Beer festivals can be amazing, a place to gather with friends, make new ones while sampling and discovering the best or the newest or the most experimental beers the mad genius’ behind the table can imagine. But beer festivals, especially the big ones can be a bit overwhelming.
The Centennial Beer Festival, (February 17-18), now in its 9th year, is held in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of St. Louis in a restored malt house built in 1876 for the Schnaider Brewery. There are multiple historical rooms to explore while you taste the 80+ breweries and more than 200 beers. That is a lot of brew.
The festival technically begins Thursday with the 7th Annual Brewmaster’s Dinner. This year the dinner is featuring Civil Life and pairs a five course meal with 5 beers from the Civil Life brewery and will be hosted by founder Jake Hafner, Brewmaster Dylan Mosley & Executive Chef of Moulin Events, Ryan Luke. This event is sold out.
The rest of the festival is broken into three, 3-hour sessions over two days. Tickets for all three are still available. The math alone is enough to make you need a beer. Or two.
The Festival Layout
The complex that houses the Historic Schnaider Brewery Malt House is quite large and the festival will be spread out throughout utilizing two floors. On the first floor you’ll find the domestic and imported breweries from outside the St. Louis region. On the second floor is where you’ll find the brewers that call St. Louis and the region around us home. Among the 41 listed, you find most of your local favorites including 2nd Shift, Bastard Brothers, Bur Oak, Civil Life, Crane, Earthbound, Kirkwood Station, Leaky Roof, Old Bakery, Modern, Six Mile, Square One, Steampunk and Urban Chestnut.
The Brewers – 1st Floor
With so much beer offered, you have to make some tough choices. Last year we paid particular attention to the local and regional brewers on the second floor. This year we plan to focus on the amazing guest list the Centennial is bringing to St. Louis. Of all the great festivals we enjoy in this town, we can’t think of another that features such a robust grouping of some of the finest brewers in the U.S. and from around the world.
Here is the list of those visiting our town, and beers we hope to try and check off our UnTappd lists.
How to navigate the Centennial
So before your mouth begins watering at the thought of all that beer, here are some ideas to help navigate the Centennial. We asked festival founder Jason Arnold to help us create a strategy that will allow you to maximize your experience.
- Look at the list for the most up to date beer list.
- Arrive early. They will start checking in before the session begins and even if the beer is not flowing, you can get in and get a look around.
- Eat a couple hours before you arrive so your stomach has something to soak up the beer.
- Start at the farthest point from registration (2nd Floor) and taste against the current of festival goers.
- Start with the pilsners and lagers and Belgians. Then move to the IPAs and hoppy beers then to the porters and stouts last if you can hold yourself.
- If you don’t like a beer, dump it. It’s okay. They will understand you have to save your palette.