Dogtown’s Heavy Riff Brewing Company
St. Louis, MO/January 28, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Some things are better together: bacon and eggs, macaroni and cheese, tables and chairs, hops and barley, beer and barbecue, and rock & roll. When two brothers put a few of those pairs together in 2013, they may have created brewpub paradise. Brothers Justin and Jerid Saffell combined their passions—Jerid’s love of beer making and Justin’s love of music—to create Heavy Riff Brewing Company at 6413 Clayton Avenue, the first microbrewery in St. Louis’ historic Dogtown neighborhood. This is a craft brewery with attitude.
At HRBC, the Saffell brothers have blended the music into all aspects of their craft brewery, from signage, to decor, and even the names of the beers they create. Inside you’ll find vintage rock & roll posters (Jimmi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead), a backbar hung with electric guitars (including one signed by Neil Simon), and a row of beer taps that all look like guitar necks. There’s also free shuffleboard and steel tip darts! The brewpub has the comfortable feel of a neighborhood bar, but the product is truly artisan. Jerid Saffell says he started as a home brewer before quitting his job to work in a local microbrewery, and thus began down his road to creating HRBC with his brother Justin. Jerid says it’s an accomplishment they couldn’t have done without the support of family, especially their wives.
Jerid Saffell talked with Bill & Frantz about what led him and brother Justin to create the Heavy Riff Brewing Company.
HRBC’s focus is on the beer. The Velvet Underbrown was Heavy Riff’s flagship brew. This velvety American brown ale is creamy and “oaty” with restrained hop character and a hint of dark chocolate on the finish. It was their first creation and a great place to start. The taps at HRBC feature 15 draft beers. Most are their high quality, house made brews. One or two of them are craft beer or cider of local and regional origins. Right now that’s Woodchuck Gumption Cider (a 5.5% ABV Fruit Cider). Besides HRBC’s Velvet Underbrown, some of the HRBC creations on tap currently include: Heavy Riff Black Dog (9.0% ABV 25.0 IBU) a complex and decadent Bourbon Oak Aged Imperial Porter; Heavy Riff Vanilla Coffee Underbrown (6.5% ABV 30.0 IBU) a velvety creamy American brown ale infused with Kona Coffee and Fresh Vanilla Beans; Heavy Riff Candy Floss-Pomegranate Wheat (4.4% ABV 18.0 IBU) a flavorful wheat ale with enough pomegranate to give it a slightly tart taste; Heavy Riff Head East IPA (7.0% ABV 65.0 IBU) an East Coast inspired IPA with a slight dankness and hints of peach and tropical notes; and Heavy Riff Shady Lane Amber Ale (4.7% ABV 35.0 IBU) a moderate amber ale with a distinct toasty caramel malty flavor, plus eight others. The prices are reasonable and the beer is available in flights, half/full pours, and even growlers to go.
Heavy Riff is a brew pub, so they also feature a tremendous whiskey selection, solid wine choices, and a full bar. Plus they offer a great menu of appetizers, sandwiches, and salads that go well with beer—all made fresh daily. Start with the spent grain beer bread. It’s a sweet beer bread served with their signature spreads (maple walnut butter, orange butter, and roasted garlic and green onion cream cheese). Or try the giant spent grain pretzels and house-made cheese sauce. These soft pretzels have an extra textural appeal because of the spent grains, leftovers from the beer making process. What great ways to recycle!
The real meat of the Heavy Riff menu is barbecue. There are nachos, sliders, sandwiches, and salads loaded with smoked pulled pork, beef brisket, and turkey. As if that wasn’t enough they also have smoked tofu and their scratch-made seitan, hickory smoked with their signature rub—a customer favorite. Customers love the nachos and also rave about the house-made barbecue sauces which come in three styles: Saint Louis Blues, Pineapple Head, and Kansas City style. The sides are top tier. The creamy coleslaw, burnt end beans, and cornbread are especially popular choices.
The kitchen is open Monday – Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday – Saturday from noon to 10:00 p.m. The Tap Room is open until 11:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday, and until midnight Friday – Saturday.
Heavy Riff Brewing Company may be one of the newer microbreweries in town, but their special combination of ambiance, amazing beers, ales, and IPAs, terrific pub food, and warm, friendly service are getting great reviews. The 98 seat taproom, 4 big screen televisions, free steel tip darts, and free shuffleboard don’t hurt either!
Picture courtesy of DintOutSTL.com