Expedition Reserve Pale Ale

Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest (at Manchester), Maplewood, 314-421-2337

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Ecstasy arrives in many forms. It can appear naturally, from a cool gust through a 4 a.m. window; via a vision of a squirrel on its hind legs, rubbing its eyes; or in the crackle of a campfire. It can come from an earlobe bite, a peck on the neck, a nipple-nibble. Then too, synthetically, as a pill that will set you rolling all night long -- and even if the specifics disappear upon re-entry, the memory of the feeling remains forever.

Ecstasy can arrive in pure, simple moments spent sitting around a patio table at a Maplewood brewhouse, drinking a pint, listening to two organic farmers discuss the pros and cons of peddling produce to restaurants versus selling it at markets.

And the full moon the other night? Did you see it? Did your heart not skip a beat? At 8 p.m. in the southeastern sky -- it was huge as clouds crawled past it. All of a sudden the crazy day made sense. Didn't this moon affect your brain, make you feel a little bit schizo, like a different kind of person -- maybe an astronaut, or an explorer, or a superhero?

The same moon you saw, we saw. The same one we saw, a stranger in the Middle East was gazing at thirteen hours prior. And that moon, the one she was adoring just prior to being blown to bits, Lewis & Clark tracked on their way west. It is the same moon Cleopatra caressed as her minions massaged her breasts and belly, the same moon cavemen pondered with a contemplative "Ugh," followed by, "Me want beer."

Expedition Reserve is Schlafly's nod to Lewis & Clark's journey 200 years ago. Maybe you've heard something about some sort of commemoration this year. Expedition, sold in bottles, is the brewery's American-style pale ale, which is dispensed at Schlafly's impressive new brewery, bar and restaurant in Maplewood. They call it Expedition, a.k.a. American Pale Ale, because it is a hoppy ale. Hops are a preservative, and this pale ale closely resembles the type of beer that Emmanuel Lewis and Petula Clark -- no wait, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark -- would have pounded after a long day's trudge.

Schlafly's flagship pale, the one with the orange label that's simply branded Schlafly Pale Ale, is an English-style pale. Expedition, as an American pale ale, is much drier and is gold-amber in color. On Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m., the Bottleworks cedes part of its parking lot to area farmers, who set up shop at the Maplewood Farmer's Market. The dozen-odd vendors offer mushrooms, handmade cheese, organic vegetables, free-range meat, seasonal herbs and other dreamy, fresh, local bounty. You should go there, and then grab a beer. We recommend going on a night when it's chillier than it should be, when every nipple in the courtyard, male and female alike, is fully erect. The beer will make a beeline for your pleasure center, where it will mix with the breeze, and the company, and the beauty, and the love, and the moon, the moon, same as it ever was.

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