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Saturday, July 28, 2012

St Louis Craft Beer Week with UCBC

Kicking off Saint Louis Craft Beer Week 2012, I have a couple of notes from a visit to Urban Chestnut Brewing Company a few weeks ago. I highly recommend this spot. It's a nice comfortable pub with a varied selection of decent brews. This brewery tries to blend traditional styles with experimental recipes. They have some Founding Fathers-type brews using hop-alternatives like spruce.

This spot is fairly new. It's in a spot of downtown between the busy parts of Washington Ave and the completely dead areas. Maybe this is area of revival. 

They had biergarten that made me think of Berlin. It was nice and open, but enclosed. The selection outside was limited, but it was fitting for the weather. Lagers and light ales. The long narrow tables gave us room for everyone without feeling crowded. The umbrellas not only block sun, but all the light pollution. I really didn't feel like I was in Saint Louis. All it needed was a big screen for a soccer game. 

It was very, very hot, so about halfway through my stein we ducked inside. Loud music made it hard to catch up with friends. It was interesting music though. I got to sit near the bar and see their inside selections. 

Winged Nut (Left)
"We affectionately refer to the first beer in our Revolution series of modern, American craft beer, as our unusual little bird. It’s a little on the flighty side @ 5.7% ABV, and it’s a little on the wacky side because we brew it with finely milled chestnuts (genus castanea …for you nut freaks), Willamette hops, and we ferment it with a Bavarian Weissbier yeast strain. All of these nuances contribute to its ‘nutty’ personality."

Look and Smell: This hazy brew was light brown. It had a frothy head. It smelled of spice and nuts.

Taste: It was lighter than expected. It was a bit powdery. I thought that was a bit weird. I asked my friend to try it, it's one of her faves. She said that it was normal. It was spicy (clove) and nutty, about the intensity of the aroma. I think the spice went well for this chestnut brew. While I wouldn't say it was my favorite, I would recommend getting it. If you are at Urban Chestnut, you must try the chestnut brew.

ABV: 5.7% | IBU: 25

Oxnbrau (Right)
I found a description for a doppelbock/maibock blend (Urbanator), but this was just a doppelbock. It's not on their site, but it's on untappd. 

Look and Smell: This was a rich brown and had a thin bubbly head. I couldn't really smell it over the bar. I was enjoying the company, so I didn't try too hard.

Taste: I tasted sweet malt. It was very thin. I left a stickiness in my mouth. There really wasn't much to it. Doppelbocks aren't known for their complexity in flavor. It was nice and light for the summer heat.

ABV: 8% | IBU: 35

I tried a sample of the spruce brew, Old Tjikko, and I wasn't impressed. I actually didn't like it. One of the people at the table likened it to eating pine needles, and who would do that? I haven't had a wide range of spruced brews. I've only had one, and that Yards (Poor Richard's) brew was much better.

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