St. Louis Brewing and Schlafly Beer — A Gateway to Great Beer

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St. Louis Brewing, located in St. Louis, Missouri

In the 19th century, St Louis served as the gateway to the West. If St. Louis Brewery, makers of Schlafly Beer, had been around then, gold would have remained in the hills, and no trail to Oregon would have been forged because no one would have left St. Louis.

Today, St. Louis Brewery is Missouri’s largest locally owned independent brewery. They proclaim, “When we opened in 1991, we had no business plan beyond wanting to make great beer and food in a fun atmosphere and enjoy it with our community. To this day, our goals remain unchanged.”

One thing that has changed is their popularity and resultant distribution expansion, although they are sticklers about not over-extending themselves to the point of selling beer that’s not fresh. If you are not yet able to purchase Schlafly at your local watering hole or store, consider a bottle share – they are worthy of your trade.

Distribution Map, from Schlafly's website.
Distribution Map, from Schlafly’s website.

Two recent additions to the Schlafly’s seasonal portfolio include the Double Bean Blonde and the Farmhouse IPA. In truth, purchasing those beers means one is getting four beers for the price of two. Let me explain.

Schlafly Farmhouse IPA. Picture by Mathew Powers
Schlafly Farmhouse IPA. Picture by Mathew Powers

Farmhouse (Dry-Hopped) IPA: It contains all the farm-fresh flavor of a Saison, as well all the hops bitterness of a good IPA. So superbly balanced, both traits shine with every sip of this hoppy farmhouse ale. Three hops, dry-hopping, and the use of French Saison yeast result in a complex flavor profile including breadiness from the yeast, a harvest’s worth of farm-fresh flavors, and floral, earthy, and tropical hops bitterness.

About the hops, Schlafly comments, “Our dry-hopping process is crucial to this IPA: we use the Centennial variety for both bitterness and tones of floral and citrus, and Mosaic hops for its distinct aromas of fruit, herbs and pine.” In addition, there is a terrific aroma and good carbonation kick — not too much, but just enough – that compliments the brew very well.

 

For the geeks:

  • ABV:   7.2   |   IBU:   40   

  • APPEARANCE : Golden, Hazy

  • PROCESS: Dry-Hopped Farmhouse Ale

  • HOPS : Chinook, Centennial, Mosiac

  • GRAINS : Europils, White Wheat, Cara 8

  • YEAST : French Saison

  • SRM: 6

Schlafly Double Bean Blonde. Picture by Mathew Powers.
Schlafly Double Bean Blonde. Picture by Mathew Powers.

Double Bean Blonde: This brew similarly enjoys two personalities that exist simultaneously. Double Bean presents all the wonderful coffee and chocolate notes one might discover in a porter or stout, yet it’s clean and light like a good easy-drinking ale (in fact, it could fool you into thinking it’s a refreshing lager).

On a side note, it’s another example of brewing prowess that allows a coffee-hater such as me to become a  coffee-beer aficionado. I recently wrote about this in my review of Rogue’s Cold Brew IPA.  Brewers are geniuses.

But, I digress.

For this brew, the coffee aroma, which is something I do truly enjoy, emanates from the bottle the second the top is removed. The coffee flavor, as well, is the star while the chocolate plays the role of sidekick until the finish – the pleasant chocolate aftertaste is really nice.  

For the geeks:

  • ABV:   6.3   |   IBU:   25   

  • APPEARANCE: Golden, Hazy

  • PROCESS: Blonde Ale Brewed With Cocoa Nibs and French Roast Coffee

  • HOPS: Marynka

  • GRAINS: Pale, Carapils

  • YEAST : American Ale

  • SRM: 6

Schlafly Summer Patio Pack - Photo courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide & Schlafly Beer
Schlafly Summer Patio Pack – Photo courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide & Schlafly Beer

Both dual-personality beers are fitting for spring and summer, but that’s not the only way Schlafly can help beer lovers transition to longer days, warmer sun, and backyard barbeques. They also have Summer Patio Pack, comprised of four beers.

Grapefruit IPA (5% ABV)

This is a year-round beer that I featured in a grapefruit-flavored beer piece in the March/April edition of Chilled Magazine (Vol 9, Issue 1) titled “It’s Good for the Soul” (a play on a Jimmy Buffet song). I featured it because it’s exceptionally good. It’s a dry-Ctira-hopped IPA with  infused with puréed whole American-grown grapefruit. The aroma is this beer’s best feature, but it’s not be because the taste is lacking. There’s some serious tangy pop to this otherwise solid IPA. But, the aroma is incredible – it makes you want to drink it over and over again. Forget all the geeky lingo – this is a great IPA with an awesome grapefruit kick. It’s perfect with some grilled chicken or white fish, especially if it’s wrapped it in a tortilla.  Yum!


Raspberry Hefeweizen (4.1% ABV)

Sadly, I have not tried this one (yet!), so I will let Schlafly describe it.

“This unfiltered, true fruit beer exemplifies Schlafly’s approach of using real ingredients and innovative processes for a distinct version of traditional beer styles. Schlafly’s Raspberry Hefeweizen includes a raspberry purée during the primary fermentation process, and with 16 IBUs, the resulting brew pours hazy pink with citrus aromas on the nose and mildly tart flavors in each sip. “


Summer Lager (4.5% ABV)

This is a quintessential lager. If you are new to craft, this style of beer will seem familiar to you. If you are a craft-beer aficionado, you’ll appreciate it for its superb quality and recognize its European inspiration.  It’s easy-drinking, light, and offers notes of citrus (lemon), and earthy spiciness – not quite like a wheat beer, but enough to wake up one’s taste buds. This is a great tailgating or picnic beer because it’s sessionable and thirst quenching. I mean, why would anyone want to stay thirsty? Extinguish that thirst with this summer lager.


Yakima Wheat Ale (5% ABV)

I honestly can’t describe this beer better than Schlafly does, so here it is:

“Returning to bottles for the first time in four years, Yakima Wheat Ale is brewed with American hops from the Yakima River Valley in Washington State, with a blend of wheat and barley that imparts notes of toffee sweetness. Marynka and Mosaic hops bring the earthiness, with Challenger hops contributing to the spiciness of pepper and juniper. The result is a crisp, refreshing wheat ale with 25 IBUs and a hoppy bite.” Well said, well said.

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Final Thought:  

In a craft-brew world filled with giants, such as Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Sam Adams, there exists a 2nd tier of “big boys” such as Allagash, Deschutes, Ale Smith and breweries of that ilk – Schlafly is right there with those guys. They understand how to ramp up production without sacrificing that little guy, nano-brewery, home-brewer mentality. It’s just really good beer.

 

Mathew Powers

Mathew Powers

Forever part of the Sommbeer family, Matt's journey from beer geek to beer writer has included regular contributions to Chilled Magazine, Thrillist.com, and his blog, "A Pint of Chicago," for the Chicago Tribune Media Group. He's also published non-beer-related items on various magazines, "webzines," and Ebooks. But, Sommbeer was, is, and always will be his home.
Mathew Powers