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The Bridge tap house and wine bar is the newest venture from restaurateur Dave Bailey.  If Bailey’s name sounds familiar it’s because he’s also the owner of the hugely successful Bailey’s Chocolate Bar and breakfast/brunch/lunch spot, Rooster.

Not surprisingly, his newest location is just as hip as his last.  With a warm wood vibe including reclaimed tree branches being used as light fixtures, it will easily be one of the most popular bars in St. Louis.

But we’re here for the beer, so what does he have to offer?  How about 36 draught selections and soon over 150 bottled beers to choose from.  I’ve also been told that he’ll continue the tradition he started over at the Chocolate Bar by housing beers for aging.

The pricing on beers is very reasonable and growlers will be available for table consumption as well. Bridge isn’t open quite yet, but expect it to be open by February 10th at the latest.

The current draught list, which will be always changing, will be available after the photos and the break.

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If you made it out to the Duff’s Autumn Beer Dinner in November 2007, then you had a chance to meet New Belgium Brewer Lauren Salazar.  Well if you didn’t have a chance to meet her, she’s coming back into town to kick off the Lips of Faith series hitting a few new locations.  Here’s a list of events she’ll be attending this week:

beer.jpgWednesday, Feb. 18th
Cicero’s Beer School with Lauren Salazar 5:30-6:30 pm

Bailey’s Chocolate Bar Lips Of Faith Reception and Meet and Greet with Lauren Salazar 8 pm -?

Thursday, Feb. 19th
Pi Restaurant Lips of Faith Reception and Meet and Greet with Lauren Salazar 6-8 pm

Friday, Feb. 20th
The Stable Lips of Faith Reception and Meet and Greet with Lauren Salazar 5-7 pm

Lauren is a great brewer and provides plenty of information about New Belgium beers, so make the time to go out and visit one of these events.  Here’s Lauren’s bio from NB:

Lauren Salazar, New Belgium Brewing Company

Lauren is the Sensory Specialist and a Quality team member at New Belgium Brewing Company, where she has been employed for over eleven years and sensory-focused for over ten. She developed the sensory program from a basic production check to its present program and is responsible for all facets from design to implementation to re-engineering. Other areas of interest and fun at the brewery include brewery-wide flavor training, new product development, small/esoteric beer production and wood barrel project blender. Lauren is a judge at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival, has presented and taught short courses for the CBC, WBC, AHA, ASBC, MBAA and many others.

Salazar received her BSW from the University of Georgia a lifetime ago and holds a Certificate from UC Davis for Applied Sensory Science and Consumer Testing.


12_newbelgiumlogo.jpgYou may remember me mentioning talking about La Fleur Misseur a while back, but it looks like the day has finally arrived and La Fleur Misseur is available in St. Louis. This beer is part of New Beligum’s new Lips of Faith series of sour/funky beers. Each couple of months will bring about a new beer for our tasting pleasure. For instance, La Fleur will give way to a Grand Cru by early August.

The catch to these beers is that they’re limited release small batches, which means you’re going to have to seek them out. Luckily for you they’re easy to find at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar and Cicero’s.

(As a completely separate, yet related side note, during my visit to The Flying Saucer in KC this weekend I noticed that La Fleur was available so I immediately ordered up a glass. Imagine my surprise when the beer arrived and after one whiff I knew I had the wrong thing. A manager walked by and noticed a puzzled look on my face and I explained that I didn’t think that they gave me La Fleur because I didn’t smell or taste any Brett. He told me that it wasn’t a sour ale and that it was made with Wormwood. I didn’t feel like fighting it so I just drank what I was given.

This same manager told me that Schlafly had a sour ale.)

12_newbelgiumlogo.jpgI heard about this a few weeks ago and it looks like it’s finally coming to fruition. New Belgium Brewery is going to be doing a new sour beer program where select restaurants will be receiving a few kegs of each beer as it’s seasonally released.  The first of these beers is New Belgium’s La Fleur Misseur.  I’ll let New Belgium Beer Ranger Ryan Beech describe it:

La Fleur was originally concocted for New Belgium’s 15th Birthday Party. But lucky all of us there was such a buzz about the beer by people that drank it at the brewery, we were forced to make more.

La Fleur is an ale with a deep hazy gold color. It opens with flavors of pineapple, clove and honey. Dry-Hopping gives it a nice flower-leaf aroma supported by tones of fresh bread and honey.

Because these are very special beers it means that they’re very limited in their release.  Bailey’s Chocolate Bar and Cicero’s are going to be the nly two locations in St. Louis will be receiving kegs of this beer (and it will be draught beer only).  I’ll make sure to let everyone know when this beer is available in a few weeks.

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.

Warning: The following is long and a bit rambling. Read at your own caution.

Thursday Night:

OK, well technically this isn’t the weekend, but it’s close enough. Irene and I had a meeting at the Schlafly Tap Room to discuss the upcoming Convivial Pursuit Trivia Night (if you’re a trivia nut, come on out and play some food trivia). After the meeting had ended, Stephen invited us to the Cod and Cask VIP opening night. We were treated to not only cask IPA and Brennan’s Brown Ale, but a smorgasboard of seafood. From cod cakes and scallops to plokkfiskur (a fish and potato casserole) and of course fish and chips. We also got to enjoy music from Pétur Ben, a signer-songwriter from Iceland.

The event also allowed me to see some people I haven’t seen in quite some, like Ryan Beach from New Belgium. It also gave me a chance to bounce my ideas for a Randal the Enamel Animal off of James “Otto” Ottolini, the Chief Brewer/Chief Engineer for Schlafly Bottleworks. And to top it off I got the opportunity to meet Tom Schlafly, the owner of St. Louis Brewery. Cask beers flowed, fish was eaten and good times were had. Now you know why I was complaining in Friday morning’s Round-Up.

Friday Night:

I wish I had some exciting beer adventure for you, but I don’t. We hit up Rich and Charlie’s for a birthday dinner, where I had AB’s new Shock Top (that came from what I suspect to be an infected draught line) and Amber Bock. We all then headed back to my house for some Friday night drunken Rock Band hijinks. If it makes you feel better, I did enjoy some Two Hearted Ale and Bourbon County Stout while singing Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz.

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rasputin.jpgAfter dinner last night at Newstead Tower Public House (more on that next week) we decided to hit up Bailey’s Chocolate Bar for dessert. After dinner, both Irene and I wanted to visit 33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar, but 5:30AM comes a bit early for me. I’ll admit though, I always feel guilty walking by 33 on the way to Bailey’s. I’ve talked to Jake briefly in the past, but I’ve never had a chance to just sit down and enjoy his fantastic beer selection.

Looks like I made a big mistake by not visiting last night. After we got home last night, I see an email that informs me that 33 Wine Bar has Old Rasputin on draught. As far as I know, this is the only place in St. Louis that carries this fantastic Russian Imperial Stout on draught. I had planned on visiting 33 on Saturday night, but now the deal has been sealed. I have to visit now.