Is there any situation more custom-made for a cold beer than when you’ve just finished a run or ride on a scorching-hot summer day in St. Louis, the sun beating down on your head and the salty sweat drying on your lips? Kiss a frosty rim at that moment, and the beer flows into your mouth effortlessly, almost magically. Here’s a six-pack sampler of regional brews that are perfect for slaking your sun-baked thirst.
One of the newest beers in St. Louis is building a big reputation for itself. This American Pale Ale is sharp and balanced — not over-the-top hoppy. It’s also notable in that, for every 16-ounce four-pack sold, 4 Hands Brewing Co. donates $.50 to its partner organizations, including Cherokee Street/Love Park, Grace Hill, Great Rivers Greenway and International Institute St. Louis.
It takes just one 16-ounce can of this 6.5% ABV “Midwest Coast” IPA from Urban Chestnut to give you that happy hour glow. Befitting its name, Fantasyland is a heady mix of flavors: grapefruit, orange, caramel, earthy herbs and plenty of other stuff I can’t identify. It’s not as face-puckering bitter as some IPAs, which makes it a good starting point for the uninitiated.
I don’t normally like fruity beer, but there’s something especially summery and refreshing about this light, slightly sweet concoction from Kirkwood Station Brewing Co. Because the blackberry is subdued, it doesn’t overpower the taste buds and lets the wheaty malt flavor seep through. Plus, because it has only 4.8% ABV, it’s easygoing in the hot weather.
Pecan Brown Ale
One of the favorites at 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. in Bellville, Illinois, Pecan Brown Ale is a murky chestnut color with the aroma of toasted malt, and some nuttiness. The beer features in-house roasted pecans — hence the name — and a slightly sweet finish. The brewer says it pairs well with pork chops or turkey. We say windshield-heated banana. Trust us.
Crankbait Cream Ale
It’s been compared to Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Co., which is high praise. We “tested” this light-bodied beer from Piney River Brewing Co. of Bucyrus, Missouri, during more than one weekend session. The taste is pleasantly mild with a smooth, easy finish. The brewer credits the limestone-filtered Ozark spring water for the clean taste. Whatever it is, we like it.
Shiphead Ginger Wheat
Logboat Brewing Co. in Columbia, Missouri, currently offers four year-round beers and three seasonals. We like Shiphead because it’s distinctive yet drinkable, and because a dose of ginger is known to help reduce digestive problems. (That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.) This is a light, crisp brew with a lemony citrus flavor, though ginger is the most prominent taste.
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of Terrain magazine