Haunted Houses Back In St Louis To Kick Off Halloween Season

Haunted Houses

Kicking off Halloween season, haunted houses around the United States are opening their doors to brave travelers who come to experience spooky, scary things that go bump in the night. Between now and October 31, a variety of events around the country make for a great weekend diversion or road trip. Centrally located St. Louis is an easy drive from most mid-west states and offers Scare Fest, a trilogy of terror with three haunted attractions known as some of the best across the nation.

The Darkness is a two-story haunted house in downtown St Louis. Now in its 19th year of screams and scares, The Darkness has flying and flesh-eating zombies, Hollywood-quality sets and animated zombie effects and more. Included is admission to their Monster Museum and TerrorVisions 3-D, one of America’s first 3-D haunted houses featuring freaky crazed clowns in a 3-D environment where the walls appear to be moving, floors are floating and everything is right in the face of visitors.

The Haunting of Lemp Brewery takes visitors several stories below ground into real caves and caverns, just a block away from the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. In an interactive pre-show, sprits and ghosts of brewery founder William Lemp come back from the underworld to warn visitors of demons that haunt the caves under the brewery.

The Screampark in Fenton has the longest maze of scare inducing “hauntings” in the country that last more than one hour and feature more live actors than any other haunted house. New this year are Twisted Torture 3D, Demons Dominion, Grisly’s Gore Zone, the Zombie Town theme for the haunted hayride and the world’s largest Famous Faces Pumpkin Display.

Find zombies, ghosts, haunted houses or more at HauntWorld, a site that has listings for the United States and Canada as well as international attractions in the UK and other parts of the world.

[Flickr photo by dehub]

St. Louis enjoys a craft beer revival

There’s something new brewing in St. Louis these days. Best-known as the home to beer titan Anheuser-Busch, this Midwestern town is enjoying a different type of beer resurgence these days, thanks to a growing number of small breweries that have set up shop around town. A recent news article chronicles the rise of Saint Louis’ increasingly diverse craft beer scene.

Saint Louis has long had a close relationship with the beer industry. For decades, local taverns were dominated by hometown brews produced by Anheuser-Busch. Smaller brewers like Saint Louis Brewery, which opened in 1989, were nearly nonexistent. When they first started, the only place you could get a Saint Louis Brewery pint was at the company’s on-site pub. But the one-time niche craft brewer was a sign of things to come. Today St. Louis boasts 14 craft brewers, and appetite for quality beer continues to grow. When Anheuser-Busch was purchased by Belgian beer giant InBev in 2008, it was symbolic of the sea change that has ocurred in American brewing towards all things small-batch, independent and craft brewed.

Is Saint Louis witnessing the rise of a new age of beer tourism? The best way to find out is to sample a few pints on your next trip through town. Check out local favorites like Morgan Street Brewery, Six Row Brewing Company and Trailhead Brewing Company on your next St. Louis visit. Beer site Pubcrawler also has a good run down of other St. Louis brewers.

(Image: Flickr/Laurie Chipps)

Belgium running out of its best beer after brewery blockade

Belgium is running out of beer! The world capital of good beer is in the middle of a “beer war”. When mega-brewer (and new owner of Anheuser-Busch) InBev decided to fire 260 of its Belgian employees, the entire staff decided to shut down the breweries, and prevent any beer from being produced.

The blockade is a serious matter – large Belgian grocery store chains are now without any beer, and Belgian bars have run out of tap beer. Brands like Leffe, Jupiler, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden have been unable to deliver any new beer for several days, which even impacts Belgium’s neighbors in The Netherlands.

Belgians consumer just under 95 liters of beer a year (compared to 81 liters in the United States), they are also one the largest producers of beer – InBev brews 21% of all the beer in the world, though the Belgian brands only make up a small percentage of that.

There are no plans as of yet to break up the blockade, though if the strike really does last too long, I’m guessing thirsty Belgians may take matters into their own hands.

Brewery Tours and Wine Tasting: Free, or at least Cheap

Martha’s post on boozing for cheap reminded me of brewery tours. When I was a student at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark through the Danish International Student program (DIS), I was mostly broke and determined to have enough money for a month long trip through Europe before I headed back to the U.S. Most people in my program were in the same life of getting by on little cash. For fun and frolic, there was nothing like a Carlsburg or Tuborg Brewery tour in Copenhagen on a Friday.

I went to each brewery at least four times over the course of three months. There were so many people from my program that headed to Tuborg on a regular basis that the brewery gave us a huge party at the end of the semester. The catch was, we had to take the tour before the party. Some in my group were able to recite, word for word, the beer-making process and knew all the guides by name. For current review of Carlsburg, click here. The Tuborg Brewery bottling hall building I went to has been changed to the Experimentarium science museum.

Although there’s an Anheuser-Busch brewery in Columbus, this one doesn’t give tours. No free beer for me on a Friday. Of the 12 breweries in the U.S., you can see how Budweiser and other Anheuser-Busch products are made on a FREE tour at five on them: Fairfield, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Ft. Collins, Colorado; Merrimack, New Hampshire; and Jacksonville, Florida. At each you can drink FREE beer. At all but the Fairfield brewery, you can also see the horse stables of the Clydesdales, the brewery’s trademark.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a beer drinkers hot spot. There are three breweries that give tours. The Miller Brewing Company tour is FREE. I went on this slick tour the summer after I got out of the Peace Corps during my across the United States by bus sweep. I still remember the great time I had hanging out in the beer garden listening to music and visiting with my friends. Of, course, the beer garden isn’t open in the winter, but the Miller Inn is. At Lakefront Brewery the tour will cost you $5, unless you go on Friday. In that case, it’s $10. A fish fry is included in the price, so when you think of that, what a deal. You also get to keep the glass. This brewery is considered the most environmentally friendly in Wisconsin. The Sprecher Brewing Company tour is a chance to brush up on some beer brewing history at the Rathskeller museum before taking in the tour and the tasting. The tours cost $3 for adults and $2 for seniors. The $1 charge for the under 21 crowd is donated to charities. You get to take the souvenir glass home.

I haven’t been to Sarnac Brewery, but after discovering its Web site, I thought, this is appealing. The brewery has been making the good stuff since 1888. Personally, I love the labels and we do buy the beer, even in Ohio. Spending time in Utica, NY in the Adirondacks wouldn’t be a bad way to spend some time, either. Look at all there is to do in the city itself. I assume the tours are free since the Web site doesn’t say otherwise. You need to call for reservations, so ask.

I’ve also been on the Guinness brewery Storehouse tour in Dublin, Ireland. Even though I’m not too fond of heavy beer, the tour was great and I was more than happy to down the complimentary pint at the end of it.

Where ever your traveling, check out the brewery options. Maybe, you’ll find a local brewing company that offers tours and tastes. People who brew beer are passionate about it and it’s catching. Also, if you’re not a beer drinker and you have children along, these are kid-friendly places with soda options.

P.S. I noticed that I included wine-tasting in the title of this post, but didn’t included that. Stay-tuned.