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.