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Too many people tell me that I remind them a bit of Ron Swanson.  This is an amazing and yet completely undeserved compliment.  But one area where Ron and I see eye to eye is our love of breakfast.  I cannot even begin to describe how much I love breakfast.  It’s easily my favorite meal of the day.

One of the best places to get breakfast (or lunch) in St. Louis is the newly opened Half & Half restaurant in Clayton.  If you haven’t been, I’m now giving you yet another reason to go: Starting this weekend, Half & Half will have a beer menu.

And this isn’t your standard run-of-the-mill beer menu, this is a pretty great selection of beers.  Half & Half is owned by Mike Randolph who also started The Good Pie.  Any beer fan worth their salt knows just how great the beer selection at TGP has been in the past and Half & Half is no different.  Here’s the list:

  • Hanssens Oude Kriek
  • Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse
  • Edelweiss Weissbier
  • Green Flash West Coast IPA
  • St. Bernardus Abt 12
  • Green Flash Hop Head Red
  • North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner
  • Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout
  • Green Flash Double Stout

As you can see, Mike Randolph has done a great job of selecting beers that he think will pair best with some of the breakfast and lunch items available on their menu. “I always imagined this restaurant as a place where you could have a burger and two beer lunch.”

While a burger and beer sounds awesome, my inner-Swanson will stick with the Steak and Eggs and a stout.

growlers.gifRumors have circulated on Facebook and it looks like the Creve Coeur location of Growlers Pub has closed. A quick scan of the Growlers website and Facebook page shows that the Creve Coeur address has been scrubbed from the sites.  No official word of the closure has been announce as of yet.

The Creve Coeur restaurant was the original location for Growlers Pub. This would be the second Growlers Pub location to have been closed since they began the concept in 1996. On a personal note, it was at that location that I began my journey into the world of craft beer almost 10 years ago.  I’m sorry to see it go.

The Sunset Hills location looks to still remain open.

shavedduck.gifThere was a lot of hubbub back in early January when The Shaved Duck, one of the best beer restaurants in St. Louis, closed its doors for some retooling.  Well, snow and ice have arrived and so has the new Duck.

Shaved Duck owner, Ally Nisbit, let me know that The Shaved Duck will be re-opening its doors tonight with new menu offerings including things like flatbreads, smoked meats and chili.  But don’t fret, the excellent craft beer menu that helped get me excited about the Duck in the first place will be returning.

So, if you’re in the mood for a warm meal tonight and are willing to make the trek, give the Duck another go.

shavedduck.gifAs some of you might have heard via the St. Louis Magazine Blog Feast, the South City restaurant The Shaved Duck will be closing its doors on January 3rd.  Fortunately for us beer lovers this is not a death of a place to get a great meal and a great (and inexpensive) beer, but a re-birth.

Shaved Duck owner, Ally Nisbet emailed to let me know that the restaurant will be re-opening on January 27th with a new menu that will be focusing on rustic American cooking, “specializing in smoked meats, BBQ and traditional American side dishes.” But favorite dishes such as the duck frites and confit will not be going anywhere when the Duck reopens.  The Sauce Scoop reports that some of the new dishes we can expect include “flatbreads, substantial salads and several chilis (served with milk!) that range from from mild to screaming hot.”

But fret not, the beer list will not be going anywhere.  Stay tuned.

buffalologo.gifFirst of all, let me just quickly say that Buffalo Brewing is not closed or closing. I tried to keep from any sort of speculation about the current state of the brewery in the last post, but obviously speculation is bound to occur. Also, let me apologize again to Dave and Dushan from Buffalo because as I mentioned in the original post it was never my intention to cause any problems.

According to Dave Johnson, Dushan (the owner of Buffalo) is looking to take on an investor to the Buffalo Brewery which will allow him to not have to spend every waking hour at the restaurant. Dushan is very devoted to Buffalo, but as you can imagine all of the hours he puts in can take a bit of a toll on him. Bringing someone else on to help with managing the place is a good way to allow him to give him a bit more free time for a personal life.

Now, if someone came to him and offered to purchase the business, this is something I’d think he’d probably consider as any good business person should. At this point it’s looking like we’ll all have hopefully have beer from Buffalo for years to come.

After constantly saying, “I really need to make my way down there.” Irene and I finally had the chance to visit Buffalo Brewing a couple of weeks ago, so I though I’d share some of my thoughts and some photos.

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Buffalo Brewing Co.
3100 Olive St. (Map It)
St. Louis, MO 63103
314-534-BEER (534-2337)

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Beers:

Obviously Buffalo Brewing’s biggest draw is the fact that they provide hand-crafted fresh micro-brewed beer on premises. Their current line-up is Buffalo Gold (a pale-colored ale), Chili Beer, Buffalo Drool (a brown ale), Buffalo Red, Hefeweizen and a Rye IPA. Since the Gold was currently out, I decided to go with a sampler line-up of the five remaining beers. I’m happy to say that they were all clean-well made beers.

Judging by the menu, the Chili beers looks to be the same base recipe as the Buffalo Gold but with chili added to the beer after primary fermentation. I don’t have much experience with chili beers, but I was pleasantly surprised by the subtle chili flavor. You would just catch a hit of the heat in the back of your tongue, but it was never overpowering. It always left you wanting more.

The Drool and the Red were both solid session beers, perfect for someone who’s looking to either bring someone into the craft beer fold or for the times you want to have 2 or 3 pints without having to worry about getting fall-down drunk. The stand out beer of the evening for me was the Rye IPA. It had a wonderful floral aroma and the hops matched well with the spiciness of the rye malt.

If I had one qualm with the beer it’s with the “hefeweizen.” True hefes feature a spicy clove and banana aroma which this beer had neither of. This is just another American wheat beer. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but it’s not a hefe. (And Buffalo, you’re not the only one guilty of this, you’re just the first for me to nitpick on this detail***.)

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Food:

One of the things I couldn’t quite get over when reading through the menu was just how inexpensive things were. Irene and I had two beers, a five beer sampler, an appetizer and also two entrees and I don’t think we dropped more than 35 bucks. That’s a nice little respite over some of the prices we’ve been paying for food and beer recently. While the menu offers a lot of typical bar fare they also offer a lot of buffalo based choices if you’re looking for the taste of beef without all of the fat.

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Intangibles:

Buffalo Brewing offers a large dining room with a western motif. One issue we noticed with the indoor dining was that because of the high ceilings it can get a bit noisy at times. Buffalo also offers a nice outdoor covered patio if eating alfresco is your thing. They also have a very large bar if you’re looking to just belly up and have a few beers.

One last quick note, I stopped by Buffalo last Wednesday for a beer and was disappointed to find out that a few beers were out and were temporarily replaced with a few O’Fallon beers. Hopefully the next time I show up I’ll be able to have another pint of that tasty Rye IPA.

*** So according to Dave Johnson, he used a true German hefe yeast, the banana and clove just didn’t come through.  He’s going to try using a different yeast next time.

Irene and I made our way down to the newest Amalgamated Brewing venture, The Stable, for Saturday night’s grand opening. I’ve been to a few grand openings as of recent and for the most part they’re usually low-key events. The opening of The Stable was anything but. We walked in and the place was packed, filled to the brim with people either waiting to get a beer or waiting to get a table.

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The Stable
1821 Cherokee Street (Map It)
St Louis, MO 63118
(314) 771-8500

 

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Beer

If The Stable doesn’t win some sort of award next year for best beer selection in a restaurant in one of the local magazines, I may just have to give up hope for this town. The devotion to beer that everyone involved with The Stable has is just mindblowing. With over 20 hand-picked draught choices and another 15 in bottles, The Stable proves that having the largest selection doesn’t necessary mean you have the best selection. Two other extremely encouraging tidbits I picked up was that this will be a rotating selection, so that beer you had on your first visit may not be there on the second. Also, they’ve made the promise that you’ll see no beer with the word “Light” in the name.

 

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Food:

Not content with just pizza and beer, The Stable offers a full line of sandwiches and also some interesting starters. I had the steak special and Irene tried the cajun carbonara. While my steak was cooked perfectly to temperature, I found it a bit tough and not very moist. But I was in the mood for beef so it satisfied my craving. Irene’s carbonara was the winning dish between our two. The spiciness of the andouille helped to balance the richness of the cream sauce. The pasta itself was also very well received as it still had a bit of chew to the noodles, almost just shy of al dente.

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Intangibles:

This place is pretty gorgeous. If you’ve ever been to the Lemp Mansion you’ll know that it’s almost like stepping back in time to when the mansion was full of Lemps. The Stable does a good job of taking a lot of the feel from the Lemp Mansion and continuing it in this new spot. The updated wood features along with some of the other features keeps you in a very particular mindset. Irene couldn’t stop looking around and saying “wow.” They also feature a “patio” area featuring a second bar which seems less finished and much more sparse. I’ll be interested to see if it gets updated as well.

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I’m really excited about the future of The Stable, some time to work out some opening kinks I think it could quickly become the best beer restaurant in St. Louis. Let’s hope that the crowds I saw on opening night think the same as me and keep filling the place up.