When you're drinking beer, the next best thing is another beer. We headed south and continued our adventure at Perennial Artisan Ales, another recently opened St. Louis brewery. Perennial's focus is on local, seasonal, and organic ingredients - not an unusual path in better beer. But where Perennial succeeds is in using these ingredients not so much as a compliment, but in many cases, as a highlight.
Like many breweries, Perennial is housed in converted warehouse space. The tasting room is not unlike a combination of the space that houses Bearcats in Indianapolis' Stutz building, with the copper bars and tables from Brugge Brasserie. The interior is bright, refined, and inviting - a suitable compliment to the beer.
At this point in our day we had an empty space to fill, and after a short conversation I thought it might be best to show our guests the other side of St. Louis beer - with an Anheuser-Busch brewery tour.
Despite the 100+ degree temperatures, we took the entire indoor/outdoor tour. A highlight was the fermentation room - a space stacked with 64 tanks producing 3600 barrels of beer every 21 -30 days. To compare volume to a successful local brewery - Flat12: This means that in just one month AB produces 57.6 times as much beer as Flat12 produced in total in 2011 - in just one room in a massive complex that is echoed by additional plants throughout the world.
After our tour we did take advantage of those free samples - Shock Top Wheat IPA and Lemon Shandy, Stella Artois (now an AB/Inbev beer), and something else forgettable made their way to our hands. None were particularly satisfying, but it's hard to argue with free.
33, a wine bar in the Lafayette Square neighborhood. Though most folks might think of 33 as place for wine - a full cellar and extensive list are definitely defining elements of the menu - 33 also features features a great beer list, with well thought out and humorous descriptions and explanations of each beer. 33 is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it space - preferring to build a word-of-mouth business, the owners decided against any sort of outside signage. If you find yourself in a long white room with bubbles hanging from the ceiling, you're probably in the right place.
After dinner at the excellent (but non-noted) Pi, we finished our day at the City Museum. Opened in October 1997 by St. Louis artist Bob Cassilly, the museum isn't really a museum at all.
"(The City Museum is) an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects."The end result is a complex housing anything and everything weird, a skatepark, a log cabin, a rooftop Ferris wheel, a giant praying mantis, and ten stories of tunnels/caverns that have the magical ability to trick full-grown adults into crawling around on their hands and knees in search of a ten-story slide.
here for a panorama and imagine the entire area shrouded in darkness) in an effort to find our way back out.
It's a magic space, one that echoes what's happening in St. Louis these days - things that are surprising, fun, and grown up all at once. It was a perfect finish to our weekend - one we hope to repeat with more friends in the future.