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Switch it Up: Our Favorite St. Louis Beers and Their California Counterparts

Photographs by Leah Beane

Nothing is more refreshing than a cold beer on a hot summer day. Personally, I prefer the “one in, one out” rule—rotating beers through the freezer to get them even colder. While I must admit that my beer of choice was Heineken for years (I know, I know), I now seek out new brews to tempt my palate. California, like many other states, has a strong array of craft beer producers dotting its coastline. In the hope of providing some different-but-similar tastes to several popular St. Louis beers, allow me to introduce a few of my newfound friends.

American Lager
Launched in 1982, Bud Light is probably the most successful beer brand ever. With its lighter body and easy drinkability, it is one of the most widely consumed and produced beers in the world. If you’re looking to branch out just a little bit, however, grab North Coast Brewing Company’s Scrimshaw. Similar to Bud Light in color and body, it contains Munich malt, as well as Hallertauer and Tettnang hops that add flavor and complexity without the weightiness of fuller beers. Get it cold and throw it down!

Wheat Beer
Along with many other St. Louisans, I’ve consumed mass amounts of Schlafly Hefeweizen, both at the Tap Room and in my back yard, with a fresh slice of navel orange. For a Left Coast alternative, look for Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Kellerweis. Hazy and golden-yellow in color, this beer is brewed in the traditional Bavarian “open-top fermentation” style to allow flavors of clove, orange peel, banana, and nutmeg to come to life. This wheat beer (weiss or weizen) gets its name from the German word for “cellar” (keller), where this labor-intensive process takes place.

India Pale Ale
My newest love in the beer realm is the superhoppy style called IPA (India Pale Ale). Originally fortified with hops to make the long journey from London to India, these beers offer a distinct bite or bitterness that you either love or hate. One of the more impressive
St. Louis versions is O’Fallon Brewery’s 5-Day IPA. In California, Lagunitas Brewing Company’s IPA is basically perfect, with wild aromatics that call to mind that last Bob Marley concert—minus the patchouli oil. If you’re brave and/or suffering from allergies, seek out Lagunitas’ Hop Stoopid Ale. The name says it all.


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