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The rise of craft brewing in St. Louis: ‘Brewing is an industry where there are very few jerks’

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
The craft beer scene in St. Louis is brewing, with ten new craft breweries opening in the past year alone. We talked (and taste-tested) with two of them.

Wake up and smell the hops! The craft beer scene in St. Louis is brewing, with 10 new craft breweries opening in the past year alone, says Catherine Klene, managing editor of Sauce Magazine.

If you look back at the past two to three years, at least twice that many have opened, she said. The St. Louis Brewers Guild, which exists to educate people about brewing and promote the St. Louis beer scene, has about 40 breweries in its membership.

“There’s been a huge craft beer movement in the past decade or so,” Klene said.

This month’s issue of Sauce Magazine is devoting to brewing and highlighting those who are doing it well. Highlighted in the issue? 2nd Shift Brewing, Civil Life Brewing Company, Perennial Artisan Ales and 4 Hands Brewing Company.

“The one theme that rang true across the board was everyone’s interest in recipe development and creating unique beers that are true to their brands,” Klene said.  “They are pushing the limits.”

“St. Louis on the Air,” contributor Steve Potter spoke with Klene alongside Andy Burgio, lead brewer at 4 Hands, and Jonathan Moxey, brewer at Perennial. They also sampled a few beers behind the mic. 

Here’s what they discovered:

Taste-testing card for the "Contact High" beer from 4 Hands.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

TAsting card Dealer's Choice Jack Rose
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Devil's Invention by 4 Hands
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Moxey said that there is a wide variety of beers here in St. Louis. After talking shop about beer tasting, beer brewing and the beer industry, talk turned to the brewing community inside St. Louis.

“You definitely see similar styles across the board in the American tradition but there is a beer out there for every different kind of flavor,” he said.

Burgio said the competition is friendly among craft breweries and that they visit each other pretty often.

“Brewing is an industry where there are very few jerks,” said Moxey. “We all kind of have our own niche. Maybe the sales guys are competing for tap handles but among brewers, we’re all just reaping in all of the wonderful beers everyone else is brewing.”

Does spring and the extra hour of daylight have you itching to try some new beer? You’re in luck. On April 2, Four Hands will host its fifth annual Lupulin Carnival, which will feature over 40 brewers from around the region and circus-like fun.

This Sound Bites segment is produced as a part of a partnership between Sauce Magazine and St. Louis Public Radio.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.