Craft Beer Week Starts Small Brew Celebration This Weekend

click to enlarge A toast to Craft Beer Week - Image via
A toast to Craft Beer Week
"In a nutshell, I created Craft Beer Week to celebrate craft beer in St. Louis," says Mike Sweeney, founder of local beer blog STL Hops. "Too often, I think people outside of St. Louis think of our hometown as the land of pale, fizzy lagers, when in reality we have a very passionate and vibrant beer culture."

The celebration of our beer culture begins Saturday, April 24, with a full schedule of events throughout the city, beginning at noon with "B33r and Brats" at 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar.

(As at many of the week's events, there is no admission fee.)

Other events include beer dinners at Bigelo's Bistro, Newstead Tower Public House, The Stable, and Outlaw Blues Restaurant and Saloon. Casks will be tapped at International Tap House (ITap) and Felix's Bar and Grill. Cicero's, Herbie's Vintage 72, and Schalfly Bottleworks will host classes and symposiums.

There's even a beer prom at ITap, beer bingo at Newstead Tower Pub and a Tweetup at The Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar with Missouri beers and Missouri-raised beef.

Craft Beer Week overlaps St. Louis Microfest in Forest Park on April 30, and May 1-2.

The Wine and Cheese Place will host a blind IPA tasting and Boulevard Beer tasting, but will put even more emphasis on beer and food. On Monday, it will host a free beer and cheese tasting event with Grand Teton Brewing at its Clayton location (7435 Forsyth Boulevard). On Tuesday, the store will offer a Beer and Food Pairing ($25 per person, reservations required) at Provisions Gourmet Market in Creve Coeur (11615 Olive Boulevard).

"Beer used to be just a small department in the back of our store where we carried all the basics," says Paul Hayden, manager of the Clayton location. "Now it has turned into a major department of over 1,000 beers. It used to be a department that people would pick a beer because they were already here shopping for wine or cheese. Now people will come specifically for the beer department."

Hayden hopes that people who aren't yet craft-beer converts will discover how big the beer world is. "So many people say, 'I don't like beer,' because all they have had is Bud/Miller/Coors -- macros. We have converted a lot of wine drinkers into craft-beer drinkers. They discovered that beer has the same complexity you can get out of a wine."

Sweeney also encourages new craft beer drinkers. "Start talking to other craft-beer drinkers. I think you'll find, for the most part, that craft-beer drinkers are some of the nicest and most enthusiastic people in the world. There is nothing they love doing more than talking about and drinking beer. These events will provide plenty of opportunities to meet some other beer lovers."

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