Lifelong St. Louisan John Beal's favorite beer growing up was Budweiser. "I always wanted the Budweiser car to win," he says. When its parent company Anheuser-Busch was purchased by Belgian brewing behemoths InBev in 2008, the career roofer was "bothered" by the takeover, and decided to take matters into his own hands.
"I said I'm gonna go on the road, learn everything I can learn about beer, meet every brewer, every brewmaster and find everything I can find out," Beal recalls. "I just went out and started learning everything I could about beer, what makes beer taste this way, what makes it taste that way and started educating myself."
Beal's three year cross-country journey yielded a completely American-made beer based in St. Louis: American Patriot Beer, the latest addition to the St. Louis brew scene.
American Patriot is made entirely with American-made products, containing hops from Yakima, Washington, barley from Spiritwood, North Dakota and glass bottles from Tampa, Florida. The beer itself is brewed and labelled at G. Heileman Brewing Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin (the former brewing home of Old Style).
Gut Check was able to sample the two varieties of American Patriot, the lager and light varieties. As we sipped, Beal explained the smoothness of the brew (Gut Check vouches for the smoothness), and in 98 degree heat on an outdoor patio, Patriot was a perfect companion. Its nutritional information is pretty standard, with the light beer clocking in at 102 calories and the regular lager 137 calories.
Currently, American Patriot can be found locally at Dierbergs, Schnucks and Shop 'n Save grocery stores, as well as select bars and restaurants. Beal says the response has been positive so far, earning plugs from local media and even getting some national press via Time magazine. Even with things off to a great start, Beal says he is focused on the St. Louis market for the foreseeable future, with plans for a brewery down the road.
"I've been getting calls from all over and people wanna take it here and take it there, but I'm thinking it's just gonna be here in St. Louis for now," he says. "I'm not a big giant."
"That's my ultimate goal, to make beer, right here," Beal adds. "This is where I'm from, this is the city I'm proud of. I'd feel awesome [to brew beer in St. Louis], that's my goal...to brew right here."
Full American Patriot Source list:
Bottles: Tampa, FL Cans: Golden, CO 6pk carriers: Minneapolis, MN 12 pack cartons: Atlanta, GA Cartons: Minneapolis, MN Labels: La Crosse, WI Caps: Lawrenceburg, IN Barley: Spiritwood, ND Hops: Yakima, WA Malts: North Dakota Water: La Crosse, WI