The legend of Boulevard Brewing's Chocolate Ale haunts Kansas City like that of Nessie or Bigfoot: Nearly everyone I spoke to had either tasted the beer months ago or at least knew someone who tried it, yet every bar was out of it or never carried it in the first place. Bartenders and barflies alike seemed to speak of this "holy grail" in hushed, reverent tones—as if the beer's existence could be shattered by the mere utterance of its name.
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While brewing history in St. Louis is inextricably linked with Anheuser-Busch and lager, that's not how things started off. One of the city's founders, Auguste Chouteau, was making whiskey there by the 1790s, and John Coons was brewing and selling beer on a small scale by 1809.