Best Microbrewed Beer - 2003
Schlafly Pale Ale
What is it with beer labels these days? Say what you will about Budweiser, but the damn beer's got a helluva label. Ditto Miller, Schlitz and some of them old-school foreign imports like Heineken and Bass. But these micro-beermakers -- honest to Pete, you can't swing a dead cat in a grocery store without hitting some Old Weaselnose or the like featuring (what's that?!) a picture of a dead cat on the label, fer cryin' out loud. The St. Louis Brewing Company, makers of the Schlafly line of malt beverages, doesn't boast the absolute coolest labels around, but at least they're straightforward. Schlafly would do any city proud. That the brews represent a city with a history as heady as St. Louis' is all the more appropriate. The flagship pale ale, which we honor here, has a lovely amber hue and tastes hoppy but not bitter, citrusy but not cloying, in the finest British tradition. Until the recent opening of the company's Maplewood factory-cum-beer garden, the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue), some of the product was outsourced to the August Schell brewery in New Ulm, Minnesota. No more. Now all your Schlafly pale ale is locally brewed. Here's to Tom Schlafly and the gang!