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“Making friends is our business.” – Adolphus Busch

Though I’m not entirely sure that New Belgium Brewing‘s Lauren Salazar would approve of being compared to one of the beer czars of old, she’s certainly made a lot of friends in the beer business.  In fact, I’d argue she’s one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met in the beer world.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Lauren, well, here’s your chance.  Starting today New Belgium’s Wood Beer Specialists Lauren Salazar and Ted Peterson will be in St. Louis to do a bunch of events in the area. Here’s a rundown of everything going on:

Wednesday, January 6th
Meet the Brewers at Three Kings w/Perennial Artisan Ales 7:30-9:30pm
Lauren Salazar & Ted Peterson, New Belgium’s Wood Beer Specialists and Phil Wymore, Co-Owner of Perennial Artisan Ales

Featuring: Love Felix Apple, Le Terroir, Bier de Mars, Blackberry Barleywine, Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout on Nitro & a special test batch keg of Clutch, and a keg of Perennial Blue Label Maman

Thursday, January 7th
Sour Symposium at Bridge 4-6pm & 7-9pm

Guests will go through the art of blending beer from grain to glass focusing on techniques Lauren and Ted use in New Belgium’s cellar. Attendees will also get to blend their own sour beers using different samples of unblended base beers kept in individual foeders of the brewery’s cellar and document their blend ratios to see who has what it takes to be the next Master Blender.

Full details and to purchase tickets please visit: http://stlsoursymposium.brownpapertickets.com

After Party to immediately follow the close of the 7-9pm session at Bridge

Friday, January 8th
Schnucks Des Peres 5-7pm
Lauren Salazar & Ted Peterson will be talking about New Belgium, brewing and upcoming beers!

Featuring samples of: Love Felix Peach, Le Terroir, La Folie and a sneak peak of new releases, Glutiny & Citradelic!

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

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.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is going to make my job a hell of a lot easier. As we’re very close to having three new breweries open in the St. Louis Metro area, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at where they’re at and what’s in store.

Four Hands Brewing Company

Located right outside of Soulard, Four Hands is easily the biggest of the newest three breweries about to open.  With over 12,000 sq foot of space, it’s going to provide for not only a gigantic tasting room, but also plenty of opportunity to expand.  The photo of the book below is actually a ledger they found which was purchased in 1932.

The Civil Life Brewing Company

To be honest, there are actually a few photos missing from the gallery below.  The reason being is that the photos I took could not even begin to do this space justice.  Owner Jake Hafner has created one of the most unique spaces to drink a beer in the United States.  I hope no one is let down by my hyperbole, but I honestly think a lot of jaws will drop when they walk into this space.

Perennial Artisan Ales

This brewery may be nearest to my heart as it’s just a short drive from where I grew up. The most interesting aspect of this location is that it’s divided into three very distinct spaces. One space for the brewhouse, one for cellaring and conditioning, and one for the tasting room.

Not to mention, they also have plenty of room to grow and plenty of room for all of those fun barrels that owner Phil Wymore plans on bringing in.

As you can see, each location is definitely in a different part of the construction process. The current plan is for the Civil Life to be open by mid-July, Perennial open a few weeks after that and Four Hands in early fall.

I know I over-say this, but damn it’s a good time to be a beer drinker in St. Louis.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for Perennial Artisan Ales to open.  If the hybrid that is the Hommel Bier is the “least unusual” beer that headbrewer Phil Wymore makes, we’re all in for a real treat.  This was a fascinating beer combined American hops with Belgian yeast to produce a complex yet easy drinking beer.

If you didn’t get a chance to try it this weekend, look out for it at the upcoming festivals, like this weekend’s Beerfest, and give it a sample.  Here’s some photos from the tapping of Perennial’s first beer:

While Perennial Artisan Ales may not yet have a brewery (but they will soon!) that won’t stop them from brewing beer. With the busy beer festival season upon us, Perennial wanted to have something available for the thirsty and curious festivalgoers.

So, Perennial head brewer Phil Wymore contracted with Kirkwood Highlands Brewing Company‘s head brewer Dave Johnson to create the first batch of beer under the Perennial name.  First up?  The Hommel Bier:

Our Hommel Bier defies tradition by combining North American malts, Pacific Northwest hops, and a Belgian yeast strain.  The result is a beer that combines earthy and spicy tones from the yeast with a slight orange note contributed by the hops.  In the hop capital of Belgium, “Hommel” is the word for humulus, the plant genus where hops reside.

Your first chance to try this tradition busting beer will be this Thursday, May 5, from 5-8PM at Kirkwood Highlands.  Brewer/co-owner Phil Wymore will be there to taste and talk ber.  And don’t forget that Perennial is still looking for some great ideas for beers.