As far as culture goes in the STL area, the “bedroom community” (and my hometown) of St. Charles is not known for much. Unless you count wicker baskets and historical re-enactments as culture. As far as good beer goes, St. Charles has one “microbrewery” (Trailhead… although no one serious about beer ever really considers Trailhead) and about three “beer bars” (The Old Millstream Inn –awesome, Llywellyn’s Pub –whose beer list is largely AB-InBev products, and R.T. Weiller’s— although it seems people typically go to R.T.’s for the food and discover that they have a decent beer list). No one comes to St. Charles for beer. However, that might be changing.
For the past two months, I have been attending what Picasso’s Coffee House owner Chris Schulte has dubbed “Beer U”–an attempt at educating the masses about good beer (Full Disclosure: Beer U was a collaboration between Chris and myself–inasmuch as I begged Chris to do it 🙂) In a recent conversation, Chris talked about how beer–and specifically craft beer–fits in with his entrepreneurial vision. He said:
“At Picasso’s, we cater to the connoisseur. This person is looking for a beverage that is out of the ordinary, prepared with great care and skill. [Our] coffee and espresso beverages are truly unique…Similarly, in offering a beer and wine menu, we are try to cater to that same connoisseur (perhaps at a different time of day)… In tasting these drinks, we are all interested in the preparation or creation of these beverages. We taste them and look for body, finish and unique qualities in the beverage that set it apart from others.”
Beer U is an effort to broaden the horizons of the people who walk in the door. It attempts to take something that most people view as pedestrian (beer) and elevate it a bit. Much like what Picasso’s has done with coffee.
I must say that the Beer U events that I have attended (one in February and one in March) have been entertaining and informative. Representatives from the beer distributors come in and talk about a specific brewery. In February, we learned about Abita and in March, Sierra Nevada. I think wherever you find yourself on the Beer Geek Spectrum, you would definitely get something out of the evening. If nothing else, it’s a good way to meet like-minded Beer Geek individuals.
Tonight (April 27th, 2011) the featured brewery will be our neighbors to the West, Boulevard Brewing Company. We will be tasting some of the Smokestack Series (some of Boulevard’s best beers in my opinion). I even heard a rumor via Facebook that the distributor is bring some Chocolate Ale with him. Should be a great night. Come on out and get your Beer U knowledge for the month!
20 bucks gets you tastes of all the beers, appetizers from Frankie Tocco’s Pizzeria, Boulevard SWAG and tickets for three beers of your choice after the tasting is complete.
(Update– Tonight’s Boulevard beers: Saison Brett Batch 2009, Chocolate Ale, Bourbon Barrel Quad, Seeyoulater Doppelbock 2009, and Dark Truth Stout. Awesome dark and heavy lineup!)
Picasso’s Coffee House
101 North Main Street
St. Charles, MO 63301-2826