St. Louis has a way of lifting one’s spirits.
With beer, wine and spirits from one world-ranked brewer, almost 65 craft breweries, regional wineries and award-winning distilleries, imbibers will undoubtedly be impressed, but you might not know where to start. Let us help!
Here are some of our favorite sips and local watering holes in St. Louis.
In St. Louis, great beer is a way of life. Ours is a city built on brewing, and today, people from all walks of life travel from near and far to make memories over a pint.
St. Louis has a tight-knit community of entrepreneurial brewers who celebrate the city’s historical roots and share a respect for traditional brewing methods. They also applaud each other’s innovative advances, like what’s on tap from the teams at Side Project Brewing and WellBeing Brewing Co.
Side Project Brewing in Maplewood specializes in barrel-aged beers, including rustic saisons, wild ales and spirit barrel-aged ales. In 2020, RateBeer named it the No. 2 brewer in the world. More than 33,000 brewers worldwide were considered, and after compiling more than 4.2 million customer and industry reviews, RateBeer released the ranking.
WellBeing Brewing Co. also makes delicious craft beer – minus the booze. From the start, Jeff Stevens and his wife, Genevieve Barlow, aimed to set their company apart from others in the nonalcoholic category by focusing on distinctly craft styles.
As you explore the beer scene in St. Louis, we hope that you’ll raise a glass at one of our favorite spots.
A pint away from the ballpark, 4 Hands Brewing Co. has one of St. Louis’ favorite tasting rooms. Set in a 20,000-square-foot facility in the LaSalle Park neighborhood, the tasting room has industrial chic décor, with exposed brick and classic arcade games lining the walls.
The brewery, which was founded in 2011, brews a wide range of year-round offerings, alongside seasonal and limited-edition beers and seltzers. City Wide – an American pale ale touted as “the beer we drink, and the people we serve” – benefits the community. A case of City Wide equals a dollar of donation, and since 2016, 4 Hands has partnered with 25 nonprofits and given more than $300,000 back to the community.
Other core beers include Single Speed, an American blonde ale; Divided Sky, a rye IPA; and Full Life, a beer-flavored lager – if you know what we mean. Seasonal delights include Foam First, a Czech-style pilsner; Absence of Light, a peanut butter-chocolate milk stout; and No Bake, a creamy dessert beer.
More than 165 years ago, German brewers, including Eberhard Anheuser, found the naturally cool caves under St. Louis ideal for fermenting their lagers, while the proximity of the Mississippi River provided one of their recipes’ key ingredients – water.
Founded in the 1850s as a small neighborhood brewery, Anheuser-Busch quickly transformed from a local fixture into a national presence. Today, it serves as a hub for brewing innovation, using the highest-quality ingredients, grown by American farmers, to produce more than 30 brands of beer. Anheuser-Busch also employs thousands of people across the country, all united by a deep passion for dreaming big, an unwavering love of beer and a genuine desire to support the communities that they call home.
The Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis is the company’s flagship brewery. The elaborate, red-brick buildings have a German Romanesque style, with rounded arches, embellished cornices and castellated rooflines. The interiors of the buildings feature equally beautiful details, and guests can tour the innovative space before taking a seat in the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and enjoying a cold one – on the house.
To cultivate an engaging experience for your palate, Melvin Brewing Eureka takes inspiration from a slew of traditional and modern influences. Its brewery features an oversized, 10-barrel brewing system, which was custom built to produce a wide variety of beers, from corn lager to dry-hopped pilsner, West Coast IPA to farmhouse ale and nitro export stout to oak-fermented saison.
Its growing barrel cellar features large oak barrels as well as the finest wine and spirits barrels from around the world, which impart unique flavors to the beers.
The brewery also functions as a full-service restaurant, serving Bavarian pretzels, crispy Brussels sprouts, toasted ravioli, barbecue pulled pork sandwiches and bison burgers, among other complementary bites. There are multiple seating areas, including covered outdoor seating and open fire pits for every season.
A delicious addition to Florissant, Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. has a robust lineup of IPAs, from Fallen Flag, a hazy IPA dry-hopped with Citra and Mosaic hops, to Factory Tint Setting, an Imperial IPA dry-hopped with Strata and Mosaic hops and aged on dragon fruit.
The brewery also offers mixed fermentation bottles with intricate and exciting stories. The Begin Anew blend, for instance, is a sour blonde ale, foeder-fermented and wine barrel-aged for 15 months. It was then aged on a bed of bilberries, blueberries and huckleberries for an additional nine months before it was bottled.
Melomel, a type of mead fermented with clover honey and a variety of fresh fruits – think boysenberries, cherries, black currants and marionberries – is also sold in bottles at the brewery. What will you try first?
Difficult to say, but easy to love, Schlafly is a craft beer pioneer in the city with the country’s best beer scene.
Brewing more than 60 styles, Schlafly’s repertoire of beers ranges from classic to experimental. Although meticulous about consistency, the brewery is in a constant state of exploration.
Enjoy pale ale, oatmeal stout, raspberry hefeweizen, Mexican lager and more at the historic Schlafly Tap Room in Downtown West or Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood. The company also distributes beer in 17 states, if you want to stock your fridge.
In its rich history, the family-owned company has strived to be a good neighbor, as well. Throughout its footprint, it supports more than 50 charities, nonprofits, events and other community causes every year.
Traditionally oriented yet unconventionally minded, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. pays homage to the heritage of beer with classically crafted European styles while contributing to the revolution of craft beer with modernized, artisanal American styles.
Urban Chestnut has a bierhall in The Grove, a biergarten in Midtown and a brewery in Bavaria near the hometown of brewmaster Florian Kuplent, who founded the company in St. Louis in 2011. At every location, beer-enthusiasts gather around pints of Zwickel (Bavarian lager), Schnickelfritz (Bavarian weissbier) and Stammtisch (German pilsner).
With beer names like that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Urban Chestnut’s food menus feature pommes frites, pretzel sticks, bratwursts and Berliners (German jelly donuts) for something sweet.
This is only the beginning. For a complete list of local breweries, visit STL Beer’s website. Prost!
Missouri has one of the most storied wine-making regions in the U.S. Beginning in 1837 with the founding of Hermann along the Missouri River, wine has become deeply rooted in our area.
Today, wineries in Hermann, including Adam Puchta Winery, Hermannhof Winery and Stone Hill Winery, are thriving, pouring wines made in a range of styles with native and hybrid grapes such as Chambourcin, Norton and Vidal Blanc.
Farther east, approximately an hour from St. Louis, Augusta is the country’s first American Viticultural Area (AVA), which was established in 1980. An AVA recognizes and promotes distinct wine-making regions in the U.S.
The 15-square-mile, crescent-shaped area of Augusta is defined by a ridge, which creates a unique climate and protects the grapes from harsh winds. Here, the soil is also special: The last continental glacier stretched into the area, depositing organic matter that enriched the earth then and makes the vines happy now.
Among the rolling hills of Missouri wine country, you’ll find wineries with captivating legacies, including Chandler Hill Vineyards, Montelle Winery and Noboleis Vineyards. As you sip and savor, make time for a river cruise aboard Miss Augusta, the most elegant luxury yacht in Missouri.
If you don’t want to leave St. Louis, we understand. Lucky for you, we have a winery in the city, too!
Augusta Winery is praised for its Norton, which has a rich bouquet of raspberry and black cherry with a hint of cigar. If you like dry white wine, the winery delights imbibers with Chardonel, Dry Muscat, Traminette and Vidal Blanc, as well. Sip your way through the wine list as you enjoy live music in the open-air wine garden. Want to go behind the bottle? Book a guided tour of the vineyards, where you can drive your own John Deere Gator while learning about wine production at Augusta Winery.
Boasting rolling hills, lush vineyards and picturesque sunsets, Balducci Vineyards serves unforgettable wines in an ideal setting. Located in Augusta, Missouri, it accommodates families, with a lot of room for kids to run, and it dishes out St. Louis-style pizza along with other Italian-inflected dishes for when you all get hungry.
Part entertainment venue, part urban winery, City Winery opened at City Foundry STL in March 2023. The brainchild of Michael Dorf, who founded the first location in New York City in 2008, City Winery delivers an indelible experience where guests can enjoy intimate performances, upscale dining and, of course, wine.
After buying grapes from world-class vineyards in California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Chile and Argentina, City Winery ferments them on-site. From the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to the Finger Lakes Riesling, all the wines are crafted with terroir in mind.
Behind the bar, housemade wine flows from camera-ready barrel heads. Pair your glass – or flight – with the tapas-style dishes on the food menu.
The best views in Augusta wine country come after a climb up to Montelle Winery. From the sun-soaked terrace, perched on a hill, the verdant landscape extends are far as the eye can see. Plan your trip right, and you can catch one of the best sunsets in the Midwest from here.
As for the food and drinks, pair a glass of Chambourcin, Norton Reserve, Chardonel or Vidal Blanc with tasty bites such as baked Brie, caprese salads, French dip sandwiches and turkey-bacon-avocado wraps. Claiming the title of the first Missouri winery with a distillery, Montelle Winery also produces four kinds of brandy: apple, peach, cherry and grape. Bottoms up!
Mount Pleasant Estates has a sprawling campus, which now features the same tickled pink paint as the original buildings from the 1860s. “When we bought it, the buildings were brown,” Don Simon, CEO of Missouri operations for the Hoffmann Family of Companies, explains. “Wineries are supposed to be a bit more festive, which is why we reverted to the original color.”
As another way to honor the history of Augusta, Missouri, Mount Pleasant Estates invites visitors to tour its storied cellars. Spoiler alert: The cellars hold the only two wine barrels in the state that survived Prohibition. Prior to Prohibition, Missouri was the second-largest wine-producing state in the country, and it’s now working to regain its status in the wine world.
Mount Pleasant Estates has so many incredible wines that we recommend enjoying a flight and then buying bottles of your favorites. Feeling peckish? The on-site Appellation Café crafts casual cuisine that perfectly complements the award-winning wines.
A combination of growth in the craft spirits industry, talented distillers and spirits enthusiasts has secured St. Louis’ spot on the global craft spirits map.
“The local and regional craft spirits industry is one of the unsung industries in the country,” Anne-Sophie Whitehead, conference director of the American Distilling Institute, said after the 2022 ADI Craft Spirits Conference & Vendor Expo in St. Louis, “but there are some real gems here. There’s inventiveness in this industry that more established industries might not have, and we can sense a hunger amongst the distillers to push the envelope, which is refreshing.”
As a Midwest city, many people assume that St. Louis distillers focus on whiskey, but if you dig deeper, you’ll see the breadth and depth of our craft spirits, ranging from moonshine to rum to brandy. Gin is another example of the explosiveness of the industry.
“When I opened The Gin Room in 2014, there were three gin distilleries in Missouri,” Natasha Bahrami says. “Today, there are more than 20.”
Bahrami, who owns The Gin Room as well as Salve Osteria on South Grand Boulevard, is the first and only American to have been inducted into the Gin Hall of Fame by Gin Magazine. She also founded Ginworld, an annual gin festival based in St. Louis. Although every gin is not for everyone, Bahrami believes she can find a gin for everyone.
If the spirit moves you, as they say, check out these distilleries in St. Louis.
Founded in 2018 by the talented brewers at 4 Hands Brewing Co., 1220 Spirits is a botanically inspired craft distillery. Like 4 Hand’s approach to brewing beer, 1220 Spirits leads with creativity, exploring the possibilities of a symbiotic relationship between a traditional brewery and a craft distillery.
1220 Spirits started as a dream to make gin, but its portfolio has grown to include more than a dozen products, including Encrypted Vodka, a remarkably smooth spirit made from a Missouri corn mash; Flora, a slightly sweet apéritif with citrus and floral notes and a subtly bitter finish; and Spettro, a digestif with an earthy, bitter base, herbal heart and top notes of vanilla, bitter orange and black licorice.
The canned cocktails from 1220 Spirits maintain the sophistication of the spirits – not to mention, they’re downright delicious. Enticing flavors include Cherry Lime, Lemon and Lavender, Pineapple Punch, Watermelon Smash and Moscow Mule. Cheers!
Resembling the lab of a mad scientist, StilL 630 is lined with bottles of botanicals. David Weglarz, who founded the craft distillery in 2011, loves to experiment, distilling different ingredients in different proportions in different barrels in search of awesome new recipes.
The award-winning distillery, just south of downtown St. Louis, offers tours, tastings and bottle sales of its “Indomitable Spirits,” including Gateway Barreled Gin, Expedition Rum, Cask-Strength S.S. Sorghum Whiskey and Cask-Strength Missouri Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Fun fact: According to House Bill 266, which went into effect on Aug. 28, 2019, any whiskey labeled as Missouri bourbon must be mashed, fermented, distilled, aged and bottled in the state. During the aging process, Missouri bourbon must be kept in charred white oak barrels made in the state from wood harvested here – the only place on the planet with this requirement – and the bourbon must be made with corn grown exclusively within Missouri.
There’s so much more to discover in the beer, wine and spirits world of St. Louis, and the best place to start is at the bar. See you there!
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