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Beer-AdvocateSTL Hops decided a while back that reviews weren’t really our thing. It’s not our place to tell you if a beer is good or not, if you like it, then there really isn’t much to discuss.

But, that’s not to say that reviews aren’t important.  A good review will obviously help to sell more beer and will obviously help to get your name out there.  So when BeerAdvocate lists your beer with a 100 score, that’s kind of a big deal.

Perennial Artisan Ale‘s head brewer Cory King point out on Twitter this morning that Perennial Abraxas was given a 100 point score by the owners of BeerAdvocate:

This is obviously a huge achievement and for those of us who’ve enjoyed many pints of Abraxas something we’ve know for quite some time. But it’s great to see that the rest of the world will now know it as well.

Congrats guys and gals at Perennial.

Let’s all jump into the STL Hops Time Machine all the way back to August of 2010. Yet another new brewery was just being announced and Phil Wymore, the soon to be former head brewer at Half Acre,  had this to say about his new brewery:

“We’re not interested in brewing wheat beer and pale ale as we feel these styles are well-covered by others in St. Louis. We will be focused on farmhouse ales, barrel-aged styles, and fruit beers — basically, the styles that we and our beer geek friends get very excited about.”

Needless to say, a lot of us did get excited about the then impending opening of  Perennial Artisan Ales. We are beer geeks after all and the things that go bump in a barrel are the ones that many of us geek out about the most.

But, barrel-aging takes time. Which is why we geeks have been patient. We know that the good stuff needs to sit sometimes. And good things come to those that wait.

Today, Thursday April 25th at 6PM, Perennial Artisan Ales will release the first beer commercially brewed in St. Louis that was made solely with the yeast, Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. You know all of those beers Phil listed above? This beer has got all of them.

Looking for farmhouse? Few things say “farmhouse” like Brett beers. This also has a ton of fruit. (OK, not technically a ton, but 300lbs of Noiret and Corot Noir grapes.) And of course, this bad boy was aged in French Oak Cabernet barrels for 4 months.

But, let me stop trying to even describe the awesomeness that is this beer and let Perennial’s head brewer Cory King take over:

“One of the best parts about working for Phil here at Perennial Artisan Ales is that he is really open to letting me experiment and run with crazy ideas. There are a lot of brewers and breweries who would have never let me brew a beer that is 100% Brettanomyces fermented!

Well, late last summer, around the time that Missouri starts harvesting its grapes, I started bugging Phil about brewing a beer that incorporated Missouri grown wine grapes, Brett, and barrels. I thought that this would be a great way in incorporate locally sourced ingredients, into a beer that very few other breweries have attempted. Phil found an opening in our brew schedule and gave me the go ahead!

After 2 weeks of calling almost every winery in Missouri, we found out that St. James Winery had 4 rows of unpicked, late harvest grapes, which were experimental for Missouri and were not going to be used this year. I packed up early one morning, heading to St. James, and hand picked almost 300 lbs of Noiret and Corot Noir grapes.

A Belgian Pale Ale malt bill was written, a 2 day sour mash made things funky and tart from the start, primary fermentation with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis added more rustic, barnyard notes, 4 months of aging in French Oak Cabernet barrels with both the grapes and Brettanomyces rounded everything out, and Savant Beersel was born!”

I apologize if I’m over-hyping this beer, but this is just one of the things we knew that would be coming out of Perennial and it’s cool to see something this inventive finally come to fruition. This beer deserves more than glib idioms. For us true beer geeks, this is the start of something very special from Perennial.

Because of the crazy nature of this beer, a very, very limited amount was produced. Your best chance to pick it up will be tonight at Perennial. But be on the lookout as it will hit a few of the regular locations around St. Louis beginning today.

It seemed a natural fit when I first heard that Perennial Artisan Ales was going to do a couple of collaboration beers with Half Acre Beer Company out of Chicago. After all, Head Brewer Phil Wymore was most recently a part of the north side Chicago brewery well known for it’s Daisy Cutter Pale Ale before bringing his talents here.

First up for the two breweries is Plan B. A few weeks ago, Half Acre Head Brewer Matt Gallagher came down to St. Louis to spend a brewday at Perennial with Wymore and Cory King. This beer is described a a sour mash Belgian Dark Ale brewed with Black Currants. On this Thursday, February 2 at 6PM Perennial will release this beer in their tasting room. I am told that we can expect to see bottles and draught of this at select locations in a few weeks.

And next up for the old friends? Wymore and Gallagher are hoping to have a concept for the other collaboration very soon and are shooting for a late Spring brewday up in Chicago at Half Acre. We will keep you posted as details arise.

Plan B Label

Begun 3 years ago by local brewing legend Drew Huerter, the STL Hops Big Black Beer Bash celebration seems to be getting bigger every year. Again this year, Cory King (with the help of Eric Hildebrandt) took the reigns for putting the event together and it was another tremendous success. So much delicious big and black beer being drank.

If you couldn’t make it out, here are a few photos from the event:

Who wants the funk? Do you gotta have that funk?  I know I love me some funky and sour beers. They’re not for everyone, but if you have a taste for them, you usually have an almost insatiable appetite for these off-kilter beers.

After the success of the last Big Black Beer Bash, Cory King decided to throw the very first STL Hops Funk Fest this Sunday, October 9th starting at 12PM at Perennial Artisan Ales.  So what does the Funk Fest entail?  It’s a bunch of people breaking out some funky and sour beers and sharing them with a like-minded group of funk lovers.

Here’s the rundown on what will be going on.

  • Must be at least 21
  • Must bring your own tasting glass
  • Must bring at least 22 oz of a funky beer to share
  • The Entre Mobile food truck will be there There was a scheduling conflict and the truck will not be there now.
  • Food/snacks are absolutely encouraged.
  • Make sure to be respectful. Perennial is being very generous by opening its doors to us for this event.

One very cool addition to this event is that if you notice the photo above, you’ll see a barrel that’s being filled with beer. Cory King and Phil Wymore decided that they wanted to make a Funk Fest beer in honor of the event.

One of the interested aspects is that they’re going to take all of the dregs and yeast from the bottom of the bottles of funky beer that are being brought to this event and add it to a barrel of Flanders Red to ferment and and barrel age over the upcoming year.

So not only will you get to enjoy some awesome beer, but you’ll be responsible for creating some as well.

Did you know there are over 1700 breweries in the United States as of 2010?  That’s the largest number of breweries since Prohibition.  It’s almost difficult to keep up.  I’ll admit that when first heard of Nebraska Brewing Company back in October I said, “Who?”

After I had a chance to try some Nebraska beers (in Boston, no less) I quickly said, “When?”  Well, that day has arrived.  Working from a tweet from Nebraska’s co-owner Paul Kavulak, it looks like Nebraska beer will be in St. Louis soon thanks to Lohr Distributing.  Current time frame to getting the beer in the stores should hopefully be 3-4 weeks.

With wins at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup, I can assure you that Nebraska is no slouch.  I’ve been told that we’ll be seeing both draught and bottles from NBC.  Here’s a list of some of the beers they’ve been brewing up:

Black Betty Russian Imperial Stout
Black as night and every bit Imperial, this RIS was originally launched to tremendous accolades. Going further, this Stranahan’s Whiskey barrel aged version meshes the rich chocolates, the coffee-like aromatics with the sweet whiskey nose and drying character of the oak. Slightly behind on the palette are the hops – held in restraint by the wonderfully full mouthfeel and broad flavors brought on by the perfect blend of so many malted barley varieties. Ready to enjoy upon release and perfect for extended cellaring.
9.3% A.B.V. 83 IBU

Chardonnay French Oak Hop God
Contained within this bottle is an artful creation which began with our Hop God Belgian-Style IPA, then enhanced by a 6 month maturation in French Oak Chardonnay Barrels. This version of Hop God is a fascinating, big, bold Belgian-style Tripel hopped in very high amounts to concentrate citrus, grapefruit and floral aromatics in the nose. The addition of Chardonnay barrel aging adds further dimension and oak tannins to an already wonderfully complex Ale – bringing to mind tropical fruits and peach. We know of nothing that compares – enjoy!
10.1% A.B.V. 108 IBU

Chardonnay French Oak Melange A Trois
Our first beer in the Reserve Series, Melange A Trois begins with a wonderfully big Strong Belgian-Style Blonde Ale and moves into the extraordinary category through an additional 6 month French Oak Chardonnay Wine Barrel maturation. The essense of Chardonnay permeates while a subtle sweetness remains from the Ale itself. Oak tannins combine to create a fascinating mesh of dry, sweet, and wine-like character. One of our favorites!
10.0% A.B.V.

Nebraskadian Black Ale
There has been much talk and controversy lately over a fairly new adopted style of beer featuring the blackness of a stout and the hop character of an IPA. We’re bucking both the naming trends of a “Cascadian Dark Ale” and “India Black Ale” and calling our newest Brewer’s Choice beer “Nebraskadian Black Ale”. Perfect for the dead of winter, this beer was made with a unique, seasonally offered malt called Black Prinz which gives the beer plenty of darkness in color but with a very restrained roastiness. We also threw in a generous helping of Simcoe hops that we’ve been carefully hoarding for just the right beer. The result is wonderfully piny and slightly floral to the nose, sweet and fruity at first on the palate and then a bit drier, with hints of chocolate and a finish that balances again towards the hops.
9.0% A.B.V. 88 IBU

EOS Hefeweizen
This medium to full-bodied beer, pale to amber in color, is most accurately described as a Bavarian wheat beer. The aroma and flavor of this unfiltered beer is decidedly fruity and phenolic — a big word for a brew that tastes like cloves, nutmeg or sometimes vanilla with banana-like esters.
4.8% A.B.V. 10 IBU

Hop God
A beautiful golden crossbreed of a Belgian Tripel and a West Coast IPA. A remarkable explosion on the palate with spiciness, tropical fruit, and a firm citrus bitterness that will leave you begging for more!
9.0% A.B.V. 101 IBU

Lohr’s Cory King has said that he’s interested to hear what STL Hoppers would like to see from Nebraska in St. Louis. So, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

itap.jpgWhat if you created a red beer, but it wasn’t just red, it was very red.  What would you name it? Well, the guys at the International Tap House have a beer so red, it’s Sofa King red.  Say that name fast, just don’t say it in polite company.

It’s important to note that while this awesomely named beer will be nicknamed Sofa King Red at iTap, you’ll find it at Schlafly named as “American Red.”  Probably for the best that they didn’t try and push that name through the government.

This beer is a collaboration with Schlafly brewer Brennan Greene and former iTap manager Cory King.  Cory provided the idea, Brennan tweaked the recipe, Cory came up with the dry-hopping schedule, and the owners of iTap said, “Make it red!”

That’s a collaboration at its finest.  So, when can you get this bloody beer?  How about starting at Noon on Thursday, March 31st at iTap.  It’s a red beer to celebrate some redbirds coming out that day.  They’ll be throwing a party to celebrate this release with free hot dogs and nachos available at iTap Soulard during the baseball game.

If you can’t make it out to Soulard, this beer will be available at both iTap locations starting on Thursday.  Get out and try this very special really red beer.  It’s not just good, it’s Sofa King good.