When Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine names your American Brown Ale as one of the 19 top beers of 2019, it’s been a good year. Now, what does a brewery like Civil Life Brewing in St. Louis do, to top it in 2020, the new year of beer.
I’ve reached out co-owner Jake Hafner to see what we can expect from them in the next Year of Beer.
More Cans, More Cans For Everyone
Currently, Civil Life’s beers are available via cans and distributed to bars, restaurants, bottle shops and grocery stores in Illinois, but in Missouri, their home state, their beer is only available on-premise, which means bars and restaurants, and to be consumed ‘on-premise.’ The hope is that at some point in 2020, Civil Life will have all the paperwork in place so that their beer will be available in Missouri ‘off-premise,’ as well.
“Our core beers of American Brown, Rye Pale, Cream Ale and Angel and the Sword, are available in both markets,” said owner Jake Hafner. “In 2020, on-premise accounts in Missouri will also get access to our Dry Hop Red (Jan), Sarah Lou Brew, a German Wheat (April), Oktoberfest (mid-Aug) and Burton on Holt (late Nov.).”
In addition to beers, Illinois distributors have agreed to a much larger selection for 2020 and will be getting the following beer in cans for on and off-premise. Oatmeal Brown, Wit Beer, Vienna Lager, Dortmunder, Kolsch, ESB, and Porter.
All of those cans will be available at the brewery as well.
In early 2020 you will also see the release of a new line of cans sold in the taproom pub as the “Pub Series.” The brewery also plans to have every beer coming through the brewery to be available in cans and draft by April.
The first beer to be released will be Dry Hop Red, which is expected to be released in the 2nd week of January.
This one should make some news. Civil Life and fellow Class of 2011 member Perennial are planning a project in 2020.
“It was the famous Emily Wymore’s suggestion as she really likes our IPA,” said Hafner. “We’ll use our malt bill for the IPA but the good peeps at Perennial will be hopping it. We have been good friends with Perennial for quite some time and are much looking forward to this opportunity to explore this beer with them.”
Brewery Expansion Still Possible
The expansion of Civil Life Brewing has been in the works for quite a while. The plan for such an expansion in 2019 ran into a proverbial bureaucratic wall. Looking forward Hafner says 2020, could finally be the year.
“We’ll probably finally expand our brewery but until then will continue to take our role as guardians of Jake’s Dinosaur Park seriously,” said Hafner.
“Without the city’s full support in 2019 of our plan to build on our property, we maneuvered a new plan to bring to south St. Louis, an incredible beer garden, a proper kitchen for our talented cooks and more bathrooms,” said Hafner.
Both will be in shipping containers.
“We purchased street lights for our property and have 5 serious German-made umbrellas with light and heat in them that have already arrived. It has been our hope that this much simpler project would move faster but it has not been the case thus far. We’ll keep pushing through and tending to Jake’s Dinosaur Park.
Civil Life Brewing has added two outstanding brewers in 2019. Augie Altenbaumer just started Dec. 2 and Dustin Luber started full-time in September. Dylan Mosley, the breweries fearless leader since 2011, will continue to lead these fine chaps along with brewer Mike Bianco.
“They put our brewing team exactly where it needs to be going into what could be a couple of difficult years for craft beer due to slowing sales and the rise of many people believing there are “no laws when you are drinking claws,” said Hafner.
Hafner and his team are doubling down on their commitment to well-balanced sessionable ales and lagers.
“We are also committed to our strong, determined belief that the future of civilization depends on massive consumption of Civil Life beers and that humanity’s future course will be charted by people who chose to put ‘Be Civil” yard signs up,” said Hafner. “I have never felt as confident as I have in the beers we produce and the team we have assembled here to execute our plan that every fridge in Missouri and St. Louis will only be complete when a genuine Civil Life beer is cold and ready to be consumed.”