Once again, my company’s need for a human body behind a table dictated that I head on down to St. Louis for a couple of days. This was another place that I had never been to, and was of course keen on the idea of checking it out. I hopped onto Wikipedia to glean a few St. Louis facts before soaking it all in for myself. Here were my findings: It hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics, has more than halved its population since 1950, and is also home to the largest group of Bosnians outside of their homeland.
I finally made it down to Earth City, MO where I got the booth situated. I’ve shared booth photos before, and I know you aren’t interested in seeing more. With everything set for the next day, I returned to my car and did battle with traffic until arriving at the vastly more interesting St. Louis. The city was of course smaller than the Chicago metropolis I call home, but thanks to its famous arch the skyline is no less distinctive.The domed building once served as the courthouse for St. Louis, but has since been re-purposed as a museum and ticket counter. I strolled through the rooms to learn a bit about St. Louis’ French fur-trading origins, slavery, and of course the historic journey of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark that began from here. The inside of the dome looked a bit like ‘The Patriotic Church of USA’.
I picked up a 10 dollar ticket, and then made my way on over to the inverted cantenary arch. At 630 feet high [and interestingly, 630 feet wide] I knew that it was going to be on the larger side. Coming up to the base though, the bold lines and flat surfaces really made it loom. I was able to charm some passerby into snapping a rather snazzy photo. I didn’t spend a great deal of time down in the base, the plan was mostly just to go up and down. The trams that haul people up were clearly built at a time predating American’s swelling waists, and the concept of claustrophobia. Up at the top were some small windows, and to be honest, the view from the apex was nothing spectacular. I had a clear day with great visibility, but the merits of such a vantage point are lost when there isn’t really worth looking at: St. Louis is only a medium-sized city, and the Illinois side has nothing at all.
Following my descent, thirst set in. One of the National Parks employees pointed me toward the Morgan Street Brewery. Tuesday night must not be a big one for St. Louis, so I just strode on in and took a seat at one of the many empty bar stools. Their flight let me a sample one of everything they had on tap. I imbibed while listening to a guitarist play several unlikely covers. The beers were all good enough, but nothing jumped out to me as truly remarkable.
After settling up, I decided to again in another area of town. I walked several blocks, struggled to find an entrance, but did eventually make it into Alpha Brewing. They offered two vastly different sets of beers so I simply had to try a flight of both the ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ varieties. The alphas were represented by a predictable mix of lagers, ales, and IPAs – all good, but no surprises. Then there were the betas, each of which was uniquely it’s own. As the the bartender/owner explained to me, he and the other owners would generally inebriate themselves so as to summon inspiration. Many of these were sour beers, and most were aged in some exotic barrels. The chardonnay casks imbued an interesting flavor profile in one, the use of coffee in another was great, the pomegranate in another was tasteful. Each of these were unlike any I had ever had before, nor were they gimmicky – I truly enjoyed them all. It was at last time to go and prepare myself for the next day. St. Louis was a nice city to walk around in, and certainly iced the cake baked by getting out of the office for a bit.