Q • I would love the recipe for the seafood bisque at Trailhead Brewery in St. Charles. It is very good any time of year! — Stacey Barbeau, Maryland Heights
A • Trailhead Brewing Co. was one of St. Louis’ first microbreweries and will celebrate its 20-year anniversary this year. The combination full-service casual restaurant and brewery sits at the corner of Boone’s Lick Road and Main Street in old St. Charles, on the historic foundation of what was once a mill.
Owner Bob Kirkwood says that back in 1995, craft beer was brand-new to St. Louis and even the United States. Today Trailhead is a gathering spot for locals but also appeals to visitors, especially during good weather. “We get lots of day-trip tourists,” he says. “And the Katy Trail brings in people from across the country.”
Trailhead keeps its own five handcrafted beers on tap plus a seasonal selection. “Right now it’s Bock,” Kirkwood says. “But we’ll transition to Irish Ale for St. Patrick’s Day.”
Trailhead’s happy-hour and late-night pricing are neighborhood favorites, appetizers and pizzas are half price. “Everything on the menu sells,” Kirkwood says. But during Lent, especially, battered-to-order fish and chips are big sellers. “And our wings are smoked; they have a unique flavor.”
Bobby Marcos manages Trailhead’s kitchen, where cooks make huge pots of Seafood Bisque fresh at least once every day. “The sherry adds such beautiful flavor,” he says. “I eat a cup or two every day myself. Every spoonful has a bite or two of seafood.” Marcos advises paying close attention to the bisque’s temperature, adding ingredients one at a time. The bell pepper and celery keep just a touch of crispness. “You get the real flavor and texture of the vegetables.”