Schlafly Beer's Dry-Hopped APA
Host city: St. Louis
This is the winner of our one and, so far, only craft beer bracket, and it's incredible to see how far the brewery has come since.
Distribution has expanded throughout the Midwest and into Mid-Atlantic states including Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The brewery itself was sold to a shareholder group that included local St. Louis ownership and the brewery's own employees. Its offerings, meanwhile, have expanded to a line of canned session beers, a barrel-aged series, a bottle-conditioned lineup and a series of special releases that became so popular Schlafly was forced to defend the early release of its pumpkin ale.
But in a portfolio that contains no shortage of IPAs and hoppy beers, the Dry-Hopped APA is still Schlafly's best foot forward. Heavily on the Cascade and Chinook hops without being overly bitter -- it clocks in at a scant 50 IBUs that falls well shy of most West Coast IPA -- it is just hoppy, bitter and aromatic enough to be a step up from Schlafly's standard pale ale but sweet enough to keep a city weaned on Budweiser from fleeing in terror.
It still packs a modest punch at 5.9% ABV, but that's fairly mild for a beer this flavorful and not a bad thing if you plan on having more than one. In a beer town like St. Louis, it's hard not to.