Drinking Holes

I was inspired! Side Project Tap Room in STL

Chris Jensen · Oct. 30


I haven't written about beer in a long time. I haven't brewed in almost as long, and, sad to say, I've hardly even drank much good beer in all that time. It's not that I love beer any less, it's just a whole lot of other stuff has taken priority over the past several months. For example:
I quit my job.
I started a new business.
I had a child.
I chased my other child, now 2, all over the place.
I got burglarized.
I got hit by a car.
And that's only the start. I won't bore you with the rest, but it's needless to say that I haven't had as much time for brewing, tasting or writing about beer in 2015.
But last weekend I had one of those magical experiences which makes you forget everything else in your world to savor the moment. One of those beer experiences that makes you remember why you fell in love with the hobby in the first place. The exprience?
I visited the tasting room for a new brewery in St Louis: Side Project. The place is called the Side Project Cellar. And it is unbelievable. One of the best places to have a beer in the US. Maybe even the Western Hemisphere.
I don't say that lightly. It is rare that I visit a new beer establishment or brewery and have my socks knocked off. It's just too hard to do for a new brewery who is still trying to get used to their new equipment or their space. Also, I have drank beer at some of the best places around. See my reviews of Monk's Cafe (maybe the best in the US?) and of my tour around beer's holy land, Belgium.
I have to hand it to the guys at Side Project. They have my attention.
The place is warm, cozy, and welcoming. The tasting room is surrounded by reclaimed wood. Ample seating and a massive bar to accomodate the crowds that will find this place soon. Attended by servers who are friendly and knowledgable, without the attitude that is so easily to find at a place like this.
And the beer? I tried 3 of their beers, either their proprietary beers or a collaboration with another brewery, and all three were damn delightful. Crisp, charismatic and respectable sours. Not an easy thing to do. But what I really loved was their commitment to other creators of world class beverages. The beer list is the best I've seen outside of Monk's in Philly for tasting sour or wood-aged beers in the US (see photo below). It goes on and on, all shapes and sizes, all served in the appropriate vessel and temperature. 3 Fontenent? Yes. Cantillon? You know it. In fact they recently had a party for Cantillon.
And the whiskey and wine selections were damn decent as well, though that's not what would bring me back.
If you find yourself in the Lou', be sure to check out Side Project Cellar. And, feel free to have a bite to eat at one of the half-dozen or more great restaurants within a block of the tap room in the up and coming Maplewood neighborhood.



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