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Brewery Showcase | Ferguson Brewing Company

Brewery Showcase | Ferguson Brewing Company
Jordan Palmer

Brewpubs are not a new trend by any means, as they have been in business in St. Louis since at least 1991, when The Schlafly Tap Room opened just west of downtown. However, the practice of pairing a limited or full menu with beer brewed under the same roof continues to grow more popular in St. Louis, and few do it better than Ferguson Brewing Company.

When you drive up to the location along South Florissant Road, the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘What a spectacular building for a bar,’ for it’s exactly the style of building that many of us who’ve dreamed of opening a brewery or bar envision.

Upon entering, one discovers a charming atmosphere consisting of wooden tables and clever, beer-centric artwork that surrounds an inviting, center bar. The bar serves as the room’s focal point, but the giant chalkboards quickly capture the eye, informing patrons of the day’s beer menu and where Ferguson beers can be purchased around the area.

Brewery-ography

Joe Lonero opened his brewery in April 2010 in Historic Downtown Ferguson in the old St. John Liquor Store. Originally the brewery was to be called Hill Brewing Company with Ray Hill as its head brewer, but the partnership never came fruition, so Joe instead named the brewery after the neighborhood — the Ferguson Brewing Company was born. Josh Wilson took the helm as head brewer, and many of his original recipes remain, including their flagship Pecan Brown Ale.

Ferguson’s brewing philosophy is straightforward and inclusive, providing something for everyone to enjoy. Relying on as many local ingredients as possible, Ferguson offers eight year-round beers on tap and five taps showcasing creative brews from the current head brewer, Taylor Wright, as well as collaborative projects.

New On Tap

Two partnerships with local businesses resulted in two new beers at Ferguson. The first, a Coffee IPA, came about from a collaboration with La Coshecha of Maplewood, “We used a single origin Guatemalan coffee bean that was roasted to a special strength just for us,” said Wright. This beer has all the aromas and roastiness of a shot of espresso and all the crisp citrus-ness of an IPA. The beer may sound odd, but the flavors truly do work nicely together.

Meanwhile, Aquaponic Kolsch was born as a result of collaboration with Strawhat Aquaponics, a neighbor of Ferguson Brewery. “The boys over at Strawhat Aquaponicly grew us a whole mess of lemon basil that we used for the beer. We infused the fresh lemon basil into the beer at the boil stage. The beer has a very strong basil aroma but drinks like a crisp lemon/Citrus beverage.”

What We Drank 

Pecan Brown Ale (ABV: 5.5% | IBU: 30)

I am partial to American Brown Ales, so I when I’m drinking bad quality browns, I know it. This beer is stellar with the addition of pecans to provide a fine, nutty flavor.

 

Color & Clarity
The beer pours a dark brown. Hazy and creamy looking.  

Carbonation & Head
Average carbonation with a thin frothy head. 

Aroma
The beer gives off aromas of roasted chocolate and a strong nuttiness. 

Flavor
You’ll get a medium body mouthfeel. The first burst of malt with a dab of chocolate, perhaps some caramel and of course the pecans. The rest of the beer remains consistent and pleasurable.

This is the brewery’s primary flagship and it’s available for distribution year round.

“We wanted to provide something a shade different than your traditional American Brown for drinkers. We wanted to give them something that just pops. We found using various specialty malts gave us a great nutty flavor and Pecan Brown was born,” said Wright.

St. Louis Pale Ale (ABV: 5.1% | IBU: 40)

This is a great beer for people looking to get a hoppy beer but without all the harshness.

Color & Clarity
The beer pours hazy yellow orange or gold.

Carbonation & Head
Average carbonation with a thin frothy head.

Aroma 
A bit of fruit, maybe lemon or grapefruit. A tad of pine maybe.

Flavor
Strong with a crisp bitterness that is quickly washed away with pleasant tones of grapefruit and mandarin orange. Hoppy, but not over my hop line.“STL Pale is the other beer we have available year round for distribution and is the best seller in the actual brewhouse,” said Wright. “We want to give the customer a true American Pale Ale and let the hops steal the show.”

Strawberry Rhubarb (ABV: 4.8%)

This beer was originally created on the small batch system to be tapped on Pi Day (March 14). Due to overwhelmingly favorable response from its customers, Ferguson decided to keep the beer on tap; a full batch was brewed.

Color & Clarity
The beer poured a beautiful hazy gold with a slight pinkish tint.

Carbonation & Head
Average carbonation with a thin frothy head. 

Aroma 
Fresh strawberry, ripe rhubarb.

Flavor
A light, summer beer with a subtle sweetness from the strawberry, all blending harmoniously with the banana and clove from the base beer — not too sweet or tart. 

Smoked Dunkel (ABV: 5.7%)

I’ve not had many smoked beers so I’m still learning about them, but I found this version pleasant enough to foster a desire to continue my education.

Color & Clarity
The beer poured a dark amber

Carbonation & Head
Average carbonation with a thin frothy head

Aroma
Banana, smoke, and caramel.

Flavor
The beer possesses a medium mouthfeel and the smoke flavors paired nicely with the caramel malts to create a unique wheat beer experience.

“This beer was the brainchild of my assistant at the time John Simon who is now one of the owners and head brewer over at Two Plumbers in St. Charles. John loved to explore the nuances of what smoke could do to a beer so I proposed a challenge to him to see what he could do with Hefe yeast. A month later we had a new top selling seasonal on tap.”

What’s For Dinner

Beer aside, what helps make Ferguson Brewing such a highly regarded brewpub is its full, restaurant-style menu, one that could succeed even if it did not operate as a brewery.

Some favorites include the tacos, brisket, French onion soup, dry-rubbed, smoked wings (pick your sauce), margarita flatbread pizza, and the Brew House burger. In addition, the Hummus involves a playful twist: Garlic and roasted red pepper, served with warm pita.


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