Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nightclubbing: Six Row Brewing Company

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 4:35 PM

GRACE WOODARD
  • Grace Woodard

Six Row Brewing Company pays homage to the city's storied brewing history. They brew the sudsy stuff and serve it up cold in the historic Falstaff building on Forest Park Parkway, a place that still has the original Falstaff stained glass above the entry. Heck, the small microbrewery is even co-owned by a descendent of Adolphus Busch -- and the bar was taken in part from the old Cheshire Inn.

River City's newest independent brewery opened in December 2009, and is quickly finding its way into the hearts and stomachs of St. Louis beer aficionados. The brewery takes its name from their signature six-row barley malt and the company's six owners, for whom beer is a passion and a hobby. All the owners come from a variety of processional backgrounds -- including engineering, marketing, real estate development and banking -- and now they're living every guy's fantasy.

"Two of our partners are home brewers with a lot of experience, so we knew we could make really good beer," said owner Mike Rami. "That was one thing we knew we could do. Our focus has always been to be a brewery first and foremost, to make really good beer. We're not a restaurant that does beer as a novelty."

Six Row offers seven hand-crafted beers: Kolsch, ESB, Wee Heavy, Strong Porter, Extra Pale Ale, their unique Whale and Honey Weizen.

I'll admit, I'm a total novice when it comes to beer, so I was quick to take bartender Ryan Rakel's suggestion that we try the Whale. It's a brewing experiment gone right: The smooth, delightful brew is a ten-malt blend that's a pale ale fused with a wheat. It's so good in fact, on our visit, a customer was extolling its virtues: "It's probably the best beer I've ever had, hands down. Hands down, I haven't tasted another beer I like better."

The Honey Weizen is brewed with twelve pounds of Missouri honey, and is one of their most popular brews, according to Rakel. In fact, it was completely sold out. "That has been a huge hit, that's a big deal for us. It's been a fantastic seller," Rami said. The Kolsch is crisp and refreshing with a mild hoppy bite; the Strong Porter is rich and chocolaty, and will please even the most devoted Guinness fan; and the Extra Pale Ale is practically perfect. All the beers have just the right hit of carbonation.

The tap room itself is spic and span, with a glowing copper topped bar, tiny oil lamps flicking throughout and the shiny brewing equipment featured prominently behind glass adjacent to the bar. On Thursdays and Saturdays they have low-key live music by St. Louis notables such as Tom Hall and Brian Curran.

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