St. Louis has made a major impact on beer culture nationally and internationally. Most people hear St. Louis beer and think, Anheuser-Busch (now InBev A-B), makers of the Budweiser family of beer. The iconic Clydesdale horses are a hit here in St. Louis and can be found in parades, opening the Cardinals MLB team season, and at events all over the city. But A-B is not the only beer show in town, not any more. The second article in the St. Louis travel series is for all the beer and brewery lovers out there. This article will walk you through the must see breweries, beer halls, and beer gardens. Fair warning, my husband is the beer person in the family. I am a coffee or mixed drinks kinda girl. But I love a great brewery, the feel, atmosphere and food!
Anheuser-Busch (INBEV A-B)
Technically it’s not called Anheuser-Busch anymore BUT that is what St. Louisans know it as so we’ll stick with it. The A-B brewery is located in the gorgeous, red brick neighborhood of Soulard. It is a massive place that has maintained its historic look and feel despite modern improvements. The tour and Biergarten share a parking lot with about 5 accessible parking spaces and is a short roll from the entrances. I highly recommend the brewery tour, it’s FREE and includes a sample at the end. The tour is wheelchair accessible including the tram portion. The tour is available for all ages but you must be 21 for the sample. On the tour you’ll visit the stables, see all the great architecture of the brewery campus, and of course see the brewing equipment. Tours are first come so get there early. After the tour stay a while in the new Biergarten. A completely flat entrance way of smooth concrete makes rolling in and around very easy. There is a mix of tables and picnic tables. You’ll find all your favorite A-B products plus tons more on tap. Bathrooms are well done, spacious, and accessible for a wheelchair user.
4 Hands Brewery (1220 S. 8th St., St. Louis, MO 63104)
Now that you have explored the beer history maker in St. Louis, it’s time to check out the great craft beer culture. Just a few blocks away you’ll find 4 Hands Brewery. The front entrance is off the main road and a parking lot sits between Broadway and 8th street with two accessible space. However, there are lots of end spaces as well that will ensure you can load and unload The roll from the parking lot to the main entrance on 8th street is a smooth one. Their entrance is level and the building boasts both indoor and outdoor seating. The atmosphere of 4 Hands is eclectic and comfortable. Prices are slightly higher here than other craft breweries around town but my beer sources tell me they have great beer. The restroom is well thought out for accessibility with a spacious stall and grab bars.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC)
UCBC’s original location is at 3229 Washington Ave just a few blocks from The Fabulous Fox Theater. The Spanish style building is beautiful and their outdoor garden is the same. The garden is a mix of rock and concrete which makes getting around somewhat of a challenge. Every October this location hosts Craftober fest, a gathering of local artists. I brave the uneven ground for this event. Street parking only at this venue and no designated accessible spots. However, parking is at a 45 on this stretch of Washington and leaves ample room for doors to open fully. I would encourage those with ramped vans to park on one of the streets running perpendicular to Washington for easier unloading and loading. The brewery added a new restroom area in but I have not had a chance to check out it’s accessible features.
UCBC’s second location is significantly more accessible. Located in The Grove neighborhood (4465 Manchester Ave) it is a huge brewery and bierhall designed to feel like a German bierhall. Here the food and drinks are ordered at separate bars and there is general seating both inside and out. The food window is low and very accessible, staff will help you to your table with your plate. The bar is a little higher, but the staff are helpful and friendly. Tables are large, wooden common tables with benches but staff has always been helpful about pulling the bench down so I can fit at the table. The food leans toward traditional German. Don’t pass up the pommes frites or one of the sausage boards, delicious! My beer expert says they have very good beer and I can attest to the deliciousness of their cider. While you are here, take a self guided tour of the brewery, completely accessible. Bathrooms are spacious with grab bars and a small parking lot with one accessible spot is attached the brewery. Street parking is abundant on side roads around the brewery which have less traffic and are safer for unloading and loading.
Schlafly is another beer giant in St. Louis also boasting two locations. In the heart of the city you will find the Schlafly Taproom at 2100 Locust St. This building is a traditional, red brick St. Louis landmark with beautiful architecture. They have a large parking lot with plenty of accessible parking (approximately five spots) and a slight ramp leading into the Taproom. Old hard wood floors make you feel like you are inside of early St. Louis history. The menu is delicious and has a more ‘foods of the earth’ feel to it. The meat and cheese board has a wide variety and is perfect for sharing with a small group. My husband enjoys the plate of swine dish which has pork in every form imaginable. The deep fried bacon makes me drool thinking about it. A large list of beers on tap are ever rotating, I get excited for the Pumpkin Ale. The restrooms here are smaller but the accessible stall is large enough for a power chair users. Doors to the restroom are light but not automatic.
Schlafly’s other location, Bottleworks at 7260 Southwest Ave, is in the walking community of Maplewood a 15 minute drive from the city center. The Metrolink train runs to Maplewood from which you can catch a bus to the Bottleworks. An ample parking lot with approximately five accessible spots gives you easy access to the front entrance. Bottelworks is extremely accessible with a large indoor and outdoor eating space. Bathrooms are spacious and the large accessible stall has grab bars. The menu here provides brewery favorites but also a more modern twist on local ingredients. Always check out the website as Schlafly is constantly hosting events at both locations from the local farmers market, art fairs, and beer festivals.
Ferguson Brewing Company (418 S. Florissant Rd)
Located just a 15 minute drive north of the city center Ferguson Brewing Company is part of the revitalization the Fergusons main strip. The historic building is a wonderful mix of brick and timber with the new brewing equipment. A small parking lot with one accessible spot connects to the slightly sloped concrete entrance making for an easy roll. The interior gives a wheelchair plenty of room to get around and see the brewing equipment. The bathroom has an accessible stall that is a few inches too small for a manual wheelchair user to get the stall door closed all the way. So a power chair will fit but the door won’t close. However, if you are trying out the craft beer scene with friends I just have one shut down the bathroom while I am in it.
6 Row Brewing (3690 Forest Park Ave)
6 Row is located in midtown right at the edge of the Saint Louis University Campus. Smaller and quaint but with a great feeling. One door down from the main entrance is the accessible entrance which is zero entry. The bathroom is large enough for a wheelchair user. Parking is a bit of a challenge. There is a lot right behind the building with one accessible spot. Once you get out of the car it is a rather steep hill to climb to the door. Street parking is also located on the hill but poses the same challenge. There is street parking right in front of the building but this is a busy road and unloading is a little risky. They do have great beer and delicious appetizers.
Square One Brewery & Distillery (1727 Park Ave)
Located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in St. Louis, Lafayette Square. Square one is both brewery & distillery which is probably why I like it so much, they make a great Moscow mule. The food is delicious! The building is very old but they have done a really good job of making things accessible. The main entrance has a stair to get in but whether your friends go in and tell them or you give them a call, you get into the brewery through the patio. During non-winter months, the patio is the place to sit. Gorgeous brick and a water feature make it a peaceful, laid back space. The interior has plenty of room to roll and allows for views of the brewing and distilling equipment. The bathroom is well done with large accessible stall with grab bars. Street parking is amble and there is a free lot right across the street with two accessible spots.
My article hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of craft beer in St. Louis. Other local breweries to check out are Perennial Artisan Ales, Civil Life, Buffalo Brewing Company, Trailhead Brewing Company (located in St. Charles on the river), and Kirkwood Station Brewery. Some come spend a long weekend in St. Louis exploring the robust beer world.