Wednesday, November 9, 2011

schlafly brewery tour

Michael and I had to take an unexpected trip to St. Louis a few weeks ago, and while we were there, we took the opportunity to go on the Schlafly Brewery Tour. I've talked so much about St. Louis & Schlafly on this blog that it seemed only right that I go with a nice big group of people (there were 6 of us!) and sample the beers in their Tap Room before our tour started. While are the different brews were tasty, I have to admit that one of the best discoveries was the root beer that Schlafly bottles: Lewis Osterweis & Sons. And do they have a bottle cap?! Of course they do!

I mainly want to talk about the brewery tour, though. As much as I love Schlafly, I hate to say that I was not overly impressed by the tour. First of all, they start you off in a room that seems to be their museum, but there's a video playing in the background on a loop, which makes it VERY difficult to hear the guy (in our case) trying to tell you all about brewing beer. Our brewery guide, whose name I can't remember, was also not the best at enunciating or projecting his voice at any rate. It got even worse once we left the museum area and went into the actual brewery, where there was your typical clanging, whirring, and other loud sounds that breweries make. Unless you were standing right up next to him, it was pretty tough to get a good idea of what we were learning about. Also, our guide kept wanting to quiz us. He didn't quite understand his audience: we weren't experts in the process of brewing beer, yet he kept asking us elaborate questions about ratios of sugar, how head is made and, the best kind of yeast for beer. We clearly didn't know the answers, but instead of just telling us, he just sort of made fun of us and made us feel dumb. It was a bit disconcerting. There were even a few people who claimed to brew their own beer, and when they couldn't answer the questions, he reprimanded them and told them their beer probably wasn't very good!

Schlafly! I don't want to tell you not to employ these people--clearly they know a lot about beer and are probably otherwise excellent staffers. But maybe don't have the know-it-alls guide the brewery tours. Most people on those tours just like your beer and want to learn a little something about the process. Just because I've been on tours before doesn't mean I remember what wort is or how you need to boil the water and use a centrifuge to get the floaty bits out of the mixture in big stainless steel drums. I just want to enjoy the beer!

Anyway, it IS Schlafly's 20th anniversary -- next year you're legal! I hope that if I go back to STL and take the tour again, maybe I'll get a free t-shirt or something. Think about it, Schlafly. St. Louis is like my 2nd home. I want to love you guys!

1 comment:

  1. I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear about your experience on our tour. Some of the stuff you described I have experienced first hand, like noise being an issue (and that is a definite work in progress that we are aware of). However, your issues with the overall quality of the tour and guide are upsetting and we'll definitely look into it. In fact, if you wouldn't mind emailing me with a follow up, it would be really helpful, especially if you can tell us what day and time you were there. We want our brewery tour experiences to be fun and informative for folks and your feedback is really helpful. That all said, I hope the beer tasting part of the tour was at least well received. Next time you're in St.Louis, drop me a line and I'll take you around myself at either brewery. We can work on that free t-shirt too. Have a great night and thanks for the post.

    Schlafly Beer Communications Director