Busch Beer

Crabby's, 701 Utah Street, 314-664-3474

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Some phrases are almost too poetic, too evocative, too pure. Such as: "electric eels under the covers"; "I can't stand the rain against my window"; and, perhaps the cleanest in the language, "I'm gonna grab a Busch at Crabby's." It's a string of words that, when fired, races like a bullet into the bull's-eye: "Go for it."

Ah, Buschhhhh, such a polarizing brand, so maligned by half of the population, so adored by the other. The redheaded stepchild of the Anheuser-Behemoth empire is, in case you've forgotten or been tragically misinformed, a nice little cheap ale, harmless after one or two but, according to firsthand accounts, lethal in large doses, apt to result in a mullet, Harley, mustache, butterfly tattoo or some defiant combination thereof. Then again, which is worse, Dockers or worn-out Levis? Dockers, that's for sure, so what makes you so sure that guys wearing slacks and drinking their goddamn hefeweizen know a toss about beer?

So close to the brewery that if they had a bucket, Crabby's bartenders could probably just walk over there and dip it into the Busch tank. You could crawl to the brewery from here and not feel the worse for wear. Still, says owner Stephanie Hafertepe (...it's German), her clientele isn't solely beer workers, as one might assume. Mainly it's locals who live in this ace little neighborhood, technically Soulard but on the other side of the brewery, who sit and gab and drink their Anheuser-Busch products.

Crabby's. What a great name for a bar. No bullshit here, man, as one of the hundreds of stickers on the bar mirror indicates: "Gun control means using both hands." You know what you're stepping into, the kind of place in which outsiders are welcomed, but only after a once-over and a query: "What brings you here?"

The Busch, that's what, drunk nearly straight from the well. If you want to get technical about it, Busch is a Bavarian-style wheat ale; most mass-market beers are wheats, and you can tell by the color, which is lighter than your "fancier" barley-based beers. Busch was introduced by the company in 1955 -- when Lynyrd Skynyrd was but a twinkle in Ronnie Van Zandt's eye -- in order to celebrate mountains, eagles, chaps and crisp, clean refreshment. But who cares what kind of beer it is. It's beer, plain and simple, and it does what it should, cowboy, which means that if you're hankering for some tough love, and you should be hankering for some tough love, order a Busch at a place called Crabby's.

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