One Burger, One Guac and One Beer

Let's belly up to tLet's belly up to the William D. Alandale Brewing Co. in Kirkwood

The strangest dish was a pasta offering, pappardelle in a ragout of duck, wild mushrooms, figs and red chiles, with a dollop of chèvre on top. I could taste fig — I think — but what I mostly tasted was ginger and clove. A lot of ginger and clove. It tasted like sauerbraten.

At $15, the pappardelle was the least expensive main dish I tried; entrée prices reach $23 for the tenderloin and $24 for a New York strip steak. Those numbers suggest the Alandale Brewing Co. wants to be taken seriously as a restaurant, and the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink fusion exercises demonstrate the kitchen's creativity. But creativity needs to be balanced by focused thought.

Still, it is encouraging to see a brewpub in Kirkwood. It's encouraging, too, that the Alandale Brewing Co. is the second such establishment to open in our A-B fiefdom this year alone. (Square One Brewery opened in Lafayette Square this past winter.)

Hooray, beer: Tim Hampton pulls an American IPA.
Jennifer Silverberg
Hooray, beer: Tim Hampton pulls an American IPA.

Details

William D. Alandale Brewing Co.
105 East Jefferson Avenue, Kirkwood; 314-966-2739.
Hours: 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. daily
(closed Sunday)

Vienna lager $3.50
Fresh pretzels $5
Alandale Cheese Burger (with peppered bacon) $10.25
Baby back ribs $19
Grilled trout $18

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I don't know who first said that beer is the new wine (let's pretend I did, just now), but it's indisputably true. In the 25 years since pioneers like Fritz Maytag opened the first of the new generation of craft breweries on the west coast, interest in the history and different styles of beer has grown exponentially. Today, you can walk into almost any grocery store and find six-packs of very good local and national microbrews and imported beers. Find a wine merchant with a good selection (I like Starrs on Big Bend Boulevard in Richmond Heights), and you can select from dozens and dozens of brewers and styles. Another good resource is the Beer Advocate (www.beeradvocate.com) and browse of tasting notes as detailed (but not as stuffy) as those in Wine Advocate.

The Alandale Brewing Co. offers six different styles of beer. (It will soon offer two more, a waiter told me.) The Vienna lager and the oatmeal stout were the best of the bunch, but all six were more or less textbook examples of their particular styles. The American IPA was exceedingly hoppy with a citric edge, as bitter as beer can be and still be delicious; the doppelbock wasn't as dark or as complex as the best German doppelbocks, but its substantial, malty body went well with the more flavorful entrées like the trout and the tenderloin.

I wish my neighborhood bar offered six beers this good — let alone six homemade beers. Though the Alandale Brewing Co. is too big and too sterile to be a neighborhood bar, focusing on dishes that highlight the beers would go a long way toward mitigating that flaw.

Putting the burger on the dinner menu would be a nice place to start.

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