Coming Soon: Greer Brewing | Gambling on Beer as a Career
Back in the late 1990s, my wife had a habit of signing up for every contest she ran across — and winning. One day, a home brewing kit showed up at our home. It went straight into the basement and remained there until it was tossed in the trash during a spring cleaning. What a mistake, because right about that time, I discovered craft beer and fell in love with the entrepreneurial spirit it represented. Given my young age, I could have walked away from my television career and went into brewing, but I didn’t. Now years later, I’ve converged my love of responsible drinking and my love for media into writing about beer. Nevertheless, that spirit of putting one’s faith in beer continues today, such as the story attached to Chris Greer and Greer Brewing.
“I am the guy who left his comfortable job to bet everything my wife and I ever worked for, on opening a brewery in Ellisville,” said Greer. “I had a great job with a great company, but felt like my career had stalled. I did not want to look back 15 years down the road and ask what if?” My wife, family and close friends have supported this idea and believe in the long term vision of what I want this to be.”
No risk no reward, right?
Greer spent two years looking for a location which could bring locally produced beer — enjoyed on premise — to its market. The dream of owning a brewery was a major career change for Greer, who spent 18 years at UPS, working in operations management, finance, engineering, sales and marketing.
The plan is to build a local retail base through the tasting room, and gradually increase distribution to area bars and restaurants. Greer noted, “In the last year there has been resurgence on the south side of Manchester Road. I am proud to say that we are part of that rebuilding. The city was excited about the project when I brought it to their attention last March. I applaud and thank their support. This is something unique and different that the area lacked. I want this to be destination providing great beer, a distinctive space for people to socialize, and play an active role in the community.”
He added, “There are a number of breweries in the St. Louis area producing exceptional beer. The issue is this part of town has none. I wanted to fill that void and bring the tasting room experience to my neighborhood.”
Renovations on the 12,000 square-foot structure began over Thanksgiving of 2016 and are nearing completion with a hopeful target opening date of Memorial Day. The brewery will be West St. Louis County’s first locally owned microbrewery when it’s completed on a long vacant piece of property in Ellisville, located at 16050 Manchester Road (formerly known as Ed’s Lawn and Garden).
Greer Brewing will begin operations with a 15-barrel brewhouse, visible from the tasting room. A cold kitchen will flank the brewing area and will provide limited menu items.
The tasting room will feature tables and benches made from reclaimed oak cargo planks all hand built by Greer. The brewery will rotate 8 to 10 style-focused beers ranging from Helles Lagers to Dark Strong Belgian Ales, and everything in between.
5 Questions With New Brewer Chris Greer
What beers do you hope to open with?
I have the capacity to have five beers fermenting at any time. We will have eight taps and one beer engine. In a perfect world we would like to open with nine different beers (two lagers, six ales, and something on cask). The reality is we will probably need to work up to that due to time constraints. The starting lineup may look like this: Vienna Lager, IPA, ESB on cask, Red Ale and a Belgian.
What is your brewing philosophy?
I am very fond of tradition and prefer to brew to style rather than blaze a new path and throw a bunch of malt, hops, and spices into a kettle. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to any of the exotic offerings that are currently on the market. It’s just not what I want the brewery to be. When it comes to beer I am a purist and focus on classic styles. I enjoy reading about the history and tradition of how beer styles were developed and the regions they were developed in. We will make a few experimental beers for fun but our core beers will be the classics because they have worked and it’s what I like.
What inspires you?
Inspiration comes in a multiple forms. Most of it is the tradition. Some of it is from taking specific elements that I like from different beers and attempting to marry and balance those elements in a single beer. Other times friends will ask if I can make a beer with a certain flavor profile and I give it a go.
How did this journey begin?
After dinner a few years ago my wife and I were in our kitchen having a beer that I brewed a couple of weeks earlier. The kids were getting ready for bed and we had had time for a quick chat. That’s when I dropped the news about wanting to open a brewery. Her only words were, “I’m not a dream killer… show me a business plan.” Here we are a little more than two years later close to achieving it.
What will we notice about the beer you brew?
I shoot for balance in every beer, but don’t mistake balance for blandness or boring. Without sounding like a rebel or pessimist I never gave much thought to picking out the different subtleties in my beer. I tried, but found through scotch tasting experiences it is a very subjective process. I enjoy the process of brewing beer. I prefer to develop my flavors from malt and hop selection versus spices. Most of my beers use English and Continental hops, besides the IPA (single hop Centennial). I tend to lean forwards the malt for flavor, more so, than the hops…
ABV: 4.9% | IBUL: 22
Copper color, dense persistent head, doughy/biscuit like aromas, medium body with subtle hints of caramel/sweetness, which quickly dries out with noble hops.
ABV: 6.7% | IBU: 58
Intense tropical fruit aroma, medium body with clean malty/grainy background notes offset by powerful, but not overly assertive bitterness.
ABV: 3.5% | IBU: 28
A sessionable treat at this low ABV and traditionally served at 54 degrees through the cask engine. Low carbonation, crisp, and clean.
Follow on Facebook @GreerBrewing.