I think our friends and family have been questioning our drinking habits as of late. Every picture I’ve posted on Facebook for the past few weeks has something to do with beer. But there’s very good reason for that, dear friends and family. Aside from the fact that beer just tastes good, our reasoning is that St. Louis Craft Beer Week just took place last week. Eight days of saluting craft beer and the microbrewers that make ’em.
St. Louis Craft Beer Week is an annual event in St. Louis, but for some terrible reason, we only found out about it this year. There’s a long list of beer-tasting events that go on around town at upscale restaurants to dive-style bars to microbreweries in the local area to wine and liquor stores in every neck of the woods. And so, like the planners we are, Mikey and I printed out the schedule and literally highlighted the events we wanted to go to. In the end, we only made it to a few, but the great thing about an annual event like this is that it’s annual. So better start clearing our schedules for 2013.
Here’s a quick rundown of the three events we attended.
Six Row Small Batch Strawberry Honey Weizen At noon on a Saturday, we stopped into Six Row Brewing Company in Midtown St. Louis — right across from our old stomping grounds at St. Louis University to sample the Strawberry Honey Weizen. Aged with 24 pounds of strawberries per barrel, it was the perfect way to start our Saturday. From there, we proceeded to Urban Chestnut to refill our growler with O’Florian’s Irish Stout. Oh, and then, we went to a beer-tasting birthday party later that evening, which was not part of beer week but kept in line with our “Beer Me Saturday” theme.
Huevos y Cervezas Brunch at Milagro Modern Mexican Brunch is by far my favorite meal of the day. I like it because brunch lends itself to the perfect mix of sweet and savory foods all in one meal. And because the word, brunch, is synonymous with, mimosa. So there you go. But this brunch at Milagro kicked off with not a mimosa, but a beermosa. A blend of 4 Hands Brewery Divided Sky Rye IPA, white wine and orange juice. While die-hard mimosa fans (or beer fans) might wince at the sound of beer and wine mixed together, it was actually a pretty delectable combination.
After the welcome beermosa, we were seated in the dining room at the same table as a couple from St. Charles who shared the same enthusiasm for craft beer. We were lucky to get paired up with such a nice couple who shared a lot of the same interests as we do. We’re now following each other on Twitter and have sworn to seek each other out at the next beer event we happen to be at.
But let’s get to the most important part of this brunch — the beer and the food! Here’s a look at our three-course beer and brunch menu.
1st Course: Blue corn pancakes, strawberry ancho agave syrup, fresh berries paired with Schlafly Pilsner
2nd Course: Chorizo and sweet potato hash, poached egg, chipotle hollandaise paired with Stone Pale Ale
3rd Course: Brisket birria ‘beer-ee-uh’, rice, corn tortilla, onion paired with 4 Hands Cast Iron Oatmeal Brown Ale
4th Course: Mexican chocolate brownie, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Stout chocolate sauce paired with Great Divide Espresso Oak Age Yeti Stout
My favorite pairing had to be the third course. Definitely had a spicy kick to it, but the Oatmeal Brown Ale was the perfect pairing to soothe my tingling taste buds. And the Oatmeal Brown Ale goes down as my favorite beer of the brunch. Overall, awesome, delicious, amazing event. Must do again.
Schurcipefones Beer Festival Believe it or not, after the beer brunch, we laid low for the week and didn’t venture out for another event until a whole week later. The following Sunday was when the closing ceremonies (aka Schurcipefones Beer Festival) took place. The festival was a block party in downtown St. Louis right in front of Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar with live music, arts and crafts, free bike tune-ups, food and of course, craft beer from local St. Louis microbreweries, in addition to New Belgium, the out-of-town guest.
Here’s the roll call of the beers I sampled:
- Bailey’s Chocolate Ale Perennial Artisan Alesbrews this for the Bailey’s Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Square. It’s surprisingly not too dark or heavy, which made it great to sip even in the sun.
- Belgian Street Water Charleville Vineyards and Microbrewery make this refreshing concoction. It’s a sour beer, which I’ve always been a big fan of. In fact, I have never met a sour beer I didn’t like. And while at the festival, I realized that I may be in the minority on this one. Guess sour beer isn’t for everyone, but I love it.
- Sertaozhino Weiss Coffee Wheat Urban Chestnut deserves two thumbs way up for this one. Smells like a fresh cup of coffee and is brewed from a coffee bean supplied by St. Louis-based Kaldi’s coffee. Question: Would you judge me if I woke up to a mug of this every morning? Because I considered doing so for a minute. Or maybe five minutes. Or so.
- Peach Berliner Weisse I remember Mikey was scrolling through his Twitter feed the night before and caught wind of all these people talking about the Peach Berliner Weisse from Perennial Artisan Ales. We were jealous that we weren’t able to venture out that day to get a taste but were overjoyed when we saw the Perennial tent was untapping it at 1:00 on the day of the festival. The peach flavor was subtle — not too sweet — and super refreshing.
- Vanilla Bean Chocolate Ale There was no better way to wrap up St. Louis Craft Beer Week than with this one from Perennial Artisan Ales. They untapped later in the day at 3:00, and there was a long line of people waiting to try it. But when we got our tasting, it was glorious. And it goes down as my favorite Schurcipefones Festival brew.
Not only was the beer great, but the work friends that joined us there were great company too. St. Louis actually graced us with good weather, and the downtown city setting was a perfect for our beer-drinking adventure.
As for St. Louis Craft Beer Week overall, I can honestly say that the talent and creativity of the microbreweries in town are truly admirable. Some may argue that St. Louis is late to the craft beer scene just as we have been to the food truck scene, but seriously… quit all the mumbo jumbo about the latest trends already and pour yourself a local beer!