Beer Bazaar at 4 Hands Brewing Co.

Don’t miss today’s Beer Bazaar at 4 Hands (1220 S 8th St). You’ll find t-shirts, candles, keychains, condiments, coozies, and more – all beer-related and beer themed. I picked up a bottle cap keychain from BKR Woodworks. The Beer Bazaar goes until 3pm.

Today is also the release day for 4 Hands Forbidden Fuzz – an ale aged in bourbon barrels with peaches.

Square One Brewery & Distillery, St. Louis brewing institution

On any given day, thirty percent of Square One Brewery & Distillery’s customers walked from home or work to get there. That’s a point of pride for Square One, according to general manager and brewer emeritus John Witte.

Square One is a Lafayette Square institution. The brewery and restaurant opened in 2006, but owner Steve Neukomm has operated a restaurant in the space since the 1980s. Neukomm leased the space from Bob Cassilly (of City Museum fame) before purchasing the property.

Cassilly’s signature rummage style is apparent in the restaurant, if one cares to look for it. Don’t expect salvaged garbage or found art, but do expect a collage of architecture that celebrates and memorializes the city. The clerestory windows were given a second life in the bar after the demolition of a Catholic church. The massive and ornately carved arch behind the bar is another rescue, as is the stone fountain on the patio.

Just as the architectural quirks of the restaurant are parts of St. Louis’s history, so is Witte a part of the history of craft beer in the region.

Witte began homebrewing in 1988 while studying veterinary medicine. After a short time practicing as a vet, he knew that he wanted to brew beer instead. In 1994 he became the head brewer at Trailhead, one of the region’s early independent breweries. Since then he has mentored young brewers, consulted on brewing and helped to open new breweries in the St. Louis area, taken classes at the Siebel Institute, served as head brewer at Augusta Brewing Co., and in 2006 signed on with Square One as head brewer.

Witte also currently serves as the treasurer and a member of the board of directors at the St. Louis Brewers Guild.

Most of St. Louis’s breweries are on a specific mission: brew, pour, and distribute as much beer as possible on a narrow budget with a trim staff. Beer drinkers like this – it keeps our costs down and allows us to drink a wider variety of beers. Square One Brewery & Distillery has a different plan. Instead of distributing their beers, Square One brews to supply their bar and restaurant.

Dave Wohldmann started at Square One as an assistant brewer, working two days a week alongside Witte. Three years ago Witte began his transition to full-time management, and today Wohldmann is Square One’s head brewer.

Six or seven of Square One’s twelve beers on tap are Witte’s recipes, with varying degrees of collaboration from Wohldmann. The IPA, for example, reminded me why I started drinking craft beer. It was bitter, grassy, and refreshing – everything you’d want in an IPA. The IPA started as Witte’s recipe, but wasn’t dry-hopped until Wohldmann arrived. Wohldmann’s signatures – like dry hopping and late wort hopping – bring new and big flavors to Square One’s beers which allow the brewery to stay on-trend in the rapidly evolving St. Louis beer scene. Witte and Wohldmann continue to collaborate on beers such as the Oh Hawaii, an American wheat beer with carmelized pineapple added to the kegs.

Wohldmann also creates new recipes for Square One, like the MA Bay IPA, and a gose he’ll start brewing in a few weeks. Also in the works is a watermelon wheat, made with ice-distilled watermelon concentrate.

Square One also distills spirits, including three whiskeys which are distributed in Missouri and Southwest Illinois

Square One is located at 1727 Park Ave. in Lafayette Square. Check out their website and tap list at You can purchase tickets to the Brewers Guild’s upcoming Magic House Party here.

Crafty Chameleon celebrates four years of craft beer

Saturday, July 8th, Crafty Chameleon (1384 Clarkson Clayton Center) will celebrate its 4th anniversary.

Beginning at 2pm, Crafty Chameleon will tap specialty beers in celebration of its birthday. There will also be games, live music, and food by Plantain Girl.

Join Crafty Chameleon to toast Jay Quezada and the rest of the Crafty team and enjoy offerings from their extensive draft menu.

The Crafty Chameleon Bar
1384 Clarkson Clayton Center
Ellisville, Mo. 63011

Brasserie serves beer brunch


photo courtesy of @nichefoodgroup

This Saturday, June 24, Brasserie (4580 Laclede Ave.) will serve a prix fixe brunch with beer pairings.

Brasserie, part of the Niche Food Group, teamed up with Rockwell Beer Co. to create an exclusive lineup of Brasserie’s eclectic, seasonal dishes paired with two saisons, a lemonade pale ale, and an English bitter. Rockwell is a coming-soon St. Louis brewery which has served beers like Velour Tracksuit at Heritage Festival and St. Louis Hop Shop.

Two-course brunch with beer pairings is $30 per person. Call (314)454-0600 for reservations.

LEGO NIGHT – a benefit for the Lake family

Tonight from 4-10 pm, 4Hands Brewing Co. will host a benefit for Jordan and Dani Lake. Dani Lake was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

$2 from every draft beer sale will go to the family, as will the proceeds of a silent auction (auction items pictured below).

Upstairs, 4Hands will host a LEGO night, with a LEGO creation contest.

If you are unable to join tonight’s event, considering donating to the family:

Narrow Gauge ventures out

On Thursday, Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. (1595 N. US Highway 67) released a Czech pilsner named FloMo Pils after the brewery’s hometown.

flomo pils.jpg

Czech pilsners are clear, light in color, and may be floral, malty, grassy, or spicy in flavor. They also have a strong hops character.

FloMo, pictured above, meets the expectations of the style. It is clear and golden yellow with a thin white head (characteristic of NG beers), and has a light aroma of white peach.

The flavor is very smooth. At its coldest it was almost underwhelming – pleasant, but not terribly interesting. But as it began to warm, the hops developed in flavor and became more and more prominent. The hops added complexity to the beer and the slight rise in temperature enhanced the malt flavor.

This lighter, more refreshing style may seem like a departure from Narrow Gauge’s usual offerings of bold IPAs and stouts – after all, the pils was refreshing and smooth, exactly what you might want to drink poolside or at a barbecue. But I would argue that Narrow Gauge emphasizes expressions of hops flavor (beyond simple bitterness), and this pilsner is a study in hops.

2nd Shift pours Katy brett beer with cherries


On Friday afternoon 2nd Shift Brewing (1601 Sublette Ave.) released the second run of their Katy brett beer with cherries.

Katy, the base for the variation, is a tart and effervescent beer. I first encountered it last summer at Handlebar, and couldn’t get enough. 2nd Shift has released previous fruited variations, including apricot, pear, and plum.

The cherry Katy poured a bright but hazy pink. It was served in a 6-ounce stemmed glass. The beer was exceptionally complex, with an initial tartness and a lingering funk vaguely reminiscent of asiago cheese. The cherry flavor is subtly sweet – think fresh cherries, not maraschino. Its complexity, color, glass, and refreshing summer flavor draw comparisons to rosé wine.

The last glass of cherry Katy on tap was poured on Sunday afternoon, but the remainder will be bottled sometime this week. Follow 2nd Shift Brewing on twitter (@2ndshiftbrewing) for details on date of release.