Whenever I go to a new city I try to truly embrace the city. Instead of staying in a hotel, we opted for Airbnb and stayed with Jason and Dawn right in the heart of St. Louis. They were wonderful and recommended so many great places like Pi and Strange Donuts. Pi is a funky little pizza shop downtown with the toppings under the cheese.
I often experience at least one touristy thing on a trip. In St. Louis I went to the Arch, to get a smashed penny, of course. Getting to the arch was much trickier than I had expected due to construction. However the detour through downtown made me stop and really appreciate the architecture.
Schlafly was the perfect brewery to visit in St. Louis. It’s been producing lovely beer since 1989, which we learned all about on the tour. On the tour we were with about 10 other people. You had the couple from Australia that were very beer-knowledgeable, their St. Louis friends tagging along, the three spring break kids from Wisconsin, and two girls from Germany. The spring breakers were still pretty hung over from their late party night and didn’t talk too much. One kid wore a Budweiser hat, also located in St. Louis. The process of how beer is made was incredibly fascinating. We smelled the hops and barley, and saw how each bottle was packaged. In the tasting room, we took turns sharing our favorite beers. I was a bit nervous about this because 1. I hate speaking up in a group and 2. I am a beer-newby and normally don’t drink more than girly cider. The Australians and their friends could list their top five favorite beers. The spring breakers mentioned some local Wisconsin beer (but really their favorite was whichever was in their hand). As it is getting closer to my turn, I am racking my brain for beer names. The German girls were next and turns out my saving grace. You would think being from Germany they would know so much about beer and apparently one of the girls’ brother owns a brewery. But to my surprise, when asked they answered, “Actually we never drank beer in Germany and are just now getting into beer. So I would say my favorite is the one we just drank.” Relieved with their answers, I also said I was new and I normally enjoyed cider. Thanks to Schlafly, I’ve now got two new favorites – the Raspberry Hefeweizen and the Ginger Beer.
While in St.Louis we decided to get our whiskey on at Small Batch. It’s a farm-to-table restaurant and bar that overflows with choices. It was a very eccentric little place with its wallpaper of flowers and stoplights intertwined. Apparently St. Louis is full of interesting walls. We decided to sit at the bar, and as we looked over the menu our waiter came by.
“Hey Guys, long time no see.” It was the punk rock employee from Sump! We talked scotch and cassette tapes. Duncan, channeling his inner Ron Swanson, did a Scotch flight — Laphroaig 10 year, Old Pulteney 12 year, and Glenlivet ‘Nadurra’ 16 year. He loved all three. I sipped on my Brown Derby (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, grapefruit, lemon, honey) and soaked in the atmosphere. The low lighting, and intimate setting was perfect for recapping our day and making plans for our future. Our St. Louis day ended how it had begun, making small talk with the punk band employee.