Standard Brewing Co. Is a Standard-Issue Brewpub at Best

By Froeb, Ian | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 13, 2016 | Go to article overview

Standard Brewing Co. Is a Standard-Issue Brewpub at Best


Froeb, Ian, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


I kept staring at the cheese.

The cheese in question cheddar, according to the menu; sharp cheddar, to be precise sat atop the Standard Burger ($9) at Standard Brewing Co. The kitchen had plated the burger open-faced so I could arrange its lettuce, tomato and red onion as I liked before I smushed down the top half of its bun.

I couldn't stop studying that cheese, though. It had melted properly around the edge of the patty, but at the center it looked as if it had bubbled up or so I thought until I noticed the outline of a strand of the preshredded cheese a cook must have tossed onto the patty at the last minute.

The carelessness foretold the burger as a whole. I'd asked for medium-rare; it was medium-well. It tasted of char, its own and maybe some orphan char adopted from the grill. It encapsulated the immediate problems facing this 6-month-old Maryland Heights brewpub and also raised broader questions about the concept.

The fries that came with the burger were fine.

Owners Jeff Harlan and Jeff Jones previously operated J2 Brewing in Chesterfield, where they led patrons through the process of brewing their own beers, but Standard Brewing is both their first proper brewery and their first restaurant. To run the kitchen, they hired Wade Waller, who has served as executive chef at Eleven Eleven Mississippi and, most recently, Zydeco Blues in Des Peres.

Waller's menu doesn't stray from brewpub convention, and while I can't argue with Companion soft pretzels paired with a sharp, spoon- coating beer-cheese sauce ($6), both you and I have enjoyed better versions of most other dishes here elsewhere many times before. Roasted cauliflower dulls the edges of the cheddar and smoked-gouda cheeses in the beer-cheese soup ($5); it also gives it an unpleasantly granular texture. The stout chili ($5) is so underseasoned that it tastes, once you stir in the sour cream laced across its surface, like a slightly funky ground-beef beer. Jalapeo poppers ($6), a no-brainer snack, deliver little of the chile's heat, and the bacon-ranch sauce on the side is bacon-free in flavor, if not in fact.

The same beer-cheese sauce that accompanies the soft pretzels makes Standard's Cheese Steak Sandwich ($10) a better bet than its burger. Fair warning: Though the menu describes the steak as "thinly sliced," it's actually cut into small but not insubstantial pieces. …

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