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JBF_AWARDS_MEDALLION-BLOG_3If you know me, you know I’m a bit opinionated. You also know that I love to share my opinions, often whether you want to hear them or not. One of the drums I’ve been beating for quite some time is how lucky we are to have the Side Project Cellar in our own backyard.

While it’s cool to have a place to enjoy Side Project beer on a regular basis, what truly sets the Cellar apart for me is the level of love and passion they put into the treatment of beer. Think through how they’ve set up their beer program and find me another equal within 300 miles.

Let’s run down the list:

They serve their draft beers at three different temperatures to provide the perfect beer, ready to drink. They have top-of-the-line glassware giving each beer a proper pour. All of their lambics are served in lambic baskets giving you that unique old-world experience each time you order a bottle. All of their bottles beers are served at cellar temperature.  And if that wasn’t enough they have an outstanding wine and whiskey selection as well.

Well, we weren’t the only ones to recognize what and awesome treasure we have, the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards nominations were announced today and Side Project Cellar was nominated nationally for Outstanding Bar Program.

This is a huge, huge, huge honor and something everyone at Side Project Cellar should be very proud off. I can’t say enough how proud I am of Karen King and her staff and how much they deserve this nomination. Congrats to all of you!

sideprojectcellar“The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry”, of course I’m paraphrasing Scottish poet Robbie Burns. His version is a bit more Scottish-y.

When Boulevard Brewing’s Brewmaster Steven Pauwels reached out to Cory and Karen King of Side Project Brewing about doing a collaboration beer, the plan had been to release the beer as a Boulevardia exclusive. This would be a beer created just for this special festival with a few kegs making their way to St. Louis exclusively for the Side Project Cellar.

But, there was a problem. Once the beer was created and ready to go, the label approval process was backlogged. What normally would have been a 21-day turn around turned into a 45-day fiasco. The beer meant for the patrons of Boulevardia unfortunately did not make it to the event.

Now that the legal mumbo jumbo has been cleared up, it’s time for the beer’s debut.  Boulevard and Side Project will; be hosting the first of two events on September 8th beginning at 4PM at the Side Project Cellar in Maplewood.

Steven Pauwels and Cory King will be on-hand to debut this special beer. Boulevard will be hosting their own event on September 10th in their tasting room (for those of you who want to make the road trip or are already in the KC area.)

The Show-Me Sour is a 4% ABV, Belgian-style, dark table beer created by blending a whiskey barrel-aged version and fresh version of the beer.  Side Project will be featuring a few other Boulevard goodies this evening including the always wonderful Saison-Brett (2015) and Hibiscus Gose.

sideprojectcellarTo say there has been a fever pitch of excitement about Cory and Karen King’s newest venture, Side Project Cellar, is under-selling it a bit. This is easily one of the most exciting beer projects opening in not only St. Louis, but also the United States.

I’m often accused of being prone to hyperbole, but that last statement is nothing of the sort. Cory and Karen have put together one of the finest locations to have a beer in the area. One of the unique things that sets Side Project apart is their treatment of draft beer.

For starters, Cory King has created a draft system of 24 taps that will pour eight of each of those beers at three distinct temperatures. It’s only one of three places in the United States (that I know of, feel free to prove me wrong) that’s pouring beers in this fashion.

Why is this so important? Certain beers should be poured at certain temperatures to properly pour and enjoy the beer. The draft system Cory designed allows for perfect pours at perfect temperatures almost every time. It’s a unique process that allows you to immediately enjoy your beer.

It’s some of the little touches that will set Side Project apart like Karen King’s choice of glassware. Not unlike the draft system, they’ve spared no expense. Karen has chosen not only the appropriate shaped glass, but also the best quality glass she could find.

Couple this with the lambic baskets (did you know you shouldn’t tip that lambic bottle vertical after you started pouring?) Cory and Karen sourced for their unique beers and you’ll see this is a place where beer comes first.

For those of you that aren’t beer lovers (and what are you doing here?) or looking for something else they’ve also put together a list of whiskey and wine that will make your tongue happy as well. Here is your first look at the draft list:

Served at 52°F
Side Project Saison du Blé
Side Project Grisette
Blaugies / Hill Farmstead Collaboration La Vermontoise
De Struise Pannepot 2012
De La Senne Zinnebir
De Ranke Guldenberg
Liefmans Cuvée-Brut
De Molen Hemel & Aarde (Bourbon Barrel)

Served at 46°F
Perennial Saison de Lis
New Belgium / Perennial Collaboration Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout
Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela
Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Ale
Evil Twin / Sante Adairius Collaboration Joey Pepper
Mikkeller Arh Hvad?! (Grand Marnier Barrel)
Boulevard Tank 7
Deschutes Nitro Jubelale Ale

Served at 40°F
Kulmbacher Mönchshof Schwarzbier
Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils
Schlafly Kölsch
2nd Shift Hibiscus Wit
Civil Life American Brown
Goose Island Matilda
Deschutes Hop Trip
Sierra Nevada Celebration

Here are a couple of photos courtesy of Side Project and Tim Bottchen:

 

Side Project Cellar, located at 7373 Marietta in Maplewood, officially opens their doors tomorrow at 3PM. Hours will be 3-10PM Tuesday-Thursday and 12PM-11PM Friday and Saturday.

Today, from 4PM to 6:30PM the Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton will hold its weekly Friday beer tasting featuring Goose Island’s always lovely Karen King. Here’s some of the beers they’ll be sampling today: Summertime Kolsch, Fleur, Pepe Nero, Night Stalker, and Big John. Additional information can be found at their blog.

Cory from deVine Wines and Spirts, located at 2961 Dougherty Ferry Rd, holds a beer tasting every Wednesday evening from 5PM to 8PM. Each Wednesday will offer up a few new beers for you to taste. Swing on by and check it out.

Once again, if you’re a retail shop, bar, restaurant, brewery or distributor and want me to list your tasting, make sure to email me at mike@stlhops.com.

Today, from 4PM to 6:30PM the Karen King from Goose Island Brewery will be on hand at the Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton weekly Friday beer tasting. Here’s just a couple of beers that they’ll be tasting this afternoon: 2010 Bourbon County Stout, 2009 Christmas Ale, 2009 & 2010 Matilda, Fleur, Demolition, Sofie, and Pere Jacques.. Additional information can be found at their blog.

Cory from deVine Wines and Spirts, located at 2961 Dougherty Ferry Rd, holds a beer tasting every Wednesday evening from from 5PM to 8PM. Each Wednesday will offer up a few new beers for you to taste. Swing on by and check it out.

Once again, if you’re a retail shop, bar, restaurant, brewery or distributor and want me to list your tasting, make sure to email me at mike@stlhops.com.

ciceros.jpg Cicero’s Italian Restaurant continues their fall Beer School semester this Wednesday from 5:30-6:30PM. Cicero’s Beer School provides background about beers and beer styles usually directly from people directly in the beer industry.

It’s a perfect opportunity to learn more about a style you’re unfamiliar with or to just brush up on a style you haven’t enjoyed in a while.

This week’s school is being taught by Karen King from Goose Island. Karen will be on hand to discuss and sample some Harvest Ale, Sofie, Matilda, and Pere Jacques. Go out and take advantage of one of the few places where you can drink and learn!

If you can’t make it out to the Beer School, you can check out all of the classes via podcast at Cicerosbeerschool.com.

Goose Island sales rep Karen King has been killing it.  First she gets us hooked up with an awesome beer dinner at Newstead Tower Public House then the next day we get an invasion of Goose Island beers at iTAP.  Now Karen comes along and provides us with some details about new beers coming down the pipe to the St. Louis area:

Fleur – Releasing this month in 650ml bottles!
Fleur is a Belgian-style pale ale blended with hibiscus and kombucha tea. Fleur is a beautiful, rose-colored ale with an aroma of strawberries and hibiscus flowers. The flavor balance starts with a hint of sweet, ripe berry and finishes tart. (7% ABV)

Blackberry Dominique – Special Release in Draft!
It looks like we had a lot of sour Matilda to experiment with at our brewery, so St. Louis is going to get to see a few more 1/6 bbls of this dreamy beer we enjoyed at the Brewmaster dinner at Newstead Tower Pub!

Blackberry Dominique is a Belgian-style sour ale aged in used Heaven Hills bourbon barrels and soured with Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces. This complex beer combines the spicy notes of Belgian yeast, the sour elements of the Lacto along with the smooth vanilla oak flavors from the bourbon barrel. On top of all of that, 55 pounds of fresh Michigan blackberries are added to each bourbon barrel to bring all of the flavors together. (9% ABV)

Bourbon County Vanilla – Special Release later this month in 650ml bottles!
The St. Louis area will be receiving a small allocation of this brew!

This is our award-winning Bourbon County Stout aged with vanilla beans. Goose Island poured this beer at the 2009 Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer in Chicago, and drinkers loved it so much we decided we had to bottle it. (13% ABV)

Rare Bourbon County – Special Release in November in 650ml bottles!
Yes, the St. Louis area will be receiving a small allocation of this fine brew as well!

This stout was aged for two years in the finest old barrels Goose Island has used in its 18 years of bourbon barrel-aging beers! A true rarity—savor and share it only with those you hold dear, as it will never be made again. (13% ABV)

Also, the delicious 2010 Bourbon County Stout will release in bottles & draft in late November!! Yea beer!

I gotta be honest, I’ve been really impressed with everything Goose Island over the past few months, I can’t wait to see what’s in store over the next few months.