If you think you hate beer, you probably just haven’t drank enough of it. There are delicate and sweet Belgian whites, the dark and syrupy stouts and porters, the sharp and hoppy pale ales, and even more strange and wonderful varieties to try. Beer has a lot to offer, and Mid-Missouri offers a lot of beer. We’ve narrowed down the list to our top five favorite Mid-Missouri breweries, and our favorite brews from each.
Started in 1994, Flat Branch holds the title of Columbia’s oldest still-running brewery. The part-restaurant part-brewpub brews up a huge range of regular, special, and seasonal beers from their Oil Change Oatmeal Stout, to an Organic Alt Beer to their Great Pumpkin Ale. They feature 8-10 of their hand crafted beers on tap daily, as well as a variety of carry out options ranging from growlers to half barrels.
Try: The Green Chili Beer, brewed with Anaheim and Serrano peppers this brew is mild and aromatic just a touch of heat, ask for a splash of tomato juice to try out a “liquid enchilada”.
Rock Bridge Brewing Company is a fairly small microbrewery, but not for long. The brewery, which was started when founder Dave Brouder decided to take his home brewing to the next level, will soon move to a newer–and larger–location. The brewery has been putting out three all-season beers, along with three seasonal ones, each with their own unique name (like their Sock Puppet IPA). After the move, the brewery will begin producing canned versions of their brews, along with public tours of their brewery.
Try: The Tailgate Smoked Brown Ale, this seasonal brown ale is brewed with cherry wood smoked malt giving it hints of fruit, caramel, and just the right about of smoke — pairing perfectly with those game day sessions over the grill.
Only four years old, Broadway Brewery is already making a name around Columbia. Focusing on only the best local ingredients, Broadway Brewery serves up hand crafted beer alongside locally sourced dishes. Take a peek at their brewing systems through the glass walled brew room, or experience their monthly beer pairing dinner where chefs and brewmasters come together to create a special multi-course dinner featuring seasonal ingredients with perfectly paired brews.
Try: Cask Nights on Thursdays, when the brewmaster will add a new twist to one casked ale, such as fruit, extra hops, or even coffee for a one time specialty brew.
Housed in a century old dairy building in Jefferson City, Prison Brews has a fresh take on local brewing. Using only the freshest hops and malts, Prison Brews serves up small batch hand crafted ales with no additives, preservatives, or pasteurization. With a large range of regular and seasonal beers, beer enthusiasts of every kind will find a brew to enjoy.
Try: The Hard Time IPA, an India Pale Ale brewed with willamette, glacier, and cascade hops, and dry hopped for that extra kick — hard times call for hoppy measures.
Located in Hermann, Missouri, Tin Mill prides itself on brewing beer in the German tradition. They claim to be the only true lager microbrewery in Missouri, and one of the few German style microbreweries in the country. Their beers are brewed in accordance with the German Purity Law of 1516, with barley and hops imported from Germany, all brewed in authentic copper brewing kettles.
Try: The Oktoberfest, this medium-bodied seasonal beer is an obvious choice with a blend of Pilsner and Munich malts and just a touch of bitterness. Besides, what’s more German than an Oktoberfest brew?
Bonus: Logboat Brewing (coming soon)
With a team full of Missouri beer enthusiasts, along with brewmaster Josh Rein (who has worked for both Flat Branch and Broadway Brewery), Logboat is hoping to up Columbia’s local brew game. Currently testing out brews in their garage, the team will open up shop officially in 2014. Follow their progress on their Twitter and Facebook — where even other local brewers are talking about the new kid in town.
Try: The Shiphead Ginger Wheat isn’t officially released yet, but it’s touted as a mild-but-complex ginger beer with hints of coriander.
Tyler Fine is part web intern, part journalism student, and part barista. Somehow, she's pulling it off so far.