My wife and I had a date night last night (we’re both pretty anti-Valentine’s Day, so it is merely a coincidence that it was this weekend–at least that’s what she tells me). We started at Pho Grand (http://www.phogrand.com/) where I had some fantastic Chicken Curry (19.04 if you know Pho) and then headed to Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (http://www.urbanchestnut.com/home). I had been hearing a lot about this new STL brewery, so the hype factor was certainly high. The brewery is housed in a 1920s era garage in St. Louis’s Midtown Alley (one of the newer STL urban renewal areas) and has a very calculated industrial chic feel to it–exposed beams and ductwork, brushed metal and warm wood. The original workshop area of the building is where the actual brewery is located; large metal and glass windows (where the bay doors would have been) are illuminated at night to show off the shiny
brewing equipment from the street. The main part of the building has become the warmly lit and very inviting tasting room and was, last night at least, pretty packed. The crowd seemed to run the gamut from beardy beer geeks to older couples out for the night and, for the most part, everyone seemed to be digging the live music. The atmosphere was altogether warm and inviting (I kept looking around for Tiny Tim and a blazing hearth) and really seemed like a great place to go and hang out on a regular basis (wish I lived closer).
Amy and I were able to try two beers (we were kind of pressed for time and the distance from home limited how much we could drink). Urban Chestnut has two “lines” of beers: Reverence (“Our celebration of beer’s heritage ~ brewing classically-crafted, timeless European beer styles”) and Revolution (“Our contribution to the renaissance of craft beer—brewing artisanal, modern American beers”). We decided to try one from each.
Being the hop lover that I am, I went with the Hopfen (ABV- 6.2%, IBU’s- 55)–a “‘Bavarian IPA’…brewed and dry-hopped with a variety of Hallertau Hops”. I loved it immediately. Bold, hoppy, crisp and refreshing. I could have had 10 of them, judging by how easily the first one went down.
Amy is a malty kind of girl, so she went with the Harwood Myth (ABV- 5.3%, IBU’s-28) an English Style Brown Porter with a smooth and light presence that betrays its deep brown color. There was cocoa and caramel just like the description said and as my wife commented, “smoked chocolate? If there is such a thing…”
I can tell that repeated visits to Urban Chestnut will be necessary to fully determine it’s place in the St. Louis beer scene, but the preliminary data is definitely positive. The atmosphere is like someone’s living room (assuming of course that someone has great taste and lots of beer) and the beer itself doesn’t seem like it should be from a brewery that is in its first few months of production. In fact, pretty much every aspect of the brewery–website, logo, marketing, tap handles, glassware–is extremely polished. I can’t wait to see where Urban Chestnut goes in the coming years. If they keep on their current track, the only place to go will be up.
Have you been to Urban Chestnut? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.