Monday, July 25, 2011

Road Trip 2011: St. Louis

Square One Brewery and Distillery 
Originally, there was a master plan for St. Louis: Gateway arch, dinner at Iron Barley, drinks at Square One Brewery and Distillery.  We had gotten into St. Louis around 3:30 pm and, after an hour rest up in the hotel, the plan seemed plausible.  The catch, I forgot to run the plan by St. Louis.  There was traffic from people going to the Cardinal’s game.  The arch area was crowded because of "Military Week." And, with lines and an IMAX film, we spent two and a half hours at the arch itself.  Given that it was 8:30 central time and all we had eaten since 2:00 EST was some Gateway Arch cheese curds, I had to choose between Iron Barley and Square One.  Since Square One was closer, that won out.   

Square One is on Park Avenue in a trendy part of St. Louis with lots of yuppie restaurants and hip bars.  Square One itself had a crowd of 20, 30, and 40 somethings and was even giving tours at 9:00.  There is lots of great beer kitsch all over the walls and is a fun place to soak in atmosphere. 
The beer list is a pretty impressive one--some fruity, some bright, some hoppy, some dark, and some mysterious.  Dennis and I each had a “plank,” which is a four beer tasting.  I got the Light Squared, Spicy Blonde, Honey Oatmeal, and the Single Malt Scotch Ale (the beer that also helped tip for Square One).   The Light was bright and crisp and a fresh sipping beer.  The Spicy Blonde is very similar to Hoegaarden, but a cleaner taste and not quite as cloudy as Hoegaarden.   The Honey Oatmeal was intriguing, but a little too sweet and was more suitable as a dessert beer.  And, the Scotch Ale . . . worth the visit and was the favorite.  It has caramel, toffee, subtle hops, and is so smooth.
From Left to Right: Honey Oatmeal, Single Malt Scotch Ale, Spicy Blonde, and Light Squared
For food, we started with Beer Pretzels which are served with jalapeno cheese sauce and Pale Ale grainy mustard.  The pretzels were buttery, soft, and fluffy light.  I preferred the jalapeno sauce which was creamy and captured the bright green quality of jalapeno’s while adding only a little heat.  The mustard, though, was also fantastic and was spicy and tangy.  
For dinner, I had the Smoked Salmon BLT.  It usually comes with a rosemary garlic mayo, but since I don’t always do so well with garlic I substituted with cherry sage mayo.  The sandwich was big, smoky, and with nice big hunks of salmon and chunky strips of bacon.  The salmon was also well-seasoned with light dill and the flavorful greens provided nice crunch and accent.  The roll was a little thick, but overall helped give the sandwich a nice texture that was almost like a crab cake.    
It was a shame that we didn’t get to try the “Ballistic Elvis Sammich” at Iron Barley, but that gives me a pretty good excuse to come back to St. Louis.  

Next Destination . . . Lincoln, Nebraska
Square One Brewery & Distillery on Urbanspoon
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