Home brewer’s beer on tap at Budweiser Brew House

Anheuser-Busch doesn’t typically offer beer for sampling that’s not made by its own brewers but it’s making an exception. 
In November, members of St. Louis home brew clubs entered their beer recipes in an competition held at the Ballpark Village Brew Fest downtown. 
A panel of A-B ‘key tasters’ judged the entries and selected an American IPA made by home brewer Dave McWilliams of Bellefontaine Neighbors as the winner. The prize included the chance to work with A-B brewmaster Rod Read to produce the beer at the St. Louis brewery’s Research Pilot Brewery’s 15-barrel brewhouse. 
On Sunday, McWilliams’ winning beer will be available on draft for sampling at the Budweiser Brew House at Ballpark Village from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The four-barrel batch of beer will be available until the tap runs out. 
McWilliams began home brewing with a college buddy in the late 1980s and has entered his home brews in local competitions for the past nine years. “This was another local competition with different judges, so I thought ‘what the heck,'” McWilliams said. He describes his winning recipe as “a clear, golden, smooth IPA with hop forward aroma.”
It’s the first time the competition has been held, but it may be repeated. “We’re trying to learn from each other,” Read said of A-B’s events with home brewers. In December, A-B gave about 200 home brewers free Cascade hops from its Elk Mountain Farm in Idaho.
At the Research Pilot Brewery in St. Louis, Read and a staff of 15 people test raw materials for Budweiser and other beers. It’s also where new products are tested, including Bud Light, before it debuted in 1982.
“We typically have 30 to 50 in process at any given time, including raw materials and new products,” Read said.   

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