Taste of Maplewood – Craft Beer Edition
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Maplewood has become this quirky, fun community that is constantly renewing itself with great restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and even a pinball lounge. I lived in Maplewood in early 2000s and saw a big change when Schlafly Bottleworks opened. Restaurants have came and gone since then, but there are a few newer ones that have came around recently that are giving the community in Maplewood more options for craft beer than just Schlafly (though most serve it as well). You can check out the Taste of Maplewood this weekend, Saturday the 18th noon until 9pm on Sutton Blvd. This is more of a family street festival, which one owner of a Maplewood establishment thought it was not a true representation of the area since most restaurants are geared for the adult set, craft beer drinking, sports watching, fine dining experiences. Everything is open, so feel free to leave the festival and head to a bar.
Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave, is of course going to be pouring at the event. They are the heart of Maplewood, hosting a Farmer’s Market in their parking lot every Wednesday, having a cask night every other Tuesday night and hosting several beer festivals. They have established St. Louis craft beer, but with openings of other breweries around town, Schlafly Bottleworks does not have as many new exciting, experimental beers, but their newer seasonal IPA program has brought forth some great beers. Plus their old standbys are still favorites at my backyard barbeques. They will have a tent at the event, and their brewery is within walking distance to the festival.
The Wood, 2733 Sutton Blvd, will be located in the heart of the street festival. The Wood has a good variety of craft beer with a focus on locals on draft. There bar seating area is open and wide bar and included arcade games. They provide outside sidewalk seating. During the event they will also be serving unique food and icy beverages outside as well as their full menu with bar inside. While visiting it was apparent that the staff new their beer and were up to date on beer news.
The Crow’s Nest, 7336 Manchester Rd, is also participating in the event. I have only been to the location once and hopefully they were having a bad day. Some of their taps weren’t being used and their fryer had just gone down. However, this is a classic beer bar with great signage and wall art. They have an amazing large back deck, which unfortunately overlooks a parking lot but after a couple of beers no one notices anymore. Before I left, the fryer situation was being handled. The staff was knowledgable and friendly enough to be loaning the phone chargers to customers.
While not participating in The Taste of Maplewood, there are a couple of more places in the area to check out:
Home Wine Kitchen, 7322 Manchester Rd, Wait wine? This restaurant has amazing food and wine but also has 3 draught taps with mostly local beer, a great regular bottle selection, and as an insider tip – check the reserve bottle list and come across some hard to find bombers. They host beer dinners, as well as some beer versus wine dinners (great way to expose others to the amazing way beer pairs with food if they are not a beer geek). The menu is fantastic, the dinner menu changes weekly with a focus on what is fresh. Head out on a Monday to try the place without the menu. You are of course asked what you like and dislike and then surprised with three courses of great food.
Orbit Pinball Lounge, 7401 Hazel Ave, will be in the heart of the festival. However they do not open until 5pm and only permit those 21 years and older. This is great since no one wants to hear kids begging for quarters like we are a Chuck E. Cheese drinking their swill beer. Traveling with my husband all over the country to arcades (that also server beer), I can tell you this is the cleanest, best decorated one I have ever seen. On top of that, they have craft beer, board games, pinball, and 25 cent skeeball. You can even join a skeeball league. While the bartender when I went in, was more of a scotch drinker, he knew enough about beers to help you with your selection.
So whether you go to The Taste of Maplewood on Saturday, or plan to go on another day, get out there and discover or rediscover Maplewood.