In the 1830s, immigrants from Germany and Bohemia began settling in St. Louis, MO. Not only were these Central Europeans a natural customer base for beer, but their ranks also included many skilled craftsmen who brewed good beer with abundant local water, kept cool in limestone caves indigenous to the area.
Names like Anheuser, Lemp and Falstaff became synonymous with beer in St. Louis, and beyond. Today, a rich local brewing tradition continues along the Mississippi River.
Names like Anheuser, Lemp and Falstaff became synonymous with beer in St. Louis, and beyond. Today, a rich local brewing tradition continues along the Mississippi River. It’s easy to find terrific hand crafted beer in the shadow of the Gateway Arch, the city’s most recognizable landmark.
Brewing’s new chapter began in 1991 when the St. Louis Brewing Co. opened its doors. Its principal owner is local attorney Tom Schlafly. You probably recognize the product as Schlafly Brand Beers. He and a chap named Dan Kopman, who had worked at the famous Young’s Brewery in England, wanted to produce good, local microbrew. That they do, even though they’ve grown quite a bit since opening day.
The Schlafly Taproom, located at 2100 Locust Street (at 21st Street), was the first brewpub to open in Missouri. This beautifully restored historic structure was built at the turn of the century for a printing company that occupied it until 1969. It stood vacant for years and survived a fire, which destroyed several of the surrounding buildings in 1976. You can still see heat damage on some of the beams inside.
Park in the lot next to the rear door, and you’ll pass through a mini-hop garden on your way to the dining area and tap room. The brick walls and wooden floors call out “industrial,” yet it has a European aura. Be sure to look for the blackboard that lists Schlafly’s 100-plus tap accounts. Near the 15-barrel DME brewing system, you’ll see a running count of how many batches of beer have been produced this year.
Pale Ale is the flagship product, but you’ll find the full line of Schlafly beers from an American pilsner-style lager to a barleywine, as well as three rotating seasonal selections on tap. On a late September afternoon, we enjoyed a saison and an Oktoberfest. The menu, which is paired with house beers, includes moules frites, a liverwurst sandwich, and pretty much everything in-between.
There’s more to the St. Louis Brewery empire: the Schlafly Bottleworks, not far away at 7260 Southwest Ave. in Maplewood, opened in 2003. It was the first new production brewery to open since the end of Prohibition. Located in a former supermarket, it has a half-acre garden, where herbs and produce are grown for the on-site restaurant. There’s even an outdoor farmers market in the warm months.
If you can’t get to visit either location—although we highly recommend you do—it’s easy to find Schlafly beers at local bars and liquor stores. Even fans attending Cardinal baseball games at Busch Stadium can quaff a Schlafly.