Courtesy of Tom Bradley
Augusta Brewing Company
Pedaling for Beer
Sometimes to find something truly unique you have to get off the beaten path … or in this case, on to Missouri’s scenic Katy Trail. Along the Missouri River bottom you’ll come to a small village with old narrow streets, homes, and churches built on the hillside. This is Augusta, where you’ll find restaurants, wineries, little shops, and cozy bed-and-breakfasts all scattered within walking distance. And you’ll also find beer!
Augusta Brewing Company sits right on the Katy Trail. It’s a beautiful drive in the car down Highway 94 from O’Fallon, but I recommend pedaling a bicycle from a trailhead to work up your thirst. Once you reach your destination, lean the bike against a tree and wander up a flight of stairs to a shady stand of bamboo and a cold glass of home brew.
Unlike so many other brew pubs that outfit their lairs with dark wood and brass, Augusta keeps it very simple. Picture many of the wineries in Missouri with their unadorned tasting rooms and relaxed outdoor seating and you’ll get the idea. In fact, I treated Augusta just like a winery by sipping a sampler paddle inside, then taking a pint to the Augusta beer gardens outside.
Augusta serves a number of ales including Augusta Blonde, Tannhauser Pale Ale, and the 1856 IPA. To fully disclose, they brew their beer off-premises in Labadie. That fact didn’t seem to bother my brothers-in-law who quickly found their favorites and settled on the Augusta Saison and Hyde Park Stout. The stout did capture my attention as a rather good beer, but my tastes that day longed for an IPA. The 1856 answered the call perfectly.
Augusta Brewing goes further than a quick glance would suggest. Inside, they offer simple lunch fare and a more extensive dinner menu for Friday and Saturday nights. Outside, you can relax under the canopy at Pat’s Island Bar with a grill menu, more beer, and live music. Jazz, bluegrass, rock, and country are heard throughout the warmer months. A number of its beers are bottled and available at grocery chains in the St. Louis region.
Out in the beer garden, we raised our glasses as a mile-wide view of the river bottom stretched out below us. We enjoyed our liquid treasures and watched the clouds open up to give us an unexpected sunset. The beams of light drifted through my 1856 IPA, and I realized this is one of the things that makes Augusta a special village and Augusta Brewing Company a spot you’ll want to share with good friends.