Last night, Rock Bridge Brewing Company cut a symbolic ribbon outside of Shakespeare’s Pizza, the first CoMo restaurant/bar to host the newest craft beer addition in Missouri. Shakespeare’s served three of the new brewery’s beers: Sif’s Blonde, Farmer’s Daughter Peppered Rye Saison, and Cysquatch IPA. I had the opportunity to try two of the three brews and the results were promising.
Sif’s Blonde is a style I don’t normally go for. It’s sort of gateway into craft beer. However, Broadway Brewery brewer Josh Rein suggested I try it first. I was not disappointed. Although not a style known for bitterness, this beer featured a sharp, hoppy bite. That was followed with a pleasantly dry finish. Too many blonde ales feature a bit of sweetness at the end. Sif’s finish comes correct. It’s one of the better blonde ales I’ve had. If you’re not into heavy beers, this is probably the place to start. I’d even recommend the beer to die-hard hop heads, scared of something malty.
I had time for a second beer, choosing between the Saison and IPA, probably my two favorite styles. Again, Josh suggested that the IPA was in a cask. How could I turn down cask beer?
Because it came from the cask, Cysquatch IPA came out a murky brown with lots of floaties. Despite all the yeast (and most likely a healthy dose of additional hops in the cask), it was a balanced beer, more bitter than sweet. It was a heavy drinker, just how I’ve grown to love IPA’s. It will be interesting to try this beer again from a regular keg or eventually bottles.
As of now, Rock Bridge beers can be had at Shakespeare’s downtown location. In the near future, they are set to be served at Bengals Bar & Grill, Shiloh Bar & Grill, Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar, 44 Stone Public House and 1839 Taphouse. As CoMo’s first wholesale brewery, expect to see them around town, eventually finding space on retail shelves.
This event marks what has been a busy year in Missouri craft beer expansion. Just last week, St. Louis’ Perennial Artisan Ales arrived with a release party extending between several local bars and retailers. Before that, 2nd Shift Brewing, also of St. Louis, entered the CoMo market. Additionally, Four Hands Brewing has made a splash in St. Louis with their impressive opening lineup of beers, hopefully headed to Mid-MO soon. With established Missouri breweries like Saint Louis (Schlafly), Boulevard, and O’Fallon, among others, already in the fold, it’s a great time to be a beer enthusiast in Columbia – or even a Columbia Beer Enthusiast.
That said, it’s a big step for CoMo to add our own production brewery in Rock Bridge. With established brewpubs like Flat Branch and Broadway brewing their own beers, no longer do we have to pine for new breweries to distribute here. Yes, it’s been a big deal to get the likes of Firestone Walker, Founders, Stone, among others, but the growth of our own beer culture is dependent on homegrown brews. Rock Bridge Brewing Company is welcome step forward for craft beer in Columbia.