Note: I broke my camera and don’t have a camera phone (leave me alone about it) so instead of pictures of Wolpertinger, I give you pictures of puppies. Enjoy.
To celebrate their sixth anniversary, Urban Chestnut threw one heck of a swell party. Named after the nocturnal, mythical creature that has the body of a rabbit with wings, fangs and antlers and is said to inhabit the Black Forest region of Bavaria, Wolpertinger is not only Urban Chestnut’s annual anniversary party, but also a celebration of the spirit and community of St. Louis’ craft brewers.
This year’s festival took place at the Brewery and Bierhall in the Grove. Featuring beer from over 35 breweries, including special guest Bell’s Brewery (Wolpertinger was the first place in St. Louis to pour Hopslam!!), live music from Saint Boogie Brass Band, Larry Hallar, Alp Horns and more, plus traditional German fare. If that wasn’t enough, the festival also serves as the release party of this year’s Wolpertinger festival beer. This year’s version was slightly different than years past. Urban Chestnut threw caution to the wind and added raspberries to the beer, then aged it two years in Scotch whiskey barrels.
One reason why I love this festival so much is that you can try so many different beers from so many different breweries that you wouldn’t normally have access to, whether due to distance or distribution issues. It’s like being a kid in a candy store! Although with so many great options, sometimes it’s hard to make a decision which beer to try next. After studying my map and planning my route, I went ahead and dived on in.
Here are my personal highlights from Wolpertinger 2017, in no particular order:
Modern Brewery Ulysses | 10.4% ABV/80 IBU
This barrel aged Imperial Stout was everything it should be: Big, boozy and delicious with great chocolate, caramel, vanilla and coffee flavors. Outstanding.
Schwerpunkt Cinnamon Roast Brunch | 8.4% ABV/66 IBU
A combination of breakfast and dessert in a glass. Cinnamon, chocolate, coffee and spices add tons of flavor to this stout. This blew me away. Be on the lookout for this brewery!
Schwerpunkt Juice Nuk’Em | 8.4% ABV/80 IBU
The longest line at the festival was for this beer. A Northeast Style IPA, this totally lives up to the name. Tropical and citrus hop flavors dominate this juicy IPA. Killer.
Urban Chestnut Pumpkin Daft | 9% ABV/48 IBU
A pumpkin barleywine? Inconceivable! The pumpkin and spice flavors blend seamlessly with the caramel and dark fruit notes of the base barleywine. Kudos to Urban Chestnut for this mashup of flavors.
Stubborn German Polish Champagne | 4.2% ABV
This beer is a master of disguise. It looks like a normal wheat beer, but is in reality a Pivo Grodzskie, a Polish beer style that uses smoked malt. Beef jerky and campfire notes intermingle with soft wheat flavors. Highly drinkable. Very impressive.
Friendship Graceland Kingnut Porter | 8.0% ABV/27 IBU
Friendship has been on my radar for a while and I’m glad I finally got to try their beer. This robust porter featured notes of chocolate, coffee and hazelnut. Simply a well made beer. Check them out!
Civil Life Northern English Brown | 4.9% ABV
Civil Life does what they do, and they do it well. This Brown Ale was perfectly balanced with nutty, caramel and toffee flavors. A malt lovers dream. Great example of the style.
Simply put, Wolpertinger was an outstanding beer festival. Well run, with super short lines for beer, great live entertainment and more great breweries in one space than should be legal, this festival has been the highlight of my year in beer so far. Cheers to Urban Chestnut for their continuing support of the St. Louis beer scene and their plethora of reverent and revolutionary beer styles!