In addition to being the oldest alcoholic beverage known, beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic drink worldwide, and it is thought to be the third most popular drink of any kind, after water and tea. If you want your beer fresh and not loaded with preservatives, what better place than right where it’s brewed, at a brewpub?
Brewpubs and microbreweries produce hand-crafted ales, porters and stouts, pilsners, lagers and many other varieties of beer. A brewpub brews and sells beers on the premises; a microbrewery offers its produce through other outlets. Quite often the two are one establishment.
Brewpubs serve the finest of the brewer’s art, often combined with an eclectic menu of savory dishes, all designed to quell your thirst and your appetite—and there usually seems to be a TV or two tuned to a sports channel.
If you’re in search of the perfect spot for a bit of local flavor (the flavors vary greatly), served with a bit of camaraderie in a friendly atmosphere, grab your significant-other, your best friend, or someone you don’t know yet, and get-on-down to a brewpub near you. Below are a few suggestions; most have outdoor seating in good weather; many provide live music, weekends and holidays. (Click the links for details.)
In St. Louis, Morgan Street Brewery occupies one of the oldest buildings in the Laclede’s Landing district along the Mississippi River. When the weather is right, sit at a table on the sidewalk along the 200-year-old cobblestone street, and do some people watching.
Four blocks from the St. Louis Union Station complex, Schlafly Tap Room was the first brewpub to open in Missouri after Prohibition. Of their 50 or so beers, nearly a dozen styles are on tap on any given day.
Also in St. Louis, Square One Brewery, in the Lafayette Square district, produces a long list of beers, with a revolving selection on tap.
On the banks of the Missouri River in St. Charles, Trailhead Brewing Company serves half a dozen hand-crafting beers and an extensive menu. The three-story facility is two blocks from the Ameristar Casino.
Buckner Brewing Company and Ragsdales Pub, in downtown Cape Girardeau, treats guests to a fantastic view of the Mississippi River.
Located a few steps from the Katy Trail, Augusta Brewing Company is a fine companion to the wineries in Augusta. In addition to their regular selection of hand-crafted beers and rotating seasonal brews, they offer several local wines.
In the tiny village of Berger, perched atop the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River bottoms seven miles east of Hermann, you’ll discover a double treat in one location at Bias Winery and Gruhlke’s Microbrewery.
Hit another double at Bull Rock Brewery and Native Stone Winery, nine miles northwest of Jefferson City. Bull Rock Brewery is named in honor of a nearby rock formation noted in the journals of Lewis and Clark on their Voyage of Discovery.
Jefferson City’s newest hotspot is Prison Brews, a unique brewpub located three blocks from the historic (1836-2004) Missouri State Penitentiary . . . thus the name. The large outdoor patio includes two bocce courts. Indoors, the relaxed “cellblock” environment is enchanting.
Columbia offers one of the most successful brewpubs in the Midwest. Flat Branch Pub and Brewing was voted Best Brewpub in Missouri, by Rural Missouri Magazine and One of the Best Bars in America by Esquire magazine. They brew more than 50 regular and seasonal selections, with a dozen or more on tap at any given time.
In Aurora, thirty miles southwest of Springfield, stop in at Bootlegger’s Brewery, a unique experience set in a circa 1980s bank building.
Springfield Brewing Company, in Springfield, features pool tables, a cigar lounge, and an open-air patio.
Kansas City’s first brewpub, the 75th Street Brewery, is home to award-winning, hand-crafted beers, all brewed following the great traditions of England, Germany, Ireland, and the Czech Republic.
Also in Kansas City, McCoy’s Public House offers a spacious outdoor deck overlooking the thriving Westport entertainment district. In the cigar lounge, relax in a leather chair and enjoy some of the finest cigars from around the world.
There you have it. A taste (pun intended) of the ever growing list of brewpubs to be enjoyed in Missouri. For information on other Missouri attractions, events and vacation ideas, and to order a free 2011 Official Missouri Vacation Planner, logon at www.VisitMO.com. Also, the Vacation Planner is available by calling 800-519-4800.