On Tuesday afternoon, Gut Check noticed what seemed to be a simple, unassuming tweet issued from the Schlafly Beer account that read, "We make a Bourbon Barrel Ale only sold in KY. For 1st time ever, we have some on draft at the Tap Room. #FYI".
Immediately, we set off for the downtown Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Street; 314-241-2337), cutting through traffic and taking side streets. We walked in and promptly ordered a glass of this mysterious brew, glancing around to see if anyone else was as excited or even conscious of this momentous occasion. But Schlafly had played this one close to the vest -- no special release party, no billboards; just a simple tweet and let the beer speak for itself.
And then we tasted the thing.
Whenever bourbon and beer are brought together, it's a glorious event. That said, bourbon-aged beers can be thick, heavy and, at times, overwhelming. Schlafly's Bourbon Barrel Ale, however, was a different animal. We needed some professional perspective to guide us to a higher plane of beer understanding. Luckily, chief brewer Stephen Hale had just left the building and was gracious enough to hop off his bicycle and come back inside for a quick tutorial.
Hale explains that the Bourbon Barrel Ale is made specifically for beer drinkers in the bourbon-crazed city of Louisville, Kentucky. After bottling in St. Louis, the beer is shipped solely to Kentucky and never seen nor heard from again, leaving most in St. Louis completely unaware of its existence. Until now.
Next: How it's made.