In 1992, young Brian Neville signed on to wash kegs in a brewery. He did this because he wanted, more than anything, to learn how to brew beer. He must have wanted it pretty badly, too, because he washed kegs for several years before he was allowed to do anything else.
Fast-forward to March 2009: With 17 years of hands-on brewing experience under his belt, Brewmaster Neville debuted his Cathedral Square Brewery Belgian-Style Abbey Ale at Riddles Penultimate. Since then, he's rounded out his lineup with a Belgian-Style White Ale, Iglesia Agave Ale, and Hail Mary Belgian-style IPA, all available on draught at roughly 20 local establishments including The Bridge, both locations of the International Tap House, Humphrey's and Busch Stadium. 22-oz. bottles are available at over 200 locations on both sides of the river, from the swanky SubZero Vodka bar to your friendly neighborhood Schnucks.
At the moment, the 27,000-square-foot brewery houses only brewing equipment and a substantial amount of detritus from the defunct City Grille that once operated there. Next year, however, it will open as a brewpub, part of the far-reaching restaurant development venture run by Dr. Gurpreet Padda and Amy Grimes; the building was actually the first purchased by the pair roughly five years ago.
Along with a variety of Belgian-style beers made with both imported and locally sourced ingredients, there are likely to be many nudges and winks inside Cathedral Square brewpub - 3914 Lindell used to be the address of the Playboy Club.
CATHEDRAL SQUARE BREWERY AT A GLANCE
Why the name? During research, it was discovered that the 3900 block of Lindell is part of an area that was once called Cathedral Square. Also, the opportunities for puns involving religion and beer are myriad.
Why now? Compared to other cities, St. Louis is, according to Neville, a "virgin market for craft beer" where the ethos among brewmasters and beer enthusiasts alike is "the more the merrier." Neville is clearly thrilled by the chance to get creative with recipes and concentrate on Belgian-style beers - and he seems to be the only local brewer taking that tack.
What does "Belgian-style" entail? Relying more heavily on sugars for fermentation, Belgian-style beers traditionally use aged hops for a less bitter, delicate hop finish, and tend to offer sweetish and toasty malt overtones.
What's next? Forbidden Fruit, a brew incorporating local apples that Neville hopes to debut later this fall. He's also working on a source for locally grown wheat.
SUGGESTED FOOD PAIRINGS
For the traditionalist: Belgian-Style White Ale, with light body, cloudy color and touch of orange peel and spice. FEAST contributor Angela Ortmann recommends pairing it with a goat cheese salad with apples and/or pears, crab cakes, eggs benedict or smoked salmon dishes.
For the adventurous: Iglesia Agave Ale, an unconventional brew incorporating three malts, two varieties of hops, and imported agave nectar. Try it with spicy fare like Indian or Vietnamese.