Times are pretty good for St. Louis' two biggest craft brewers. Both have maxed out production at their local facilities and have contracted with the Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin to brew additional volume of some Schlafly and O'Fallon favorites to meet demand.
As an added bonus, Stevens Point is equipped with a canning line, and Schlafly and O'Fallon have each chosen to can one of their offerings.
Cans are becoming much more common in the craft-beer world for three reasons:
1) They protect the beer from damage wrought by exposure to light.
2) They're lighter to ship.
3) They go places that bottles aren't allowed.
(That last one doesn't mean you shouldn't pour the beer into a glass, mug or at the very least a plastic cup. You'll miss out on the aroma if you don't, and we all know that smell is actually a large player in imparting flavor.)
O'Fallon brought its Peach Wheat beer, Wheach, to store shelves in cans last week, and cans of Schlafly's Summer Lager hit local retailers today. Both come in twelve-packs. The Clayton location of the Wine & Cheese Place has the O'Fallon priced at $14 and the Schlafly for $13.
Wheach is an American-style wheat beer with a twist, in the form of peach flavoring. It was dubbed "Best St. Louis Beer" by this publication in 2007, and lots of folks love its ability to fight off the sweltering St. Louis summer heat and humidity.
Schlafly's Summer Lager is made in the style of Munich helles and delivers on that style's promise of clean malty goodness.
As a bonus, both Wheach and Summer Lager have the potential to be great beers for those who are only just now tiptoeing into the craft-beer world. Wheach offers something so completely different from what drinkers of light American lagers are used to that it can provoke an epiphany. Summer Lager, on the other hand, provides a gentle step up in flavor and intensity while maintaining a family tie to mass-market brands. Both are light on hop bitterness, something that can be a real (or imagined) hurdle to folks not used to drinking small-batch stuff.