Satuday, Matt + I, along with the rest of my family, had the opportunity to go on a VIP Schlafly Tour. If you know me well, you know that Schlafly is my absolute favorite beer, particularly their Pumpkin Ale, which is only available in the fall. Of course, our tour happened at a time when I can’t exactly drink my refreshing summer beverage of choice. So, instead, I’m going to let the brains of the family – the wonderful Hubs – tell you all about it!
Since The Concrete Runner is unable to partake in alcoholic beverages at this time, you are stuck with me, I will be your substitute blogger for the day.
(writes name on board substitute teacher style)
Please open your text books to the unit on architecture in the St. Louis Area. There will be a quiz on this material when I am finished so pay attention!
The Schlafly Tap Room is located in St. Louis Missouri in the former John S. Swift Printing Building, a building that was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1980. The building was originally designed in 1901 and various parts were completed between 1902 and 1904. It was in use until 1969, and sat vacant deteriorating until 1976, when the building almost was almost lost when a fire engulfed the whole block, and even today, the heat damage is still visible on the beams inside the Tap Room. The structure sat vacant for another 15 years until Thomas Schlafly opened The Schlafly Tap Room in 1991. At this point it became the first new brewpub in Missouri since Prohibition.
My 94 year old Grandfather worked in this building for over 20 years between the 1940’s -1960’s and though he has had his share of health issues recently, we had the joy about 15 years ago of taking Grandpa to the fairly new Tap Room. We saw his face light up (no not just because of the beer!) from his memories of streetcars and printing presses – the stories did not stop all day. The manager’s were eager to take him around through the old buildings to give the staff a tour of what the place once was in it’s former glory.
Now onto the beer!
Schlafly Beer produces more than 40 styles of hand crafted microbrewed beers every year, and we were just lucky enough to sample a few of their products on our private tour. Our first stop on the tour was to the three fermenting tanks housed on the first floor of the building. After a sampling of the barley and wheat used in the beers, and hearing briefly about the basics of the brewing process, we headed downstairs where several more tanks and the bottling machines are stored.
Next was our stop at the almost ready to be bottled Dry-Hopped American Pale Ale (APA). This was a bitter, hoppy ale that had a slight cloudy appearance, a very strong pineapple smell and a strong citrus flavor. I preferred this beer over the mass produced commercial “beers” St. Louis is known for, but I was definitely in the minority of our group as most of the group had trouble finishing this beer. I graciously had my sample, as well as The Concrete Runner’s!
We then were able to choose from two of Schlafly’s 750ml beers that are bottled in champagne style bottles for our group to sample. The women overwhelmingly chose the Tripel, a very light, smooth golden ale with almost fruity flavors of citrus, honey, and apples. Don’t let this one fool you, it is no wine cooler! Though it wasn’t my particular favorite, it is still a strong 10% alcohol by volume (as opposed to the 5.9 ABV of the APA) so watch out!
I am unsure if The Concrete Runner informed you of this, but I have a fascination with two beverages of which I am somewhat of a self proclaimed connoisseur. One is Root Beer, and the other is/are Bourbons and Whiskies. Fittingly, for our group’s other choice , I chose the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (again…10% alcohol!), another of the 750ml bottles. This is a dark beer with coffee, molasses, and slight chocolate flavors. The best part of the beer was the Bourbon flavor: undertones of oak, caramel, and vanilla imparted from the three month fermentation in freshly emptied bourbon barrels. Schlafly at one time was using Jim Beam barrels, but now they use Bourbon barrels from a micro-distillery in Bardstown, KY.
Overall it was a very good tour and tasting. I was so glad to have sampled the Bourbon Stout, I will be having that again! And now, apparently I am up to a case of pumpkin ale AND a brewery tour that I owe The Concrete Runner in October once our little one is born. I’ll be glad to have my drinking partner back though, drinking alone is just no fun!