Even though St. Louis boasts a plethora of craft breweries and brew pubs (making some spectacular beers, I might add), when someone in St. Louis says “the brewery,” they’re invariably referring to Anheuser-Busch, a city landmark since 1852.
Situated on 142 acres south of downtown in the Soulard neighborhood, the brewery’s 140 or so structures are dominated by the majestic brick Brew House (1892), identified both by its clock tower and the iron chandeliers in the form of hop vines that hang in its five-story light well.
Visitors are, of course, entirely welcome, and there are a number of different tours from which to choose, each of which features a complimentary taste of the brewer’s art. Start your visit at the Tour Center at 12th and Lynch St., which includes a well-stocked gift shop and access to the Biergarten, where you can enjoy both a beer and fare from the full menu. Then pick a tour. There’s the 45-minute Complimentary Tour that takes you through the seven-step brewing process and visits the Budweiser Clydesdales in the famous circular stable (1885), finished in polished stone, terra cotta and stained glass.
Then you’ll see some Brew Kettles and chill in the Beechwood Aging Cellars. The 75-minute Day Fresh Tour follows the journey of a beer from “seed to sip” and costs $10 for guests over 21, $4 for kids 3-20, free for toddlers 2 and younger. The Historic Schoolhouse Museum Tour includes the Old Lyon Schoolhouse building, home to a collection of some 400 unique historical items from the A-B archives, and costs $15, $5 and free. Then there’s Beer School ($15), a fun, interactive 45-minute class on beer styles, ingredients and food pairings. The two-hour Beermaster Tour ($35/$15, highly recommended) offers an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the brewing of Budweiser, including (for adults 21 and over) a sample directly from a finishing tank. Enjoy!