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Tag: hoosier beer geek

So, it was a little cold and a little windy, but that didn’t keep the diehards from coming out and enjoying some awesome beers from Schlafly, Alaskan Brewing Company and Midnight Sun Brewing Company.  In fact, it was completely awesome to see so many familiar faces including some folks from the Hoosier Beer Geek.

If you weren’t able to attend, here’s a little taste of what you missed:

If you’re an avid reader of Indiana’s beer blog, Hoosier Beer Geek, you may have noticed this little nugget of information in a recent interview they did with Tyranena Brewing Company‘s Stacey McGinnis:

“As far as opening distribution in other states, we have also been contemplating heading into Missouri, however, it’s not really an either-or kind of situation. When the time is right, we will take Tyranena where we feel it will be sold, consumed, marketed and appreciated appropriately!”

That sounds like we have another prime opportunity to bring a top tier brewery to Missouri.  If you haven’t had any of their beers, you’re in for a real treat.  Their Bitter Woman IPA is fantastic, as was The Devil Made Me Do It! Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Porter when I got to try it.

They sound like they’re on the edge, so let’s push them over that edge. It doesn’t take much to sit down a write out a couple of sentences to a brewery letting them know how interested and excited you are to have their product.

Let’s begin our campaign by letting Rob Larson (Founder of Tyranena) and Stacey McGinnis (Front Operations Manager) know how much you’d  love to seeing Tyranena in St. Louis. And for all of those who don’t know what to say, it can be as simple as this:

Dear Rob and Stacey,

I recently read an interview that stated you were interested in coming to Missouri.  I just wanted to send you an email to let you know just how much I’d love seeing Tyranena’s beer in my hometown.

I’ve always found that you guys produced some of the best beer in the Midwest, if not the United States. St. Louis and Kansas City both have rich beer history and your product would only help to continue that image. Please consider coming to Missouri soon!


STL Hops Reader.

Let’s make this happen guys, this is another great brewery I think we’d all love to see in our local bars and retail shops.

fk8It’s time, it’s time!  It’s time to drink some Oak Aged Dry Hopped Smoked Rye Pale Ale brewed by the guys at Schlafly, O’Fallon Brewery and New Albanian Brewery.

This beer will be on tap at the Schlafly Tap Room starting tomorrow. For those of you that don’t remember, make sure to visit see the photos from this crazy brew session.

If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out some early tasting notes from our good friends at Hoosier Beer Geeks.  Each brewery gets only a certain allotment of beer, so I’m sure this won’t last long.

STL Hops has been fortunate to establish relationships with people who are just as geeked about craft beer as we are. These other geeks come from both within and outside of St. Louis. Two of those non-STL Hoppers are Mike from Hoosier Beer Geek and Jeffrey from Madison Beer Review.

The three cities are in relatively close proximity and can easily serve as weekend getaways for the craft beer geek. With Memorial Day Weekend coming up, and it being one of the biggest travel weekend of the year, it was decided that each would write a guide on what to do if you have 36 hours in their city.

Today, the final chapter in this little project is my perfect weekend if you only have 36 hours in St. Louis.

36 Hours in St. Louis


5PM – Hey, who got city in my museum?

You’ve probably just now rolled across the Mississippi and have begun singing “Deep River” like Clark Griswold. The city of St. Louis is laid out in front to you, but where to start? Well, it’s a bit too early for dinner, (unless you’re my parents) so it’s time to stretch the legs. One of the more unusual locations in the area is the City Museum. Not your Father’s museum, the City Museum bills itself as an “eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel.”

Run around MonstroCity or view the World Aquarium, the City Museum presents a hodge-podge of sensory delights that will surely awaken your travel-weary bones.

beer-1222_1280x9607:30PM -Pubgrub

After all of that exploring, you’ve probably worked up an appetite. Luckily, you’re close to the original location of the largest local brewery in St. Louis and the second largest craft brewery in Missouri, the Schlafly Tap Room. In 1989, Tom Schlafly and Dan Kopman incorporated and created the Saint Louis Brewery, soon after they purchased the Swift Printing Company and the rest is history.

Today you’ll find that the wooden interior and stainless steel brewery equipment lends itself to warm dining experience. Chef Andy White has turned what was previously a ho-hum menu into a wonderful gastropub experience. Also, this is only location in the area to experience Schlafly beer on cask.

9:30PM – I’m sure you’ll see me here.

33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar is probably the hippest bar in St. Louis, because it’s not trying to be the hippest bar in St. Louis. 33 features a casual atmosphere with one of the best hand-picked beer lists in St. Louis. Here you’ll find not only over 100 beer selections, but even aged beer and probably the largest selections of sour beer at a bar in St. Louis. If it’s not an unbearably humid St. Louis night, check out the back patio, just make sure to go and get your own drinks at the bar.


10AM – Taste of St. Louis

Not unlike my beer, I like my food local, both are usually fresher and tastier when they don’t have to travel very far. If you’re looking for a local breakfast, Cafe Osage is probably your best choice in St. Louis. With the produce being grown in the vegetable garden across the street and fresh herbs grown on the Café Osage Green Roof, I’d say that’s pretty darn local.

12PM – Takin’ the tour, takin’ the tour.

Oh sure, you could visit another large brewery and go through their fancy-schmancy tour, but then try to ask them a question about brewing and watch the deer in the headlights stare you’ll quickly receive. Then again, maybe you’re a sadist and you enjoy that type of thing? If you’re not though, hit up the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood for one of their hourly tours detailing what it’s like to brew beer that actually has some taste.

1293043321_1280x9602PM – 3.14159265
You may be now working up another appetite, so it’s time to visit your favorite mathematical constant, Pi. Pizza is a very personal thing and many a divorce and fist fight have been fought over what kind of pizza is best.  Luckily, Pi offers something for everyone including you vegan types. Hell, even President Obama digs on Pi.

5PM -Prepare to spend some money.

It’s time to hit the East Side! In this case it’s to visit Corral Liquors in Granite City, IL. Corral Liquors has one of the largest selections of beer in the St. Louis area and allows you to purchase any single bottle to create your own Mix-a-Six. On the Illinois side you’ll find beers from breweries you can’t get in Missouri, such as Three Floyds. Port/Lost Abbey and Dogfish Head. If you’ve got a cooler in the car, throw those beers in, you’re going to need them cold for the next place you’re going to.

2009_05_16_1516_1280x8536:30PM – Save those quarters for laundry.

Sure it may not look like much from the outside, but every couple weekends a month CP Pinball lights up over 45 pinball machines and lets you get about the best value for $10 you’re going to find in the St. Louis area. The best part? Besides the fact it’s 10 bucks to play as much pinball as you want for free, it’s BYOB. So kick back, crack open a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA and enjoy some Addams Family Pinball.

Just make sure CP is open the weekend you’re visiting, as I said above, Charles only opens the place a couple of weekends a month.

beer-2221_1280x9608PM – Putting the South in Southern Illinois.

Too few places in St. Louis has great food and great beer, it’s kind of a shame and something I’ve been trying to work hard to change. But one of the places that puts it all together is Erato on Main in Edwardsville, IL. Chef Kevin Willmann blends local produce and some of the freshest seafood in the country with his on spin on Southern comfort dishes. The beer list gives you numerous options to choose from, including plenty of draught beers and things you don’t normally see on local beer lists, such as sour beer.


10AM – Insert “rooster” joke here.

Are you up finally? Jeez, it’s 10AM! You’re going to sleep your life away! Well, haul your butt down to Rooster and wash out that coating of sour beer with one of Rooster’s mimosas or if you’re going down that route, may as well have another beer. I always enjoy a Hitachino White Nest in the morning. Oh, make sure to get a Rooster Slinger, it’s the best way to start a morning and to end a trip.

STL Hops has been fortunate to establish relationships with people who are just as geeked about craft beer as we are. These other geeks come from both within and outside of St. Louis. Two of those non-STL Hoppers are Mike from Hoosier Beer Geek and Jeffrey from Madison Beer Review.

The three cities are in relatively close proximity and can easily serve as weekend getaways for the craft beer geek. With Memorial Day Weekend coming up, and it being one of the biggest travel weekend of the year, it was decided that each would write a guide on what to do if you have 36 hours in their city.

Yesterday we heard from Jeffrey at Madison Beer Review about his ideal weekend in Madison and today we hear from Mike at HBG about what kind of great weekend one can have in Indianapolis.

36 Hours in Indianapolis


5 p.m.
Meet the Hoosier Beer Geeks’ Favorite Bartender

Deano’s Vino, Fountain Square, Indianapolis

Dead center of the Fountain Square neighborhood lies Deano’s Vino, a bar/restaurant better known to locals as one of the city’s more relaxed wine drinking establishments. Don’t let that scare you off – Deano’s has (just) three taps, all stocking craft beer – usually a Bell’s product, something from Crooked Tree, and a wildcard. In addition there’s a craft-heavy bottled beer list that’s 30+ deep. Sit at the bar (try to get one of the much more comfortable larger stools – shouldn’t be a problem this early) and watch and listen as bartender Nick repeatedly lays into the clientele. Do not expect fast service at Deano’s – it’s not going to happen. Instead, be patient, enjoy your beer, and have a conversation with the folks around you – you’ll soon realize that everyone at Deano’s is a regular.

8 P.m.
A Table With A View

You won’t have to go far from Deano’s (just across the street, actually) to check out Shelbi Street Cafe and Bistro’s rooftop garden. Choose from the cafe’s extensive seasonable menu, add an outdoor rooftop view of the city, and you’re sure to have a winner. Shelbi Street also features a nice little beer menu, and the Bread Pudding desert is a nice way to top off a stomach filled with beer.

10 P.m.
No Ducks Will Be Harmed

Don’t leave the building! Hopefully you’ve made reservations early, because Duck Pin Bowling is a popular weekend activity in Fountain Square. Duck Pin bowling is a ten-pin game, but you use a softball-sized ball. It’s a very 50’s sort of thing, and the 11 p.m closing time means you’ll be back to the hotel and get enough sleep in for tomorrow’s marathon drinking session.


8 A.m.
Fish or Pancakes?

Be late and expect a wait when trying to eat at the cozy City Cafe. The breakfast menu features interesting spins on classic breakfast recipes, and a regular Saturday morning special option – either a specially (and rarely repeated) pancake option – or a fish option. I tend to trust the chef and go with whatever they’re doing with the pancakes, but the fish (for breakfast!) special usually looks like a winner as well. Of course if you’d prefer something else, the battered french toast or the eggs benedict are tasty options.

9 A.m.
A Slight Respite Before The Gauntlet

After filling your belly, head across the street to the north side of Veterans Memorial Park, and the newly redesigned Indianapolis Central Library. Reopened in 2008, the library project was overrun with construction problems and came in way overbudget. But the building is spectacular, and the downtown views from the upper floors are quite an asset.

2 P.m.
Figure out Who’s the Designated Driver Beforehand, and Get Your Afternoon Drunk On

Brugge Brasserie, Broad Ripple, Indianapolis

Head to Indy’s Broad Ripple neighborhood and settle into a chair on the porch or deck at Brugge Brasserie, where you can watch the locals passing by on the nearby Monon Trail. While the upstairs bar offers a nice assortment of foreign and domestic beer options, you’ll want to start off with the Black – a beer that might be Brugge’s calling card. Pair your Black with an appetizer of frites (fries); If you’ve got company order the L’Enorme – the myriad of sauces make for good conversation. For a main course, try anything off the menu – the crepes, mitrailettes (sandwiches), soups, and mussels are all winners here. Before leaving, be sure to have a Tripel (and remember there’s a two Triple limit). Stop there, though – you’re just getting started with the drinking.

4 P.m.
Nevermind the Bollocks, It’s the Broad Ripple Brewpub

Broad Ripple Brewpub, Broad Ripple, Indianapolis

Instead of getting back in the car, head north (by foot) on the Monon Trail about two blocks to the Broad Ripple Brewpub, Indiana’s oldest. Established in 1990, the brewpub specializes in authentic English style beer – usually under-carbonated and supremely sessionable. While any of the beers on the menu are worth a shot, we usually start with whatever they’ve got on cask. If you’re lucky enough to catch the porter on cask, watch out – you may never want to leave.

6 P.m.
Watch for Girls Drinking Pitchers of Framboise

If you’ve still got the stomach for it, take a walk to over to Chumley’s Beer House before the college kids show up. Featuring 50 taps (roughly 25 craft), you’re sure to find something you haven’t had before. If I were you, I’d get out of there before the place gets too busy. Then again, I hate people.

9 P.m.
Pizza is the Perfect Drunk Food

Hopefully you’ve been eating a little along the way, but you’ll want to finish up with the city’s best pizza. Bazbeaux Broad Ripple (811 E Westfield Blvd, Indianapolis, (317) 255-5711) features a variety of modern pizza options, all of them tasty. The Quattro Formaggio (romano, cheddar, ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, bacon and mushroom) is a Hoosier Beer Geek favorite. And they’ve got a few beer options, as well.

10:30 P.m.
You’re On Your Own Now

Find your way back to Brugge (for an on-tap Three Floyds Alpha King) or your hotel as safely as possible.


10:00 A.m.
Mass Ave. Awaits

A visit to Indinapolis wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the shops and restaurants of the Mass Avenue district. Stop in at Hoaglin To Go (448 Massachusetes Ave, (317) 423-0300) for a filling breakfast before wandering over to Luna Music to check out the latest and greatest in music. Head towards downtown and stop in at Mass Ave Toys (409 Massachusetts Ave, (317) 955-8697) and pick up something for the young one at home.

And if you still want to drink (…you’re a harder man than I), there are plenty of bars around – The Rathskeller, MacNivens, Chatham Tap and Old Point all have craft beer options.

STL Hops has been fortunate to establish relationships with people who are just as geeked about craft beer as we are. These other geeks come from both within and outside of St. Louis. Two of those non-STL Hoppers are Mike from Hoosier Beer Geek and Jeffrey from Madison Beer Review.

The three cities are in relatively close proximity and can easily serve as weekend getaways for the craft beer geek. With Memorial Day Weekend coming up, and it being one of the biggest travel weekend of the year, it was decided that each would write a guide on what to do if you have 36 hours in their city.

Today we hear from Jeffrey at Madison Beer Review about his ideal weekend in Madison and tomorrow we hear from Mike at HBG about what kind of great weekend one can have in Indianapolis.

36 Hours in Madison

Welcome to lovely Madison, WI (photo by Luiz Castro) You’ve successfully braved the traffic in Chicago, construction in Rockford, and you now find yourself in the capital of Wisconsin, where you can Live Like You Mean It (alternate state slogan: “Illinois’ Largest State Park”). Hold on to your hats, because there’s more beer here per capita than any other place East of the Rockies and West of Michigan. In the immediate area around Madison are 10 breweries and brewpubs, and countless more beer bars and gastropubs. We will assume for the moment that you are not here for The Great Taste of The Midwest (if you were, this article would be very short: “Go to Great Taste.”)

Before we get started, you’ll want to know two things about getting around Madison. First, the public transport is terrible, so you’ll have to drive or walk – this means that one of you will need to remain sober. Second, this town is impossible to drive in – you can print out directions, you can ask for directions, you can know exactly where you’re going and you will still get turned around and diverted by one-way streets, streets that change names three times in five blocks, and roads that never run the same direction for more than half a mile. Just suck it up and do what I do: swear very loudly at the steering wheel. While it’s highly unlikely that you’ve gotten into town at 5pm on a Friday (Chicago traffic at 3pm on a Friday!? HA!), we’ll pretend that you did:


Friday 5 p.m. UW Memorial Union Terrace – While it’s on-campus, it is open to the public and is a great place to start your evening. A large, diverse taplist of everything from a house amber to local offerings from Capital and New Glarus to more typical college fare like Labatt’s and Miller. During the summer, you can sit on an iconic John Deere Green Sunburst Chair looking over Lake Mendota (one of four lakes in the Madison area) and plan your evening. This location makes for great people-watching and the bandstand is typically active. There are two things you’ll need to know about the Terrace: 1) parking can be a challenge, during the summer the school ramps are typically open to the public and available and there is one right near the Terrace, though it can fill up quickly on nice evenings; 2) you need to be a member to buy a pitcher of beer (secret note: on busy Friday evenings, or really most evenings, it’s rare that they ever check for your Membership ID).

Friday 8 p.m. Friday Night Fish Fry – a Wisconsin tradition, fried cod and hash browns (with melted cheese and onions) is your number one bet. From the Terrace you have a number of options: 1) Walk up State Street to State Street Brats; 2) Walk all the way up State Street to the Capitol; 3) head over to the near-East Side.

State Street Brats is a University landmark bar, with a decent taplist of macros and Leinenkugels, it’s definitely more atmosphere than beer-geek friendly. Don’t worry, if you want to hit Brats but want to front-load your evening with good beer, it’s open late and you’ll probably end your night on State Street anyway.

Capitol – you have two options for Good Beer and Fish Fry on the Capitol. The Old Fashioned is a local quasi-gastropub with a phenomenal taplist of only Wisconsin beers; this summer they are featuring beer from every single brewery and brewpub in the state, so there is beer here that you can’t get anywhere else in the state, let alone the world. You can also head over to The Great Dane Pub. The Great Dane is a world-renowned brewpub and this location is the original (there are three others). The food is great, the beer is better.

East Side – if you’re me, though, you get in your car and you head over to Madison’s near-East Side, which is quietly turning into a beer mecca in the city. Get your fish on at Alchemy Cafe or Dexter’s Pub – both terrific dive bars with great food and amazing taplists.

Friday 10 p.m. (photo by ibm4381) Hit A Beer Bar – There are four in the area that are all phenomenal. On the East Side and an easy walk from Dexters or Alchemy is The Malt House. The Malt House has a great taplist divided evenly between Belgian, Wisconsin, and “Pub Choice”. The bottle list is extensive, and the scotch, bourbon and whiskey lists are equally compelling (it is the Malt House, after all).

Maduro is downtown on the square. While the taplist at Maduro is usually Bells-heavy, it does feature a number of great selections from all over the world, in addition to a great wine selection and cocktails. One thing to beware of at Maduro: it is a cigar bar – if you like cigars, it has a pretty decent selection (though there are better cigar bars in town like Drackenburg’s, also on the East Side and has a decent beer selection, and Hemingways, on the West Side, conveniently located near the Great Dane Fitchburg); if you don’t like cigars or like smelling like cigars, it may not be your place.

Two other beer bars worth heading to are Brasserie V and Monroe Street Bistro on the Near West Side. Both have excellent food, so you can grab a bite to eat there as well. Brasserie V has a selection that focuses on Belgian and American Belgian-like beer. You can find some great beer on tap here that you can’t get anywhere else on tap. The staff at the Brasserie is probably the most knowledgeable in the city about great beer. Monroe Street Bistro is an unauthorized “spin-off” of Brasserie V and has a slightly more populist taplist as well as cocktails.

Friday Late Night Most of the beer bars mentioned above, except Brasserie, are open until bar time (1am or so). Though, really, the action after about 11 pm is all on State Street. Hit up Paul’s Bar, The Irish, and State Street wouldn’t be complete with at least walking into the Kollege Klub. You can end your night with a brat at State Street Brats or a gyro or pizza from any number of local purveyors of drunk food.

Saturday – I hope you’re up early and not too hung over, it’s going to be a long day and you’ll probably drink a fair amount of beer.

Saturday 7 a.m. Start your day with a good breakfast and some coffee. It’s not a Saturday morning in Madison without the Dane County Farmer’s Market. One of the largest producer-only farmers markets in the country, the breadth of food available is astounding. Get there early, grab some coffee from any number of local roasters (Ancora on the square and Michaelangelo’s just off the square on State are my preferred haunts), and cruise the baked goods and cheese or vegetables or meats (buffalo jerky anyone?). Grab a 6oz block of goat cheese from Fantome Farms or a 5-year aged block of Cheddar from Hook’s and some fresh-baked bread or muffins and take your coffee down to Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace and relax for a minute or two to start your day off right.

Saturday (photo courtesy of Eating in Madison A to Z) – Ready for some brewery tours? You have plenty of options, not to mention brewpubs to stop and grab some lunch. Breweries within an easy drive include: Tyranena in Lake Mills, New Glarus in New Glarus, Capital in Middleton, and Ale Asylum on the Near East Side of Madison. If you’re looking for an itinerary, let me suggest the following:

10am – New Glarus Brewing Company – it’s a self-guided tour and quick, the tasting at the end of the tour is reasonable ($4, I think?); the new brewery should be open by mid-summer and they’ll have beer available for purchase at the brewery that isn’t available anywhere else.

12pm – Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI – a trip to Madison isn’t complete without a beer at the traditional biergarten here. Known for its dopplebocks, Capital is a Madison institution.

3pm – Tyranena, Lake Mills, WI – it’s a forty-five minute trip from Capital to the far east side Madison suburbs; make sure you check what time the tour is on Saturdays (usually held in the early afternoon). Tyranena’s tours are fun, and the beer is amazing; they typically have some stuff on tap at the taproom that is not available anywhere else.

6pm – Ale Asylum, Madison, WI – last stop, Ale Asylum. Tours are by appointment only, but the taproom has plenty of beer that you can’t buy around town including a full line of Belgian blondes, dubbels, tripels, and quads. [ed note: an alternate itinerary would be to start at Tyranena and skip the tour there, but keep heading East to Milwaukee and check out some of the breweries there or hit up a Brewers game]

Want a brewpub for lunch or dinner? Check out The Grumpy Troll in Mount Horeb, Gray’s Tiedhouse in Verona, the former-JT Whitneys on Madison’s West Side (should be open mid-June), or The Great Dane in Madison (two locations – downtown and West Side) and Fitchburg. Head a little farther West to tourist-friendly Mineral Point for Brewery Creek, or head into Milwaukee (only an hour away) and stop at Delafield Brewhaus, Water Street Brewpub, Stonefly, or Milwaukee Ale House.

Saturday Night For dinner take the twenty minute drive to Mount Horeb, WI and visit the award-winning Grumpy Troll. A pizza joint upstairs, a more formal dining experience downstairs, the beer is equally awesome both places. Head brewer Mark Duchow mixes up the taplines frequently with everything from an authentic, stone-heated steinbier to a flanders-style red. The Baltic Porter and IPA have won numerous awards.

Sunday (photo courtesy of Eating in Madison A to Z)

As you’re dragging yourself awake, drive or walk over to Mickie’s Dairy Bar near UW’s Camp Randall. The breakfast-only diner serves a ton of pancakes, waffles, corned beef hash, and milkshakes. The menu is on the wall, and it’s cash only. Oh, it’s also a seat-yourself situation, so if all of the tables are full just hang around for a minute; servers may or may not point you in the right direction, but you’ll get a table soon enough.

I hope you’ve found this tour of Madison interesting. Madison has more good food and good beer than anyone could ever possibly consume. If you’re going to be in the area, please let Madison Beer Review know and we can always get you pointed in the right direction.

Readers of STL Hops probably have figured out by now that I’m pretty obsessed with Three Floyds Brewing out of Munster, IN. If you’ve ever had some of their beers you’ll quickly realize why my obsession took root. Because of my sickness, I decided to attend Dark Lord Day 2008. If you’re unaware of what Dark Lord Day is, once a year Three Floyds brews a Russian Imperial Stout named Dark Lord and it’s only sold on Dark Lord Day. People (like me) travel from miles around to buy the beer.

But what makes the event so much fun is that it’s a huge gather of beer nerds that get together to not only buy the beer, but bring beer to taste and trade. You can’t swing a dead cat without having someone offer you something from around the country to taste that you’ve never had before.


This is the front of the line, people were mingling, sharing some beer and trying to stay warm. It was about a balmy 45 degrees on Saturday morning.

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