I have always associated summer with beer: nothing better on a blistering Missouri summer day than an ice-cold brew. With Labor Day (the unofficial end of summer) in the rear view mirror, and the official start of fall just around the corner, you might think beer-drinking season is winding down. But, happily, you’d be wrong.
First, there are always some hot fall days in the Show-Me State that just beg for a cold one. Even better, there are all the eagerly-anticipated specialty autumn beers (I’m looking at you, pumpkin spice!) hitting the brew pubs. And finally, if you haven’t yet found your perfect fall thirst-quencher, there are ample opportunities to explore your options at fall festivals specifically dedicated to foamy deliciousness.
It’s short notice, I know, but the fun starts September 9 with the Washington Brewfest, featuring more than 40 microbrew beers from 18 breweries available for sampling, plus live music, food and even mixed drinks for sale. Also on the 9th, the KC Beer Fest in the Power and Light District is a don’t-miss event raising funds and awareness for clean, safe drinking water in developing countries.
HOP in the City Beer Festival on September 16 in St. Louis is Schlafly’s biggest party of the year at the Schlafly Tap Room, featuring 40 different beer styles. Or head to Raytown on September 16 for the Festival of the Lost Township showcasing brewers and homebrewers, as well as music and food. Big Top Brew Fest (formerly Mid-Missouri Beer Festival) in Mexico takes place September 23 at the John J. Dillon KC Club Grounds. They’ll present live music by King Benny and beer from more than 20 different breweries. And the third annual Craft on Tap in Clayton is also scheduled for September 23 and will feature music by Whiskey Dixon; food by Mission Taco, Slide Piece and Garbanzos; and giant-size games.
Of course, there’s always plenty of beer to be had at Oktoberfests: in Lee’s Summit September 22 … in Belton and Rolla on September 30 … and each full weekend in October in Hermann … just to name a few.
But Oktoberfests don’t replace other beer festivals, they just enhance the selection. On October 7, Augusta hosts the 15th Annual Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival, with beer tasting at Augusta Brewing Co. and live music from Rhythm Imperials. Back in St. Louis, the Missouri Botanical Garden celebrates local beer and the region’s microbreweries during Fest-of-Ale on October 13.
November’s offerings include Tapped: The Ultimate Craft Beer Festival in Kansas City … the Westport Strong Ale Fest 2017, also in Kansas City …and the Ozarks Beerfest in Springfield.
Finally, there are other beer festivals that take place annually; I’ve included them in the list below. And keep an eye on VisitMO.com events for more to come.
All this talk of beer makes me want to end with a toast. Now, most great toasts are made to the guy who’s buying, but at these festivals, the drinks are on the house. So lift your glass to a favorite from Missouri native son Mark Twain: “So live that when you come to die, even the undertaker will feel sorry for you.”