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In expansion, St. Louis’ Schlafly Beer to start brewing in Nashville at Blackstone Brewery

July 20, 2011 By: mike Category: Beer in the news, Breweries, Craft beer

Schlafly & Blackstone

Schlafly and Blackstone breweries are forming "an alliance," says Schlafly co-founder Dan Kopman.

A decade ago, in the land of Anheuser-Busch, Schlafly Beer made just 9,383 U.S. barrels of craft beer.

In that same year, 2001, the St. Louis brewery took its first significant step to expand, buying an old grocery store in Maplewood, Mo., that would later open as the Schlafly Bottleworks in 2003.

With the increased capacity, Schlafly began to expand production. In 2010, it brewed about 35,000 barrels of beer, and is on pace to brew over 40,000 this year. Schlafly distributes in Kansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

Schlafly is now quickly approaching capacity again. With that in mind, Schlafly has struck a deal to begin brewing beer in Nashville.

As part of a long-term agreement, Schlafly beer will be brewed at Blackstone Brewery’s new production brewery starting later this year. That’s according to a recent blog post from Schlafly co-founder Dan Kopman.

This agreement will allow for continued growth of Schlafly in Tennessee and the surrounding areas as well as free up some much needed capacity at Schlafly Bottleworks in St. Louis.” [source]

According to Kopman’s blog post, the deal came about through an old friend. Dave Miller was the first Head Brewer at The Schlafly Tap Room in 1991. Miller later moved to Nashville to be Head Brewery at Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery. Miller, along with Kent Taylor and Stephanie Weins, owners at Blackstone, started planning a few years ago to build a new production brewery in addition to their brewpub. As a result, they sought advice from the folks at Schlafly about starting a production brewery in Nashville.

We got together in both Nashville and St. Louis and realized that we could form an alliance that would benefit both of us. We’re now happy to announce that we have a long term agreement with Kent and Stephanie to access some of their capacity in order to produce some Schlafly Beer at their new Brewery in Nashville beginning later this year,” Kopman wrote. “… The exact timing still depends on the go-ahead from our Quality Team.”

Details of the arrangement were not disclosed in the post.

So what do you guys think about the expansion plans? Leave a comment below.

St. Louis beer tour, Part 2: Morgan Street fail(s), and a decent Downtown sports bar

January 13, 2011 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Favorite Bars, Travelin'

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 

So, it’s about 8 p.m. on a Monday night in St. Louis and — as told in Part 1 of this series — I’ve just had a tasty meal and a pair of great beers at the Schlafly Tap Room. I’d like to make one more stop before calling it a night, so we head to the Morgan Street Brewery, the closest St. Louis brewery to my hotel Downtown that features a slew of beers crafted on site, including a Honey Wheat and a Cobblestone Steam Lager.

Here’s where things go wrong.

Fail #1: I got a Garmin for Christmas and immediately found myself relying on this GPS device to find my way around St. Louis. It had generally been reliable — until now. The exit off the interstate to get to Laclede’s Landing was closed, unbeknownst to Garmin, and we end up across the bridge in Illinois, briefly lost and definitely frustrated. We turn around and get back on track, make it to Laclede’s Landing, rumble over the cobblestones, and pay $5 to park.

Morgan Street Brewery in St. LouisFail #2: We walk up to the Morgan Street Brewery. I snap a few exterior photos. I can almost taste the malty goodness. We walk up to the door. And … it’s locked. Yep, Monday night, around 8:30, and the place is closed. I had just checked the website earlier in the day, and the place was supposed to be open from 4 p.m. to 2:3o a.m. No sign on the door. No sign of life inside. Nothing. Big ‘ol waste of time. And $5 poorer.

OK, so we head back to the hotel, the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, a pretty nice place and the closest you can possibly stay to the Arch, and try to salvage the ending to this night.

We had earlier noticed a bar in the hotel, the Brewhouse Saint Louis Historical Sports Bar, so we make a beeline there as soon as we get back to the Hyatt.

I was pleasantly surprised.Brewhouse Saint Louis Historical Sports Bar

The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons were on the TVs, all 18 of them, and the game is close. I get a copy of the beer list, and life is good.

The menu had a mix of St. Louis beers, from Budweiser to Schlafly to O’Fallon, as well as craft beers from across the country.

My brother had been to St. Louis recently and brought back some O’Fallon Hemp Hop Rye, which was decent. That’s what Sara ordered. Instead, I got the O’Fallon 5-Day IPA, an American-style India Pale Ale that’s dry-hopped for “five extra days” with 11 lbs. of Cascade whole hops per batch, as well as some Glacier hops. It had a very piny hop flavor and was nicely balanced by the sweet malts. It was a good beer, and I ended up getting another on my last night in St. Louis at a cool place called 1111 Mississippi.

"Your Beer Here" napkin

For my last beer at the Brewhouse, I decided to try something from Colorado. I ordered the Titan IPA from Great Divide, which was the first beer I’d tried from this Denver brewing company. It’s a heavily hopped IPA, with both piny and citrus taste and aroma, and a 7.1% ABV. I liked it, but ultimately preferred the O’Fallon.

I didn’t have any food at the Brewhouse, but it features some typical pub grub — nachos, wings, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers — as well as bangers and mash, smoked beef brisket and fish ‘n chips. It all looked pretty good.

The place also sells some cool T-shirts that say “Brew Me,” which I pondered purchasing, but passed on.

The Brewhouse has a nice laid-back vibe, and I’d definitely recommend it to people staying in Downtown St. Louis who are in need a dose of beer and sports.

Coming next week: Part 3 takes me to another brewpub in St. Louis, and I sample every beer in the house.

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.