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We have a new thread in the Forum titled, “What did you drink last night?” It gives everyone a chance to discuss what beers they enjoyed the night before and maybe even brag a little bit. As I was typing up a monster post for the thread, it occurred to me it would probably make a decent post on the main blog as well. So here’s a little of my weekend drinking:

Friday
Two Hearted: Had kind of a crappy day, so I started off with an old favorite. Unfortunately I had it at Growler’s and I was having a poor time there.
Green Flash Hop Head Red: Came home and popped open one of the three beers I picked up while in Champaign. I was looking for their West Coast IPA, had to settle for this instead. Nice beer, but didn’t really live up to the “Hop Head” moniker. Could have standed a bit more bitterness, but it was still a nice beer.
DFH Indian Brown Ale: Picked this one up because of a comment someone said about this beer on another message board I post on. He compared it to dishwater. I saw that it picked up good ratings on BA (I know it’s not the end-all be-all of ratings, but it’s a quick go-to) and decided to try for myself. I’m very glad I did, it has a very pleasant hop aroma that matches well with the roasted malts.
Founders Red Rye: If this was available in Missouri, it may usurp Two Hearted as may go-to beer.

Saturday
Schlafly Weiss Bier: I volunteered working the Art of Food event and as such we got free Schlafly Weiss. I had about a billion glasses before the night was over. I really enjoyed it and wish they would sell this stuff in the bottles they currently label as a hefeweizen.
De Proef Reserve Signature Ale: After AoF ended, we were beat and decided to get a drink. We hit up 33 Wine Bar as the laid back atmosphere suited our desire to relax. Dylan recommended this, but I wish I could remember more about it.
Péché Mortel: Forgetting this was not a 750, I was planning on sharing this with a friend, oops. I remember this being very pleasant, but that’s about it.
Bad Idea: I don’t remember what it was, but it was not a good decision by me to order one last beer at last call. So we’ll just go with the name “Bad Idea.” Let’s make it clear though, the beer was not at fault.

Sunday
DFH 90 Minute:We decided to hit The Rotten Apple as sort of a present to ourselves after AoF. Bill and Ellie had not yet gone and Bill was keen to try a draught 90 Minute. We agreed that it’s a completely awesome beer, but it’s honestly not that much different than drinking it out of a bottle. But we wouldn’t turn it down if it was offered to us.
Founders Rubeaus: This was my original reason for going up to the Apple. I really enjoyed this beer out of a bottle so I wanted to try it on draught. Unlike 90 Minute, this was is very different on draught. I found that the bottled version was a bit sweet and edged closer to a raspberry soda whereas the draught version reminded me more of a beer.
Three Floyds Alpha King: The American India Pale Ale that’s trying to disguise itself as an American Pale Ale. I wish I would have had this before the 90 Minute, because it almost seemed like an APA after the DFH offering.
Founders Dirty Bastard: An obvious Americanized version of a Scottish Ale, but a damn good one. It had a very thick, almost creamy mouthfeel and plenty of caramel sweetness that was never overwhelming.
Avery The Beast: Jerad then started breaking out some beers from in the back. The first was this 14.9% monster from Avery. The nose contained a big raisiny malty aroma along with some hot alcohol as well. The taste was sickenly sweet, in fact I think this beer is the reason why the word “cloying” was invented. Not my cup of tea.
Jolly Pumpkin Noel De Calabaza: I actually had this one a couple of weeks ago at Erato and at that time I remembered the previous bottles I’ve had seemed more sour. I don’t know if my palate has adjusted to these funky/sour beers, but this beer was no exception. It had plenty of funk, but not much of the sour I remember from previous bottles. Still a great beer though.

My liver is glad the weekend is over.

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.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a bit too hard on restaurants. Though I’m guilty of it as well, I guess I’m just tired of hearing the “Well, it’s St. Louis” excuse. Maybe it’s because they’re not really in St. Louis is what sets Erato on Main apart. Erato in Edwardsville goes a long way to prove that just because they’re in the St. Louis area doesn’t mean we have to be subjected to the same old beer choices.

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My biggest complaint has always been about the level of effort put into the beer selections in a restaurant. Too often it seems like the selections are chosen by the beer reps who don’t have any interest in pairing the beer with the food, but selling the most popular beers.

But this menu is obviously very deliberate and also offers something for everyone. From West Coast IPAs to Belgian sours, there is something that can compliment every dish from Chef Kevin Willmann’s ever changing menu. Chef Willmann said that all the credit goes to his manager, Shawn Schleich, for putting together this selection. Hats off to him, because this is a truly a selection to be proud of.

I can’t urge you enough to take a trip out to Edwardsville, Illinois to visit Erato on Main. I’ve been twice in the past three weeks and I’m sure I’ll be there again soon. I hope to see you there.