Brewmaster Rob Naylor Discusses Community, Collaborations And What To Expect At This Year’s St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival
01 June 2016
As the world’s largest — as well as one of the oldest — brewers of beer, it’s easy to assume that we’re a bit set in our ways when it comes to brewing our signature lagers. After all, when you’ve had 140 years to perfect a recipe, and likewise, enact strict guidelines for quality that starts at the source with our growers, what more could possibly be learned about the art of brewing America’s favorite beers?
Well, if you’re asking Rob Naylor, head of our Research Pilot Brewery (RPB), there’s always room to learn and grow as a brewer, regardless, to quote Naylor: “If you are a veteran at Anheuser-Busch with 40-plus years experience, or just starting out, people in our local, St.Louis industry are willing to help each other out with brewing issues, and just enjoy the beers each other makes.”
That’s why we’re thrilled to once again participate, support and celebrate the long-standing history of brewing beer in St. Louis at the 10th annual St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival. As we have in years past, the RPB has teamed-up with a select group of local brewers — which this year includes Square One Brewery & Distillery,4204 Main Street Brewing Company and Griesedieck Brothers Brewery — to debut three limited-edition beers that will only be available at the Festival, and most recently, at a special event that took place at our Biergarten yesterday.
“The brewmasters at the three breweries that we collaborated with are peers who I interact with frequently in the local beer scene and professional organizations,” explains Naylor regarding how the collaborative breweries were chosen. “4204 Main St. Brewery is located in my hometown of Belleville, IL and a place I frequent with friends. Dr. John Witte at Square One has a lot of experience brewing in the St. Louis area and is heavily involved in the Brewers Guild. And Bob Griesedieck and I began discussing beer styles early last year, and this is our second year doing a Collaboration.”
As brewing practices, ingredients and the industry in general have evolved over the years, so too has the St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival: starting out in 2006 with just seven breweries, the event has now grown to more than 40 St. Louis-based breweries featuring over 100 styles of beer. While the event is hosted by the St. Louis Brewers Guild, Anheuser-Busch was instrumental in its creation, helping to bring many of the local brewers and community together to celebrate great beer in St. Louis along with local food vendors, music and a fireworks display to close out the evening.
This year’s event will take place at the Gateway Arch, on Saturday, June 11 and tickets can be purchased here. Yesterday, we held a special pre-release event at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten, where guests were able to purchase tickets to the June event, won raffle prizes, and of course, sampled the collaboration beers for $3 (a portion of the proceeds benefited the St. Louis Brewers Guild).
“The history of beer in St. Louis and the knowledge between people who either used to work at Anheuser-Busch or are new people to the industry starting a smaller brewery, really makes events like the Heritage Beer Festival and the beer community in general great,” explains Naylor. “I believe the Heritage Festival is something that celebrates beer in St. Louis, and the fact that it doesn’t matter if you are the world’s largest brewery or just opened up last month, we can all make exciting beer together.”