No Longer a One-Horse Town

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I knew I’d awakened in St. Louis when the top two stories in the local newspaper were about baseball and beer. As I was saying to my IPA swilling traveling companion, St. Louis is baseball crazy. Has been since at least the 1920s.

And we all know the arch-ladened metropolis is a beer town. Has been since August Busch decided to pummel American palates with a mediocre swill called Budwe … sorry, can’t even write its name.

But St. Louis is no longer a one-beer town as it had been for more than a hundred years. In fact, 10 years ago, when we were last among the arched throng, we found ourselves in the Schlafly taproom. This was, of course, immediately after touring the brewery of that other beer. Obviously we were in need of something good.

Behold the malty goodness of the Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Behold.
Behold the malty goodness of the Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Behold.

So the plan was to revisit the taproom this time around. But upon entering the city … we got lost. It was a learning experience, though, as we got to witness first-hand the urban plight. Are you seeing the plight kids? Roll ’em up!

The best news is that as we made our way back on course, we passed the Morgan Street Brewery, just a few blocks from the hotel. Yeah plight!

Naturally that was our first stop after unloading the Mini, which believe it or not takes longer than one would think. Who knew so much crap could fit into a Mini Cooper? Who knew we owned so much crap?

Morgan Street Brewery had half a dozen of their beers on tap, but only one each that interested us. For me, it was their seasonal Maibock. For her, the Virgin Territory IPA. After spending 20 minutes deciding where to sit, we ordered. The IPA came out immediately, but the Maibock was nowhere to be found. The doorman had told us they only had one keg left, but the waitron said they were changing to a new keg. Huh?

Turns out the door guy knew better. They were out. Since there was nothing else on the beer menu for me, we were going to leave. But suddenly the waitron showed up with a glass 82 percent full of Maibock. She’d fought another server just to bring me was left of the keg.

It was worth it. The award-winning Maibock was deliciously malty in both flavor and nose. A nice foamy head accompanied the dark golden color. No wonder it took silver in the World Beer Championships a few years ago.

The IPA wasn’t quite as noteworthy, but was still good. Checking in a 58 IBUs, there wasn’t as much hoppyness as my IPA friend prefers. But it was quite drinkable. And not bad for MSB’s first IPA ever.

Since they were out of Maibock and there was nothing else on the menu for me, we asked the waitron for a suggestion of where to try more local beers. She directed us to Hair of the Dog, just 5-6 blocks from our hotel. Once we found the dive bar, we were pleased to see almost 50 beers on tap, most of which were IPAs and Belgian Ales. No stouts or porters, though.

Fortunately, they did have a Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout available, so that’s what I had while my partner enjoyed a Perennial Artisan Ale IPA. The stout was delicious. Lots of malt. Not too much bourbon. Just the way I like it. Dark color with a light head. But at 10.5% ABV, I didn’t need more than a pint. Too bad it came in the large format. Darn the luck.

The Perennial IPA was nicely balanced. Again, not very hopped up, so not her favorite. But a tasty beer, nonetheless.

That was enough for the night because the next evening was so important, we needed our beauty sleep.

See you in Omaha.

— Eric Van Steenburg

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