Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of touring in the Midwest. A few weeks ago I was up in Milwaukee and this past weekend I was in St. Louis. Matt’s best friend, Ken, lives down there and we decided to visit. It definitely helps when you have a local directing you around! St. Louis has a lot to offer. Among them are the warmer weather, their zoo and their craft beer scene.
In 2006, my best friend Jill and I took a trip to St. Louis. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been back until this past weekend. One of Jill and my favorite stops was the Zoo. So you had better believe I was going to go again with Matt and Ken. Luckily they were both game for seeing animals – Matt wanted to see the big cats and Ken was probably most enthralled by a brawl of baby animals between what looked like mini anteaters. My favorite exhibit features the penguins. You can walk right in and practically touch them you are so close. So close that if the penguins splash around a lot you’ll get wet. It’s so cool and they are adorable! One of my other favorite parts of the zoo is it’s free. You can’t go wrong with free admission plus free parking if you don’t mind a little bit of a walk.
After our day of fun at the zoo, Ken treated us to a little brewery tour. Our first stop was Urban Chestnut. We ordered our flights inside and then headed out. Three words: outdoor beer garden. I felt like I was back in Germany, Austria or Switzerland sitting out, enjoying the sun, drinking German style beer, nibbling on a selection of cold meats and cheese while conversing with great people. It was the perfect set-up and the beer is mighty tasty. The beer is what actually flooded back memories of brewery tours and other beer gardens I visited in my college days. Urban Chestnut definitely made me want to hop on a plane and visit my cousins in Germany. And if I can’t do that, I’ll definitely settle for another trip to Urban Chestnut instead.
Next on our brewery tour was Perennial. Once again we started with flights. I ordered the Saison de Lis, the Black Walnut Dunkel, Fantastic Voyage and 17. Matt also ordered us hot pretzels with a tasty mustard sauce and a potato, pea and crispy prosciutto tart. It was all so good! My favorite beers were the Black Walnut and Fantastic Voyage. They were so good that Matt and I got a growler of the Black Walnut and I limited myself to one 750 mil bottle of Fantastic Voyage which took a lot of restraint. Even though it didn’t have a beer garden, there was plenty of outdoor space with smaller tables or an expansive urban/loft indoor space.
After this trip, I’m pretty sure it will be less than seven years until my next visit to St. Louis. At least, just for the beers and maybe for Ken too!