I recently visited Saint Louis Missouri for the weekend and while I was there I visited four breweries, Perennial Artisan Ales, Side Project, Schlafly, and 4 Hands. Both Perennial and Side Project are closed on Sundays so they were my focus for my first day. I started with Side Project where I tried only two beers because I was heading to Perennial next, but they were along the way from the airport so I couldn’t complain.
Side Project Brewing
Despite the name, which might get some people to believe they are approaching things with anything less than full dedication, I was quite impressed by Side Project. They had a massive list of guest beers on tap and four house beers available when I visited along with an extensive list of hard liquor and wine. It seemed that all of the breweries I visited (with the possible exception of Perennial) had hard liquor available, which is unusual coming from San Diego but they were also serving food so it made sense.
I tried Grisette Blend #3, a wine barrel aged farmhouse ale with brett, and a wild ale aged in French oak that was on cask. The Grisette was delicious and effervescent beer that tasted like a mix between champagne and moscato. It had light fruity flavors and a mild funk. Overall I was impressed by the depth of flavor for a 4% beer. The cask wild ale was really smooth and lightly tart with notes of lemon. It was scary smooth and super easy-drinking, with a nice dry finish. I might have ordered two or three more of this one if I wasn’t heading to another brewery after.
What to drink
Come to Side Project only if you like sours or want to try some of the guest beers they offer.
Perennial Artisan Ales
I didn’t try everything on tap at Perennial in part because of the price of the tasters and in part because I wanted to focus on the delicious and super strong stouts. I tried four beers in total. I tried the saison de lus, a saison brewed with chamomile, hopfentea, a Berliner Weisse brewed with tropical flowers, 17, a chocolate mint imperial stout, and Sump, the ever tasty imperial stout with coffee.
Saison de Lus was a delicious mix of the typical farmhouse flavor with a good balance from the chamomile. The beer was nice and fruity and very nicely balanced. I slightly preferred the Hopfentea, a delicious Berliner Weisse that perfectly blended a light tart kick with the tropical flowers. Since I have been drinking a lot of floral kombucha recently, I was glad that the beer lacked some of the more unpleasant flavors that can come when you put too much flower.
The 17 chocolate mint stout is the first time I have enjoyed mint in my stout. It was also my husband’s favorite of the two stouts. The chocolate and mint blended perfectly and the beer went down scary smooth. Next to the 17, the SUMP coffee imperial stout was also quite smooth with a mild coffee finish, medium body, and a sweet finish. After my husband and I finished the first two tasters of these beers, I ordered another taster of SUMP and we brought a bottle of 17 home with us (no SUMP bottles available when I was there). Despite the $5 a taster price these were both well worth it and I would have gone back the next day for more if they were open.
What to Drink:
Order whatever imperial stouts they have available because that is what they are known for.
4 Hands Brewing Company
There is some nice contrast between the breweries I visited so far in that one is known for its farmhouse ales and sours and another is known for its intense stouts. 4 Hands provides a nice wide variety of styles but again charges $3 to $4 for a taster and with so many beers to try it didn’t make sense to pay for each of them. Pricing was clearly geared towards getting customers to buy a pint, so eventually I obliged. I tried the Hatch, sour, Send Help, dry hopped blonde, Devil’s Invention coffee stout, two IPAs (not full tasters) and the double IPA.
The Hatch sour was fairly average and didn’t live up to the sours at the other breweries. It was light and fruity and mildly tart but didn’t hit that sour spot. The send help on the other hand was a very impressive blonde, though it could easily be described as a modern pale ale. The hops burst from it with plenty of citrus and tropical fruits. The coffee porter was solid, smooth and fairly light on the coffee, though still much better than the one at Schlafly. The two IPAs I tried splashes of were fairly average as well and didn’t have that hop kick that I enjoyed in Send Help. Though the double IPA came through and hit all the right notes, quite impressively.
The Double IPA was really smooth and super dank and resinous with notes of pine. I liked that it was very hop forward and the malts were subdued. It reminded me of Avery’s popular Maharaja. I enjoyed a full pour of the Double IPA before leaving the brewery. I enjoyed the atmosphere at 4 Hands quite a bit and like to see their wide selection of six-pack cans at the brewery of many of their hoppy offerings. They were the superior IPA option of the breweries I visited by far.
Send Help Hoppy Blonde
My last stop for my visit was Schlafly Brewing, where I was thankful that they served flights. I tried five beers total, the Blackberry sour, dry-hopped APA, oatmeal stout, farmhouse IPA, and double bean blonde. The blackberry sour was very tasty with a nice red color and medium acidity and plenty of berry flavor. This was my favorite of the bunch and one of the best sours of the weekend. The dry hopped APA was also very delicious and while it had similarities to the typical pale ale style it was nicely balanced and the hops were prominent with citrus and pine taking center stage.
The oatmeal stout was fairly average and a little bit smoky but it didn’t live up to earlier stouts. The farmhouse IPA is a Belgian style IPA and has a cloudy yellow color and mixes the Belgian yeast spice with light citrus hops. I found the flavors didn’t really blend together very well and it had an overly sweet finish. Finally, the double bean blonde has both chocolate and coffee added. It was solid and the coffee was the dominant flavor with chocolate fairly subtle. The beers at Schlafly were solid but I would have rather tried more beers at 4 hands if they hadn’t charged so much for tasters, or returned to Perennial, if they were open that day.
If you are coming to Saint Louis for Perennial and Side Project, you will find some delicious beer. I thought most of the breweries I visited had something that set it apart from the rest. Though I was disappointed that most of the breweries charged a lot for tasters, I wouldn’t miss a chance to visit Perennial again.