Whether you live in Missouri’s capital or not, Prison Brews, Jefferson City’s pioneer microbrewery, which opened in 2008, is worth a visit. “We just felt like it was time for Jefferson City to have a brewery,” says owner Deb Brown of launching the business.
Located two blocks from the old Missouri State Penitentiary, Prison Brews boasts seven taps with four year-round beers and three seasonal specials, all of which are crafted by head brewer Rod Dothage and brewed onsite. One of the most popular options, I Aint Your Honey Wheat is brewed with pure clover honey and fermented with an American wheat ale yeast to give it a hazy yellow color.
The deep amber-colored Big House IPA is another great choice – a combination of Citra and Simcoe hops gives it a bold bitterness with fruit flavors and a hint of pine – but Brown’s personal favorite is the seasonal Warden’s Winter Ale, a rich and malty brown ale with a spicy hop finish that will warm you right up.
Folks don’t just come for the beer, though. Prison Brews is the only place in town with a wood-fired pizza oven, says Brown, and the creative pies – in particular, the ever-changing pizza of the week – have received rave reviews. If you’ve sampled enough slices for now, try a burger – we recommend the Black & Bleu Burger featuring a housemade patty grilled with Cajun spices and topped with melted blue cheese.
Prison Brews also offers brunch on Sundays, when you can enjoy classic dishes such as hearty omelets and steak and eggs.
The building that houses Prison Brews has seen many businesses come and go, from a blacksmith shop in the 1800s to locally owned Landwehr Dairy, which operated there for almost half a century. Today, the space has exposed brick walls that illustrate the building’s history and floor-to-ceiling bars that separate the dining room and the taproom – a nod to the theme. Outdoor bocce ball courts also draw attention: A league of 32 teams plays at Prison Brews, and even when they’re not, there’s still a waitlist. As temperatures start to rise, catch a match from the spacious patio.
For the winter, Prison Brews is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm and Sunday from 8am to 8pm.
Prison Brews, 305 Ash St., Jefferson City, Missouri, 573.635.0678, prisonbrews.com