The latest addition to the Anheuser-Busch flagship brewery (South 12th and Lynch streets; 314-577-2626), an outdoor biergarten, is now open. Anheuser-Busch is hoping that the new space will attract even more visitors, and, if you can believe it, get people to try some new beers (no, not Bud Light). So, is it worth the trip?
Ehhh. If you're already taking the tour, it might be nice to sit outside and enjoy a brew or two. A-B's Julia Mize hopes it will bring back St. Louisans who haven't been to the brewery in a while. "We wanted to enhance the experience for both out-of-towners and people from St. Louis," Mize tells Gut Check.
With that in mind, Mize and her team looked into the company's archives for the decor, which of course includes an actual Clydesdale, a mural of the A-B logo that was stamped on the old wooden box crates and the giant B from Bevo.
The biergarten is free to enter, open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. It will also host daily 3 p.m. tastings with brewmasters. The food is only a limited menu at first, but a full menu of small plates and other light stuff will roll out later this year.
The bar is made out of reclaimed beechwood -- the same wood used in A-B's aging barrels. By contrast, the biergarten's wooden picnic tables and metal cafe tables are unremarkable and paired, somewhat oddly, with sleek black leather-looking couches. The space overlooks a parking lot.
The latest addition to the historic A-B campus will no doubt have tons of visitors, but there are plenty of microbreweries in St. Louis (with or without outdoor biergartens) that are -- arguably -- more interesting and aesthetically pleasing. Urban Chestnut Urban Chestnut (3229 Washington Avenue; 314-222-0143) comes to mind.
A-B, it seems, is clearly trying to up its cool factor with the biergarten. That's all fine and good, but there's a reason we love Budweiser (it's easy-drinking; it's consistent; it's affordable), and it's not because it tries to be a trendy craft brewery. Perhaps A-B should stick to what it does best?
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