If you love beer, you'll adore a trip to St. Louis. While the city is the home of brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis is also home to plenty of craft breweries and bars producing innovative and high-quality brews. There are also a growing number of restaurants and shops with a focus on beer. For everyone out there who enjoys a cold one or two, here's a handy guide to the top places to grab a pint.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 it's 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.
Four 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. Four 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.
Anyone looking for variety in their beer can find it at the International Tap House in Central West End or Soulard. 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. International Tap House doesn't serve food. You can bring your own food or order from a nearby restaurant that delivers.
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.
As you might guess from the name, this store and tasting room is all about craft beer. The knowledgeable 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.