Category Archives: Brew Pub

Brew Pub

Hopshot!: Ferguson Brewing Growler

Bear witness to my demise. Last Friday, I drank nearly an entire growler of the Imperial Vanilla Bourbon Porter from Ferguson Brewing Company (not terribly proud of this). I think I’m still feeling it. Such a good beer.

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Urban Chestnut Brewing Company


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

A packed Saturday Night @ Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

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.

Hopfen: "Bavarian IPA"--ABV- 6.2%, IBU’s- 55

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.

Draft Magazine Gets it Right

In 2010, Draft Magazine listed McGurk’s as the best beer bar in St. Louis.   For their 2011 list of Best Beer Bars in America, Draft Magazine seems to have beefed up the STL scouts.  Two of the best “beer bars” in St. Louis, iTap and Bridge, finally made it onto the list.  With nearly 700 beers available between them, these two spots are the most obvious choices in St. Louis.

Congrats to both Bridge and iTap for the well deserved recognition!

While most of the beer news in St. Louis has been the amount of new brew pubs opening up, there are still quite a few beer bars to choose from in the area.  My additions to the “Beer Bar” list for St. Louis, would be the same as last year:

The Stable (http://www.thestablestl.com/)– The fine folks at Stable are definitely doing something right.  Their most recent beer event (tapping a cask of Bell’s Hopslam) saw more than 200 people in attendance and a blown cask in 42 minutes.

Cicero’s (http://ciceros-stl.com/)– Cicero’s continues to be a solidly diverse beer bar that offers free beer school on Wednesdays.

33 Wine Bar (http://www.33wine.com/)– Don’t let the “wine bar” in the name fool you, this  is one of the better kept beer secrets in STL.  They have no sign in front of their Lafayette Square location and, honestly, don’t really need one.  Most of their marketing seems to be from word of mouth and Twitter and from the strength of their awesome beer list.

“Breakfast of Breakfasts” at Stable

On Sunday November 21, 2010, Stable will host the Breakfast of Breakfasts.   From Stable:

This is a beer lovers dream! We’ll open up for brunch at 9:30 am and along with our delicious brunch menu, we’ll be serving Founders Breakfast Stout, Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Canadian Breakfast Stout. You decide if you want to pour them over your waffles.

What an amazing event.  Founders Breakfast Stout would be enough of a reason to get out of bed on its own, but throw in the coveted Kentucky Breakfast Stout, very rare Canadian Breakfast Stout and mix it with Stable’s awesome brunch menu and you’ve got yourself a  reason to nurse your hangover from the STL Hops Anniversary Party.

Friday Beer Snapshot

Spent some time at Ray Hill Brewing Company this past Friday. Their Pumpkin Ale was top notch. I also had a taster of the Peach Wheat (50% of the price goes to fighting breast cancer). Both of these beers are new and are definitely a good sign of where this new STL brewery is headed.

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, you’re missing out.

Directions to Ray Hill Brewing Co: