If there is one thing in the world of craft beer that is consistent, it is that every brewery has a unique story worth telling.
The story of one of St. Louis’ newest breweries, Narrow Gauge, begins 136 years ago. Back in 1878 when railroads ruled the land, rails known as “narrow gauge” were built to minimize construction costs. In that year, the St. Louis and Suburban Railway opened as a narrow gauge steam railroad from the city to Florissant and was called the West End Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Today, Florissant based Narrow Gauge Brewing Company pays tribute to this history and the city they call home.
According to Jeff Hardesty, the decision to start a brewery came forth as a dream between the three founders of Narrow Gauge Brewing. Initial discussions lead to equipment quotes, financial support from all parties, and eventually the formation of a new company.
Right now, Narrow Gauge is brewing on a 3-barrel brew house filling at least 6-barrel fermenters. The beers are only available at their tasting room, which they’ve carved into the center of Cugino’s Restaurant in Florissant.
What To Drink
On the day our visit, Narrow Gauge only had one beer on tap, the Mordicai and it did not disappoint.
Mordicai is an American Pale Ale dry hopped with “Falconer’s Flight.” It pours a hazy yellow-orange. The head wasn’t too thick. On first taste your pick up strong citrus, very hoppy but overdoing it. Drinks nicely. After a few swallows the taste stays with you, but again not overpowering. I really liked this beer.
But because only one beer was available, I asked readers on Twitter what they would recommend from Narrow Gauge and we got a lot of good responses.
— Casey P (@caseypfarr) November 13, 2016
— Josh Eberhardt (@JoshEberhardt) November 13, 2016
— Alex W (@autiger8l5) November 12, 2016
— Dawn McCrackin (@DawnMcCrackin) November 14, 2016
Since our visit, Narrow Gauge has increased its on-tap and to-go capabilities by adding brand new fermenters.
First time since June we have 4 beers available to go. Thanks new fermenters! pic.twitter.com/S818DWtWsO
— Narrow Gauge Brewing (@narrowgaugebeer) December 2, 2016
Now they have six of their own beers on tap at any given time, as well as a nice selection of other local and regional brews including Ferguson, Mark Twain, Schlafly, 4 Hands and Urban Chestnut. See their list here
What To Eat
As we said, Narrow Gauge is tucked nicely inside a popular Florissant restaurant, Cugino’s Italian Grill & Bar. Cugino’s has a full menu of what you would expect from an Italian Grill, but there were a few options that we recommend, but first let’s tell you what everyone else recommended to us:
Angie Anderson Cipolla the Fried meatball apps and the chicken and waffles sandwich is all you need in life.
Josh Eberhardt Chicken nachos are delicious and HUGE.
Mike Potts Blackened chicken nachos!
Doug Deweese PB-Jam Burger…surprisingly amazing!
Narrow Gauge and Cugino’s combine for what could be one of the better drinking and eating experiences you’ll have. The beer is becoming quite popular in the local craft beer scene and is frequently mentioned on popular Facebook groups such as St. Louis Area Beer Enthusiasts.
We hope to share more with you about this exciting brewery in 2017.