Beer's kind to us -- constant, accessible, inexpensive. We don't abuse it; it doesn't abuse us. We have a nurturing, reciprocal arrangement. If you enjoy beer in moderation and with food, the suds are pretty good for you, or so science says. Brew: It's not just for drunks anymore.
The Third Degree guys huff and puff and blow some
And of course we live in Beer-burg, USA. And this is the Yuletide. So we have some suggestions for sudsy people or just any old anybody, local or out-of-towner alike, who likes a bit of diversion. Start with the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour. (The brewery is that massive sprawl at 12th and Lynch streets -- you can't miss it.) The tour is gratis, and hours for November through February are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (314-577-2626 or www.budweisertours.com). This Saturday, December 18, might be a good day to tour -- it's Clydesdale Camera Day, an opportunity to have your picture taken with one of the majestic horses.
The brewery's coup de grâce comes after dark, though. Every holiday season A-B hangs hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights on its buildings, ornate gates and trees, and the brewery welcomes visitors -- every night, free -- to drive through the heart of the complex to take it all in. It's an illuminated vision of brick and limestone, smoke wisping white up to the night sky. And everywhere: a fantasia of light. Go ahead -- get your dazzle on. -- Alex Weir
Ghosts of Christmas Present St. Louis Spirit Search keeps a light on
Sometimes while sleeping under the Night & Day Global Industries desk (this is a 24-hour operation, give or take), we awaken with the sneaking suspicion that someone is watching us, and by someone, we mean something not of this realm -- Unreal's always staring, but we're used to that. Just maybe, the Riverfront Times is haunted, just like the Lemp Mansion (3322 DeMenil Place). Sadly, you can't visit our office, but we're sure you can capture that same spooky feeling on the St. Louis Spirit Search tour of the infamous mansion -- ghost hunting, psychic instructions and attempted spirit communications will definitely creep you out. The $15 tours are held at 7:30 p.m. on most Monday nights (including December 20 and excluding December 27 and January 3); call 314-776-4667 for reservations. -- Alison Sieloff
Single X Cinema Ciné16's Xmas show
Once you pass 30, it's tough to summon any of that wide-eyed Christmas spirit that was in such high supply when you were a kid. Ebullience -- hell, even a grudging optimism -- is nowhere to be found when you know how much gifts cost compared to how much you make and how long you'll have to work to pay it all off. But Ciné16 is here to help. The free monthly film series at Mad Art (8 p.m. at 2727 South 12th Street; 314-771-8230) has lined up a "Holiday Film Feast" to get you in the mood for joy, and before you protest that no animated reindeer can soothe your curmudgeonly soul, consider that the centerpiece of the program is Albert Lamorisse's The Red Balloon. Yeah, that's balm for your malaise right there. You'll leave Mad Art feeling light and airy and ready for Christmas morning. -- Paul Friswold
Kiss My Glass
Successful glass blowing takes precision and a lot of practice -- much like a successful eclectic holiday concert. See and hear a little of both at "Crossings Concerts: An Evening of Music and Glass" at the Third Degree Glass Factory (5200 Delmar Boulevard). This evening begins at 7:30 p.m. and costs $12 to $27 (call 314-534-1111 for tickets), but bring along an extra $20 -- locally made ornaments make great gifts. -- Alison Sieloff