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We rocked into St Louis (which is pretty much where we focused our Missouri tour).
With statistically more (reported) murders than Rio, we easily made the decision not to mention the crime statics to our family. Spoiler alert: We didn’t get shot. In fact we met some of the friendliest people we’d met in America. So, boo you statistics!
We were here of course to check out the incredible beer scene and to see what this historic city is all about. Due to its lucrative central location on the Mississippi river, St Louis has developed into one of the central manufacturing & transport locations of America, ever since it was first inhabited by Europeans in the late 1700s. This was probably why it’s most famous brewery, Budweiser was located here and subsequently grew rapidly to distribute across the whole of the US. Established in 1852, and now part of the world’s largest brewing company AB InBev. Budweiser, or as we fondly call it “piss” is probably the most known beer in the world. However if you’ve got any gist of this blog, that does not make it good.
Thankfully for us, Budweiser was by no means the draw to this place and we had many a quality, carefully selected independent craft brewery to see first, starting with Side Project.
Believe it or not, Side Project Cellar was started as a side project, whilst their owner & brewer worked at Perennial Artisan Ales. It was referred to as a “must do” stop in St Louis by many. And we were pleased we did.
We were unable to visit them at their brewery as they were having a hectic week & their brewery tap is only open at weekends. However luckily their Cellar bar is open Tuesday-Saturday so it was a no brainer to drop in and have a drink.
We liked their humungous bound beer list, sectioned off by the temperature they are served at. Fancy touch. We settled down for a few delicious bottles, and this is where the friendliness kicked in. I don’t know if everyone who was there was just friendly drunks, but in the hour we were there we had a full list of places to visit in Vermont and Boston, all with free accommodation. We were chatting away whilst sharing a $45 bottle of Side Project’s “Kriek de fermier”- a delicious saison aged in French oak wine barrels with Danish cherries from Frederiksdal Winery, with a couple who’d bought it and just fancied sharing it with us.
Safe to say the beer was great, company was excellent and the setting pretty decent too.
With the brewing heritage of the team at Side Project we were excited to see what was going on at Perennial Artisan Ales . Contrary to Side Project they have heaps of outdoor space which would be perfect for a sunny day, however also contrary to Side Project they were pretty damn quiet when we visited. The place therefore lacked any real atmosphere which was a shame, as the beers were pretty awesome & the staff were friendly. If only we could go back on a Saturday!
It was an interesting visit to 4 Hands Brewing. Busy. Packed full of people enjoying an after work pint, it was a really nice place to sit & have a brew or two, even if it didn’t have the beer geek caliber of Perennial Artisan or Side Project.
It became quite an interesting pint, as Planned Parenthood were having a meeting upstairs in the event room as we enjoyed a drink downstairs. As we left, there was a small group of anti-abortion picketers outside, due to said meeting occurring inside. This was pretty shocking for us as that really isn’t a thing in the UK, so we happily gave the picketers our best British two fingered salute as we drove past.
For bottles, the St Louis Hop Shop is run by two super friendly guys, Justin & Ryan. With a couple of tasting taps, fridges, a decent selection of ever changing local beer and probably the friendliest service we’ve received, this is one of our favourite bottle shops of the trip so far.
They run weekly tastings with local breweries, host events and whilst we were in they had a local distillery in sampling their whisky, so worth checking on their website if they have an event on whilst you’re in town!