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St. Louis beer tour, Part 1: Schlafly Tap Room

January 11, 2011 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Favorite Bars, Travelin'

St Louis, Missouri, home of Anheuser-Busch, is undoubtedly a town where Budweiser is King. But look just below the surface and you’ll find a vibrant beer scene with a real appetite for quality brews. I visited St. Louis for four days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and took in as much of the St Louis beer culture as I could squeeze in. I’ll be blogging about it over the next few weeks (in 5 parts, no less!), starting with my first night in town at the granddaddy of Missouri brewpubs – the Schlafly Tap Room.

Read all entries from the St. Louis beer tour:
Part 1: Schlafly Tap Room || Part 2: Morgan Street fail(s), and a decent Downtown sports bar || Part 3: Six Row Brewing Company || Part 4: Straub’s (Bringing home some beer) || Part 5: Anheuser-Busch 

Schlafly Tap Room

Schlafly Tap Room

I first tried Schlafly beer at the Cooper Young Regional Beerfest, which found our homebrew club tent right next to the guy serving the Schlafly beer. I loved Schlafly’s Dry-Hopped APA, and added a brewery tour to the “to-do list” for my next visit to St. Louis.

Well, the brewery wasn’t open for tours when we visited, so we skipped the Schlalfy Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Ave.), a restaurant that’s next to the commercial brewery, and headed instead to the Tap Room (2100 Locust Street), just north of Downtown. The Tap Room is where the brewers really get to experiment with their recipes, and features a long list of seasonal and special beers, in addition to the Schlafly standards. It’s not-to-be-missed.

Opened in 1991, the Tap Room was the first brewpub to open in the state. The two-building complex that houses the Tap Room dates back to 1904 and was originally the Lambert-Deacon-Hull Printing Company, and then the Swift Printing Company.

Inside the Schlafly Tap Room

Inside the Schlafly Tap Room

When Schlafly bought the complex, the buildings were burned-out shells, neglected since a major fire in 1976.

Owners Tom Schlalfy and Dan Kopman did a wonderful job with the restoration, giving the brewpub an elegant, comfortable feel set against the gorgeous turn-of-the-century architecture.

The copper brew kettles and tanks are behind glass on one side of the restaurant, which has red-brick walls and wood-plank floors. A large bar lines one side of the main seating area.

German cuisine is the main feature on the food menu at Schlafly’s, and we started with an order of Bavarian-style pretzels with white cheddar sauce. The basket came with five pretzels that looked like giant breadsticks. They were tasty, but salty, and I brushed off much of the salt with my fingers.

Bavarian-style pretzels

Bavarian-style pretzels, with white cheddar sauce, and a Barleywine to drink

It was definitely time for a beer.

For my first, I went for the Barleywine (ABV: 10%; IBU:75), which was a bit of a mistake. Tons of alcohol to drink with an appetizer, though it was sweet, strong and tasty.

Sara went for the American Brown Ale (ABV: 5.7%; IBU: 40), which was rich and malty and damn hoppy. Really liked it.

For the main course, Sara had a green salad adorned with feta cheese and dried cranberries, and a bowl of beer cheese soup, which came with a shot of Schlalfy’s Pale Ale. The soup was beery and delicious.

I ordered the Schnitzel, topped with German potato salad. It was a huge portion of veal that I was able to eat about half of. Yummy, but too much food.

Schlalfly's Imperial Pilsner

Schlafly's Imperial Pilsner

We each ordered a second beer. Sara tried the Pomegranate Cider (ABV 7.2%), which tasted like a pretty standard cider to me, but went down smooth and was quite drinkable.

Meanwhile, I went for the Imperial Pilsner (ABV: 9%; IBU: 40), which was a bit hot but packed a huge dose of hops and malts, making it unlike any pilsner I’d ever had. Liked it enough to buy a 750 ML bottle of it to take home, which I later drank with friends on New Year’s Eve.

I also picked up a bottle of Schlalfly’s Imperial Stout (ABV: 10.5; IBU: 50), which I haven’t yet opened but can’t wait to sample.

Read Part 2  of the St. Louis beer tour, which features a brewpub fail and a sports bar with a great beer selection.

1 Comments to “St. Louis beer tour, Part 1: Schlafly Tap Room”

  1. I had a great evening at the Schlafly tap room last summer. The variety of house brews on tap is amazing, and the food was surprisingly good. Sat at the bar and talked to the bartender and a couple patrons about everything from e-readers to…beer! I’ve tried everything Schlafly that Schnuck’s stocks here in metro Memphis.

    I’m not a huge A-B fan, but I enjoy the tour and have taken it a couple times. Without being snide in any regard, they really treat the beer like a food product, and the tour history focuses on how they standardize the product so it is the same no matter when or where you get it. The tour is worth seeing all that beautiful architecture and ornate interiors for what is essentially a beer factory.

    Looking forward to your next installments to see if we hit any other places in common.


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