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Archive for May, 2011

It all started back in November of 2010 with a business card. Then, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Evan Benn confirmed that we would be seeing Deschutes Brewery in 2011.  Well, I’m happy to report that Deschutes has found their distribution partners and we’ll begin seeing them in St. Louis toward the end of July.

STL Hops has learned that Deschutes has chosen Lohr Distributing (St. Louis City), Grey Eagle Distributing (St. Louis County) and Krey Distributing (St. Charles County) to sell their beer in the St. Louis area.  We’ll see a roll-out of Deschutes beginning in Kansas City about mid-July with St. Louis following a couple of weeks after.

The Oregon brewery, which produced about 200,000 barrels in 2010, will begin with sending out draught and bottles of their year-round beers like Mirror Pond and Black Butte with us seeing their very sought-after 22oz beers like The Abyss and Black Butte XXIII as the year progresses.

With the addition of Stone, Firestone Walker, Deschutes, and the soon to arrive Green Flash, it looks like we no longer need to head out to the west coast, because it’s headed to us.

stlhopswikiI’ve had a few people ask me how I pick and choose what stories make it to the front page of STL Hops, which kind of got me thinking about what this site is all about. So, call this the STL Hops Manifesto.

With the internet finally getting its due as an online news source, there are a lot of media outlets in St. Louis now days that have a lot of web-only content, and they’re constantly falling over themselves to try to be the first to break a story. To be honest, I want to break stories too. But, if I can’t break a story, I want to be able to give our readers a unique perspective on a story that isn’t the same stuff being regurgitated by every other media outlet in St. Louis.

I think it’s a bit disingenuous to my readers if I post almost an identical story that other media outlets posts. One of the special things about STL Hops is that we have a very, very incomparable readership that no other media outlet in St. Louis has. For breweries/restaurants/retail trying to sell craft beer, STL Hops has the perfect set of eyes (about 11,000 unique readers last month) that those businesses should be looking for.

STL Hops is more than just people reading a site, it’s people involved with a site. We’re a very active and very important community in St. Louis. We absolutely respond when people not only share information with the site, but we are also actively involved with the site. We want people to not only understand and love our enthusiasm, but share their love and enthusiasm with us as well.

The other thing that is so different about STL Hops is that this isn’t my job. It’s my passion. I don’t have to try to post every press release that comes my way because, honestly, I don’t need to justify my job to some editor. But it also unfortunately means that I don’t have time to run down every small lead that may or may not come my way. I devote a lot of time to this, almost too much at times, and I do it because I love beer.

So, to make a long story short, if I can’t get a different take on a story, I’m way less likely to run the story. I want to post the stories that I think are not only important, but also unique.  And if establishments aren’t interested in working with STL Hops to give our readers something special, then that’s their loss.  And it is truly a loss, as they’re not going to find a more passionate and loyal following anywhere else in St. Louis.

Let me tell you, putting on a beer dinner ain’t easy. Putting on my first one was pretty nerve-racking.  From the pairings, to the serving, to the putting butts into the seats, there is a lot that goes on.    So, I’m always wanting to give a bit a love to any place that decides to put on a dinner featuring some great craft beer.

This Thursday, June 2nd, beginning at 7PM, Boogaloo in Maplewood is putting on a beer dinner featuring 7 different beers from the Goose Island Brewery.  These 7 beers and six different courses will cost you a staggering $30.  That’s an insane deal.  If you’d like to attend, make sure to call 314-645-4803 for reservations.  At this price, this is sure to sell out fast.

Here’s a look at the menu:

royaleJust about every Tuesday evening, The Royale hosts an event where they guide you through the wonderful world of beer styles, breweries and beer history. This week they’ll be featuring an event they call: “ExtravaCANza III“. Here’s a quick synopsis of what will be on tap:

If three straight days of drinking Busch at the family BBQ just wasn’t enough, we offer our third semi-annual celebration of the beer vessel of the future.

Cans protect beer from 100% of skunk-inducing sunlight, are easier to recycle, chill faster, and are more compact and lightweight than bottles.

This week, several categories of delicious canned beer:

  • Caldera
  • Ska Modus Hoperandi
  • Schlafly Summer Helles
  • Ska Mexican Logger
  • Henninger Lager
  • Big Sky Moose Drool
  • Wittekerke
  • Murphy’s

The Royale is one the finest pubs in St. Louis to enjoy a beer and their employees are extremely passionate and extremely knowledgeable people.  This is a great opportunity to not only enjoy some great beer, but to learn about just some of the great styles of beer and breweries we have available in St. Louis.

This week on the STL Hops Twitter

Stuff from around the web

Retail Beer Releases

  • Randall’s Wines and Spirits (Fairview Heights) (05/21/2011)
    • Bear Republic Racer 5
    • Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale
    • North Coast Old Rasputin 12th Anniversary
    • Port Brewery Judgement Day Ale
    • Port Brewery Inferno Ale
    • Anderson Valley Summer Solstice
    • Rogue John John Ale
    • Big Sky Henry Horse Scotch Ale
    • Avery Maharaja
    • Left Hand TNT
    • New Belgium Le Terroir
    • Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
    • Atwater Vanilla Java Porter
    • New Holland Dragon’s Milk
    • Wild Onion Summer Wit
    • Cathedral Square Hail Mary Belgian IPA
    • Charleville Tornado Alley
    • Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale
    • Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
    • Sam Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed IPA
    • Widmer Bros. Pitch Black IPA
    • Shiner Ruby Redbird
    • Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
    • Victory Whirlwind
    • Lakefront 88
    • Arcadia Ales Shipwreck Porter
    • Founders Double Trouble
    • Flying Dog Gonzo Porter
    • Ommegang 3 Philosophers
    • Heavy Seas Hang To
    • Hoppin’ Frog DORIS the Destroyer
    • Laughing Dog The Dogfather
    • Duvel
    • Corsedonk Brown Ale
    • Trappistes Rochefort 10
    • Duchesse De Bourgogne
    • Kasteel Rouge
    • Lindeman’s Lambics
    • Unibroue La Terrible
    • Gulden Draak
    • Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch
    • Svytury’s Mix Pack
    • Sam Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo
    • St. Peter’s Cream Stout
    • Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weissbier
    • Hofbrau Original
    • Traquair 2020
  • Starrs (05/27/2011)
    • Charleville Triple Wit
    • Charleville Maibock
    • Goose Island Demolition
    • Left Hand Stranger American Pale Ale
    • Odells Double Pilsner
  • U-Gas Waterloo (05/27/11)
    • Hoppin’Frog D.O.R.I.S the Destroyer Double Imperial Stout
    • Boulevard Smoke Stack Imperial Stout
    • Boulevard Smoke Stack The Sixth Glass
    • Boulevard Smoke Stack Tank 7
    • Boulevard Smoke Stack Double Wide IPA
    • Boulevard Smoke Stack Dark Truth Stout
    • Southern Tier Hopsun
    • Southern Tier 422
    • Bell’s Oberon
    • Schlafly Summer Lager
    • Schlafly Raspberry Hefe
    • Schlafly Export IPA
    • Schlafly AIPA
    • Port Mongo IPA
    • Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
    • New Holland Dragon’s Milk
    • SKA Brewing Modus Hoperandi IPA
    • Goose Island Big John
    • Founders Double Trouble
    • Founders Imperial Stout
    • Bullafo Bills Orange Blossom
  • Wine and Cheese Place (Clayton) (05/27/11)
    • NB Lips of Faith Super Cru (Imperial Fat Tire)
    • NB Lips of Faith Grand Cru Abbey
    • Dugges 1/2 Idjit!
    • Dugges Never Mind the Bollox! Double IPA
    • Sint Canarus + Bierkraft Grant
    • Oliver’s Herefordshire Cider Sparkling Dry
    • Oliver’s Herefordshire Hard Cider
    • Oliver’s Herefordshire Pear Cider
    • Westons Oak Conditioned Cider
    • Left Hand Stranger Pale Ale
  • Vineyards Wine & Spirits (Chesterfield) (05/27/11)
    • Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA
    • ODells Double Pislner…4pk btl
    • Schlafly Helles Summer Lager…6pk btl
    • Bell’s Oberon…6pk btl
    • Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot…22oz
    • Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball…6pk btl
    • Great Divide Titan IPA…6pk btl
    • Stone Brewing Bastard Ale…22oz
    • Stone IPA IS BACK!!!…6pk btl

Restaurant and Bar Beer List Updates

  • 33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar (05/27/11)
    • 2nd Shift Art of Neurosis
    • Urban Chestnut Urbinator
    • Ommegang Gnommegang
    • North Coast Red Seal
    • DeGlazen-Torren Ondineke
    • Mikkeller 1000 IBU
  • Bigelo’s Bistro (5/27/11)
    • Bell’s Two Hearted
    • Schlafly Summer
    • Big Sky IPA
    • Avery Maharaja
    • Goose Island Fleur
    • Sierra Summerfest
    • Flossmoor Station Panama Red
    • Duchess de bourgogne
    • Cathedral Square Hail Mary IPA
    • Schlafly American IPA
    • Blue Moon
    • Boulevard Wheat
  • Blue Agave(5/27/11) Belleville, IL
    • DRAFT
      • New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Oak Barrel Aged Ale
      • Founders Double Trouble Double IPA
      • Left Hand Milk Stout
      • Fruli
      • Goose Island Pepe Nero
      • New Belgium Fat Tire Ale
      • New Belgium Ranger IPA
      • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
      • Woodchuck Amber Cider
      • Woodchuck Pear Cider
      • Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider
      • Woodchuck Summer Cider
      • Guinness
      • Harp
      • Shock Top
      • Goose Island 312 Wheat Ale
      • Cathedral Square Iglesia Agave Ale
      • Magic Hat #9
      • Paulaner
      • Hoegaarden Belgian White
      • Blue Moon
      • Boulevard Wheat
      • Schlafly American IPA
      • Heineken
      • Spaten Optimator
      • Schlafly Export Double IPA Special Release
      • Strongbow Cider
      • Shiner Bock
      • Stag
      • Pabst Blue Ribbon
    • BOTTLES (Some, but not all)
      • Unibroue Terrible, 750ml
      • Ayinger Celebrator
      • Rogue John John Hazelnut, 22 oz
      • Sam Smith Organic Strawberry Ale, 20 oz
      • Coney Island Blockhead, 22 oz
      • Lindemans Frambois
      • Lindemans Faro
      • Orval Trappist Ale
      • Traquair Jacobite
      • Arcadia IPA
      • Arcadia Cereal Killer, Barleywine
      • Arcadia Hopmouth IPA
      • Victory Golden Monkey
      • Victory Storm King Imperial Stout
      • Bell’s Cherry Stout
      • Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale
      • Bell’s Hopslam
      • Skull Splitter
      • Big Sky Cowboy Coffee Porter
      • Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale
      • Founders Harvest Ale, IPA
      • New Belgium Trippel
      • New Belgium Abbey
      • Shiner Ruby Redbird
      • Shiner Black
      • Shiner 102 Double Wheat
      • Anchor Brewing Co., Anchor Steam
      • Anchor Brewing Co., Liberty Ale
      • Anchor Brewing Co., Anchor Bock
      • Schlafly Oatmeal Stout
      • Schlafly Pale Ale
      • Schlafly ESB
      • Schlafly APA
  • Cicero’s (5/27/11)
    • Stone IPA
    • Stone Levitation
    • Stone Arrogant Bastard
    • Southern Tier Raspberry Wheat
    • Bell’s Oberon
    • Moose Drool
    • Arcadia Whitsun
    • Urban Chestnut Wingnut
    • Bass Ale
    • Hoegaarden
    • Wittekkerke
    • Blue Moon
    • Bud Light
    • Boulevard Boss Toms Golden Bock
    • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
    • Urban Chestnut Urbanator
    • Delirium Tremens
    • Fitz’s Root Beer
    • Franziskaner
    • Goose Island Matilda
    • Goose Island Summer Kölsch
    • Grand Teton Sweetgrass APA
    • Boulder Hazed and Infused
    • Great Divide Hoss Rye Märzen
    • Guinness
    • La Chouffe
    • Leffe Blonde
    • Left Hand Milk Stout
    • Lindeman’s Framboise
    • Stella Artois
    • Maredsous
    • Maudite
    • New Belgium Fat Tire
    • New Belgium Somersault
    • New Belguim Trippel
    • New Castle
    • Rogue Yellow Snow
    • Rogue Orgasmic Ale
    • Nectar IPA
    • North Coast Old Rasputin
    • Pilsner Urquell
    • Radeberger Pilsner
    • Reissdorf Kölsch
    • Founders Porter
    • Sam Adams Summer Ale
    • Same Adams Saison
    • Schlafly Hefeweizen
    • Schlafly Helles Lager
    • Schlafly Bavarian Weiss
    • Schlafly Pale Ale
    • Shiner Bock
    • Smithwick’s
    • Warsteiner Pilsner
    • Woodchuck Amber Cider
    • Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
  • Erato on Main (05/27/11)
    • Draft
      • Wittekerke Framboise, Raspberry Wit
      • Hacker-Pschorr, Hefeweizen
      • Guinness Stout
      • New Holland “Dragon’s Milk”, Oack Aged Stout
      • He’Brew “Jewbelation Vertical”, Barrel aged brown ale
      • Pauwel Kwak, Belgium Strong Ale
      • Goose Island “Summertime”, Kolsch
      • Pyramid “Apricot Ale”, Unfiltered Wheat Ale
      • Wittekerke, Belgian Wit
      • Charleville “Hoptimistic” I.P.A.
      • Sand Creek Hard Lemonade
      • Wychwood “Hare Raiser” Spring Ale
    • Bottles
      • Steenberge “Leute” Bokbier, Strong Ale, 750ml
      • Brasserie Silenrieux “Sara”, Buckwheat Ale, 750ml
      • Steenbrugge Tripel, 750ml
      • Delerium Tremens, 750ml
      • Birra del Borgo “Dodici 25″, 750ml
      • St. Somewhere “Saison Athene”, 750ml
      • St. Somewhere “Lectio Divina”, 750ml
      • Hanssens Artisanaal Oudbeitje, Lambic, 375ml
      • Lindeman’s Faro, Lambic, 355ml
      • Troubadour “Obscura”, Mild Stout
      • Tripel Karmeliet
      • Wittekerke, Belgian Wit
      • Popperings Hommel, IPA
      • Kapsreiter Landbier, Euro Pale Lager
      • Sloeber, Belgian Strong Pale
      • Sierra Nevada “Torpedo”, Extra IPA
      • Nils Oscar, IPA
      • Saku Porter
      • Strong Bow Cider
      • Erdinger “Dunkle Weiss”
      • Dark Horse Brewing Co. “Crooked Tree”, I.P.A.
      • Lion Stout
      • Brasserie Dieu du Ciel “Route des Epices”, Rye Ale w/Peppercorns
      • Green Flash “West Coast IPA”
      • Bear Republic “Racer 5″ IPA
      • Ska “True Blonde”
      • Ska “Special” ESB
      • Ska “Modus Hoperandi”, I.P.A.
      • Founders “Double Trouble”, Double IPA
      • Boddingtons Pub Ale
      • Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
      • New Holland “Full Circle” Kolsch Beer
      • Wild Onion “Paddy’s Pale Ale”
      • Hoppin Frog “D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer”
      • Lake Front “New Grist”, Gluten-free Beer
      • Goose Island “Big John”, Imperial Stout w/Cacao Nibs
      • Sam Adam’s Pale Ale
      • Buffalo Bill’s “Orange Blossom” Cream Ale
      • Crown Valley Brewing “Big Bison Ale”, Belgian style Dubble
      • Kaliber, N/A
      • Bud Select 16oz
      • Bud Light 16oz
      • Bud Light Lime 16oz
  • Iron Barley (05/27/2011)
    • Cathedral Square Belgian Abbey Ale
    • Grand Teton Sweetgrass APA
    • Left Hand Milk Stout on Nitrous
    • Bell’s Amber Ale
    • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
    • Stone Brewing Company Arrogant Bastard Ale
    • New Belgium 1554 Black Ale
    • Goose Island Honker’s Ale
    • Left Hand Polestar Pilsner
    • Warsteiner Dunkel
    • Boulevard Smokestack Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (750 ml)
    • Boulevard Smokestack The Sixth Glass (750 ml)
    • Boulevard Smokestack Long Strange Tripel (750 ml)
    • Boulevard Double Wide IPA (750 ml)
    • Grand Teton Bitch Creek ESB (Bottle)
    • Tucher Hefe Weiss (Bottle)
    • Weihenstephan Dark Hefe (Bottle)
    • Rogue Dead Guy Ale (Bottle)
    • Stone Ruination IPA(Bottle)
    • Left Hand JuJu Ginger Ale (Bottle)
    • Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (Bottle)
    • Bell’s Oberon(Bottle)
    • Great Divide Wild Raspberry Ale (Bottle)
    • Steven’s Point 2012 Black Ale (Bottle)
    • Brouwerij Huyghe Floris Apple (Bottle)
    • Guinness Draft (Bottle)
    • Founders’ Double Trouble(Bottle)
    • New Holland Golden Cap Saison(Bottle)
    • Avery White Rascal Witbier (Bottle)
    • Griesedieck Brothers Pilsner (Bottle)
    • Aecht Schlenkra Smoke Marzen (Bottle)
    • Fox Barrel Black Currant Cider (Bottle)
    • Redstone Meadery Nectar of the Hops
    • Redstone Meadery Sunshine Nectar
    • Redstone Meadery Black Raspberry
    • Guest Beers
    • Firestone Walker Nectar IPA (Bottle)
    • Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager (Bottle)
    • New Belgium Somersault Ale (Bottle)
  • The Royale (5/25/11)
    • Boulevard Tank 7
    • Founders Centennial
    • Guinness Stout
    • Nectar IPA
    • North Coast Old Rasputin nitro
    • Odell Myrcenary
    • Sam Adams Noble Pils
    • Schlafly American IPA
    • Schlafly Bavarian Weissbier
    • St. Bernardus Abt 12
    • Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
    • Strongbow Hard Cider
    • Urban Chestnut Hopfen
    • Urban Chestnut Zwickel
    • GUEST BOTTLES
      • Bear Republic Racer 5
      • Bell’s Oberon
      • Bell’s Two Hearted
      • Founders Dirty Bastard
      • Founders Red’s Rye
      • Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
      • Left Hand Good Juju
      • Leipziger Gose
      • Murphy’s Stout (can)
      • Pinkus Organic Ur-Pils
      • Samuel Smith’s India Ale
      • Schlafly Summer Lager (can)
      • Ska Modus Hoperandi (can)
      • La Trappe Quad
      • Unibroue Ephemere

Brewery and Brewpub Beer List Updates

  • Buffalo Brewing Company (05/27/11)
    • Buffalo Gold
    • Red Ale
    • Rye IPA (4-8)
    • Chili Beer
    • Belgian Golden Strong Ale (4-1)
    • Buffalo Drool
  • The Highlands Restaurant & Brewing Company (05/27/11)
    • IPA
    • Brown Ale
    • Grass Cutter Cream Ale (5-10)
    • Sugar Creek Light Lager
    • British Pale Ale
    • Rye APA (5-2)
    • Pilsner (5-21)
    • Blackberry Wheat
    • Perennial Hommel
  • Schlafly Bottleworks (05/26/11)
    • Dry Hopped APA
    • Pale Ale
    • Bavarian-Style Weissbier
    • Export IPA
    • Hefeweizen
    • Perry
    • American IPA
    • Kölsch
    • Summer Lager
    • Belgian Singel
    • Oatmeal Stout
    • Scotch Ale
    • Raspberry Hefeweizen
  • Schlafly Taproom (05/27/11)
    • Grand Cru
    • Raspberry Hefe
    • Altbier
    • Biere De Garde
    • Belgian Singel
    • Maibock
    • Weissbier
    • Dortmunder
    • American IPA
    • Schwarzbier
    • Kolsch
    • Summer Lager
    • Hefeweizen
    • Pale Ale
    • Dry-Hopped APA
    • Oatmeal Stout
    • Cask-APA
    • Cask-American Brown
  • Six Row Brewing Company (05/26/11)
    • Whale
    • Centennial Rye
    • ESB
    • Porter
    • Double IPA
    • Honey Weizen
    • 2nd Shift Wheat Freak
  • Square One Brewery and Distillery (05/27/11)
    • Light Squared
    • Spicy Blonde
    • Vienna Lager
    • Classic American Pilsner
    • Maibock
    • Park Avenue Pale Ale
    • Bavarian Weizen
    • Single Malt Scotch Ale
    • IPA
    • Honey Oatmeal Stout
    • New World Strong Ale (Double Blackened IPA)
    • Oatmeal Stout
    • Cask: Coming Soon, Summer Saison
    • Coming Soon: Oh Honey Orange Blossom Wheat, Summer Saison and Double Red
  • Trailhead Brewing Company (05/27/11)
    • Year Round House Beers:
      • Trailblazer Blond Ale
      • Riverboat Raspberry Fruit Ale
      • Trailhead Red American Amber Ale
      • Missouri Brown Ale
      • Old Courthouse Stout
    • Seasonal Selection:
      • Double Dry Hopped IPA w/ Columbus, Summit and Magnum hops
    • Coming Soon: Maibock and Southern German Pilsner

Here’s a list of upcoming beer events:

Today, from 4PM to 6:30PM the Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton will hold its weekly Friday beer tasting. Here’s some of the beers they’ll be sampling: Dugges 1/2 idjit, Dugges Never Mind the Bollox!, New Belgium Lips of Faith Grand Cru, and New Belgium Lips of Faith Super Cru. Additional information can be found at their blog.

Cory from deVine Wines and Spirts, located at 2961 Dougherty Ferry Rd, holds a beer tasting every Wednesday evening from 5PM to 8PM. Each Wednesday will offer up a few new beers for you to taste. Swing on by and check it out.

Once again, if you’re a retail shop, bar, restaurant, brewery or distributor and want me to list your tasting, make sure to email me at mike@stlhops.com.

In the two years that St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Evan Benn has been working the Hip Hops beat, he’s taken the area by storm.  Not only has he made numerous appearances on radio and television, but he just produced a new book about beer in St. Louis called Brew in the Lou.

Evan’s new book details the past, present and future of beer in St. Louis.  To help him get out the word on the new book I asked him some questions about the St. Louis beer scene.

In the course of the few years you’ve been in St. Louis, what are some of the most impressive changes you’ve seen?
I’ve been most impressed with the emphasis that restaurant and bar owners have put on craft beer in recent years. When I moved here in 2009, there was no Farmhaus, no Cork, no Brasserie, no Milagro, no Peel, no Bridge, no PW Pizza, no 1904 Beerhouse — places that have really decided to give beer more prominence than a few throwaway light lagers on the back page of the wine list.

Similarly, there was no HandleBar, no Global Brew, no iTap Soulard — beer bars that are proud to be beer bars. And other bars/restaurants (Pi Delmar and Royale come to mind) didn’t have as many tap handles then as they do now. Ferguson, Six Row and Urban Chestnut all popped up since my arrival, and now we’re about to see a new wave of brewery/tasting room openings from Civil Life, Perennial and 4 Hands. It’s all movement in the right direction, and I’m excited to see where St. Louis’ beer scene goes next.

Even with all of the changes we’ve seen, what do you think is missing from the local scene?
I think we need to buy some megaphones from whomever Greg Koch’s supplier is and tell the world how much great beer St. Louis has to offer. Denver, Portland (Ore.), Philadelphia — these are cities that actively market their breweries and beer scenes. Are we as impressive, beer-wise, as those places? Not yet. But we’re getting there, and with the help of all the new breweries coming online — and the continued strong work of the long-established ones like St. Louis Brewery (Schlafly) and O’Fallon — we’ll be there soon.

It’s time to do something to promote our beer scene on a national scope. I understand that some local brewers have recently laid the groundwork toward forming a St. Louis Brewers Guild. I think that’s a brilliant idea. A group like that could help drive marketing efforts like brewery/brewpub tours. And it could get people from close to home as well as from far away excited about St. Louis beer.

Your book looks at the past, present and future of beer in St. Louis, what was one discovery that really surprised you?
I knew that St. Louis had many, many breweries before Prohibition, but I was a little surprised to find out how prolific some of them were. Lemp Brewery produced about 100,000 barrels of beer in 1878. Pretty impressive, considering people didn’t even have refrigerators in their homes back then. For comparison, St. Louis Brewery made about 35,000 barrels of Schlafly beer last year.

While the number of new American craft brands have increased in the area, the number of imports have declined. What do you make of this trend?
I’m happy to see that American brewers have taken on some classic and forgotten styles from overseas, as opposed to just making the biggest, hoppiest IPA imaginable. And I’m happy that American drinkers have realized that imported beer is often (as you’ve astutely pointed out on the site) more expensive and less fresh than similar beers brewed stateside.

Many people, myself included, will continue to seek out the imported beers I love from breweries like Orval and Cantillon. But I think we should also cheer for U.S. breweries like Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin and California’s Russian River for emulating some of those brewing styles, and doing so with great success. Unfortunately, many people also will continue to buy skunky, over-marketed Heineken when they could get a fresh six-pack of Schlafly Helles-Style Summer Lager.

Beer drinkers’ tastes never seem to remain staid, what has recently excited you?
My tastes have been all over the place recently. On the sour side, I fell in love with Boulevard Love Child No. 2 when I tried a sample at Microfest, and I liked the New Belgium Love Peach Felix that was on at the Bridge this month (although I’m bummed I missed the Blackberry Oscar — heard that one was amazing).

On the hoppy side, the new Ale Mucho Hoppo double IPA from Charleville put a smile on my face at Microfest — can’t wait for that one to be released later this summer. And in the anything-goes category, Urban Chestnut’s new Urbanator (a maibock/doppelbock hybrid) is a winner, just an absolute pleasure to look at, smell and drink. And the batch of Hommel Bier (a dry-hopped Belgian-style pale ale) that Perennial made at Highlands to debut at Microfest, Beerfest and Heritage Fest is also pretty delightful and makes me eager to see what Perennial has in store when it opens this summer.

What do you think the future holds for beer and St. Louis?
With the way things have been going in terms of new breweries, beer-focused bars and restaurants, and an ever-growing community of craft-beer enthusiasts (Hi, STL Hops!), it’s hard not to be optimistic about what the future holds. In the book, I make a few guesses/predictions about what beer trends are likely to stick around.

One of them is that I think (hope?) that the style pendulum will swing back toward flavorful, sessionable beers, as opposed to some of the extreme, biggest-hopped, highest-alcohol, most-barrelly barrel-aged beers spiked with rabbit thighs that we’ve seen in recent years. One of my favorite beers at Urban Chestnut is Half Crown, its session IPA that is so flavorful, I have to double-check the menu to make sure I haven’t misread that it’s only 4 percent ABV. I also have high hopes that the Civil Life will produce similarly session-worthy beers that require no gimmicks to sell.

Where can STL Hops readers find your new book?
The book is available now at www.thepost-dispatchstore.com and www.barnesandnoble.com, and should be available in area bookshops in the next week or so. Also, my autograph is worthless, but if anyone would like a signed copy, they can email me and I’ll take care of it. I’ll also be selling and signing both days at Heritage Fest next month.


You can follow Evan on Twitter @EvanBenn and also find him on Facebook as well.