Best Beer - 2004
The centennial of the St. Louis World's Fair gives us a once-every-hundred-years opportunity to reclaim Stag beer as our own. A little history: Before 1907, Stag was called Kaiser beer, named for the Wilhelm family of German emperors. But when Kaiser II fell out of favor during World War I, the Griesedieck Western Brewery (the lager's Belleville-based brewer) sponsored a naming contest. Some guy named George Wuller came up with "Stag" -- presumably in a fit of lucid ingenuity the morning after his bachelor party. For his trouble, Wuller received $25 in gold and, interrupted only by Prohibition, Stag proceeded to blaze a torrid trail of local inebriation that saw it outsell Budweiser and Falstaff. But Stag ceased being concocted in Belleville in the late 1980s; it's now brewed on contract in Fort Worth, Texas, by the Miller Brewing Company. Yet its timeless golden-hued cans and St. Louis-friendly blue-collar flavor live on. So on this, the centennial, we offer a nostalgic salute to Stag, pride of the St. Louis region.