A new microbrewery is set to join St. Louis' flourishing craft-beer scene.
Bluewood Brewing plans to open its doors at 1821 Cherokee Street in early 2019. The new brewery is the brainchild of Cameron Lund and Grant Lodholz, both engineers who started homebrewing in college. "We just kind of took that love further, once we got back to St. Louis, and introduced some of our products to the St. Louis craft-brewing scene and, really, that’s where the demand kind of exploded," Lund says with a laugh. "So, we decided to go professional."
Over the past few years, the partners have been familiar faces on the local beer scene; they've racked up awards including first place in the people's choice category for their Proprietor's 4th Anniversary Stout at Ales for Tails 2017, as well as the Missouri Botanical Garden Young Friends Cup Champion for Dancing with the Pumpkin King at the 10th and 11th annual Fest-of-Ale. When it came time to put down roots, they spent about three years scouting properties before landing on Cherokee Street.
"It’s really historic as far as brewing goes: Griesedieck was there at one point and [Anheuser-Busch] is right there still," Lodholz says. "It’s historic and it’s a really cool neighborhood to be in; it’s tight-knit and fit with how we brew."
"We passed on several properties but this one especially spoke to us because it was almost exactly what we were looking for in a property in terms of the nostalgic feel – kind of rustic and everything like that," Lund adds.
The brewery will open with a one-barrel pilot system, with plans to eventually move up to a 5-barrel system. Bluewood specializes in barrel-aging and wild fermentation for a simple reason: That's what Lund and Lodholz like to drink. To that end, Leviathan will be a signature brew. The Russian imperial stout is brewed once a year and features deep coffee notes, bitter chocolate, English hops and dark fruits.
"I think there's a greater complexity with stouts," Lund says. "We're both coffee addicts; we love the different roasters here in St. Louis and we’re very fortunate to have places like Blueprint and Sump and pair those different roasts with our stouts. One of my favorite beers was our Barrel-Aged Leviathan Blend #3; we used Blueprint espresso in that, and it was just phenomenal."
Likewise, Lodholz counts another variation, Beheading Leviathan, among his favorites; the "warrior of a stout" clocks in at a whopping 22 percent ABV and features notes of vanilla and coffee beans. But Bluewood also offers a diverse portfolio beyond stouts; brews range from the Arch City Haze (a creamy New England-style IPA) to the Bananas & Blow (a traditional Bavarian Hefeweizen).
The tasting room itself is roughly 2,000 square feet with around 100 seats, plus a patio and a kitchen where, down the line, the brewery will contract a local chef or restaurant to handle the food. During Bluewood's first few months of business, though, Lund and Lodholz plan to host local food trucks outside the brewery. Bluewood isn't targeting widespread distribution; rather, beers will be available on draft at the taproom, to go in Crowlers or in 500mL bottles for special releases.
Doors at Bluewood are slated to open in late January or early February, but if you want an early taste of Cherokee Street's newest brewery, you can catch Lund and Lodholz pouring at the St. Louis Brewers Guild Halloween Party on Sat., Oct. 27.
Bluewood Brewing, 1821 Cherokee St., Cherokee Business District, St. Louis, Missouri, bluewoodbrewing.com