstorm
    • Boulder Beer Company – MOJO
    • Brouwerij Huyghe – Delirium Noel
    • Victory Brewing – Hop Devil

Here’s a list of upcoming beer events:

Sorry for the short Round Up, not much got released and not much going on. Everyone must be preparing for the holidays. Make sure you have a safe and wonderful holiday and luckily if it’s not wonderful there’s always good beer that can be had.

Let Schlafly’s big, strong beers warm up your winter day! Join us for an afternoon of big music, big beers and big fun outside Bottleworks.

CABIN FEVER
Saturday, January 19, 1:00-5:00 p.m
Schlafly Bottleworks

Ticket price $17.50 advance, $20 door—includes a commemorative tasting glass and 18 two-ounce samples of the available Schlafly Beers. A limited number of tickets will be sold for this event, so get yours early!

BUY TICKETS HERE.

unclesam.gifAs I mentioned in the last Round-Up, last Friday was my girlfriend Irene’s birthday. We celebrated by going to an amazing restaurant that we had heard excellent things about. When we had arrived I was not at all surprised by the lack of a beer menu or even the inclusion of a beer list in the wine menu, that’s pretty par for the course.

I asked my server what beer choices they offered and after the obligatory St. Louis selection he then began listing their craft selection. New Belgium, Boulevard, Schlafly, and a couple of the standard Belgian choices. I was completely deflated. Here I was in one of the best restaurants in St. Louis and these were their choices for beer? It felt like the beer choices were an afterthought and not something chosen to compliment the cuisine.

Bill and I have had the wine/beer debate for quite some time and for the most part I agree with him. Wine still has the perception of being a more upscale drink than beer, which is normally viewed as the beverage of the working man. Wine can be sold for a much higher profit margin, especially when sold by the glass, than beer which makes it more attractive to restaurateurs.

Some of the things in beer’s favor is that it has less of a footprint and therefore requires less storage space than wine. You’re usually only opening one 12oz bottle at a time so there is no need for quality control concerns (unless the beer isn’t selling.) Not to mention that draught beer also provides a mighty mark-up if you have the space and the equipment to do so.

So given some of it’s upsides why is it that restaurateurs and chefs don’t put more effort in choosing the beers that they offer in their restaurant? If you were to visit a world class restaurant and ordered a cup of coffee, would you be unhappy if they served you Folgers? If you ordered a mixed drink would you be OK with them using Popov? Of course not, you expect more out of a restaurant like this. So why is it OK for beer to get the shaft?

I fully understand that (especially in St. Louis) you’re never going to get away from serving beers from the big boys. People love their light lager and when they order a beer, they better have their go-to. I also understand that there is always going to be limited shelf space because of the smaller mark-up that beer has compared to it’s cousin wine. But if you’re going to offer a selection of beer, why can’t the beers that aren’t from the big boys be something that offers your customers some intriguing flavors and aromas that will help to compliment your food? Why should the beer choices be so blasé?

If it’s just a matter of education all you need to do is find a local beer nerd, we’ll be more than happy to talk your ear off about beer and help put together a beer menu to be proud of. If it’s a concern that the beer won’t sell then maybe it’s a matter of educating your staff or even providing a beer menu! There is no reason that you have to have the same old beer choices as everyone else, you just have to take the first step and make it right.

(If you haven’t figure it out by now I’m being very ambiguous about the restaurant we went to on Friday night. I really liked the place and don’t really want to trash it. But this post is really directed at all restaurants who want to hold their food and wine selections to a very high caliber but don’t do the same for beer. )

beer-342_1280×960.jpgI’m not much of a Christmas person. I didn’t used to be this way, I used to love this time of year. The lights, the food, the gifts and getting together with family used to make it all worthwhile. But as I’ve grown older it all just doesn’t do it for me like it used to. But maybe that’s all beginning to change as I begin looking forward to all of the Christmas beers that breweries put out during the holiday season.

beer-343_1280×960.jpgI was given the Michelob 2007 Holiday Gift Pack (appropriately as a gift) and we decided to catch up on Heroes while trying the beers contained within the rocket shaped bottles. First off it’s a lovely package containing two glasses that will help the any beer drinker to really pick up the aroma of the beer. Contained in this year’s release is Celebrate Chocolate Lager (which was first released last year) and the new Celebrate Cherry Lager.

beer-347_1280×960.jpgWhen I first opened the Chocolate Lager, I didn’t quite understand what they were going for with the packaging. I assume the cone shaped cap was to be removed and then I would open the bottle via a bottle opener. It wasn’t until I ripped the cone-cap off that I realized that I was supposed to twist the entire cap off. Not that it has anything to do with the beer, but while the bottles were pretty unusual, a twist-off cap seems a bit low brow.

beer-348_1280×960.jpgBut like I said, the packaging nothing to do with the beer itself, and the beer is the only thing that really matters. I poured Irene and myself the Chocolate Lager first into the two glasses provided within the package. It pours clear and has a dark brown, chocolaty color. I didn’t pick up much chocolate in the aroma, but it was slightly there. Plenty of malt in the aroma as well as a strong alcohol smell (both beers were 8.5%.) No real discernible hop smell though I don’t think it would pair very well with the chocolate.

I really enjoyed the body on this beer, it was full and almost silky. It really filled the mouth and left me really wanting more. At first sip it had a slight chocolate flavor. But I found that the more it warmed the chocolate starting moving forward in both the smell and the flavor, but at no time did it overpower the malt character. I found this to be a very well balanced and tasty beer. If AB sold this in 6-packs I may even pick it up as an occasional change of pace.

As Irene doesn’t drink much beer (or alcohol in general) she was feeling pretty fine after her first couple of glasses of the Chocolate and was primed for the Cherry lager. I opened this bottle correctly and poured into our cleaned glasses. beer-359_1280×960.jpgI poured with a lovely cherry-amber color that I really enjoyed. It still looked like a beer and didn’t look like a blazing red stoplight. The aroma was similar to that of maraschino cherries which was very dominate and overpowered almost every other smell in the aroma. The beer also tasted of maraschino cherries, but at no time was cloying. The beer was sweet, but not overly sweet. If you’re a fan of these cherries, then you’ll probably love the beer as an after dinner aperitif. But I couldn’t personally see drinking this on a regular basis.

Overall, I think this is the perfect gift to give to some of the Light Lager drinkers in your life to show them a beer that can have more flavor and aroma than the beer they’re currently drinking. This could be the elusive gateway beer you’ve been looking for and a great Christmas gift as well. Maybe that’s what I need to lift my Christmas spirits as well, more beer.

(My thoughts on the Brewmaster’s Reserve beer also pictured above will come next week. I plan on sharing some of it with Bill during our Festivus celebration Friday night.)