Justin Harris is always on the lookout for new craft beers, but living in north St. Louis, he says he found it difficult to find the selection he desired. In an effort to bring a broader variety of brews closer to home, Harris teamed up with friend Ryan Griffin to open Saint Louis Hop Shop on Cherokee Street in May. The duo’s goal was to establish a microbrew destination that not only embodied the city’s craft-beer movement, but would also add to the neighborhood’s growing food-and-drink scene.

“Cherokee Street was one of the first locations we looked at, and we were fascinated with it,” Harris says. “We see what it’s becoming, and we feel that we represent the spirit and culture of St. Louis. It was a good vibe from the first time we stepped over there.”

The shop focuses on local craft beer but carries more than 100 brands and styles from across the country. Customers can build their own four- or six-packs, snag a cold 22-ounce bomber bottle or try something on draft at the shop’s four-tap bar. Saint Louis Hop Shop is also working with local breweries to host tastings and events in the store each week – in September, it will host events with Kirkwood Station Brewing Co., Goose Island Beer Co., New Belgium Brewing Co. and Sonoma Cider.

“We want to break the idea that good beer has to mean expensive beer,” Harris says. “That’s not the case – good beer means well-crafted beer. If it doesn’t cost us a lot, it’s not going to cost you a lot, and that’s our philosophy and motto.”

Three Must-Buys at Saint Louis Hop Shop

| 1 | When you step inside the shop, the first thing you’ll see is a wall of options for a build-your-own four- or six-pack. Each bottle is individually priced, and the shop puts everything it carries on the wall for optimum mix-and-match possibilities. Combine two 22-ounce bomber bottles with a few local ciders or choose different styles from one brewery to customize.

| 2 | Saint Louis Hop Shop has a four-tap bar offering rotating brews and a TV to watch the game after work. The bar also allows the shop to get more exclusive, one-off beers that don’t see bottles or cans. Harris says local favorites such as those from Modern Brewery and The Civil Life Brewing Co. are only available on draft, making them ideal candidates for the bar. The store also hosts tasting events at the bar.

| 3 | Harris is hoping to quickly grow a collection of gadgets to enhance the beer-sipping experience. Keep an eye out for more Hop Shop-branded bottle openers, keychains and holiday beer-themed gifts later this fall. Local artist Mwanzi Co. created a reusable six-pack holder using refurbished local wood to make your next beer run eco-friendly.

Saint Louis Hop Shop, 2606 Cherokee St., Cherokee Business District, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.261.4011, facebook.com/saintlouishopshop

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