Greetings from the Orf home in So. County, St. Louis. This is the home of my fellow beer-loving, beer-traveling, beer-brewing buddy Orf who aims to make the leap from am. to pro brewer down in Austin. Imagine my glee at sharing some pints with Papa Orf last night at both the Schlafly Bottleworks brewery (I had the dry-hopped APA) followed by Growlers Pub (I had Bell's Two-Hearted IPA, and yes, you're jealous).
So where'd I leave off? Oh yeah, Kansas. Sad that Free State Brewing owner Chuck wasn't on hand, I consoled myself with a lamb burger and a pint of Stormwatcher which is a brown ale/IPA hybrid. For dessert: a glass of John Brown Ale, which almost seemed like a light stout or imperial brown, so rich and chocolatey was it.
The next day started with a tour of Boulevard Brewery across the stateline in KC, MO. The new brewhouse (Brewhouse 2) is online unlike during my first/last visit a few years ago. Production is now up to 150,000 bbls, making them the 8th largest craft brewery in the country. My tourguide and tasting room companion was Rick, nephew of Bob Sullivan who is a legendary brewing figure of sorts in KC, and the inspiration behind their Oktoberfest beer, Bob's '47. Among the Blvd "Smokestack Series" beers I picked up: Seeyoulator Dopplebock (aged on Cedar), Saison-Brett (aka George Brett, a Saison brewed w/ Brettanomyces), and Double-Wide IPA (the imperial version of their regular Single-Wide IPA).
A long, wet drive to St. Louis and a great night's sleep and here I am, about to hit Square One Brewery with my Beer Examiner counterpart from St. Louis, Bryce Eddings. From there, it'll be off to O'Fallon Brewery (O'Fallon is a town just northwest of St. Louis), purveyors of Smoke, one of my favorite rauchbiers, and I hope to find their Whiskey-aged Smoke. Fingers crossed.