Schlafly No. 15 - The Saint Louis Brewery, Saint Louis
I've had Schlafly's No. 15 a number of times now and it keeps getting better. This beer seems like such an amalgamation, like three beers have been mixed together to create this masterpiece. The No. 15 is sour up front, like a Weissbier or a Belgian Wit, but it finishes really smooth - like you'd expect from a wheat. This beer doesn't look like your typical wheat though, it's quite red and fairly clear... kinda like an amber lager. Perhaps what I like most about the No. 15 is that it has very little hop flavor to it. There is plenty of spice in this beer though, it's sour and tart at first but then you feel like you're drinking a loaf of banana bread. For me, it's been a unique drinking experience. I haven't had another beer quite like this before or since.
I've had beers that are reminiscent of aspects of Schlafly's No. 15... I've had plenty of wits, plenty of ambers and plenty of wheats. None of those aforementioned beers can really compare to the No. 15 though, this beer has a much more complex flavor profile. This past winter I visited the Schlafly brewery in Saint Louis. Prior to my visit I'd never heard of the No. 15 but I decided to try it in the tasting room after the tour. The sampling glass was small, but there was just enough there to whet my appetite for more. Lunch at the Bottleworks was when I had my first pint of No. 15 on tap. It was fantastic.
So what does the name mean? No. 15? Well, I was told that this beer was put together to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Schlafly in 2006. That means, it was probably intended to be a single batch beer. A one-off beer. It would have been a travesty if Schlafly had retired the No. 15 at the end of 2006. Thankfully, they are still brewing this complex wheat/amber/wit. If you haven't tried the No. 15 yet you should definitely make a point to try and pick up a few or try and find it on tap. I'm hoping Schlafly's 20th anniversary means there will be a new anniversary ale coming out. I can't wait.