The brewpub may be barely four years old, but it has already become famous for its unique selection of beers. Most people on Highway 67 in Florissant, Missouri, would not expect to get a taste of fresh, New England IPA at Cugino’s Italian Restaurant. But their fried meatballs and some of Narrow Gauge’s beer have been raved about by several customers.
A quick online check of the place will show you that it has excellent ratings on Facebook and similar scores on other review sites. Situated in the basement of an Italian restaurant, you can be assured of good food and even better brews, but those looking for simpler fare such as burgers, fries, and sandwiches won’t be disappointed either.
More About Narrow Gauge
Jeff Hardesty, along with two of his friends, decided to start the Narrow Gauge Brewery on a low-key basis. They chose this unusual spot because of the ample space it offered (about 1700 sqft, which is a little bigger than an average two bedroom flat these days) and a bustling footfall in the industrial area.
Plus, this is where Dave Beckham and Ben Goldkamp, the Hardesty’s friends and investors, grew up. They decided to name their dream venture as a way to pay tribute to the West End Narrow Gauge Railroad that started from the city and ended at Florissant.
Hardesty was always keen on experimenting with New England IPAs, which are the signature drinks of the place even today. What sets his IPAs apart is their hazy style. He started simple – a three-barrel system and a couple of fermenters. But the brewery was an instant hit, and it was tough to stop its growth almost since the beginning.
Now, if a person were to walk into the brewery, they would be astounded at the equipment they can see there, the place where the magic is brewed. Now, the space below Cugino’s houses ten large stainless steel tanks, 33 wooden bourbon or wine wooden barrels, four large foeder vats, two small brite tanks and two large ones, a couple of large water heaters, several sacks of hops, a canning line, bags of other ingredients that go into making a beer, and a complicated piping system. It’s more than enough to make a person’s eyes gleam with curiosity and eager to sample the brews the house has to offer.
Hardesty has big plans for the future. Along with his wife, Heather, who is also involved in the business, he plans to try out more varieties of drinks that they can offer. They started off with the basics – just various types of New England IPAs – and had no idea the business would be such a big hit.
What they did not anticipate was that people with a discerning palette didn’t expect to find such a smooth drink with a unique hazy appearance at such an out-of-the-ordinary spot in Missouri.
The place is as charming as the drinks and the food, and several reviewers have praised all these aspects collectively. After all, a good combination of service, food, drinks, and atmosphere does make for a winning experience!
Hardesty still remembers the days when the place had just started operating. There were a few eyebrows raised about its location, but he was confident of pulling it off, mainly because the above-ground section is so warm, welcoming, and perfect for all kinds of customers. Interested more in food and less in beer? If so, you can choose the smaller section dedicated to such customers.
Keen on sampling what Narrow Gauge has on tap? You can enjoy a hearty meal with growlers and crowlers full of some Fallen Flag or Cloud City and a couple of their signature drinks in the large L-shaped bar on the other side of the room. Hardesty’s gamble paid off. People loved the flavors and the place equally.
Narrow Gauge is often described as a spot teeming with people. It’s both family and single-friendly, and the Narrow Gauge staff is known to be helpful, as well as pleasant. Apart from their signature drinks, they added a few more drinks to their menu, some of which are:
- A Currant Affair: Sour beer
- DDH Sultana: American IPA
- Hoppe Meal: One of their more popular drinks, an American pale ale
- Downside: Schwarzbier
- Frisches Bier
- Helles Gamed: Good ol’ lager
- Lining on the Walls: Hefeweizen
- Manna: Sour IPA
- Meersalz containing blackberry or boysenberry: Fruity sours
- Momotaro: Another sour IPA
Their menu should be indicative enough that Hardesty, who is also the head brewer of the place, has expanded his scope. Barrel-aged stouts, berliner weisses, goses, and sour IPAs are some of the options he has been exploring.
It’s not just about grains, yeast, and hop anymore. With fruit tones being a big hit with scores of people, Hardesty has made it a point to include several options for such beer lovers too.
Although they don’t distribute in their area currently, they do offer to-go options to patrons. Their website shows that people who loved their beers can express their appreciation by buying some of their merchandise or gift cards in-store or online.
It’s a no-frills page that gives you details of what kinds of drinks you can drink in-house and which can be collected to-go. You can also read about the food options available and the events the brewery has lined up for their clients.
Most people have thoroughly enjoyed the beers offered here. Their NE IPAs still continue to be mass pullers, but clients who have tried a variety of drinks at the tasting room have not been disappointed either.
Several customers have also praised the excellent food options available at a place with such a lively ambiance perfect for friends and family. All the beers available here have been reasonably priced, and most people often end up drinking more than one type of beer while they’re at it.
The Narrow Gauge can be contacted at 314-831-3222.