Here’s To Beer
Beer has been around for millennia, at least since the Babylonians wrote down the first known recipe in 4300 B.C., but that doesn’t keep each successive generation from trying to make a good drink even better. This month, we set the mood for a glorious Oktoberfest with our comprehensive guide to beer. We’ll help you find the best beers in Columbia, introduce you to the entrepreneurs who are brewing up something special, share some tips for beginning home brewers, and suggest some can’t-miss food and beer pairings.
Get to know your local beer makers.
Flat Branch Pub & Brewing
Larry Goodwin can make the heat disappear from 50 pounds of peppers. This trick might seem a magician’s work, but Goodwin has no background in conjuring illusions. He’s the head brewer at Flat Branch Pub & Brewing, where the recipe for chili beer has been a staple almost since the brewpub opened in 1994.
“We’re shooting for flavor and little heat,” he says of Flat Branch’s popular Green Chili Beer, which claims one of the top three spots at the brewpub each week.
Goodwin chops up 50 pounds of Anaheim peppers for each 265-gallon batch of the beer and adds them to the fermenter to extract the flavor. The result: a light-colored brew with all the bittersweet notes of a pepper and none of the spice.
In a business already so engraved in the Columbia community, Goodwin says simplicity is key. Patrons expect consistency in what he brews, so the chili beer is about as adventurous as he gets.
“Most people that come to Flat Branch aren’t looking to drink on the fringes,” he says. “They’re looking for traditional beers.”
This atmosphere is the product of being a brewery that also serves food, he says. If you’re coming in for dinner, you don’t want a beer that will overshadow the food.
If peppers aren’t your preference, try the Honey Wheat or Katy Trail Pale Ale.
Most 4-year-olds don’t know much about beer. That’s not the case for Broadway Brewery, though, which celebrated its fourth anniversary in September.
Since the doors opened, the brewpub’s mission has been to use as many local, organic and seasonal products as possible. Whether it’s sourcing organic malt or creating specialty beers just for Columbians, brewer Michael Ivancic says the community-centric vision of the company even spreads to the brewing room.
Take Cask Nights, for example. Once a week, Ivancic fills a small cask with one of Broadway Brewery’s regular beers and adds a new flavor to it. Sometimes he’ll puree and pasteurize a fruit or sometimes he’ll add extra hops. On Thursday evenings, anyone can try the one-time brew.
In August, Ivancic made an Espresso Black IPA by adding a pound of Kaldi’s espresso beans to the cask.
“The coffee and chocolate notes really play off the malt body” of the IPA, he says. “It tasted just like espresso. If your eyes were closed, your first thought would be that it’s cold coffee.”
Cask Night also acts as an outlet for customers to try something new. Ivancic says when people come into Broadway Brewery to eat, many will still stick with beers they know.
“If I can get someone to try our honey wheat instead of a Bud Light,” he says, “that makes me happy.”
Rock Bridge Brewery
A 1,500-square-foot storage unit isn’t a typical place for beer to brew. But that’s exactly where Stu Burkemper and Dave Brouder of Rock Bridge Brewery create their draught-only beers for local Columbia restaurants.
In November 2011, Brouder wanted to expand his home-brewing operation, so he posted an ad on Probrewer.com for a head brewmaster. Burkemper responded, and the two were making their first commercial batch of beer four months later.
“Stu and I always joke that we met online,” Brouder says.
Burkemper interjects: “It was romantic.”
The friendship that ensued is to blame for the brewery’s uniquely named beers. If you’ve tasted their Sock Puppet IPA, for example, you’ve tasted the light-hearted atmosphere of the company.
Brouder directs a hand puppet toward Burkemper and jokes in a gravelly falsetto, “I’m not the one that turned off the fan.”
“When we argue, we talk in sock puppets,” Brouder explains. “It’s kind of like therapy for us.”
Hence, Sock Puppet IPA. There’s also Lizard Fish Pale Ale, named after a fish they caught together in San Diego.
When Rock Bridge Brewery moves out of the Storage Mart unit later this fall into its new 18,000-square-foot location across the street from 63 Diner, the two will start producing cans for retail.
Try Rock Bridge’s Tailgate Smoked Brown for football season. If you’re not looking at what’s in your hand, you might be tricked into thinking the beer beneath your nose is actually a seasoned brisket.
Bur Oak Brewing Co.
For many mid-Missourians, the “Big Tree” in McBaine is a stargazing spot, a biking destination or the perfect shade for a picnic. For Craig Stichter, it represents a light bulb moment.
Since summer 2010, Stichter had been formulating a plan to open a brewery in Columbia, but nearly three years later he still was struggling to come up with a name. Then, as he rode his bike toward McBaine and saw the massive bur oak, he found the name: Bur Oak Brewing Co.
“When I turned that corner, it was like the tree was there waiting for me,” he says.
Stichter is a mechanical engineer by trade. When he started home brewing in 2000, he discovered a joy in not only being able to create something tangible, but also in playing with recipes.
Now, with head brewer Kraig Bridgeford and assistant brewer Phil Fuemmeler, Stichter is getting ready to bring flavors such as Chamomile Wheat, Chocolate Porter and Farmhouse Saison to Columbia.
Bur Oak Brewery will be on draught in local restaurants by the end of this year and hopes to open a tasting room in 2014. One of the main goals: encourage craft beer in Columbia.
“If we can get the beer community energized here, there’s so much we can do and so many opportunities we can take advantage of,” Stichter says.
Consider pairing Bur Oak Brewing Company’s Broadway Brown Ale with your next steak dinner. It’s hearty enough to stand its own ground but also has a smooth sweetness to it.
Logboat Brewing Co.
The creators of Logboat Brewing Co. are pouring the idea of “local” into every corner of their new business. So when co-founders and Missouri natives Judson Ball, Tyson Hunt and Andrew Sharp were searching for a head brewmaster to bring their idea to fruition, Sharp says, “It was important that he was a Missouri boy and had a love for Columbia.”
Enter Josh Rein, who was brewing for Broadway Brewery and Flat Branch at the time. The crew met with him several times for unofficial interviews.
“We were basically seeing if we could hang out with him,” Sharp says. “Can we take him to visit our grandmas? Is he that quality of a human?”
A few months later, Rein passed the group test and jumped aboard Logboat.
Right now, half of Hunt’s garage has been deemed the “laboratory” and plays host to many a brew session aimed at perfecting Logboat’s recipes. By the beginning of 2014, though, the operation will move to its new home inside the former Diggs Packing Co. on Fay Street.
When the renovation is complete later this fall, Logboat’s industrial-meets-rustic building will feature wooden accents from Elmwood Reclaimed Timber in Peculiar, Mo., a wood-burning stove and fire pits in the beer garden. There will be yard games on the lawn — including croquet, the quartet’s favorite — a garden and possibly a book or record exchange, Hunt says.
Look out for Logboat’s Shiphead Ginger Wheat. A little milder than most ginger beers, it has a hint of coriander that adds a light complexity to the brew.
Love Beer? Join The Club!
Columbia Beer Enthusiasts started in 2008 as a group of people that would gather at Sycamore Restaurant to sample craft beers not available in the area. Today, the organization tastes together at a variety of locations such as 1839 Taphouse, Uprise Bakery and 44 Stone Public House. Beer and movie nights and an annual picnic are just a few of the events hosted by the organization.
The group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Columbia-Beer-Enthusiasts also acts as a hub of information for local beer buffs wanting to start or improve home brewing operations. Although there are no official membership dues, tastings that feature rare beers or ones not on the market will often have a fee.
Top 10 Most Profitable American Breweries
Anheuser-Busch Inc. in St. Louis
MillerCoors in Chicago
Pabst Brewing Co. in Woodbridge, Ill.
D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. in Pottsville, Pa.
Boston Beer Co. in Boston
North American Breweries in Rochester, N.Y.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, Calif.
New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colo.
Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. in Portland, Ore.
The Gambrinus Co. in San Antonio, Texas
Source: The Brewers Association’s 2012 annual list of top 50 overall brewing companies in the United States. The rankings were based on beer sales volume in 2011.
Columbia bars give beer lovers a good reason to raise a glass.
There are more than 99 bottles of beer on the walls of bars in Columbia. From a variety of microbrews to signature regional styles to popular national and international brands, inquisitive beer lovers have a seemingly endless supply of brews in CoMo. We asked some of Columbia’s most knowledgeable beer lovers for a list of their favorite beer bars (and what to order when you get there).
212 E. Green Meadows Road, 573-441-1839, www1839taphouse.com
Must-have: Three Blind Mice by Mother’s Brewing
Most exotic: Mexican Logger by Ska Brewing
Beers on tap: 24
Since March 2010, the bartenders at 1839 Taphouse have been serving beers from 24 rotating taps. The Taphouse always features the best Show-Me State brews, like local favorites from Rock Bridge Brewing and Broadway Brewery that change with the seasons. An extensive variety of regional microbrews allows for adventurous flights (also known as beer samplers) for curious drinkers. Grab a beer and play a game of darts, or try a round of beer ball, an intoxicating version of skeeball that dispenses vouchers for victorious players. The prize? Free beer, of course.
International Tap House
308 S. Ninth St., www.internationaltaphouse.com
Must-have: Pumpkin Ale by Schlafly Beer
Most exotic: Imperial Biscotti Break by Evil Twin Brewing
Beers on tap: 59
For analytical beer drinkers, a new bar offering more than 500 brewed varieties is ripe for some research. International Tap House features 59 rotating beers on tap and an extensive international beer menu. The Columbia bar is International Tap House’s fourth location — the first outside of St. Louis. iTap owners (and former Mizzou students) Sean Conroy and Brad Lobdell offer an interactive program for adventurous regulars. “We have our beer passport program, which is $15 to join,” Lobdell says. “When you try a beer, you get a stamp in your passport. Once you try 20 beers, you get a T-shirt. Once you get 500, you get a party and a $200 bar tab.”
44 Stone Public House
3910 Peachtree Drive, 573-443-2726, www.44stonepub.com
Must-have: Double Jack IPA by Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Most exotic: La Folie by New Belgium Brewing
Beers on tap: 12
With its old English ambience, 44 Stone Public House offers a huge selection of beers in its pub setting. Its 12 taps are switched out frequently and deliberately; beer isn’t an afterthought at the pub. “Our chef, Mark Sulltrop, creates dishes featuring beer once or twice a week,” says Dave Faron, co-owner of 44 Stone. The restaurant’s hearty English fare is a delicious accompaniment to a pint or two. Try a seasonal regional brew, or head across the pond with one of the many European beers on tap, like the German Dunkelweisse by Weihenstephaner.
7 Hitt St., 573-256-1205, www.gunterhans.com
Must-have: Munster Alt by Pinkus-Muller Brewery
Most exotic: Cherry Kriek by Lindemans
Beers on tap: 6
At Günter Hans, beer lovers can have a charming drinking experience off an alleyway on Hitt Street, while sipping on specialty European beers. “We don’t do a lot of domestics,” says Lydia Melton, owner of Günter Hans. “A lot of our beers are award-winning, authentic, traditional European beers. Plus, most of the domestics we do carry are craft beers that come from traditional European yeast strains.” Sample an Italian beer on tap from Birra Moretti or “salut” with an apple Belgian beer by Lindemans Brewery called Pomme. Beer lovers score a free German Bretzel with every liter.
10 Hitt St., 573-256-2265, www.facebook.com/pages/Uprise-Bakery
Must-have: Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale by Saharan Nevada Harvest Brewing
Most exotic: Uprise frequently features one-of-a-kind kegs from Schlafly Beer and 4 Hands Brewing
Beers on tap: 11
Before you catch a documentary at Ragtag Cinema, hoist one of Uprise Bakery’s eclectic microbrews. The artisanal bakery only serves craft beers, most of which are brewed in the Midwest or Missouri. Uprise’s bar manager Barry Hibdon hand-selects every variety featured on the bakery’s chalkboard beer menu. “I like all beer, but I always try to have a good IPA or a good cider,” Hibdon says. “I love turning people on to Belgian beer, like Delirium Tremens. But I love choosing beers; our menu always changes.”
800 E. Broadway, 573-874-8090, www.sycamorerestaurant.com
Must-have: Maharaja by Avery Brewing
Most exotic: Unser Aventinus by Schneider Weisse
Beers on tap: 6
Looking for a quiet place to indulge in a high-end craft beer? Sycamore offers the selection and the solitude. Try a Belgian or Belgian-style beer, such as a classic Belgian Duvel or a French Blond Biere de Garde from Brasserie Castelain. Sycamore’s diverse menu encourages exploration, and Sycamore co-owner Sanford Speake says there is no real must-have beer on the menu. “The craft beer world is about choice — flavors, colors, alcohol strength, weight, texture,” Speake says. “Craft beer enthusiasts want choice, and that is part of the reason for the size and variety of our list.”
1107 E. Broadway, 573-499-1800, www.williesfieldhouse.com
Must-have: Sam Adams Octoberfest by Boston Beer Co.
Most exotic: Wheach by O’Fallon Brewery
Beers on tap: 22
One extra-large bar offers a wide variety of craft beers and drafts at Willie’s. Catch the game while drinking a CoMo brew, or order a bottle of a seasonal variety. The almost endless drink specials make it easy for Columbia beer lovers to explore new beers at Willie’s. “Fieldhouse next door is more of a night club, more of a volume bar,” says Chad Morrow, general manager of Willie’s/Fieldhouse. “When you open a Willie’s-type bar that’s open 365 days a year, you want to offer more options to a diverse clientele. And we do.”
1312 Old 63 S., 573-443-0274, www.facebook.com/McGintysPub
Must-have: Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti by Great Divide Brewing Co.
Most exotic: English Pale Ale by The Civil Life Brewing Co.
Beers on tap: 22
The beer menu at McGinty’s Pub is on a white board, scratched with brew names and breweries in haphazard handwriting. Not too many things are taken seriously at McGinty’s, but the beer is — as it should be. The classic Irish varieties are always on standby, but inquisitive beer lovers can find a handful of regional microbrews at the pub, like Wailua Ale by Kona Brewing Co. or Repent Rye by Cathedral Square Brewery. Make an Irish toast with a craft beer at Karaoke night, or choose a regional brew on tap.
A guide to beer and food pairings.
For most people, beer and food pairings are forays into casual cuisine — hot dogs, brats, burgers, barbecue, pizza and chili. You really can’t go wrong pairing a cold one with any of those standards, but maybe it’s time to expand your horizons. Let’s move the beer stein out of the sports bar and onto the dinner menu.
Beer is a food-friendly libation. The lower alcohol content (compared to wine and spirits) and the carbonation work in tangent to prime your palate. A few tried-and-true rules will help set the menu.
Heavy food goes with heavy beer; light food goes with lighter beer.
Serve sweet beers with sweet dishes and tart beers with tart dishes.
Beer should never be served with wine-infused dishes.
If your meal includes a beer-infused dish, serve that same beer with the meal.
Match hoppy (bitter) beers with meals that can stand up to the beer’s intense flavor.
Malty beers help cut the heat of spicy foods.
Robust beers and dark chocolate pair well.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a brief guide to some common beer styles and the dishes that pair well with them.
Stout: This dark beer gets its grainy aroma and flavor from roasted malt or roasted barley, often with hints of coffee, chocolate, licorice or molasses; it is traditionally the strongest, or stoutest, porter. Pair a heavy stout as you would a bold red wine — with red meats, particularly hearty dishes with gravy, or barbecue, shepherd’s pie and stews. It also complements oysters, strong cheeses and dark chocolate.
Scottish Ale: Traditional Scottish ales go through a long boil to caramelize the wort, which produces a deep copper to brown brew with higher sugar levels and rich, malty flavors and aromas. Its smoky character pairs well with cheese as well as roast pork, smoked salmon or grilled lamb. Dessert pairings should feature the rich flavors of dark chocolate, toffee or caramel.
Brown Ale: Ranging from deep amber to brown, this ale can be strong and malty, often nutty; darker brown ales are sweeter and lower in alcohol. Caramel and chocolate flavors dominate, sometimes with slight citrus notes. Pair with grilled hamburgers and sausages, smoked fish and wild game.
Red Ale: Slightly sweet and lightly hopped, this Irish brew boasts balanced flavors and a pleasant, toasted malt character. Pair with steak, lamb or pork chops; it also stands up to spicy jambalaya, and blackened meats and seafood.
Lager: The lighter style of lager brings comparisons to white wine in food pairings. Serve with fish, poultry and curry dishes, as well as soups and pizza. Lagers cut through the heaviness of sauce-based entrées like chicken paprikash, goulash or creamy pasta dishes.
Fruit & Wheat: Sweeter fruit beers can be paired with light fruit desserts such as soufflés or chiffon cake; chocolate also complements the fruit notes. For entrées, try a dish prepared with fruit such as glazed poultry, or cool your palate when eating spicy Mexican or Thai. Wheat beer is a summer favorite with salads and light cheeses such as chèvre or mozzarella.
Arrange beers for tastings or multiple pairings by color, from light to dark. Begin with the lightest mouthfeel and lowest alcohol content and work your way to the heaviest and most complex.
Optimal serving temperatures for beer:
Fruit beers (40 to 50 degrees)
Wheat beers and pale lagers (45 to 50 degrees)
Pale ales and amber or dark lagers (50 to 55 degrees)
Strong ales such as barley wines and Belgian ales (50 to 55)
Dark ales, including porters and stouts (55 to 60 degrees)
Ready to try your hand at home brewing? Chef Dennis Clay has some advice.
The essential tools a beginning home brewer must have are:
A 7-gallon stock pot and a turkey fryer for cooking the wort
Two 5-gallon carboys for fermentation, so you can brew two 5-gallon batches at once
A 7-gallon bucket with a lid and a spigot
A wort chiller (this cools the brewed wort once it comes off the heat to prevent contamination)
A hydrometer to measure the gravity of the beer (predicts alcohol percentage, very important)
Plenty of bottles, caps and a good bottle capper
And, probably the most important thing: plenty of work space
Don’t make these rookie mistakes:
Don’t let bacteria ruin your batch. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize! Use Star-San for everything, including the bottles and caps. All your surfaces and equipment need attention before and after you brew. One spec of bacteria will ruin the entire batch of beer.
Don’t be a cheapskate. Spring for the good yeast. You don’t want to attempt a Belgian Saison and not get the right yeast. It’s only a few dollars more and makes the beer.
Helpful tips I’ve learned over the years:
I started brewing with kits and made my way to partial mash brewing, which involves some malt extract and some grains. Malt extract is a concentrated version of malt, or dried cereal grains. I like to think of it as the difference between making stock from bones versus making stock from bouillon cubes. I think it’s perfectly OK to start brewing from extracts, but it certainly doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Step away from the kits once you feel comfortable. When you start writing your own recipes for beer, the fun really begins.
Grow your own hops! You can buy root rhizomes online and they are very simple to care for.
Look to the Brewers Association for the definitive list of beers.
If you’re a professional beer judge, an aspiring craft brewer, or a devotee out to taste one of every type of beer out there, you’ll want to peruse this list produced by the Brewers Association. The association updates the list annually and provides detailed tasting notes on its website at www.BrewersAssociation.org.
Classic English-Style Pale Ale
English-Style India Pale Ale
Special Bitter or Best Bitter
Extra Special Bitter
English-Style Summer Ale
Scottish-Style Light Ale
Scottish-Style Heavy Ale
Scottish-Style Export Ale
English-Style Pale Mild Ale
English-Style Dark Mild Ale
English-Style Brown Ale
British-Style Imperial Stout
British-Style Barley Wine Ale
Sweet Stout or Cream Stout
Irish-Style Red Ale
Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout
Foreign (Export)-Style Stout
North American Origin
American-Style Pale Ale
Fresh “Wet” Hop Ale
Pale American-Belgo-Style Ale
Dark American-Belgo-Style Ale
American-Style Strong Pale Ale
American-Style India Pale Ale
Imperial or Double India Pale Ale
American-Style Amber/Red Ale
Imperial or Double Red Ale
American-Style Barley Wine Ale
American-Style Wheat Wine Ale
Golden or Blonde Ale
American-Style Brown Ale
American-Style Brett Beer
American-Style Sour Ale
American-Style Black Ale
American-Style Imperial Stout
American-Style Imperial Porter
German-Style Kölsch/Köln-Style Kölsch
Berliner-Style Weisse (Wheat)
South German-Style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier
South German-Style Kristal Weizen/Kristal Weissbier
German-Style Leichtes Weizen/Weissbier
South German-Style Bernsteinfarbenes Weizen/Weissbier
South German-Style Dunkel Weizen/Dunkel Weissbier
South German-Style Weizenbock/Weissbock
Bamberg-Style Weiss (Smoke) Rauchbier (Dunkel or Helles)
German-Style Brown Ale/Düsseldorf-Style Altbier
Kellerbier (Cellar beer) or Zwickelbier – Ale
Belgian And French Origin
Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ales
Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
Belgian-Style Pale Ale
Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale
Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale
Belgian-Style White (or Wit)/Belgian-Style Wheat
Belgian-Style Gueuze Lambic
Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic
Belgian-Style Table Beer
Other Belgian-Style Ales
French-Style Bière de Garde
French & Belgian-Style Saison
International-Style Pale Ale
Australasian-Style Pale Ale
Lager Beer Styles
European Low-Alcohol Lager/German Leicht(bier)
Münchner (Munich)-Style Helles
European-Style Dark/Münchner Dunkel
Bamberg-Style Märzen Rauchbier
Bamberg-Style Helles Rauchbier
Bamberg-Style Bock Rauchbier
Traditional German-Style Bock
German-Style Heller Bock/Maibock
Kellerbier (Cellar beer) or Zwickelbier – Lager
North American Origin
American-Style Light (Low Calorie) & Low Carbohydrate Lager
American-Style Amber (Low Calorie) Lager
American-Style Ice Lager
American-Style Malt Liquor
American-Style Amber Lager
American-Style Dark Lager
Australasian, Latin American or Tropical-Style Light Lager
Hybrid/Mixed Beer Styles
American-Style Cream Ale
California Common Beer
Japanese Sake-Yeast Beer
Light American Wheat Ale or Lager with Yeast
Light American Wheat Ale or Lager without Yeast
Fruit Wheat Ale or Lager with or without Yeast
Dark American Wheat Ale or Lager with Yeast
Dark American Wheat Ale or Lager without Yeast
Rye Ale or Lager with or without Yeast
German-Style Rye Ale (Roggenbier) with or without Yeast
Herb and Spice Beer
Specialty Honey Lager or Ale
Indigenous Beer (Lager or Ale)
Smoke Beer (Lager or Ale)
Experimental Beer (Lager or Ale)
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Pale to Amber Beer
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Dark Beer
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer
Aged Beer (Ale or Lager)
Other Strong Ale or Lager
Non-Alcoholic (Beer) Malt Beverages