St. Louis: The Side Project Cellar
When the opportunity at work came up for a trip to St. Louis, I jumped on it. It wasn’t because of the famous “Gateway to the West”, or the 11 time World Series champs; I took the job because of a small brewery called The Side Project Brewing. I hadn’t tasted a single drop of a Side Project brew, but everything I heard was that they were putting out some of the best barrel-aged saisons and wild ales. With their distribution being so small, this was the best opportunity I would have to try some of their amazing beers.
Side Project Brewing recently opened their brewery to the public for tasting and bottle sales, but it’s only open on Saturday and Sunday. I was only in St. Louis Monday-Friday so I was “forced” to venture to Marietta Avenue in Maplewood to the brewery’s Belgian inspired tasting room and whiskey bar, The Project Cellar. From the decor to the dim-lit cozy atmosphere this place is the perfect compliment to Cory King’s beautiful and delicious beers. With 24 taps(3 temperature system) they have a variety of their own beers on tap with a bunch of guest taps ranging from local breweries to some of the most sought after brews from Belgium. They also have an extensive list of whiskies(whiskeys). My interest was with their list of beer from “The Cellar.”
I was lucky enough to be in St. Louis right after the release of the Casey Brewing and Blending\Side Project collaboration brew called Jammy. Jammy is a blackberry farmhouse ale with an amazing color and tons of blackberry jam on the nose. It was aged in oak barrels so you get great tart and funk with big fruit flavor. I really enjoyed this. After I finished my Jammy, I moved on to Fuzzy which was an amazing wild ale fermented in a French oak foedre for 2 years and then racked on Peaches.
I would recommend visiting with a friend as 2 bottles was way more than enough for me for one sitting. If I had more in one sitting I dont think I would fully enjoy the complexity of each as much. Sharing with a friend would allow you to enjoy more bottles and at half the price. Although the bartender Shae did mention that many people come in and pound through their 5 or so bottles from the cellar. Since I was there for the 5 days, I stuck to 2 bottles the first night and revisited to try another 2 bottles. My second visit included Pulling Nails Blend #5, a blend of a kriek and vintage coolship with montmorency cherries, and Biere Blanche which they call a Belgian Wit, but the lemon\tangerine tartness I got completely caught me off guard. Both were absolutely killer beers
My visit to The Side Project Cellar was awesome. The people working there are extremely helpful and hospitable. As soon as I was getting close to finishing a bottle I was asked what was next. The bottles and pours are pricey, but well worth it knowing the process and passion that goes into making their amazing beers.
I thank Cory, Karen, and the staff for a great experience. I can’t wait to get my hands on some more of Side Project’s amazing beers