This past week, I spent some time hopping around St. Louis and trying out the local beer scene. For three days, I tried to fit in as much of the shockingly large craft beer scene as I possibly could.
St. Louis is a town known for it’s Budweiser, and it’s arch, but it doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the craft brews it’s pumping out (nor the local BBQ scene). I was quite shocked by the awesome beers I got to try during my stay.
Here’s my list of the top 5 breweries I got try while I was there, in no particular order.
Side Project Brewing
7458 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, MO 63143
I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed the beers at Side Project. The team at Side Project, led by owner and brewer Cory King are pumping out some of the (honestly) best oak-aged beers I’ve had any where in the country.
Looking over the beer list at Side Project, you’ll find a love for experimental, oak-aged beers. While I was there, I enjoyed the Biere Blanche, a Belgian witbier spiced with coriander and orange peel and then aged in Chardonnay barrels with local microflora for an added citrus touch.
If you go there, make sure you take a couple bottles home with you for later.
2. Earthbound Beer
2724 Cherokee St., St. Louis, MO 63118
You wouldn’t expect one of St. Louis’ top breweries to be located on Cherokee St. The up-and-coming neighborhood is packed full of ethnic restaurants (which I wished I could explore more of). What started as a 10 ft x 100 ft brewery in hallway has grown in to a funky-brewery in the space with a long history brewing.
In fact, if you head to the basement of Earthbound’s Cherokee St. location, you’ll find a number of lagering cellars that were used well over 100 years ago.
Earthbound’s beers are funky and delicious. While I was there, I tried the Blushing Cowboy (a gose made with starberries) and the Thai Basil IPA (an IPA made with a semi-refined date sugar and a lot of Thai Basil.
They offer a small food menu as well as tours for only $15 (Saturdays only).
3. Perennial Artisan Ales
8125 Michigan Ave, St. Louis, MO 6311
When we landed in St. Louis, we made Perennial our very first stop. Unfortunately for the other breweries in St. Louis, this meant the bar for great beer was raised rather high early on in our trip.
Since, 2011, Perennial Artisan Ales has been pumping out adventurous, small-batch craft beers influenced by American and Beligan styles (per their website).
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a beer on their tap list you don’t enjoy. While I was there, I made my way through the entire beer list that day. On of my favorites happened to be the Abraxas (an imperial stout brewed with cacao nibs, ancho chiles, vanialla beans and cinnamon sticks).
The food menu wont disappoint either. I believe I had a brisket sandwich, and it was quite delicious.
4. The Civil Life
3714 Holt Ave, St. Louis, MO 63116
The Civil Life is known for their American Brown Ale (you’ll find it on tap all over the city). However, the rest of their tap list stands up quite well on it’s on.
The Civil Life doesn’t have funky, experimental beers like the others breweries on our list. However, they make great beers, true-to-style, and rarely exceed 6% ABV.
We took a couple 6-packs with us when we left, but they didn’t last long. If you’re there when the Carlbock and/or Oktoberfest on on tap, I’d highly recommend both.
Their taproom is what really makes them unique, IMO. Skip the industrial look with the pallet tables.. the Civil Life’s taproom, full of wood and great-smelling beer, has the feel of an old English pub. Plans are in the works to add an additional outdoor biergarten.
5. Narrow Gauge
1595 N Highway 67, Florissant, MO 63031
Nestled inside of an Italian restaurant known as Cugino’s, you’ll find one of the greater St. Louis area’s best tap list. I have to admit, I was quite confused at first by where the brewery started and the restaurant ended, however, after the first few beers, it really didn’t matter.
I dove in to the Double Dry Hopped (DDH) series they had available that day. Neither disappointed, however the standout happened to be the Raspise, a sour IPA brewed with lactose sugar and aged on raspberries and vanilla beans.
I can’t comment on the food, however, the locals I spoke to all rated everything very highly.