Destination: Craft Beer Cellar

By Molly Rippinger
In Food

Suds-loving St. Louisans should note Clayton’s newest resident, Craft Beer Cellar, as a destination for one of the area’s largest selections of beer. Lined up neatly based upon their region are about 1,000 different bottles filled with everything from well-known brews on the local circuit to the more rare labels, which hail from all corners of the country – or globe for that matter. Since the first Craft Beer Cellar storefront opened in Massachusetts in 2010 by founders Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow, the concept has been franchised across the East Coast and now the Midwest with another location slated to open in Columbia, Missouri.

Image courtesy of Craft Beer Cellar

Image courtesy of Craft Beer Cellar

Co-owners, brothers and self-proclaimed beer geeks, Brandon and Ryan Nickelson, officially opened the doors to Craft Beer Cellar on Saturday, May 17 with a line snaking down the sidewalk along Maryland Avenue. While it’s not uncommon to see people buying beer at 10am on a Saturday in St. Louis, part of the buzz for Craft Beer Cellar’s grand opening was due to the fact that the first 1,000 customers were given a free six-pack to take home. Not only was this a great incentive to get customers through the door, but also showcased one of the biggest draws to the shop – guests are welcome to build their own packs of beer with any of the bottles found on the shelves, even those in 31-foot cooler.

In a press release, Brandon explained, “The best way to learn about craft beer is to try different styles and talk about them.” While taking home six different brews will certainly help explore the styles best suited to your palate, there are other ways to expand your beer education at Craft Beer Cellar. Classes and seminars to teach things like the basics of craft brewing, pairings or even how to cook with beer are currently in the works. Also, the entire staff has received certifications from the highly acclaimed Cicerone program, making any of them an ideal source for beer-related questions. “We’re beer geeks at heart but we also want to be good stewards for the craft beer community through education,” said Brandon.

In the back of the store are five rotating taps where guests can try free samples or purchase a full, five-beer flight. Tasting tables crafted from reclaimed wood by Rustic Grain are prime places to perch while contemplating your impending purchase. The Nickelson brothers are also working on establishing collaborations with local businesses to showcase the multiple ways in which beer can be used. Already the duo has partnered with Pint Size Bakery to create beer-laced pastries, such as decadent tea cakes made with oatmeal stout.

Open Monday through Wednesday from 10am to 9pm, Thursday through Saturday from 10am to 10pm and Sunday from 12pm to 6pm. 8113 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.222.2444.

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