ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
It’s hard to find fault with forward-thinking FLYING SAUCER DRAUGHT EMPORIUM, despite the fact such large-scale beer pub endeavors merely scratch the surface promoting local independent brewers’ true obsession crafting off-center hybrids, hard-to-find limited editions, daringly ambitious seasonals and obscure one-offs. While bigger beerpub chains such as Yard House and World Of Beer offer hundreds of great microbrew choices, there’s barely any specialty brews amongst the obvious best-selling fare. Ultimately, this standard predictability led to the future demise of Bud-Coors-Miller, three boring macrobrewers scrambling to find a cool niche while selling watered-down versions of timid mainstream recipes to vapid sycophantic dilettantes.
Originating in Fort Worth, Texas, during 1995, the mighty Flying Saucer now operates 16 locations scattered through Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Lone Star State as of my April Fools Day 2016 sojourn.
Taking up the entire first floor space and large outdoor deck of a red brick downtown Industrial edifice within walking distance of Busch Stadium (home to the historic St. Louis Cardinals), this vibrant craft beer mecca sports exquisite wood tone elegance, high-ceilinged exposed ducts and prominent recessed columns. The 20-stool central bar services multiple interior tables and the open-air deck. The copper-topped bar matches the acrylic penny-medallion keg taps (featuring 1oo draughts). Silver plates adorn the walls alongside cool Chimay, Petrus, Duvel and 4 Hands souvenir saucers. 100-plus bottled beers and a fine liquor selection also get scattered across an exhausting menu boasting “famous make your own pizzas” and good pub food.
Stopping by lunchtime on a crisp springtime jaunt thru the Gateway to the West, my friend Dennis and I quaff nine previously untried libations (reviewed fully in Beer Index). From Missouri came Modern Arkham’s Finest Stout, O’Fallon King Louie Toffee Stout and Charleville Down With OGP English Porter. Illinois offered Excel Flash Bang Wheat Ale and Old Bakery Porter. Kansas brought forth Tallgrass Wooden Rooster Tripel and Tallgrass Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat Cream Stout while Colorado kicked in New Belgium Blackberry Barleywine and California tossed off Ballast Point Victory At Sea – Peppermint. This veritable cornucopia of stylistic intrigue cannot, at this time, be matched by Flying Saucer’s larger competitors.
Perfect for local businessmen, die-hard Cardinals fans and curious beer seekers, Flying Saucer seems to have all corners covered as a truly iconic large-scale American beer pub.