The St. Louis beer revolution rolls on.
The craft beer boom in St. Louis shows no signs of slowing, as new spots continue to open and established players look to bump up production.
Heavy Riff Brewing Co. (6413 Clayton Ave.) is among the latest crop of micros establishing themselves with local beer-lovers. Heavy Riff opened in Dogtown in September and is brewing up creations like Velvet Underbrown, an American brown ale brewed with lactose and oats, and Super Session Wheat, a highly hopped wheat beer featuring Galaxy, Mosaic and Citra hops varietals.
Not to be upstaged by the newcomers, some of the breweries that helped spur the local craft brew explosion in recent years are now poised to expand their operations. 4 Hands Brewing Co. (1220 S. 8th St.), which began brewing in 2011, added two 60-barrel tanks late last year and four more will be installed this month, allowing the company to produce some 12,000 barrels of hoppy goodness annually. In response to consumer demand, the brewery recently made its core portfolio of brews available in 12-ounce four-packs, instead of the original 22-ounce bottles.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. debuted just three years ago and is already in the midst of a major growth spurt. The company has been building out a new, significantly larger production brewery at the former Renard Paper Co. (4465 Manchester Ave.) in The Grove, and is partnering with local sustainable real estate firm Green Street St. Louis to renovate the 70,000-square-foot space. When all is said and done, it will be LEED-certified and include bike parking inside the building, solar panels on the roof, lots of recycling initiatives, composting, and uber-efficient boilers and recovery systems. The new project will increase annual brewing capacity by about 15,000 barrels initially, and there will also be a tasting room for those who want to enjoy Urban Chestnut brews on-site. Look for the doors to open early this year.
Other breweries are celebrating their birthdays with new beers, like Perennial Artisan Ales (8125 Michigan Ave.), which recently commemorated its second anniversary by brewing up Anniversaria, a special version of its popular Aria ale that's 100 percent wild fermented and barrel aged. It won't be packaged for sale, but look for this special ale to turn up on tap at select events throughout the year.
And it's not just the craft breweries keeping things fresh with new brews. Beer giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev released a new trio of small-batch Budweisers this fall. Part of Project 12 (the brewing innovation initiative that produced Black Crown in 2012), the beers are named for the ZIP codes where they are brewed. One features hints of bourbon and vanilla, another has chocolate and caramel notes, and one is made exclusively with hops unique to the American Northwest region.
Photo credit: Courtesy of the brewery