We spent this past weekend exploring St. Louis, Missouri and one of our favorite stops was at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. We learned that they had a few longer tour options for a price or complimentary guided tours throughout the day lasting about an hour. Short on time we opted for the shorter free option. We had 2 main tour guides who traded off talking at the various stops along the tour. It all started with a very brief history of the founding of the brewery in 1852 and how it grew to what it is today. One fun fact we learned was they even kept their factory doors open during the prohibition but instead of brewing beer they manufactured over 25 non alcoholic products including soft drinks and ice cream!
On the first stop of our tour we met the Super Bowl famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. The company owns over 170 Clydesdale horses, with only about 50 of those living in the St. Louis area. Clydesdales grow to be around 6 feet tall and weigh ~2000lbs! These horses are well taken care of with custom made hitches for each horse for maximum comfort.
The next stop was in the chilly Beechwood Aging Cellars. For 3 of their beers Anheuser-Busch fills 3600 barrel (7200 kegs) sized tanks with beer and beechwood chips. To give some perspective on how big these tanks are, you would have to drink one beer every hour, every day for 125 years to drink the amount of beer in each tank. This cellar was the smallest on the property only holding 63 tanks… This is a very time consuming process as the beer remains in these tanks for 21 days. For this reason, Anheuser-Busch is the only major brewer in the world to use this aging process.
After the aging cellars we had a beer tasting. The sampling choices were Budweiser or Budlight but everyone also recieved a token to redeem for a free 16 oz drink later on! While we tasted, we learned about the 7 stages of the brewing process. From there it was on to the very warm room with the mash tanks. In this stage barley malt and rice are combined with water. This process breaks down the starches into fermentable sugars.
We ended our ~1 hour tour in the Biergarten (aka the outdoor bar area) to relax and enjoy our free beers.