St. Louis has a rich beer-brewing culture that has blossomed to include microbreweries all over the city. Many offer terrific fare to go along with the beer they craft. Perennial Artisan Ales, one of the local craft breweries that landed in this year’s FEAST 50 lineup, brings the beer, the food and a bit of entertainment together every Thursday night.
It’s fun to be “in the know,” and there’s no better way to get the inside track on beer trends and inspirations than to join the fun at Perennial’s Beer Release Thursday. At 6pm, Jim Leabig (who’s known as The R&D Brewer) taps a special keg he’s made for the evening. Everyone gets a free sample – yes, folks, free beer – while Leabig describes what you’re drinking and how he concocted it. The keg changes every week. On the night I joined the convivial patrons at the bar, we drank a Peppercorn Rye IPA. Leabig had soaked the peppercorns in vodka before they were added to the brew.
After you’ve learned more about the evening’s release, I suggest sticking around for a bite to eat. Perennial offers a continually changing seasonal menu that is different nearly every day. Chef Claire Mendez uses as many local purveyors as she can to create a tasty dishes that fit the spirit of the tasting room.
The hand pie, for one, is not to be missed. The fillings may change frequently – on the night I was there it was stuffed with wagyu brisket, caramelized onions, peppers and Fontina cheese – but the heavenly, buttery crust does not. The hand pie is served simply with Billy Goat chips, and it makes for a rustic meal that pairs nicely with beer.
Rather than a sweet dessert, opt for one of the cheeses on the menu. The offerings rotate frequently, but anything from Baetje Farms is something special. I enjoyed (thoroughly) the Fleur de la Vallee selection, which was accompanied by crackers and blackberry Pinot Noir preserves.
THE DINNER & SHOW
Perennial Artisan Ales’ Beer Release Thursday at 6pm, 8125 Michigan Ave., South City, 314.631.7300, perennialbeer.com
Every Thursday, Amy Burdge recommends a restaurant to attend before a local cultural event for a great night out. Missed one of her Dinner & A Show columns? Get them all here. Outside of FEAST, Burdge writes Eat It, St. Louis!, a blog dedicated to the pure love of food, the artistry and passion of those who create it and the sheer experience it provides.