Almost a day doesn’t go by where I don’t get an email or see a post on Beer Advocate with people asking about beer related things to do in St. Louis. So, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of great craft beer spots in the metro area.
The only problem with this list? It’s never going to be all-encompassing. The St. Louis beer scene is growing at an exponential rate, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to keep up. But, I’ll make every effort to update this list as time goes on.
The following is a list of breweries, brewpubs, restaurants, and retail shops within about a 45 mile drive of downtown St. Louis. We have some wonderful breweries, such as Crown Valley, Charleville, and 2nd Shift Brewing, also within about an hour’s drive of St. Louis. Make sure to look for some of their beers around the metro area.
4 Hands Brewing Company (1220 S. 8th Street) The best thing about each of the new breweries that’s opened in 2011 is that they’ve all brought something new to the table. 4 Hands looks to fill a gap in the local St. Louis scene by brewing up beers that could be called “the most American” by some. Big, bold beers that won’t be strained by style, 4 Hands looks to brew whatever makes them and St. Louis craft beer drinkers most happy.
Anheuser-Busch (1127 Pestalozzi St. & Lynch St) OK, let’s be frank, most of you aren’t going to be interested in drinking the beer from AB. But, it’s one of the oldest breweries in the country, and it’s certainly cool to see some of the historic buildings. The tour itself is very impressive but don’t expect the tour guides to know much off of their script.
Earthbound Brewing (2710 Cherokee Street.) St. Louis’s newest brewery is also one of their smallest. Located on Cherokee Street, Earthbound is turning out small batch beers on their 1.5bbl brew system. Owners Rebecca Schranz, Stuart Keating, and Jeff Siddons have vowed to make some of the “weirdest” beers in St. Louis. Expect over 40 different beers to be produced each year.
Excel Bottling Company (488 S. Broadway, Breese, IL) Though it’s finally gained some notice on the St. Louis side, Excel Bottling was originally known in Southern Illinois for their trademark Ski Soda. They branched into beer a few years ago and have quietly been putting out some phenomenal beers. Beer sure to check out their Eastside IPA.
Exit 6 Brewery (5055 Hwy N, Cottleville) This brewery is a bit of an anomaly. It’s actually more of a beer bar than a full-fledged brewery, but as they also don’t serve any food it can’t be called a “brewpub.” What they are is a place to sample some very small batches of one-off creations that they brew on their 1.5bbl system. Each creation is unique and there is a possibility you may never be able to sample it again.
O’Fallon Brewery (45 Progress Pkwy, Maryland Heights) O’Fallon Brewery moved from it’s long-time home in O’Fallon, Missouri last year to a new and much larger facility in Maryland Heights. This new location not only allows O’Fallon to brew more beer, but their new O’Bar provides you a chance to try some of their tasty beers on site, including new test batches. They also offer tours on Sundays at 1, 2 and 3pm.
Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Schlafly Plaza, Maplewood) While technically, the Schlafly Bottleworks is a brewpub, so it could fall into the list below, it’s also the location of most of their production. They do tours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from Noon-5PM on the hour. Their tour guides are all beer nerds, so they love talking about beer.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (3229 Washington Avenue) Urban Chestnut, at least for a short time, can boast about being the newest production brewery in St. Louis. While they don’t have tours, they do have a lovely tasting room in a very neat building. Their very knowledgeable staff can walk you through all of the beers they currently have on tap.
Augusta Brewing Company (5521 Water Street, Augusta) Located in the heart of the Missouri wine country, Augusta is putting out some stellar beers. Their Hyde Park Stout recently won gold at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. It’s a lovely trip, and Augusta has some charming bed and breakfast spots.
The Civil Life Brewing Company (3714 Holt) Never one to follow the trends, Civil Life owner Jake Hafner always likes to do things a bit differently. Civil Life has created a line-up of beers that not only feature a big amount of flavor, but do so while staying extremely sessionable. Their bar is one of the most gorgeous and unique places in all of St. Louis to have a beer.
Ferguson Brewing Company (418 South Florissant Rd, Fergusson) The Ferguson Brewing Company is the pride of downtown Ferguson. They’ve just celebrated their first birthday by announcing the fact they’ve begun distribution of their beer around the St. Louis area. Look for their St. Louis Pale Ale and their Pecan Brown Ale around town.
Heavy Riff Brewing Company (6413 Clayton Ave.) While the historic area of St. Louis known as Dogtown is famous for its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, it wasn’t known for craft beer, until now. Heavy Riff Brewing not only features its own beers on taps, but a rotating selection of guest taps as well.
Kirkwood Station Brewing Company (105 East Jefferson Avenue, Kirkwood) Smack dab in the middle of historic downtown Kirkwood, Kirkwood Station has the distinction of being the only brewpub to be located in south St. Louis County. Brewmaster Dave Johnson has done a great job putting together some very impressive beers. My favorite is their Belgian Wit.
Morgan Street Brewery (721 North 2nd Street) Not only does Morgan Street set itself apart by being one of the oldest brewpubs in St. Louis, they are also the only brewpub in the area that produces nothing but lagers. They’ve gotten so good at it that their Golden Pilsner has not only won gold at the Great American Beer Festival, but also at the World Beer Cup.
Old Bakery Beer Company (400 Landmarks Blvd Alton, IL) As far as locally brewed beer goes, Southern Illinois was a dessert for a while. But we’ve seen some really unique and brilliant breweries open up over the last year or two. One of the newest is Old Bakery located in Alton, IL. Old Bakery is the area’s only 100% organic brewery sourcing nothing but organic hops and malt. Their restaurant also features locally sourced ingredients as well.
Perennial Artisan Ales (8125 South Michigan) Opened in September 2011, Perennial Artisan Ales has become one of the most cutting-edge and innovative breweries in St. Louis. Their focus has been to create beers “that we and our beer geek friends get very excited about.” Look out for a spotlight on using seasonal and local ingredients along with barrel-aging some beers as well.
Schlafly Taproom (2100 Locust St) Being St. Louis’s oldest brewpub, Schlafly has certainly led the way for all other breweries that have come up after them. Set in an historic printing building, the Taproom is one of the most unique brewpubs in all of St. Louis. It also has, in my opinion, one of the best menus in town. This is a must visit.
Scratch Beer (264 Thompson Rd, Ava, IL) Though it’s a bit of a road trip, Scratch Beer has become one of the most talked about breweries in the St. Louis area. Scratch is going “old school” creating farmhouse style beers using locally farmed and foraged ingredients in their beer.
Square One Brewery (1727 Park Avenue) While the beer scene in St. Louis has moved quickly in the past few years, it’s always nice to see some places that were ahead of the curve. Opened in 2006, Square One has not only put out some unique beers, but they’re also the first microdistillery restaurant in the state of Missouri.
Trailhead Brewing Company (921 South Riverside Drive, St. Charles) What other brewpubs in American can boast being just seconds away from the start of the Lewis and Clark Expedition? Right in the heart of historic Main Street St. Charles, Trailhead was one of the first and one of the oldest brewpubs in the metro area.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (4465 Manchester Ave.) While Urban Chestnut’s newest location is a full-fledged brewery, it also features a full restaurant as well. Be sure to check out this amazing state-of-the-art brewery. It’s one of the most beautiful breweries in town.
Bars and Restaurants:
33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar (1913 Park Avenue) Don’t let the name “wine bar” fool you. Craft beer nerds in St. Louis have long flocked to 33 to check out their handpicked beer list and consistently fascinating selection of draught beers.
Baileys’ Range (920 Olive Street) If you’re looking to try the largest variety of local beers in one location, look no further than Baileys’ Range. With almost 30 local beers on tap, this is your opportunity to try some of the best beer made in the local area.
Bridge (1004 Locust St) With 55 beers on tap, Bridge Tap House has the largest selection of draught beer in town. Owner Dave Bailey also has pulled off an improbable feat. He’s also created the most casually romantic beer bar in town.
Bigelo’s Bistro (140 North Main Street, Edwardsville, IL) Right in the heart of downtown Edwardsville, Bigelo’s Bistro has been serving craft beer longer than a lot of restaurants in St. Louis. Owner Mark Pruitt always makes sure to keep a list of unique beers on tap. If you’re headed to Edwardsville, also be sure to check out the newly opened Global Brew Tap House as well.
Cicero’s (6691 Delmar Boulevard) Cicero’s has long established its spot as having the best beer list in the U City Loop. But even after all these years, it shows no sign of slowing down. Cicero’s is one of the few places in town that holds a regular Beer School, letting people learn and drink at the same time.
Dressel’s Pub (419 N Euclid Ave) If you’re looking for a true pub in St. Louis, look no further than Dressel’s. In addition to a top notch beer list, it’s one of the few places that regularly serves cask beer. It’s dark and cozy interior makes for a great spot to bring a book and grab a pint.
Farmhaus (3257 Ivanhoe Avenue) What Farmhaus loses in draught, they make up with a huge variety of American craft beers. Their bottle selection is as varied as their menu, providing options to pair with every dish. This is absolutely one of the best restaurants in St. Louis, and it also boasts one of the best beer selections.
The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (900 Spruce St) While we’ve seen this seminal beer bar pop up around the Midwest, our wait for a Flying Saucer is finally over. Located a block from Busch Stadium this bar should be one of your stops when enjoying a Cardinals game. Featuring 80 taps of craft beer and some great food as well, this is a welcome addition to St. Louis.
Global Brew Tap House & Lounge (112 South Buchanan St. Suite 1, Edwardsville, IL; 455 Regency Park, O’Fallon) The best part about heading into Illinois is the different selection of beers you can find on that side of the river that you can’t find in Missouri. If you’re looking for one of the largest selections of unique beers on tap, look no further than Global Brew. With a one of the largest numbers of tap handles and a large number of bottles, you’re sure to find something new to you.
The Good Pie (6665 Delmar Blvd) If you’re visiting St. Louis for the first time, you may hear some locals talking up local, St. Louis-style pizza. It’s probably in your best interest to ignore them. Instead, hit up a spot making pizza like it’s been made for hundreds of years. The Good Pie is St. Louis’s only true Neapolitan pizza. The best thing is that they also love beer and have a constantly rotating craft beer selection.
HandleBar (4127-29 Manchester Avenue) One of the newest spots in the Grove neighborhood, the emphasis at the HandleBar is local. They carry a large selection of local beers on draught, so if you’re trying to get some local flavor, get on your bike and head over.
Hair of the Dog (1212 Washington Ave) This is a hidden little gem in the middle of downtown. Boasting the largest selection of sour and funky beers in St. Louis, this is a sour-fiend’s dream. Add in the fact they recently boosted their tap count to 43 which are constantly rotating and you’ll enjoy a little beer mecca on Washington Avenue.
International Tap House (1711 S 9th St; 16 S. Euclid; 161 Long Road, Chesterfield) iTap, as it’s known to its regulars, has quickly become a juggernaut in the St. Louis beer scene. Each location not only provides over 40 beers on tap but also 500 beers in bottle. It’s the best place in St. Louis to check out the large variety of beer that is now available.
Iron Barley (5510 Virginia Ave) I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that Iron Barley has not only one of the most unusual menus in town, but also the most unusual decor and location. But, being off the beaten path has allowed them to put together a great selection of beer and be one of the best places in town for a meal.
Pearl Cafe (8416 North Lindbergh, Florissant) It’s almost hard to believe, but there’s a fantastic beer selection hiding in this former fast food restaurant. Not only does Pearl Cafe offer up some delicious Thai food, but they also have a beer menu with over 150 beers. And if you’re feeling really saucy, they even have a spicy food challenge.
Pi (6144 Delmar Boulevard, 10935 Manchester Rd, 400 North Euclid Avenue, 610 Washington Ave.) It’s crazy to think that only three years ago, there was only a single Pi. Within the next year or so, we’ll see another one in downtown St. Louis and even one in Washington DC. It’s one of the best pizzas in St. Louis and owner Chris Sommers has done a great job of making sure to keep some great beer on draught.
Mangia Italiano (3145 South Grand) This sleepy little spot on South Grand provides not only a varied selection of beer, but also handmade pasta. It’s American-style Italian food, for sure, but it’s not that gloopy and gloppy stuff you’ll find at the big box places around the area.
Milagro Modern Mexican (20 Allen Avenue #130, Webster Groves) Milagro not only has the best beer list of any Mexican restaurant in St. Louis, but has one of the best lists period. Their traditional Mexican fare pairs well with the large selection of hoppy beers that Milagro has to offer. Also make sure to check out their fantastic Sunday brunch.
Mission Taco Joint (6235 Delmar Blvd) From the brilliant minds that brought you Milagro, here is a place to get cheap tacos along with a great selection of craft beers. Warning, it can get a bit busy on the weekends, so be certain to grab a drink at their bodega bar right around the corner while you’re waiting for your table.
The Royale (3132 South Kingshighway Boulevard) I don’t know how he did it, but owner Steven Smith put together one of the best places in St. Louis that a lot of people haven’t heard of. Good food, great patio and a very knowledgeable staff makes for one of the best beer joints in St. Louis.
The Shaved Duck (2900 Virginia Avenue) When Shaved Duck owner Ally Nisbet changed from fine dining to a neighborhood BBQ joint, people thought he was crazy. Two years later, there are people lining up out the door to try their slow smoked BBQ. Their beer selection is always varied, and it’s pretty crazy cheap. Just be warned, if you get the Smothered Fries, be prepared for a nap afterward.
Sidney Street Cafe (2000 Sidney Street) If you’re looking for a finer dining experience, look no further than Sidney Street Cafe. Owner Kevin Nashan has made great strides in expanding their beer list; proving that you can do so even in the shadow of the King. It’s one of the best restaurants in town; a can’t miss.
The Side Project Cellar (7373 Marietta Ave.) I think it’s fair to say that Cory King may be one of the most talked about brewers in the country at the moment. His beers are sought far and wide and used to seem unattainable, until now. Cory and his wife Karen (who runs and manages the tasting room) opened the Cellar to not only give people a chance to try Side Project beer, but to provide not only possibly the best selection of beers in St. Louis, but also served at the proper temperature and in the proper glassware. Don’t miss out on this amazing beer experience.
South Hampton Bar and Grill (2605 Hampton Ave) Boasting one of the most eclectic rotating beer lists, SOHA has got to be one of the best beer destinations in the city. Couple that with HDTVs to watch your favorite sporting events and some delicious grub and you’ve got yourself your new favorite beer bar hangout.
Craft Beer Cellar (8113 Maryland Ave) Located in the heart of Clayton, CBC focuses solely on craft beer. Not only do they provide over 625 different beers from almost 150 different breweries, but they also offer up a small rotating selection of taps to enjoy while you shop.
Randall’s Wines and Spirits (1910 South Jefferson Avenue; 11000 Old Halls Ferry Road, Florrisant; 10800 Lincoln Trail, Fairview Heights, IL) With stores in the city, north county and Illinois, Randall’s has provided plenty of different spots to pick up some great beer in the area.
Wine and Cheese Place (7435 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 457 North New Ballas Road, Creve Coeur; 14748 Clayton Road, Ballwin; 9755 Manchester Rd, Rock Hill) I think it’s easy to say that for a lot of us St. Louis craft beer nerds, Wine and Cheese Place holds a special spot in our hearts. Not only do they have one of the largest selections around, but manager Paul Hayden is constantly using social media to work and talk to his customers. It’s easy to see why they have such a loyal following.
Lukas Liquor (15921 Manchester Rd) When many of us were beginning our beer journey, Lukas Liquor was one of the first stores in town to carry a huge selection of craft beer. Many years later they’re still have one of the best selections in the area.
Regular readers will probably notice that there are a lot of places missing off of this list, and that’s true. There are just so many places in St. Louis that are doing a great job serving and selling craft beer that it’s difficult to keep up.
My best suggestion is to check out the STL Hops Beer List as it updates pretty regularly. That will give you an opportunity to see what’s new in the area. I’d also suggest checking out the STL Hops forums, the people that post there are a fountain of information.
Also, if you’re planning a trip out to Kansas City, make sure to look at the list that KC Beer Blog put together.