Beer lovers in St. Louis have many reasons to celebrate. Local breweries are producing innovative and high quality brews. There are also a growing number of restaurants and shops with a focus on beer. And if that weren't enough, local beer-themed events and festivals are becoming more popular and plentiful. So for everyone out there who enjoys a cold one or two, here's a handy guide to all things brew in the Lou.
Top St. Louis Breweries
Locations: Tap Room - 2100 Locust Street, Downtown St. Louis, Bottleworks - 7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood
Schlafly is by far the biggest and most well-known craft brewery in St. Louis. Schlafly opened its doors in 1991 and now has two locations in the St. Louis area. Each year, Schlafly brews more than 50 kinds of beer. About half of those can be found on draft at the Schlafly's restaurant-brew pubs: The Tap Room and Bottleworks. But many other Schlafly beers including the Pale Ale, Hefeweizen and Oatmeal Stout are easily found at hundreds of restaurants and stores throughout the area. Schlafly is also known for its seasonal brews with the Pumpkin Ale, Oktoberfest and Summer Lager among the biggest sellers.
Locations: Biergarten - 3229 Washington Avenue, Midtown St. Louis, Bierhall - 4465 Manchester Avenue, South St. Louis
Urban Chestnut is relatively new on the St.
Louis beer scene. Its first location opened in 2011, but in just a few short years, the brewery has really made a name for itself. Urban Chestnut is known for using old world techniques to create new styles of beer. Ingredients are carefully sourced, with special attention to quality. Many of the types of beer, like Zwickel and Schnickelfritz, reflect the brewmaster's German heritage.
Location: 45 Progress Parkway, Maryland Heights
O'Fallon Brewery recently expanded its operations with a new 40,000 square foot brewery in St. Louis County. Beer lovers can stop by the tasting room for samples of O'Fallon Gold, 5-Day IPA, Wheach, Hemp Hop Rye and more. There is also a full service restaurant offering food pairings for favorite brews. For those who can't make it out to the brewery, O'Fallon Brewery beers are found at many local grocery stores as well.
Location: 1127 Pestalozzi Street, South St. Louis
Any talk about beer in St. Louis would be incomplete without mentioning Anheuser Busch. It's true the King of Beers has many fans and critics, but its also true the historic brewery has been an institution in the city for more than 150 years. Today, the brewery continues to make its most popular beers like Budweiser and Bud Light. It's also offering up newer options like Landshark and Shock Top. Anheuser Busch offers free tours to visitors giving an inside look at its brewing and bottling process. There's also a tasting room at the end of the tour with free samples.
Kirkwood Station Brewery
Location: 105 East Jefferson, Kirkwood
You won't find Kirkwood Station beers in quite as many restaurants and stores as the other breweries mentioned here, but don't let that stop you.
These award-winning beers are worth making the trip to the brewery itself, located in the heart of downtown Kirkwood. Popular favorites include the Grass Cutter Cream Ale, Ale Fleur One and Blackberry Wheat. Kirkwood Station also has a full service restaurant and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
4 Hands Brewing
Location: 1220 South 8th Street, South St. Louis
4 Hands is another local brewery that's growing in popularity. Its 20,000 square-foot facility in the Lasalle Park neighborhood brews several year-round beers including Single Speed Blonde Ale, Divided Sky Rye IPA and City Wide, an American Pale Ale. 4 Hands also crafts some of the best seasonal beers in the area. City of Dreams is an American Pale Ale that's good in summer, or try the Snake Oil IPA for a full flavor in the fall.
Along with beer, 4 Hands serves a small menu of appetizers, tacos and burritos.
Beer Pubs and Stores
International Tap House
Locations: 1711 South 9th Street in Soulard, 16 South Euclid in Central West End, 161 Long Road in Chesterfield.
Anyone looking for variety in their beer can find it at the International Tap House. This popular bar has dozens of beers on draft, and a bottled beer menu with more than 500 items. Just looking through the numerous selections takes a considerable amount of time, but it's also quite fun to discover something new.. For serious beer lovers, the bar also has a rewards program called "iTap Passport" which keeps track of all the beers you drink and gives freebies at certain levels. One important thing to keep in mind, International Tap House doesn't serve food. You can bring your own food or order from a nearby restaurant that delivers.
Macklind Avenue Deli
Location: 4721 Macklind Avenue, South St. Louis
The Macklind Avenue Deli is a neighborhood eatery and beer shop in south St. Louis. It's shelves are stocked with more than 400 varieties of bottled beer from around the world. You can find many of the beers year-round, but there is also a rotating selection of new and seasonal brews. Along with beer, the deli offers a full menu of sandwiches, soups, salads and homemade desserts. Stop by for quick meal and a cold brew, or choose a six-pack or two to take home for later.
Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar
Location: 1004 Locust Street, Downtown St. Louis
The Bridge is the place to go for anyone who prefers draft beer. This downtown bar has 55 beers on tap, the largest selection in St. Louis. On a typical day, you'll find a wide variety of beers from local and regional craft breweries, as well as selected options from national and international brewers. In addition to the beers on tap, there are also more than 100 bottled beers, an extensive wine list and a full menu of upscale appetizers and bar food. Plus, if you find a beer on tap that you really like, the bartenders will fill up a growler for you to take home.
Craft Beer Cellar
Location: 8113 Maryland Avenue, Clayton
As you might guess from the name, this store and tasting room is all about craft beer. The knowledgable staff can guide you through the more than 600 bottled beer varieties that fill the shelves and coolers. There is also a rotating selection of five beers on tap and a "Flight of the Week" offered on Thursday evenings. For serious beer lovers, sign up for their "Beer of the Month" club with new brews delivered to your door the first of each month.
Location: 900 Spruce Street, Downtown St. Louis
The St. Louis location of the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium features dozens of beers on tap and a bottled menu with hundreds more. Some of the draft beers are from local breweries, but there's also a nice selection of craft beers from around the globe. For hungry visitors, the Flying Saucer serves appetizers, burgers, salads and sandwiches.
Annual Beer Events and Festivals
Centennial Beer Festival
Late February, Lafayette Square
You get a real sense of history at the Centennial Beer Festival. The annual event is held in the restored Schnaider Brewery Malt House in the Lafayette Square neighborhood. The festival begins with a Brewmaster Dinner, a five-course meal paired with local beers. There are also several tasting sessions with more than 200 beers from 80 breweries. Tickets to the dinner are $70 a person. Tasting sessions are $40 and include a souvenir beer glass.
Schlafly Stout & Oyster Festival
Early March, Schlafly Tap Room
One of the most popular beer festivals of the year at Schlafly is the Stout & Oyster Festival in the spring. The brewery flies in more than 50,000 fresh oysters, along with several teams of shuckers to serve them. The food is served with five different varieties of Schlafly stout. There is also live music and a full restaurant menu available. Admission is free.
St. Louis Microfest
Early May, Forest Park
This popular outdoor beer festival is a tasting event featuring local, regional and international brews. It's held at the Muny in beautiful Forest Park. Microfest is your chance to sample dozens of unique beers from all over the world. The festival also includes food, live music, cooking demonstrations and discussions about home brewing. Admission is $52 a person. Designated drivers get in free.
Brewers Heritage Festival
Early June, St. Louis Riverfront
The Brewers Heritage Festival focuses exclusively on local beer makers. It showcases more than 100 beers from dozens of St. Louis breweries and home brew clubs. Attendees get a souvenir glass and unlimited samples. There are also local food trucks serving up their most popular dishes. Admission is $45 a person. Designated drivers are $5.
Craft Beer Week
Late July, Various Locations
Craft Beer Week is a collaborative effort among local bars, restaurants and brewers. Talks, demos, tastings and cooking classes take place at dozens of locations all across the area, so it's easy to pick one or two that fit your budget and schedule. Some events require tickets or pre-registration, but others allow you to just show up and enjoy.
HOP in the City
September, Schlafly Tap Room
HOP in the City is Schlafly's biggest beer festival of the year. The brewery offers up more than 40 of its brews for sampling. The $30 dollar "tasting ticket" gets you a commemorative glass and unlimited samples of your favorite Schlafly beers. The festival also features live music and food for purchase.