OK, crazy. Next time you're at the game, instead of flagging one of the Bud guys ("Bud here!"), waltz your tipsy ass back behind center field and grab two big cups of fresh, local O'Fallon Gold Beer -- one to drink on the return trip to your seat and one to savor while eating a bag of peanuts. Come on, you're no lemming. You need not bow to the pressure that's screaming all around you. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, you do have a choice at Busch Stadium, and we advise you to consider wisely and hit that one magic tap handle in center field, the one with the simple gold-and-black logo. ("Bud man here!") Root for the underdog. Spend the money on a company that's going to notice.
O'Fallon Gold. "Fresh. Local." That's what it says on the bottle, and if there is such a thing as "fresh" beer, it's OG. The O'Fallon, Missouri-bottled brand has been around for three years, the creation of husband-and-wife duo Tony and Fran Caradonna, veterans of the local microbrewery community (their former distribution company, Signature Beer, helped ferry in the microbrew phenomenon in the '90s). They produce two everyday beers, OG and O'Fallon Wheat, along with a few seasonals. Last summer they bought a bottling machine, and they now sell six-packs in most area supermarkets. (If you want a bottle, we recommend grabbing one at the Black Thorn in the Tower Grove South neighborhood.)
From its simple, streamlined logo to the Gold itself, the brand is a utilitarian's dream, a solid, steady workhorse of an ale that's perfect for a summer's day; it's got a bit more heft than the classic ballpark Budweiser, but not too much for a sweaty baseball afternoon. It's not a beer that you need to contemplate or examine for nuances -- save that for the glorious intricacies of the game at hand. Instead, drink it to know that you can withstand the pressure of the multimillion-dollar marketing monopoly ("Hey, Budweiser here!") at Busch Stadium, that you can not only survive but prevail in such an atmosphere and that your little decision will be celebrated by two mini beer barons.
"I just can't tell you, man," says Tony Caradonna, and it's hard not to imagine a string section breaking through the silence, "sitting there on opening day before the first pitch of the game and I'm drinking my own beer in Busch Stadium. It was heaven. Sixty-five degrees, the sun's out, drinking O'Fallon Gold at Busch Stadium. Life is just great."
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