You can't talk about beer in St. Louis without Anheuser Busch. The world famous brewery has been a part of the city's landscape for more than 150 years. The best way to learn about Anheuser Busch and its beer-making process is by taking a free tour of the AB Brewery in Soulard.
If you're looking for other things to do without spending money, check out the Top 15 Free Attractions in St. Louis.
- This is a walking tour so make sure to wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes. Part of the tour goes outside, so dress for the weather as well.
- Children are welcome on the tour, but the brewery is not easily stroller accessible. Children will likely have to walk or be carried during parts of the tour.
- Fridays and weekends are the busiest times for tours. For smaller crowds, plan to visit on a weekday.
- Registration is not required to take a tour, unless you are bringing a large group of 15 or more.
- The tour lasts for a little more than an hour. It ends with free beer samples, or soda for those younger than 21.
When and Where
The Anheuser Busch Brewery in St. Louis offers free tours seven days a week. Tours run Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are extended summer hours until 5 p.m., from May through August.
The AB Brewery is located at 1127 Pestalozzi Street in the Soulard neighborhood. For the tours, go to the entrance at 12th and Lynch Streets.
What You'll See
There are three main things you'll see on a tour.
First is the Budweiser Cyldesdales and their stable. The Clydesdales have been the face of the brand since the 1930s. They make hundreds of appearances every year.
Then, it's a walk through the brewing and bottling areas to see where Budweiser, Bud Light and other brands are made. This portion of the tour includes stops in the historic Brew House, the fermentation cellar and the packaging plant.
This is where you'll learn about the history of the company and how it grew into the brewing giant that it is today.
Finally, it's a trip to the tasting room for two free samples of AB products. Soda and snacks are also available. After the tour, you can stop by the gift shop for souvenirs or hit the Biergarten for more food and drinks.
Other Tips to Know
As you might expect, Anheuser Busch does things in a big way even with its tours. Groups can be quite large and tours move pretty quickly. There won't be time to stop and chat with the brewmaster about the quality of the hops. If you're looking for a smaller, more personalized brewery tour try Schlafly.
If you don't mind spending a little money, you can sign up for Beer School before you take a tour. The half-hour class includes tastings, pouring demonstrations, souvenirs and information about the brewing process. Beer School classes are $10 a person and are available on a first-come, first served basis.
Another option is the Brewmaster Tour which offers a more in-depth, behind the scenes look at brewery operations. The Brewmaster Tour is $25 for those 21 and older, and $10 for those ages 13 to 20. Children younger than 13 can not take the Brewmaster Tour.
For additional information on Beer School or the Brewmaster Tour, call 314-577-2626.
Parking & Transportation
The AB Brewery is easy to get to, just off Interstate 55 south of downtown St. Louis. There is no Metrolink stop nearby, so taking the train is not a good option. MetroBuses do run to Soulard, but with plenty of free parking, the best option for many is to drive.
Other Soulard Attractions
The AB Brewery is located in Soulard, an historic neighborhood just south of downtown St. Louis. The neighborhood hosts a popular Mardi Gras celebration in February and an Oktoberfest party in October. The Soulard Farmers Market also draws crowds year round, so there's plenty to see and do after your brewery tour.
Popular Soulard Restaurants
If you're hungry before or after your tour, Soulard has some great restaurants that are worth a try.
Bar-b-que lovers should try Bogarts Smokehouse for its fantastic brisket, pulled pork and ribs. McGurk's Irish Pub has been a popular destination for decades with its upscale pub grub, cold Guinness and authentic Irish music. Another good bet is Molly's where you'll find drink specials, a wide variety of bistro fare and live music.