BBQ, Branson, the Ozarks, the Royals, the Cardinals, OH MY. The Show-Me-State, aka Missouri, is smackdab in the heart of the country where the saying goes here “if you don’t like the current weather -- wait five minutes.” It’s chokingly humid in summer and tundra-esque in winter. Clogging your arteries is virtually a pastime, and it’s the epicenter of the Bible Belt.
Damn, Missouri, I love you my native land.
Now it’s not all about banjo-playing rednecks a la Deliverance, nor is Budweiser the sole liquid beer drinkers tap into to quench their thirst -- it’s a craft mecca that’s growing every day. From Kansas City to St. Louis and all the hip joints in between, Missouri is chock-full-of top shelf brewskies.
Get thee to Missouri, craft fans, and experience these Must-Try-Show-Me-State Breweries:
Boulevard - From my hometown of Kansas City, Boulevard is the king of beers in “the Paris of the Plains.” Whether you’re at Kauffman Stadium watching a ball game or tripping over stumblin’ drunks at a dive bar in Westport, Boulevard is the gold standard and their Belgian-focus is a point of KC pride. In the past year, they’ve added a huge Beer Hall where you can partake in many of their delicious selections. Must try: Tank 7, Zon, Rye on Rye on Rye.
Side Project - It wasn’t until recently I even knew of the existence of St. Louis’ Side Project, but their Wild Ale, 100% barrel-focus has become something of a national legend. Recognized as Missouri’s #1 Brewery on BeerAdvocate and generally considered one of the best in the world, their tart, funky, and often local-grown fruit infused catalogue is trade bait far and wide. Must try: Fuzzy, Balaton, Saison du Fermier.
Perennial - Just mention Abraxas and you’ll have a bunch of craft bros get gushy and turn into giddy little school boys/girls. It’s a dark beer collector’s item whenever its released, but Perennial is so much more than that. They put St. Louis on the beer map for something other than Bud Light -- turning the city into a bonafide, high-brow, real craft beer mecca. They’re virtuosos of flavor, combining ingredients into beer like a culinary wunderkind. Must try: Abraxas, 17, Sump.
Mother’s - My once and beloved college town of Springfield got themselves a craft brewery! You probably won’t see Mother’s outside of the Midwest, sadly, but their inventive yet chuggable brews automatically latch onto the care-free, youthful vibrancy of a energetic college town. If only I had been a little younger, I could have pursued my BS degree with a LOT more craft flavor and less Guinness. Sure, Springfield may be dead center in the buckle of the Bible Belt, but Mother’s craft gurus make beers that will make visiting a instant-party at the gates. Must try: Winter Grind, MILF, Three Blind Mice.
Don’t lie -- you probably didn’t even considered visiting Missouri. I wouldn’t blame you, especially during summer (seriously, the humidity will kill you dead in a deluge of sweat), but their thriving craft scene is full of deliciousness on either side of I-70, and is downright essential for craft fans to explore. Plus, that BBQ....
Written by Ed Moore
Featured image from Side Project Brewing Facebook Page