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Archive for March, 2008

It’s 2008, which means it’s time for yet another Reader’s Choice Poll from Sauce Magazine. I think as beer lovers, it’s our duty to try and bestow recognition on places that go above and beyond the standard beer selections of most restaurants. That being said, let’s look at last year’s selection:

2007 Best Beer Selection

  1. Growlers (two locations)
  2. The Schlafly Tap Room
  3. Cicero’s
  4. Tin Can Tavern and Grille

Let’s be honest, it’s a pretty terrible selection of beer restaurants. Growlers list of a lot of light lagers from around the world. The Tap Room makes many fine beers, but they’re all Schlafly beers, and in my opinion one brewery does not a good selection make. Cicero’s is about the only one I can truly support, they also have a very large list, but there seems to be a bit more thought put into it. Lastly, Tin Can is kitsch and more light lagers.

I think this year we can do better, I think we can really promote some of the best beer lists in St. Louis. Let me offer some of my suggestions (in no particular order):

Erato on Main: Oh sure, I’ve sung their love song for quite some time, but honestly this is one of the best lists in St. Louis. Not only do they carry a lot of truly great beer, but they carry a lot of beer you can’t get on this side of the river. Just look at this list from January, wouldn’t you kill to see this list at more local restaurants? Not only that, that’s not the same list that you’ll find if you head over there this weekend. It’s constantly changing, the sign of a place that really loves beer.

33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar: Maybe one of these days I can convince Dylan or Jake to send a copy of their beer list so I can convince those who haven’t yet gone to make the trip to 33. Not only do they offer a large variety of fantastic craft beers, but they also age beers as well. For instance, I enjoyed a bottle of 2006 Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René on Friday evening. They’ve recently upgraded their draught selection from two beers to six, which allows them to offer even more interesting selections like Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier. If that’s not enough, they even sell beer to you to take home at retail prices. No need for paying a premium for something you want to enjoy at home.

Bailey’s Chocolate Bar: You’ll need to look no further than Bailey’s drink list (pdf) to realize why they’re consistently one of my favorite places to get a beer in St. Louis. Sure people go there for the dessert, but I’d argue there are no better desserts than having something like a glass of draught St. Bernadus Abt 12. Not unlike 33 Wine Shop, Bailey’s also goes through the special effort of aging beer, something that sets them apart from any other beer restaurant in St. Louis.

Really there are a number of places that could easily make the list as well, Iron Barley, Harvest, and Mangia Italian come immediately to mind. So take the time, go vote and let’s see a better selection of places that truly love beer and give them the recognition the deserve.

Another Friday is upon us, which means it’s time for the Round-Up:

Stuff from around the web

Beer Releases and News

  • Andrew from Bon Vivant Wines informs me to some new beers he has in his stock:
    • Brauerei Aying – Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel
    • Victory Brewing Co – Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine
  • Andy from Whole Foods let’s us know about some new beers he has in his stock (and remember if you don’t see it on the shelf, be sure to ask for it):
    • Bell’s Brewery – Oberon
  • Paul at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton alerts me to some new beers he has in stock:
    • Wye Valley Brewery – Dorothy Goodbody’s Our Glass
    • Moorhouse’s Brewery – Pendle Witches Brew
    • O’Fallon Brewery – Wheach

Here’s a list of upcoming beer events:

sybergs.jpgRic Syberg, one of the Culinary Directors at Whole Foods in Brentwood, has also taken on the task of being the beer buyer for Syberg’s on Gravois. Ric has done all of us beer nerds the favor of adding some new beer to the Syberg’s menu. He’s added beers such as Rouge Dead Guy Ale, Bells Two Hearted Ale and (correct me if I’m wrong) two beers (thank you Dave) one beer I’ve never seen on a local beer menu here in St. Louis: Goose Island Imperial IPA and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

At 5 bucks per 12oz bottle retail, I’m kind of curious to see how much Syberg’s is planning to sell the Goose Island beers for. More important is that us beer nerds make the effort to patronize the location and show them that when they care about beer, we care about them.

The Wine Merchant in Clayton will be holding their first Big Belgian Blowout beer tasting on April 10th from 5:30-7:30PM.  If you’re a big Belgian beer fan (I know I fit all of the requirements) this is an event not to miss, just look at this line up:

winemerchant.jpgJason Wallace from Merchant du Vin Imports will be on hand at our Belgian Blowout sampling…

  • Orval Trappist Ale
  • Westmalle Dubbel
  • Westmalle Tripel
  • Green’s Amber (New Belgian! Bottle Conditioned & Gluten Free)
  • Green’s Tripel Blonde
  • Lindeman’s Cuvee Rene (Vintage Dry Lambic)

Pete Larsen from Wetten Importers will be pouring…

  • Kasteel Rouge
  • Brigand
  • Samichlaus Helles
  • Gouden Carolus Ambrio
  • Delirium Nocturnum
  • St. Louis Frambozen

Karl Braun from Brasserie Unibroue will be on hand to sample…

  • Unibroue Blanche de Chambly
  • Unibroue Ephemere Apple
  • Unibroue Chambly Noire
  • Unibroue La Fin du Monde
  • Unibroue Don de Dieu
  • Unibroue Maudite
  • Unibroue Unibroue 17

Space is limited for this event and reservations are required.  The cost of the event is a paltry $5 and you can make your reservations by calling 314-863-6282.

In the continuing series of beer classes put on by Andy Snead from Whole Foods, this month brings us a tasting of Tripels from around the world:

Come with us on a “tripel” around the world as we celebrate this fantastic style of beer. The name “Tripel” actually stems from part of the brewing process, in which brewers use up to three times the amount of malt than a standard Belgian ale. Traditionally, Tripels are bright yellow to gold in color, which is a shade or two darker than the average Pilsner. Head should be big, dense and creamy. Aroma and flavor runs along complex, spicy phenols, powdery yeast, fruity with a sweet finish. Bitterness is up there for a beer with such a light body for its strength, but at times is barely perceived amongst the even balance of malts and hops. The lighter body comes from the use of Belgian candy sugar (up to 25% sucrose), which not only lightens the body, but also adds complex alcoholic aromas and flavors. Small amounts of spices are sometimes added as well. And, they are downright delicious. We’ll taste tripels from all over, so join us on this ride round the world, or at least through America and Europe. Cheers!

These are always extremely fun events with plenty of knowledge along with plenty of great beer. This event will be held on April 16 at Whole Foods in Brentwood from 6:30-8PM. The cost of the event is $20 and tickets can be purchased here.

I received an email from Dan Kopman, the VP of St. Louis Brewery last week and I thought it posed an interested thought, what’s my ultimate list of local beers? Here’s the email:

Just a quick thought (run on sentence to follow). I saw a posting about your perfect beer list or something like that. Moving on from that idea and as a big believer (instilled in my beer DNA from my early days at Young’s in London) that freshness is the key and that locally made is the key to freshness, what would be your perfect list for a bar with say 4 to 6 taps and then some bottles, of locally made beer including what AB makes in StL? I ask this with Heritage Fest approaching and many retailers looking to feature local beers during that week.

I thought this was a clever idea and really gave me something to ponder. Unfortunately a lot of my local favorites are seasonal so I’ll actually be making two lists, the first list will be of beers that are available year round and the other list will be comprised of my favorite local beers. Also remember, I made these choices based on beers that are actually distributed in St. Louis just so people don’t think I was looking to shun local craft brewpubs. The lists are after the jump. continue reading…

wheach.jpgSpring is here and Summer is fast approaching. One of the great things about Summer in St. Louis is the arrival of Wheach from O’Fallon Brewery. O’Fallon pairs their everyday Wheat beer with a bit of peach to provide an easy drinking Summertime beer. I personally like this beer with a hot dog and some friends enjoying some ladder ball.

Currently the beer is only available in specialty beer stores, but will be available at all retailers on April 1st.