Thursday, May 21, 2009

36 Hours In St. Louis

We continue our Memorial Day travels to St. Louis, MO. Ex-home to America's Largest Brewery, it is now the home to one division of an international beverage marketing group based out of Belgium and Brazil called InBev. But there's more, much more, to the city than Budweiser. Our friend Mike at StL Hops has put together a heck of a weekend for you.


5PM - Hey, who got city in my museum?

You've probably just now rolled across the Mississippi and have begun singing "Deep River" like Clark Griswold. The city of St. Louis is laid out in front to you, but where to start? Well, it's a bit too early for dinner, (unless you're my parents) so it's time to stretch the legs. One of the more unusual locations in the area is the City Museum. Not your Father's museum, the City Museum bills itself as an "eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel."

Run around MonstroCity or view the World Aquarium, the City Museum presents a hodge-podge of sensory delights that will surely awaken your travel-weary bones.

beer-1222_1280x9607:30PM -Pubgrub

After all of that exploring, you've probably worked up an appetite. Luckily, you're close to the original location of the largest local brewery in St. Louis and the second largest craft brewery in Missouri, the Schlafly Tap Room. In 1989, Tom Schlafly and Dan Kopman incorporated and created the Saint Louis Brewery, soon after they purchased the Swift Printing Company and the rest is history.

Today you'll find that the wooden interior and stainless steel brewery equipment lends itself to warm dining experience. Chef Andy White has turned what was previously a ho-hum menu into a wonderful gastropub experience. Also, this is only location in the area to experience Schlafly beer on cask.

9:30PM - I'm sure you'll see me here.

33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar is probably the hippest bar in St. Louis, because it's not trying to be the hippest bar in St. Louis. 33 features a casual atmosphere with one of the best hand-picked beer lists in St. Louis. Here you'll find not only over 100 beer selections, but even aged beer and probably the largest selections of sour beer at a bar in St. Louis. If it's not an unbearably humid St. Louis night, check out the back patio, just make sure to go and get your own drinks at the bar.


10AM - Taste of St. Louis

Not unlike my beer, I like my food local, both are usually fresher and tastier when they don't have to travel very far. If you're looking for a local breakfast, Cafe Osage is probably your best choice in St. Louis. With the produce being grown in the vegetable garden across the street and fresh herbs grown on the Café Osage Green Roof, I'd say that's pretty darn local.

12PM - Takin' the tour, takin' the tour.

Oh sure, you could visit another large brewery and go through their fancy-schmancy tour, but then try to ask them a question about brewing and watch the deer in the headlights stare you'll quickly receive. Then again, maybe you're a sadist and you enjoy that type of thing? If you're not though, hit up the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood for one of their hourly tours detailing what it's like to brew beer that actually has some taste.

1293043321_1280x9602PM - 3.14159265
You may be now working up another appetite, so it's time to visit your favorite mathematical constant, Pi. Pizza is a very personal thing and many a divorce and fist fight have been fought over what kind of pizza is best. Luckily, Pi offers something for everyone including you vegan types. Hell, even President Obama digs on Pi.

5PM -Prepare to spend some money.

It's time to hit the East Side! In this case it's to visit Corral Liquors in Granite City, IL. Corral Liquors has one of the largest selections of beer in the St. Louis area and allows you to purchase any single bottle to create your own Mix-a-Six. On the Illinois side you'll find beers from breweries you can't get in Missouri, such as Three Floyds. Port/Lost Abbey and Dogfish Head. If you've got a cooler in the car, throw those beers in, you're going to need them cold for the next place you're going to.

2009_05_16_1516_1280x8536:30PM - Save those quarters for laundry.

Sure it may not look like much from the outside, but every couple weekends a month CP Pinball lights up over 45 pinball machines and lets you get about the best value for $10 you're going to find in the St. Louis area. The best part? Besides the fact it's 10 bucks to play as much pinball as you want for free, it's BYOB. So kick back, crack open a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA and enjoy some Addams Family Pinball.

Just make sure CP is open the weekend you're visiting, as I said above, Charles only opens the place a couple of weekends a month.

beer-2221_1280x9608PM - Putting the South in Southern Illinois.

Too few places in St. Louis has great food and great beer, it's kind of a shame and something I've been trying to work hard to change. But one of the places that puts it all together is Erato on Main in Edwardsville, IL. Chef Kevin Willmann blends local produce and some of the freshest seafood in the country with his on spin on Southern comfort dishes. The beer list gives you numerous options to choose from, including plenty of draught beers and things you don't normally see on local beer lists, such as sour beer.


10AM - Insert "rooster" joke here.

Are you up finally? Jeez, it's 10AM! You're going to sleep your life away! Well, haul your butt down to Rooster and wash out that coating of sour beer with one of Rooster's mimosas or if you're going down that route, may as well have another beer. I always enjoy a Hitachino White Nest in the morning. Oh, make sure to get a Rooster Slinger, it's the best way to start a morning and to end a trip.

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