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guide to beer

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Guide to Beer 2014


FREE, guide to beer 2014 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 1


Guide to Beer 2014

Guide to Beer 2014 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 3


Guide to Beer 2014

How to Build a Stellar Cellar

We’ve all found a few dusty bottles of forgotten beer while cleaning out the basement. Your first instinct might be to trash them, but wait – you might have accidentally started your own beer-cellaring program.

By Catherine Klene

Like great wine, cellaring a beer can deepen and enhance your favorite brew’s flavors. And the process couldn’t be simpler; all you need is a closet. Justin Austermann, general manager at Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar, said the best way to achieve a great aged beer is to leave it alone. “I’ve always told our guests it’s not even patience so much as make yourself forget it,” he said. With the help of Austermann’s tips, you’ll be ready to start your own beer cellar, well, about as soon as you can walk down to your basement. The forgetting will be the hard part.

Photo by CARMEN TROESSER, shot on location at flying saucer draught emporium

Buy Boozy • Generally speaking, high-gravity, high-alcohol brews are the best candidates for aging. Imperial stouts, barley wines, grand crus, dark ales and Belgian quads all improve with time.

Consistency is Key • A constant temperature is more important than a cool one. Likewise, consistent, low humidity keeps the beer stable as it ages. • Store the bottles in a windowless room. Too much light can ruin the beer. • Keep the bottles upright, especially if they’re corked.

Buy Many, Taste Often • Buy several bottles of the same beer and taste one of them every few months, noting the differences each time. “That’s what’s going to teach your palate to recognize what’s happening to the beer,” Austermann said. • There’s no hard and fast rule for how long a beer should age. If you age the same beer over multiple years, host a vertical tasting party and sample different years of the same beer to note changes over time.

Ready to start your beer cellar? Here are Austermann’s three picks for those new to aging:

• Exceptions include lighter, lowalcohol Belgian styles like lambics, which get pleasantly funky after a few months or a year.

2nd Shift Brewing’s Katy

• Avoid cellaring hop-forward styles like IPAs; as the hops fade, the beer loses its expressiveness.

North Coast Brewing Co.’s Old Stock Ale

Brassiere de Rochefort’s Trappistes Rochefort

Spring Forecast / You know what’s on tap, but do you know what’s sleeping in that barrel? Here, five local, barrel-aged beers we’re looking forward to drinking this spring. — Julie Cohen Kirkwood Station Brewing Co.’s Funky Pineapple, a Belgian tripel aged one year in chardonel barrels with Brettanomyces

march Guide to Beer 2014

Square One Brewery & Distillery’s barley wine, aged one year in bourbon barrels

Charleville Vineyard Winery & Microbrewery’s Box of Chocolate, a Belgian quad aged three months in bourbon barrels with chocolate malts and chocolate extract



4 Hands Brewing Co.’s Cuvee Diable, a blonde saison aged one year in cabernet barrels with tart cherries and Brettanomyces

Exit 6 Brewery’s Colonel Berry Lingus, a sour porter aged nearly two years in red wine barrels with blackberries and raspberries

late spring I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 5


Guide to Beer 2014

Brettanomyces: Bring on the funk Several years ago, we noticed a practice that, to two wine professionals, smacked of oddity: A growing number of progressive breweries were intentionally using Brettanomyces (pronounced brett-TAN-oh-MY-sees), a wild yeast commonly known as Brett, in their beers. We found this perplexing because the wine world has a long and difficult history with Brett. As internationally regarded wine importer Peter Wasserman, of France-based Becky Wasserman Selection, told us, “Basically, a superlight touch of Brett can add some interest to a wine. But anything other than a superlight touch becomes a flaw. A lot of professionals confuse that for terroir. It’s not. It’s a classic, well-documented and quantifiable flaw.” Simply put, at very low levels, Brett can add some appeal to a wine. However, at higher levels, the yeast tends to deaden the fruit, while simultaneously adding some combination of these aromas: Band-Aid, smoke, barnyard and the ridiculous yet accurate descriptor, hot horse saddle.

Photo by elizabeth jochum

While confused as to why anything described as adding a hot horse aroma would be added to a beer, we were also curious. So we bought a few bottles of Brett beers and were thrilled by the balanced, complementary and occasionally very subtle attributes that this yeast was contributing. That got us thinking: What was it about the use of Brett that worked so well in these cases, and how long has this been happening? “Brett was in almost all original beers, as they were spontaneously fermented,” said Cory King, head brewer at Perennial Artisan Ales and founder of Side Project Brewing. “The initial pH of the

Guide to Beer 2014

wort was higher than that of wine, allowing Brett a better environment to get going.” In the U.S., the trend of intentionally adding Brett to beer – be it during secondary or primary fermentation – has been around for around a decade, but it has accelerated in the last few years, King explained. Jeremy Danner, ambassador brewer for Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Co., further explained the allure of Brett. “We’ve all come to know our regular house yeasts quite well, but introducing Brettanomyces really lets the beer take on a life of its own,” he said. Vinnie Cilurzo, co-owner and brewmaster of Russian River Brewing Co., in Santa Rosa, Calif., is one of America’s first brewers to play with Brett. “Brett can work well with certain varieties of hops,” Cilurzo said. “Take one of my favorite beers, Orval. This is a beer where the Brett is used only in the bottle conditioning, yet the Brett works so harmoniously with the beer overall, specifically the hops.” Cilurzo also emphasized that sour and barrel-aged beers are a particularly good mesh with Brett. “There is a great synergy between the funky Brett character and the sour, tart quality the bacteria brings in these beers,” he said.

Anchorage Brewing Co.’s Galaxy White IPA is conditioned with Brett. Tasting notes: aromas of eucalyptus and hops; brined-orange palate; a sauvignon blanc-drinker’s beer


Brett beers to try

Perennial Artisan Ales’ Aria is a Belgian-style ale fermented with Brett. Tasting notes: aromas of peach and yellow plum; on the palate, Rainier cherry, plum and notes of barnyard and soil

Green Flash Brewing Co.’s Rayon Vert is a Belgian-style pale ale conditioned with Brett. Tasting notes: lacy head; raspberry aroma; a leather and iodine palate with hints of tart plum

Whether in beer or wine, too much of this wild yeast leaves the drinker with a mouthful of horse sweat and Band-Aids. Yet, what we consider too much Brett in wine is often not the case in beer since Brett doesn’t deaden the primary aromatic compounds in beer. In short, added complexity is Brett’s greatest attribute, but proportionality is the key to make it manifest. — Daniels and Lauren BlakeParseliti I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 7


Guide to Beer 2014

stl beer

takes flight We can drink a Budweiser on a finca in Bolivia or aboard a catamaran off the coast of Tanzania, but now we can order tons of other local brews outside of Missouri, too. A Schlafly Oatmeal Stout in D.C.? Why yes, Mr. President. A Crown Valley Farmhouse Lager on the plains of Texas? Yeehaw! Turn the page, and next to our whopping list of 26-and-counting area breweries, check out the states where they currently distribute and plan your next vacation accordingly. You’ll also find each brewery’s address, so you can turn any day into a sudsy staycation.


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Guide to Beer 2014

2nd Shift Brewing, Distribution area: Mo. Local contact: 1401 Olive Road, New Haven, Mo., 4 Hands Brewing Co., Mo., Ill., Pa. 1220 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.1559, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, In more than 85 countries 12thh and Lynch streets, St. Louis, 314.577.2626, Alpha Brewing Co., Mo. 1409 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.621.2337, Augusta Brewing Co., Mo. John G’s Tap Room and Bier Deck, 107 W. Main St., Washington, 636.239.5010; Augusta Brew Haus & Bier Garden, 5521 Water St., Augusta, 636.482.2337, Cathedral Square Brewery, Mo., Ill., Ark., Neb. 3914 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.803.3605, Charleville Vineyard Winery & Microbrewery, Mo., Ill., Ark. 16937 Boyd Road, Ste. Genevieve, 573.756.4537, The Civil Life Brewing Co., Mo., Ill. 3714 Holt Ave., St. Louis, Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co., Mo., Ill., Ala., Ark., Del., Fla., Ga., Kan., Ky., La., Mich., Miss., N.C., Okla., Tenn., Texas 13326 State Route F, Ste. Genevieve, 573.756.9700, Excel Bottling Co., Ill., Mo. 488 S. Broadway, Breese, Ill., 618.526.7159, Guide to Beer 2014

Exit 6 Brewery, Mo. 5055 Highway N, Cottleville, 636.244.4343, Ferguson Brewing Co., Mo. 418 S. Florissant Road, Ferguson, 314.521.2220, Heavy Riff Brewing Co., Mo. 6413 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, Kaskaskia Brewing Co., Ill. 104 E. Market St., Red Bud, Ill., 618.282.2555, Kirkwood Station Brewing Co., Mo. 105 E. Jefferson Road, Kirkwood, 314.966.2730, Morgan Street Brewery, Mo. 721 N. Second St., St. Louis, 314.231.9970, O’Fallon Brewery, Mo., Ill., Ala., Ark., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., Mich., Miss., Mo., Ohio, Pa., Tenn., Wis. 26 W. Industrial Drive, O’Fallon, Mo., 636.474.2337, Perennial Artisan Ales, Mo., Ill., Colo., Mass., Md., N.Y., Pa., Va. 8125 Michigan Ave., St. Louis, 314.631.7300, Ridgebrook Brewery, Ill. Ridgebrook Lane, Godfrey, Ill., 618.971.8580, Schlafly Beer, Mo., Ill., Ark., D.C., Del., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., Md., Miss., N.J., N.Y., Tenn., Va. The Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314.241.2337; Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.241.2337,

Scratch Brewing Co., Ill. 264 Thompson Road, Ava, Ill., 618.426.1415, Side Project Brewing, Mo. 8125 Michigan Ave., St. Louis, Six Row Brewing Co., Mo., Ill. 3690 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.531.5600, Square One Brewery and Distillery, Mo. 1727 Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.231.2537, Trailhead Brewing Co., Mo. 921 S. Riverside Drive, St. Charles, 636.946.2739, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., Mo., Ill., Ind. 3229 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.222.0143,

Coming Soon 4204-Main Street Brewing Co. 4204 W. Main St., Belleville, Ill., 618.660.8612, Facebook: 4204-Main Street Brewing Company Main & Mill Brewing Co. 240 E. Main St., Festus, 314.603.0924, Modern Brewery 5231 Manchester Ave., Unit E, St. Louis, Recess Brewery 307 N. Main St., Edwardsville, Ill., Six Mile Brewery and Smokehouse 1324 Niedringhaus Ave., Granite City, Ill., 618.501.4200, Facebook: Six Mile Brewery and Smokehouse I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 11


Guide to Beer 2014

better together the beer drinker’s guide to food by matt berkley GRINGO Barbacoa tacos with Schlafly Gringo Munich Negra

URBAN CHESTNUT BREWING CO. Weisswart brat with Winged Nut Chestnut Ale

slowroasted and smoky

don’t know, don’t care

ALPHA BREWING CO. Alpha Blonde Ale with chicken wings brought in from Hiro Asian Kitchen

AMSTERDAM TAVERN Schlafly Kölsch with The Animal Burger ordered from The Dam next door


a little

Are you drunk?

sweet and spicy

hell yeah!

late night

what are you craving?

itap (Soulard) 2nd Shift Brewing Katy with an order of Epic Pizza’s toasted ravioli delivered

Can you walk?

Getting there ...


What time is it?


DRESSEL’S PUBLIC HOUSE Porchetta Louie with Urban Chestnut Schnickelfritz

SAMEEM Chicken Tikka Masala and BYOB a six-pack of Boulevard Brewing Co. KC Pilsner



here sandwich

Do you have a six-pack in your car?



do you want pub food?

SHAVED DUCK Pulled brisket and smoked mozzarella flatbread with Charleville Half Wit Wheat

Looking for something trÈs romantique ?

soup or sandwich? soup THREE KINGS PUBLIC HOUSE Lobster bisque with 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout

yes no

do you really just want french fries


no yes

SCOTTISH ARMS Fish-n-chips with Civil Life Northern English Brown

BRASSERIE Mussels and fries with Perennial Saison de Lis

Gringo, 398 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.449.1212, The Scottish Arms, 8 S. Sarah St., St. Louis, 314.535.0551, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., 3229 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.222.0143, urbanchestnut. com Dressel’s Public House, 419 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.1060, Alpha Brewing Co., 1409 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.621.2337, The Shaved Duck, 2900 Virginia Ave., St Louis, 314.776.1407, Brasserie, 4580 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.454.0600, Sameem, 4341 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.534.9500, Amsterdam Tavern, 3175 Morgan Ford Road, St. Louis, 314.772.8224, International Tap House in Soulard, 1711 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314.621.4333, Three Kings Public House, 6307 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.721.3355,

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Guide to Beer 2014

sauce’s blind

taste-off porter vs. stout

By Cory King | Photos by Ashley Gieseking


hat’s the difference between a porter and a stout?” If you’ve ever been in a great beer conversation about styles, this question has come up. As far back as the mid-1700s, a brown stout simply meant the strongest version of porter. But by the latter half of the 19th century, recipes for porters and stouts began to vary with the use of different malts, and roasted barley became a legal ingredient for beer in the United Kingdom. Today, not only is the difference between a porter and a stout no longer black and white, brewers are finding that these styles are perfect canvases for their own interpretations. With these developments in mind, we wondered if a group of expert beer drinkers – who aren’t actually brewers – could blindly tell the difference between porters and stouts. We also wanted to know if they could come to a consensus on which beer tasted best among nine classic and not-so-classic takes on the two styles. So the taste-off began.

Guide to Beer 2014 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 15

“There are no wrong answers.”

“Is this the beginning of a Saw movie?” “I’m really nervous that it’ll be Black Butte and I’ll be like, ‘This is the worst beer I’ve ever had in my life.’”

“I’m hoping to get them right but think I’ll just get crushed.”

“I put ‘not good finish.’”

“I put ‘insipid body.’”

“The brightness was interesting, but it’s definitely not supposed to be there.”

“I think the terms are archaic.”

From left: Mark Pruitt, Eric Scholle, Josh Galliano, Sean Netzer, Troy Meier, Cory King and Karen King


Guide to Beer 2014

“No. 3, I put baby aspirin.”

“They start to taste the same by the end.”

The Judges

While all six judges were chosen for their love of beer and their knowledge of styles, we also picked tasters known for their palates. Sean Netzer, bartender and beer and whiskey buyer, 33 Wine Bar Troy Meier, Supreme Overlord, Karen King, Missouri and Kansas market manager, Deschutes Brewery Mark Pruitt, owner, Bigelo’s Bistro Eric Scholle, general manager, Farmhaus Josh Galliano, executive chef-owner, The Libertine

The Moderator

“That’s a thing! I’m not making this up.”

Cory King, head brewer, Perennial Artisan Ales and founder, Side Project Brewing

The Contenders

From left: Founders Porter, Schlafly Extra Stout Irish-Style, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Left Hand Milk Stout, The Civil Life Porter, 4 Hands Bona Fide Imperial Stout, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, Six Row Porter and Deschutes Obsidian Stout

The Findings

While some judges’ porter/stout guesses were correct, they agreed that the terms are outdated. There is too much gray area to truly tell the difference between a porter and a stout.

The winners

First place: Founders Porter Second place (tie): 4 Hands Bona Fide, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, The Civil Life Porter

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Guide to Beer 2014

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f o s r ho u


by eric hildebrandt photos by jonathan gayman The Civil Life Brewing Co.’s Rye Pale Ale


Guide to Beer 2014


hether referring to pre-Prohibition days when breweries dotted our local landscape or to the modern-day dominance of Anheuser-Busch, for more than 200 years, St. Louis has been in the business of beer. In the last decade – particularly the last five years – the state of St. Louis brewing has continued to evolve and transform thanks to the growing number of craft breweries and establishments that support them. Whether you’re new to drinking brew, in town for a visit or simply looking for a reason to throw back a few (dozen), here’s your guide to catching up on our burgeoning beer scene. All you need is a weekend – and a designated driver.

F R I DAY 3 p.m. BEER AT A WINE BAR? Sure, 33 Wine Bar (1913 Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.231.9463, specializes in wine, but with its six carefully selected draft choices, 150 different brews by the bottle and a cellar that houses everything from vintage Imperial stouts to funky, sour beers like Gueuze Tilquin, it’s easy to see why Beer Advocate consistently ranks 33 as one of the top beer destinations in the city. 6 p.m. BEER MECCA After you choose from 40 craft and import beers on tap or 500 by the bottle, you’ll understand why Draft Magazine has voted International Tap House

in Soulard (1711 S. Ninth St., St. Louis, 314.621.4333, one of the best beer bars in the country. Add to that a knowledgeable and carefully trained staff, and you can see how owners Brad Lobdell and Sean Conroy have grown their business into four locations. 8:30 p.m. DOWN(TOWN) ON THE RANGE Restaurateur Dave Bailey’s burger heaven Baileys’ Range (920 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.241.8121, is an ideal spot to grab a bite with your brew. With 30 local beers on tap, available in both half and full pours, at Range you’ll find one of our town’s broadest spectrums of breweries in one place. After dinner, head around the corner to one of Bailey’s other downtown gems, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar (1004 Locust St., St. Louis, 314.241.8141,

Pin-Up Bowl Admire the rustic chandeliers made of tree branches as you choose from 55 beers on tap ranging from gypsy brewers like Mikkeller to Belgian standouts like Brasserie Dieu du Ciel. If you are into sours or funky beers, there’s a good chance you’ll find one here. 10 p.m. IN GOOD HANDS Words like “industrial” and “sustainable” describe the tasting room at 4 Hands Brewing Co. (1220 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.1559, 4handsbrewery. com). Open since 2011, this LaSalle Park brewery has quickly gained a loyal following. Sit at the glass-topped communal table made from the brewery’s warehouse door and savor mainstays like Divided Sky Rye IPA or boundary pushers like the seasonal Cuvee Ange. Midnight GROOVIN’ IN THE GROVE Focusing on regionally owned and brewed beers from breweries like Schlafly, O’Fallon and Charleville, HandleBar (4127 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.652.2212, features 20 beers on tap and plenty of bottles to boot. Throw in disc jockeys, dance parties and one of the most eclectic crowds around, and HandleBar is a must visit when you’re not ready for your night to end.

S a t u rday

Amsterdam Tavern Guide to Beer 2014

9 a.m. SOCCER AND SUDS St. Louisans love soccer, and nowhere is this more evident than Amsterdam Tavern (3175 Morgan Ford Road, St. Louis, 314.772.8224, amsterdamtavern. Continued on page 23 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 21

Tatyana Telnikova, owner of HandleBar


Guide to Beer 2014

Patrick Hurley (left), a barman at The Civil Life, drinks a beer with Steve Smith, owner of The Royale.

Midnight LATE NIGHT LANES Close out the night at Pin-Up Bowl (6191 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314.727.5555, With a beer list that is one of the area’s bestkept secrets, you can try your luck on the lanes or sit back and people-watch with a glass in hand. From bottles of Orval to local craft on tap, Pin-Up is one of the few places that offers craft beer by the pitcher.

The Royale

com). You’ll feel like you’re across the pond as fans sip on beers while wearing their favorite teams’ jerseys and scarves. A recently expanded, alwaysrotating draft list has plenty of local flare like Goal-Den Ale, brewed exclusively for the bar by The Civil Life Brewing Co., and classic imported favorites like Reissdorf Kölsch and Carlsberg. 11 a.m. THE GODFATHERS It’s impossible and unthinkable to talk about St. Louis craft beer without acknowledging the brewery that started it all. Schlafly’s The Tap Room (2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314.241.2337, offers great pub fare and a wide variety of the brewery’s lineup. If you sit at the bar and get lucky, you may even meet bartenders Kevin Nash or Paul Jensen – both of whom have worked with the brewery since its doors opened in 1991. 1:30 p.m. REVERANCE OR REVOLUTION Located in a converted 1920s garage in Midtown, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. (3229 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.222.0143, combines Old World charm with New World flare. Whether sipping on something traditional from its Reverence series, or enjoying a more modern style from its Revolution series, you’re sure to find plenty of reasons why UCBC is one of our fastest-growing breweries. 3:30 p.m. A PERENNIAL FAVORITE Travel south to the city’s Patch neighborhood, and you’ll discover Perennial Artisan Ales (8125 Michigan Ave., St. Louis, 314.631.7300, Guide to Beer 2014

9:30 p.m. LOOP INSTITUTION For more than three decades, Cicero’s (6691 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.862.0009, has been a linchpin in The Loop. Choose from 55 rotating beers on tap ranging from Goose Island’s Sofie to Founders’ Breakfast Stout and everything in between. Add to that nearly 200 bottles, and it’s easy to find something you’ll love while you sit at the bar or take in a show in Cicero’s concert venue. A trailblazer on the beer and music scene, Cicero’s continues to draw new fans., a brewery that is garnering national attention for its unique take on both American and Belgian-style ales. Be it an awardwinning, limited-release collaboration like BarrelAged Sump – an Imperial stout aged 12 months in Rittenhouse Rye barrels and blended with Sump coffee – or one of Perennial’s core beers like the delicate Saison de Lis that is brewed with chamomile, this young brewery’s offerings will make you rethink what beer can be. 8 p.m. WE THREE KINGS With 22 beers on draft, 40 by the bottle and gems like the Firestone Walker Anniversary Series constantly being added to its growing cellar list, Three Kings Public House (6307 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.721.3355, is a worthy watering hole. Three Kings’ American take on traditional Irish pub fare is an added bonus when liquid carbs are no longer cutting it.

The Civil Life Brewing Co.

S u n day 10 a.m. BEERS AND BRUNCH With its dark, warm interior, Dressel’s Public House (419 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.1060, begs for winter brunching and, of course, a side of brews. While combing through this gastropub’s inventive yet classic food menu, try a brew from the rotating list of beers on cask like 2nd Shift’s Art of Neurosis. Noon A NEIGHBORHOOD HAUNT A stone’s throw from Tower Grove Park sits The Royale (3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, 314.772.3600, With its well-curated draft list and numerous beers by the bottle, you’ll love the vibe of this South City bar. The photographs of politicians and activists plastered to its walls will provide you with plenty of conversation-starters while you meet your next best friend. 1:30 p.m. BE CIVIL The folks at The Civil Life Brewing Co. (3714 Holt Ave., St. Louis, took an old newspaper distribution warehouse and turned it into one of the coziest spots in the city to have a pint. Beautifully stained wood is everywhere, giving the space the feel of an old neighborhood pub in Europe. Through March 9, experience Soup Sunday with one of chef Brendan Kirby’s delicious soups paired with one of the brewery’s sessionable brews. I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 23


Guide to Beer 2014

beer et al. by ligaya figueras

Micheladas muy buenas Olé to this south-of-the-border, beer version of a bloody mary. At Mission Taco Joint, Negra Modelo is combined with a superb house-made michelada mix. Gringo offers five michelada variations that range from verde to boozy to fire-alarm spicy. And now that La Vallesana has acquired a liquor license, you can order a michelada with your torta. Gringo, 398 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.449.1212,; Mission Taco Joint, 6235 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314.932.5430,; La Vallesana, 2801 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.776.4223, Facebook: La Vallesana (The Taco Stand)

Foraging for a good beer What does the forest offer today? Ask the brewers at Scratch Brewing Co., in Ava, Ill. We love rooting through the “foraged” section of its beer list, which recently held Shiso Maki, a dark brown ale brewed with Belgian Abbey yeast and shiso leaves. Scratch Brewing Co., 264 Thompson Road, Ava, Ill., 618.426.1415,

Crafty beer concoctions Crafty Chameleon’s beer cocktails pave a gentle path into the world of beer. Our pick: Chocolate Covered Raspberry, featuring Guinness or chocolate stout topped with framboise. The Crafty Chameleon Bar, 1384 Clarkson Clayton Center, Ellisville, 636.220.9144,

Cooper’s Hawk bloody mary with beer bonus The best part about this bloody mary isn’t the skewer loaded with a hunk of aged cheddar, a massive shrimp, a bleu cheese-stuffed olive, a grape tomato and a pickle (although it is a tasty, minimeal). It’s that the cocktail comes with a generous sidecar of a local craft beer. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, 1146 Town and Country Crossing Drive, Town & Country, 636.489.0059,

Intoxicating labels We’re suckers for creative beer labels and we love dogs. Small wonder we fell in love with 2nd Shift Brewing’s Arlo the Wonderbeagle’s Sour Brown Ale. Just look at those puppy dog eyes! 2nd Shift Brewing, 1401 Olive Road, New Haven, Mo., 573.237.3421,

Hops served up Hops live happily in Orama, a light, citrusy, bitter cocktail served at The Good Pie, which features housemade hops syrup and Bittercube Door County Hop Bitters. The Good Pie, 6665 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.899.9221,

Rockin’ tap handles We’ve seen tap handles at bars around the U.S. fashioned from sticks, horns, gears and even double-barreled shotguns. But in this neck of the woods, the ones at Heavy Riff shaped like guitar necks totally rock. Heavy Riff Brewing Co., 6413 Clayton Ave., St. Louis,

Thai curry in a glass Thai chiles and toasted coconut flavored the Southside Stout that Excel Brewing made for a cask festival in February. We’re crossing our fingers that Excel will give us Thailand in a glass again – and soon. Excel Bottling Co., 488 S. Broadway, Breese, Ill., 618.526.7159,

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