With nothing much going on in St. Louis this past weekend, my wife and I journeyed over the Jefferson Barracks Bridge and visited Stubborn German Brewing Company in Waterloo, Illinois on what turned out to be a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Southern Illinois' newest craft brewery opened in late April 2016 and I had heard positive reviews from several friends who had been there over the past few months. Our experience at Stubborn German more than backed up those claims!
Although it was too crowded to sit outside and enjoy the weather on their beautiful front porch, seats at the bar suited us just fine. Stubborn German does not serve food, but that leaves plenty of room for beer and with a wide variety of styles on offer, you'll want to do plenty of sampling. You can order full or half pints of all their beers as well as a 6-beer sampler tray for $9.
I started with a pint of their altbier which is one of my favorite beer styles. Altbier is a German style that is top-fermented like an ale and then matured at a much cooler temperature like a lager. This unique crossover of brewing techniques creates a beer with a rich and fruity malt flavor that finishes refreshingly crisp like a lager. Stubborn German's altbier is as good an example of the style as I've had and I would highly recommend it for both novice and experienced beer drinkers alike.
Stubborn German did such a great job branding their various styles of beer that I felt inclined to get one of everything on the tap list. Since we also had to drive back to St. Louis later in the day, my wife and I decided to order a sampler tray for our second round and I think she enjoyed writing out our choices on the tray with a chalk ink pen just as much as drinking them. The two IPAs, Blitzkrieg and Midnight Rye, were very good and I wouldn't hesitate to order a pint of either one, but my favorite beers from our sampler tray were the Mississippi Steam and Schitzengiggles.
Mississippi Steam is a California Common which is style that I've seen pop up at a few craft breweries recently. Also known as "steam beer", a California Common is fermented with cold-loving lager yeast at warmer temperatures more typical for ales. Similar to the German altbier, this crossover in brewing techniques creates a malty, medium-bodied beer that's also easy-drinking and refreshing. Schitzengiggles is a Munich Dunkel which is a German dark lager. This beer was fantastic and I ended up ordering an additional half pint after we finished the sampler tray. Since I've never been to Germany, the vast majority of dunkel biers I've had were imported, so having a fresh, cold pour just a few feet from where it was brewed gave me a brand new appreciation for the style.
In addition to Stubborn German, Hopskeller Brewing Company also calls Waterloo, Illinois home, although the Hopskeller taproom won't open until later this year. Two craft breweries operating in a town of roughly 10,000 people gives Waterloo a breweries-per-capita figure that's 15 times the national average. That fact alone should be reason enough for a visit!