An Old Beer Is Joined by a New One for March Drinking …
Many of you have been enjoying our incomparable extra stout and thinking, no doubt, that it will be the ideal to toast Saint Patrick’s Day. This is true, but now you have another option. Civil Life Irish Red is on tap now (with a limited supply being served on cask)!
A curious fact that will not be evident to the casual observer is that each of these distinct beers uses the same base malt: an Irish malt made for stout. Contrary to what you might be thinking, this malt is actually quite light in color.
In the case of both the Extra Stout and the Irish Red, just relatively small amounts of specialty malts are responsible for their respective dramatic final colors. The Extra Stout is dark black thanks to highly roasted malts. True to its name, the Irish Red has a brilliant garnet hue due to small amounts of roasted barley and dark crystal malt.
Later this month, some drinkers will be quaffing cheap domestic beer enhanced by the addition of artificial green coloring. While admittedly not civil, this practice may in fact improve the taste of these beers. Regardless, green beer is not for everyone. We suggest you skip the green and stop in for a pint of the red or the black.
Enjoy the delightful Irish Red (like a bitter with some roast and slightly less hops) or the Extra Stout (a full-bodied, layered complex beer with cocoa notes and intriguing herbaceous hints). Either beer is suitable for toasting any occasion and relies on the natural properties of roasted malts to achieve its distinct color.
And please note, we have used our new filtration apparatus on the Irish Red Ale and its brilliant clarity only heightens the beauty of the predominantly red cast of this lovely beer. (We used it on our recent batch of STL Best as well … order a pint to see how brilliant it looks, not to mention drinks).
See you soon at the Civil Life. And whatever color is in your pint, be sure to drink civil and be civil. Cheers.
We are currently in one of those periods when our draft lineup offers more than one hop-forward beer. Obviously, we are known for producing traditional malt-driven ales, but being traditional, we know that hops have been used to balance malt sweetness and impart subtle notes that can be floral, spicy, fruity, woodsy, piney, etc.
Our UK IPA is back and better than ever. This classic IPA uses a blend of malts from England and Ireland as well as dark cane sugar, approximating the brewer’s caramel used to increase richness and alcohol, without imparting too much body.
UK IPA is hopped during the boil with four different types of English hops. What really comes through on the nose and palate, though, are the varieties with which this ale is dry-hopped: Challenger, Progress, and East Kent Goldings.
In the end, our UK IPA showcases a range of English hop characteristics without being over the top. While clocking in at a robust (for us) 70 IBUs, this balanced beer does not come off as overly bitter. Enjoy spicy, floral, grassy, earthy, and herbaceous hop notes in this traditional IPA.
American craft drinkers are more accustomed to the American take on IPA or on APA, both styles foregrounding decidedly different hop notes. These styles have their own history. West Coast breweries like Anchor, Sierra Nevada, and Bert Grant’s were critical in establishing American craft beer.
The original workhorse hop at American craft breweries was Cascade, and that is the hop we use for each addition in this delightfully refreshing ale that celebrates hops without bruising the taste buds.
Our APA is just 35 IBUs but has noticeable hop character. Cascade’s dominant characteristics are pine and citrus, with yellow grapefruit notes predominating. Cleaner, lighter, and less malty than English IPAs, APAs are truly refreshing.
Join us as we enter spring with this great style as well as our UK IPA. As always, these beers are balanced and drinkable and are known to promote civility. See you soon at the pub!
American Brown, Angel & the Sword, Northern English Brown and ESB now available in cans ONLY at the brewery!
$32 a case (Mix & Match)
SAME NEW IMPROVED LOGO ON OUR AMERICAN BROWN CAN!
The American Brown you love is now also filtered! SAME GREAT TASTE SAME GREAT BEER. 3 out of 3 brewers agree! And 99 out of 100 people will not notice until they are almost finished with their pint! Last statement is not scientifically proven, yet.
LONG VERSION: READING TIME DEPENDS ON HOW FAST YOU READ.
On Tuesday our new American Brown can with almost SAME NEW LOGO was released into the wild! Due to two average sales days it hasn't been circulating as much as it had wanted to but you have the power within you to change that by coming down to the brewery and buying a 6-pack or case.
There is no doubt that we loved our first version of American Brown cans. Our trademarked chap with two obviously Imperial Pints takes center stage and for good reason on that version. It's not possible to see on the below picture but he is definitely on the new can as well but just a bit more subtle.
We loved the previous can but there was something we noticed in our cold room when these cans were stacked next to other cans. Can you tell? I hope so. The below picture on the left is actually not one but two different beers! So that made us start thinking because if we are ever really LUCKY ENOUGH to be case stacked by some higher than genius level retailer some day we had to find a way to fix this issue. We also know the crazy competitive market is just going to get more competitive over the next few years and we are doing everything we CAN (See what I did there?) to keep this little company of 9 full time and 3 part time employees moving forward rather than just sideways which we have been doing for 3 years now.
Enter problem. Enter solution.
We discussed with our uber talented can designer (Brian Woolbright) and he went to work. How could we improve on what we already thought was a great can? We also pulled in another regular and “big picture thinker” David Boyd to give us real direction on how to someday present ourselves to a wider audience. Now just to be clear, these aren't just two Civil Life drinking regular chaps, these chaps do this sort of thing for a living. We never could have afforded them if they didn't like our beer so much. They also have followed me from my previous ownership of 33 Wine Bar to the Civil Life. I have spent countless hours discussing a range of topics with them and they were the ones we turned to when we realized how important it was to get this right for our little company.
The question evolved, into, "How do we convey some of the really great things about Civil Life to a group of people that may not have been to the Civil Life?" Shocking right to find out that some people haven’t been to our pub. But it’s true, just like it’s true I once tried and failed due to a supply error to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in every state across America in my failed PBJ Across the USA train ride in October of 1996. Meanwhile, back to what we were talking about. “How do we get a person that doesn’t know our great staff, the great food we serve and our pub to pick up a can that says Civil Life on it?”
For those that say this new logo looks familiar, you are correct as this new logo was quietly released in the pub on our printed menus a few weeks ago. In the next several months it will arrive on merchandise, coasters and growlers as well.
The new same logo is everything we hoped it would be.
What else is new you say?
What follows is very important news concerning our American Brown! Aren’t you glad you read till the end? After deliberation and a solid tasting analysis we will be filtering our American Brown going forward. This is our flagship beer and no doubt the reason we are still in business. So rest assured, we take no chances or do no experimentation with this beer (rarely with any of our beers) and always, always keep this beer the same. Some business decisions are often made about how to squeeze extra margin into products. You remember when a bag of chips had at least 12 chips in it? In our case it's more of can we use a little less of that expensive grain? Can we pitch the yeast a few more generations? It’s easy at the Civil Life to make these decisions as the number one response I give is, “Will this in any way, even small, change the consistency of our Brown or change the taste of our brown?” Small changes do not work for us as it isn't the foundation on which this company has been built. We aren't some jello manufacturer? We make good fairly priced beer. And drinking our beer is no different then slipping into a conversation with an old friend.
It goes like that for all of our beers, but I just want to settle the nerves of those reading that are not able at this particular moment to also be drinking an American Brown. Our panel gave high marks to the filtered version and found that the differences (albeit really really, really small! Notice the exclamation point and the extra really for emphasis) are very slight appearances in taste and obviously very large in appearance. In all honesty, it really just looks like we left it in the fermenter for a few extra weeks before we canned it. That’s another way to filter.
If there is any disagreement among our customers in the market, we will be providing counseling over a pint of American Brown in our pub Tuesdays to Thursdays 4 to 11. Fridays 12:00 am to 11 pm, Saturdays from 11 am to 11 pm and Sundays from 11 to 9 pm.
So that’s it for today. Please stay tuned to this channel. We have more things coming over the next year. Keep your ear to the grindstone and your nose in your pint glass. Or whatever that is supposed to be.
Long live the American Brown,
Captain of the Sometimes Wayward Barley Ship
Our beer board has seen many changes lately. We have some favorites that have just returned that you won’t want to miss. Stop in soon for UK IPA, Scottish Ale, Wee Heavy, and Extra Stout.
We are not known for brewing IPAs, but when we have them, they sell fast. Our UK IPA is firmly grounded in our love of classic English beer styles. The style of IPA that dominates the American craft beer market celebrates classic American hops, sometimes to extremes. These beers are generally redolent of citrus fruit and pine. Our classic UK IPA balances hop bitterness against solid malt body. Our secret blend of English hop varieties imparts a woodsy spice with notes of stone fruit. It’s so smooth and easy drinking you won’t believe it’s 70 IBUs and 6% alcohol.
While the UK IPA is light colored, dry, and sharp, our Scottish Ale is very dark with a slightly sweet, rich malt character. We haven’t brewed this favorite in years, so get it while we have plenty in stock. Its rich and layered roasted malt is reminiscent of toffee. The hint of sweetness is saved from being cloying in part by the judicious addition of American Cascade hops.
The same Scottish yeast strain is used for our classic Wee Heavy, a very full-bodied and rich Scottish style. Although lighter in color than the standard Scottish, it is sweeter and has a fuller, silkier mouth feel. The Wee Heavy is deep copper to brown in color with a rich, layered malt character. It’s complex with huge caramelized malt notes, nice spice, and a pleasant sweetness.
Our darkest, roastiest beer at the moment is our Extra Stout. This style of beer was originally called Foreign Export and then Foreign Extra Stout, referring to a stronger style brewed for export (most famously by Guinness). Black as a moonless night, this stout has intense roast flavors and a dry finish with intriguing earthy notes of herbs and licorice. This beer is excellent on cask, so try some while we have it.
Also note our Northern English Brown Ale is back on for those who like browns with an earthier, nuttier roast character. The end of this month should see our next run of canned beer. In the meantime, get your Northern English Brown Ale and ESB in six packs while supplies last.
Hope to see you all soon down at the pub. Cheers!
All of us at the Civil Life were deeply saddened to learn recently that one of our beloved regulars had died. Many of you will have seen John sitting at the bar reading a book. He came to the Civil Life about three times each week, always with a book in hand. Each of us enjoyed conversations with this excellent human being. Our lives were all enriched by having known him.
John was a voracious reader whose interests were incredibly varied. We discussed books every time he was in, and I personally shared a passion for many of the same books John loved. But there is one book that came up frequently that I have not yet read. John’s favorite book was Terra Nostra by Carlos Fuentes.
I have decided that in 2019 the Civil Life Reading Group will honor the memory of this most civil of readers by meeting three times to discuss this long, complicated, difficult novel as we work through it together.
The central event of Terra Nostra is Spain’s Philip the Second’s construction of El Escorial, the royal palace and monastery near Madrid. But the book is much more:
"Terra Nostra" is a colossal 350,000-word opus, a kind of panoramic Hispano-American creation myth, spanning 20 centuries (more, if you count the Greek and Egyptian mythologies that help to feed it) and embracing virtually the whole of European and American (especially Mexican) culture and civilization.
(Please read Coover’s excellent review of Terra Nostra in the New York Times
I look forward to the chance to study a work that meant so much to a fellow reader and friend. My only regret is that I will never have the chance to discuss the book with John.
If there is a Valhalla for readers (a great celestial library that happens to serve drinks), John is there now. He lived a very civil life and we are grateful to have known him. Please raise a glass to his memory the next time you are in.
P.S. Dates and details to be announced.
UPDATE: We are having a celebration of John's life at the Civil Life on Saturday 2/16. I'll post more details here as they become available.
Happy New Beer!
The Civil Life is entering 2019 poised for growth and change, but also more of what you know and love. Several stages of our much-anticipated expansion should begin over the course of the coming year. Stay tuned for updates.
In the meantime, we have some new beers coming soon. Over the weeks to come our UK IPA will return as well as some favorite styles originating in Scotland.
Our UK IPA starts with a very lightly kilned base malt and some English specialty malts, as well as dark brown cane sugar. We add some torrified wheat for body and head retention. The finished product is dry-hopped with three English hop varieties: Progress, Challenger, and East Kent Goldings.
The final product is light colored and crisp with a hint of caramel sweetness. Look for floral, woodsy, and slightly fruity (think stone fruit, rather than citrus) hop character. At just over 6% alcohol and a modest 48 IBUs, the beer is well-balanced and elegant.
Our original Scottish Ale is returning after a long absence. You might think of it as a 90 Shilling. This hybrid marries Scottish tradition with American spirit. It’s dark and malty but hopped a bit more than the style generally is. It comes in at 5.7% alcohol and 44 IBUs. The base malt is Golden Promise, a traditional Scottish-grown spring barley. We hop it with good old American Cascade hops, which show subtly on the finish. The beer is a deep reddish mahogany color with loads of caramel malt notes and a little spice. Despite the big malt presence, it doesn’t finish cloyingly, as some Scottish ales do.
“Wee Bit Heavy Ale” is also poised to return. Wee Heavies are Scottish strong ales. Heavy refers to the full body. Such beers, being higher in alcohol, were originally served in a “wee” glass. The Wee Bit Heavy is deep copper to brown in color with a rich, layered malt character. It’s complex with huge caramelized malt notes, nice spice, and a little sweetness. Don’t miss it.
We still have some of our classic holiday beer, Burton on Holt, available, but when it’s gone, the wee heavy will satisfy its loyal fans. Come down soon for new beers and to celebrate the new year. Thanks again for your continued support. Cheers!
It is with great happiness I report the results of our Holiday Do Gooder Pie sale to support and raise awareness for Laughing Bear Bakery We sold 87 pies in December. Which means St. Patrick Center will be getting a total of 87 pies! (We already sent 50 pies over to cover them for the holiday week!) A huge thanks to all of you that bought pies and to Civil Design Inc. for splitting the cost on an additional pie to be donated. 100% of the proceeds from all sales were used to buy more pies!
The re-cap of our November/December Do Gooder Pie sale shows we will end up purchasing over 410 pies during this holiday season from Laughing Bear. They put ex-offenders back to work making tasty pies. Please, please look for their baked goods when you are out and about. It also meant you, our incredible customers, the Civil Life and Civil Design ended up being responsible for 115 pies donated to Peter & Paul Community Services and 87 to St. Patrick Center. Both of those organizations do good work providing programs for our areas homeless.
This is a huge bright spot in what turned out to be a below average sales year for the Civil Life. However, it reminded me, all of our staff here and all of our incredible customers that together we can do a lot of good and that it takes all of us working together to make this crazy world a better place. Thank you for being our customer. Thank you for believing in the Civil Life.
We wish you the best in 2019! Stay tuned to the Civil Life. 2019 will be our best year yet!
Another Holiday Reminder from Your Friends at the Civil Life
Dear friends and regulars, we hope to see you all with your friends, family, and visitors over the holiday season. Please note that Christmas Eve falls on a Monday. Though the pub is normally closed Mondays, we WILL be open this coming Monday 24 December from Noon until four pm.
Stop in for canned beer and growler fills. In cans, we have our classic English-style ESB and Northern English Brown Ale as well as very limited quantities of our favorite American Brown Ale.
Rest assured, we also have Brown on draft to fill growlers. Burton on Holt is on draft now as well. This classic Burton Ale is malt rich, like a liquid Heath Bar, perfect for celebrating winter holidays.
And don’t worry about last minute shopping. We have plenty of gear, including T-shirts, hoodies, rugby shirts, yard signs, tin signs, pint glasses, and more. A long, warm, Civil Life soccer scarf might be just the thing. Or a hat. Wear your Civil gear with pride. Don’t forget Be Civil stickers to adorn any holiday gifts you are wrapping.
Please stop in for a pint Christmas Eve! We’d love to see you. We will be glad to help you stock up on Civil Brew. Make sure to get enough for Tuesday, as we will be closed Christmas Day.
Also consider Do-Gooder pies, a tasty way to donate desert to the homeless this holiday, as well as supporting Laughing Bear Bakery. They provide good jobs to ex-offenders, giving them a better chance at success and stability. See Jake’s posts about this great cause.
Amidst holiday shopping and donations, it’s O.K. to think about yourself, too. You deserve a reward. A pint of Civil Life Beer is calling your name.
In case you were wondering how to close out your holiday drinking season, we will be open NYE from 2 to 10 pm!
See you soon and Happy Holidays!
WOW!!! We did it! The final numbers are still being tallied but we sold a ton of pies and best yet we put people to work making pies. As of Friday, we had also set aside over 80 pies for Peter and Paul Community Services. Ray from CDI (Pie Headquarters), is doing the final tally today but I will let you know shortly the overall number.
IF YOU STILL want to get in on this shoot me an email at Pie@thecivillife.com If we have any room to squeeze in a few more before the big holiday we will. We also will be having a pie pick-up party on November 19th from 5 to 8 pm with Laughing Bear at the Civil Life. More details coming soon on that day as well!
Our brewer Troy Bedik will get to throw a pie in my face since we literally toppled our goal of 150 pies. This is good for employees everywhere.
I can't thank all of you enough for getting behind this promotion. We did a lot of good and we couldn't do it without you. We have a lot in store for all of you (the best customers in the world!) and we'll continue doing good and bringing awareness to some of the great things that are happening in our city.
Cheers and thanks from all of us at Civil Life, Civil Design and Laughing Bear!!!!
The Return of the ESB Yeast Strain Signals a Cornucopia of Fall Beers
We have the much-loved Fullers ESB yeast strain back in house and the brewers are hard at work making some of your favorite beers. They will be coming on line over the next several weeks. Here’s a peek at what to expect.
Extra Special Bitter (ESB) is a traditional English style at the top of the English Pale Ale (Bitter) family of beers. This classic malt-forward take on a much-loved English style is medium bodied with caramel richness and a subtle woodsy hop note. This deep amber-colored ale celebrates traditional English malts and classic Fuggles hops.
Our one-of-a-kind Angel & the Sword returns! This Civil Life original is an ale crafted from some of our favorite malts. We describe it as a malty amber ale or lightly hopped ESB. This reddish amber ale has lots of biscuity malt character with notes of toast and caramel. It’s named for a statue in Toledo Spain depicting an angel holding a sword aloft in supplication as a symbol of peace and harmony.
A long-time favorite of all of our staff, Porter should be back on tap by late November. Will we have some on cask? Stop in the pub and find out. This classic robust Porter is dark, full-bodied, and rich, with layers of roast malt character, including cocoa, coffee, and caramel. English Northdown hops impart subtle floral, fruity, and spicy notes.
Northern English Brown is one of several great brown ales we brew. This all-English brown ale is lighter and drier than our American Brown. Its softer roast character features delightfully earthy, nutty notes. The grain bill comprises classic English malt varieties and the hops are Northdown, which have subtle floral and fruit notes. Look for it in cans again this fall!
Our Oatmeal Brown Ale was a real hit when we introduced it last year. It’s coming back to satisfy those thirsty fans. Our newest brown ale is rich and full-bodied with a silky mouth feel. Complex layers of toasty malt are balanced by an earthy hop note and subtle fruit notes. Somewhere between brown ale and oatmeal stout, this beer is extremely drinkable despite its richness.
One of the first beers we brewed, British Bitter was on tap the day we opened. It has been on hiatus since we introduced Civil Pale, but it is returning this fall. One of the most popular beer styles in England, Bitter is another term for Pale Ale. Our drinkable, refreshing version is golden colored with biscuity malt and a pleasant hop character with notes of spice and lemon tea.
Stay tuned for other classic returning styles (like UK IPA!) The fall is the ideal time to sip pints in a wood-lined pub. We can’t wait to see you!
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.