Schlafly Beer is celebrating a big milestone this weekend: one of St. Louis' first craft breweries is hosting its 20th annual Hop in the City festival.
The festival is designed to give guests a taste of (almost) Schlafly's entire portfolio. And with more than 40 beers to choose from – including six specialty tappings, traditionally announced when founding brewer Stephen Hale rings a ceremonial gong – it can be hard to decide where to start. This year, we've made it easy for you: We tapped Hale and head brewer Jared Williamson to share their 20 must-try beers available at this year's festival. With plenty of options ranging from Oktoberfest and pumpkin ale to sour IPA and barrel-aged saison, you definitely won't leave thirsty.
1. Double Dry-Hopped Passionfruit, Pineapple, Peach Northeast Session IPA (DDHPPPNESIPA): "This year's festival beer boasts quite a mouthful for a little brew like this. It's certainly one of the most remarkable names for a Schlafly Beer. It’s a bit of a joke about how extreme beers have become in the industry – but it’s delicious at the same time."
2. Coconut Crème Ale: "If tropical cocktails are your thing, this is the beer for you: coconut, pineapple and delightful flavor all rolled into one."
3. Coffee Stout: "The earliest collaboration in St. Louis: Our coffee-roasting friends at Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Co. came by for beers after work, and we just started experimenting with mixing our oatmeal stout with Kaldi’s coffee. We dialed in the combination, and the rest is history! The fantastic blend continues today with Kaldi’s Toddy cold brew as the base of our beer."
4. Double IPA: "If hops are your thing, this is the beer for you. At 10-percent [ABV], it's got quite a robust profile and all the hoppiness to prove it. It’s also a steal of a deal for a high-ABV beer in stores. This one comes back as part of our Hop Allocation series this month."
5. IPA: "It doesn't get any better than this: 5 percent and lovingly hopped, a perfect balance of maltiness and hoppiness. Our brewers have been wanting to release a lower-ABV IPA for a while, so we have been excited to see this has been well-received!"
6. IPL: "Melding the crisp, clean profile of a lager with the floral hoppiness of an IPA, this beer combines the best of both worlds."
7. Kölsch: "Our friends at the Gaffel Brewery in Cologne, Germany, shared their yeast to go with a fabulous recipe our brewers created years ago. Ausgezeichnet!"
8. Oatmeal Stout: "If you're going to have a beer for breakfast, make it an oatmeal stout. It not only sounds like breakfast, it’s just as nutritious!"
9. Oktoberfest: "Crisp, clean and malty, 'tis the season for this ideal autumn beer – no need to fly to Munich when it's so good right here. Our Oktoberfest has received national acclaim as one of the best in its class."
10. Pale Ale: "The original craft beer in St. Louis, and still the standard bearer, Pale Ale is the friend you always expect to be there. Brewed from day one to honor our connection to our British brewing roots with English malt – amber perfection. Old reliable."
11. Pumpkin Ale: "According to many, perhaps the finest pumpkin beer in the country, therefore the world. Our Schlafly fans look forward to pumpkin ale season every year, and so do we!"
12. Proper Cider: "Proper perfection in a glass, combining a solid cider base with the delight of raspberries. Not just tasty, but gorgeous to behold."
13. Raspberry Hefeweizen: "Summer may be nearing its end, but Hop is the one event where you can taste both summer and fall beers. Low in alcohol and full of flavor, Razz Hefe is a brewers' favorite, perfect for so many occasions. We call this tart, sweet, colorful beer 'brewers’ water' around the brewery."
14. White Lager: "Now a year-round beer and favorite for many, White Lager started out on our SmallBrews PilotWorks system. After a successful test on our 20-gallon system, our Hop in the City festival-goers got a taste of this unfiltered lager, and it was a hit! Many of our beers get a test at Hop before making it to wider distribution."
15. Barrel Aged Saison: "A Belgian-style saison aged in wine barrels, who said life didn't get any better? This is part of our From the Ibex Cellar series, and we worked with a number of award-winning wineries to source Sauvignon Blanc barrels from them. The beer is the sublime melding of two different worlds – salaciously good."
16. Local Oak: "The centerpiece of so many local worlds colliding, Local Oak is all you imagined in a sour beer like this. Aged in Missouri-grown-and-built foeders from Foeder Crafters, Local Oak is a beer full of worldly personality."
17. Pumpkin Stout: "Oatmeal stout and pumpkin ale met at a beer festival. And then, there was great happiness throughout the land."
18. Sour IPA: "The best of both worlds! For sour beer-lovers and hopheads, perhaps, but so approachable for all of us. Truly tasty."
19. Brewers Blend Imperial Stout (Specialty Tapping): "Our team of brewers put together a special one-time only blend of various stouts to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hop, a blend of Port-barrel aged, bourbon-barrel aged, cocoa nib-aged and coffee-infused stouts. While we have a long history of barrel-aging stouts, this is the first time we've blended so many different vintage stouts together to create a blend worthy of Hop in the City's 20th anniversary."
20. The Variant Two (Specialty Tapping): "The launch of our Ibex Rare: The Variant drew a line around the block, and we anticipate Schlafly fans to be just as excited about this iteration. Featuring the rich and luxurious Variant base stout, we aged two batches in American brandy barrels and then fermented a third batch on sour cherries. We then blended the barrel-aged stout with the younger sour-cherry batch, and created the decadent cocktail-inspired beer experience that is The Variant Two. This is the first chance to try this beer; keep an eye out for a bigger rollout of the beer this fall.
Hop in the City takes place Sat., Sept. 15 from 11am to 5pm (tasting portion from noon to 4pm) at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust St.). Tickets are $35, available here.