It's been a historic week for the St. Louis Blues: On Wed., May 29, the team claimed its first Stanley Cup finals victory. That's not the only history we'd like to observe this week, however.
Before the Blues topped the Bruins in overtime on Wednesday, fans in Boston were already getting a little roiled. On Mon., May 27, Boston Globe food writer and restaurant critic Devra First wrote a biting review of classic St. Louis eats, deriding our square-cut, Provel-topped pizza and even the most sacred of snacks, toasted ravioli. We're not here to sling mud, though – instead, we'd rather share some hard facts about what our two cities have in common.
Today, The Boston Beer Co., which produces Samuel Adams beer, is synonymous with Beantown. Yet when Jim Koch co-founded the brewery in 1984, he developed the brand's signature Boston Lager using a recipe handed down from his great-great-grandfather, Louis Koch, a St. Louis brewer.
That's right, Bruins fans: You can thank Louis Koch, founder of the long-shuttered Koch and Feldkamp Brewery in St. Louis, for your Boston Lager.
For a more thorough account, we turned to St. Louis historian Cameron Collins' impeccably researched and endlessly fascinating blog, Distilled History:
"...Most people today are familiar with the 'Boston Lager,' known as Samuel Adams. It’s available just about everywhere, including Big Daddy’s Bar, which occupies the building that used to be the offices of the Koch and Feldkamp Brewery. Sam Adams is on tap there (it’s what I ordered), and it’s easy to understand why. The St. Louis brewer Louis Koch created it there over 140 years ago.
That’s right. Samuel Adams is the 'Boston Lager,' but it’s a St. Louis recipe. ... Back in the 1970s, Louis Koch’s great-great-grandson Jim Koch found the recipe in a trunk in his father’s attic. He resurrected it, launched a fledgling brewery with it, and the rest is brewing history.
But like so much else, it’s St. Louis brewing history."
When reached by phone this afternoon, Collins says he's happy that the story is finally reaching a wider audience.
"It's funny – I gave a presentation last night and threw out that fact, and of course it was great because nobody knew it, and it's a great clapback at Boston and promotes the Blues and everything," Collins says with a laugh. "I initially heard the story from Andrew Weil, the executive director of Landmarks Association; he and I used to do beer tours together, and on tours, we would drive to Big Daddy's, a south St. Louis bar, and that's where we'd tell the story. It was once the headquarters, or the office building, for the Koch and Feldkamp Brewery, which was located right in the area; the Koch and Feldkamp Brewery didn't make it through Prohibition. And then sometime in the 1970s, [Louis Koch's] great-great-grandson Jim Koch found the recipe for his beer that was brewed in St. Louis; the real story is that it's actually a St. Louis lager."
So there you have it, St. Louis: As if you needed more proof that the Gateway City dominates the beer scene, we're also responsible for Samuel Adams' Boston Lager. And you know what else we're going to dominate? Taking home the Stanley Cup. #LGB!
Editor's Note: This post was updated at 2:45 p.m. with comment from Cameron Collins of Distilled History.