My good friends in St. Louis planned the most fun day for my husband’s birthday – Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour plus a pub crawl of four smaller local breweries, then off to an (upscale) BBQ joint. The hub’s about burst from contentment and happiness. Here’s a quick run-down:
At the giant Anheuser Busch Brewery, we first did a “beer school” to learn about different beers, food pairings, and proper pouring techniques. From there, we started the actual brewery tour – which is free! The brewery is beautiful and huge. You get to see the Clydesdales, the beer brewing area, the bottling plant, and some of the grounds. It is unbelievable the amount of beer that place produces. Definitely worth checking out. Plus, you get two free beers at the end. Score!
One fish, Two Fish, Starfish, brewfish Charity Beer competition
This pub crawl of four smaller, local St. Louis Breweries was a fundraiser for the Starfish One by One charity, whose mission is to empower young women (specifically Mayan) through education and mentorship to become leaders in their community. For this function, you were given 8 sample tickets to try a couple beers from each brewery and then rate each beer in terms of taste and each brewery for atmosphere, and then a winner was selected. They also provided a bus to drive from pub to pub to drop off and pick up participants. We loved all the breweries. We were already very familiar with Schlafly, having drank their beers for several years, but the 3 other were new to us, and now we cannot wait to go back. These included the Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, 6 Row Brewing, and Buffalo Brewing. All serve food, Urban Chestnut being the most limited, but I think they are the newest. Great atmosphere, solid beers, and you can buy growlers of beer to take home. I’m already dreaming of a summer day sitting on one of their patios sipping beers… Oh, as for the winner for the day…we did not stick around to find out. Oh, well.
The Shaved Duck
Dinner was at the Shaved Duck (what a name), which is a a sort of upscale BBQ joint in Tower Grove in an old building that has been fixed up very cute – plus, they have several outdoor tables. The place is small, so it gets packed quickly, but everyone seems to do a good job keeping up. Our party of four started with the Duck Confit and the Walnut, Brown Sugar and Blue Cheese Bacon. Both were great. I don’t know if the sweet/candied bacon concept is already getting over-played, but I suppose I really don’t care, because I love it. Sweet/savory combos are one of my favorites. The duck confit was wonderful – I could have eaten two more portions for my entree. Entrees included the Duck and Blue Cheese Flatbread (typical but definitely pleasing), Country Fried Pork Loin (not as wonderful as you would image pork done chicken fried steak style to be so a tad disappointing), Pan Roasted Duck Breast (my entree, holy shizzle, so good I did not want to share with anyone), and the Sampler with Ribs, Pulled Pork, Brisket, and Smoked Chicken (all cooked great with 3 BBQ sauces to choose from). As for sides, the macaroni cheese was by far the winner of the night (breadcrumbs on top of mac and cheese is ALWAYS the right choice.) We actually tried to order another portion during the course of eating our entrees, but we were told the kitchen was closed, which was odd considering there were several other tables still eating, but whatever, maybe it was just the server telling us in a nice way we had eaten enough and had no business stuffing more food into our mouths. Well, she was wrong, because we were off to a dessert bar!
Bailey’s chocolate Bar
Dessert was at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, where dessert martinis were ordered all around (coffee ice cream martini, anyone?). As we were deciding on what dessert(s) to order, the server came by and delivered a hot brownie with ice cream to us. The kitchen had put out an extra one, and she decided we looked worthy of it. Insanely rich, but somehow we powered through it. After the brownie and martinis, we decided we were done for the night. We barely had the energy to get a cab home and fall into bed.