Exit Strategy Brewing Co., 7700 Madison St., is the only brewery in Forest Park and their portfolio of both approachable and inventive ales have kept beer drinkers coming back for more than seven years. This pool of regulars, lovingly referred to as the “Exit Strategy family,” have become the lifeblood of co-owners Katherine and Chris Valleau as they continue to build the brewery of their dreams.
“When our regulars interact with first time visitors and speak about us with pride it really does warm my heart,” said Katherine Valleau. “I wake up every day thinking about how I can make this place better for them.”
Exit Strategy focuses predominantly on an all-ale portfolio of beers. The stylistic choice is as much passion driven as it is space conscious. With just four fermenters in the microbrewery every second counts with 16 taps at the front of the house. Ales ferment at a higher temperature and only take 2-3 weeks from brew day to tap. Exit Strategy might turn out a longer fermenting lager a couple of times a year when time permits, but the brewing schedule is serious business for the couple turned business partners. Valleau proudly declared her award-winning brewer-husband is “at the top of his game.”
“We brew it and we serve it,” said Katherine Valleau “Our beer travels 500 feet from the brewery to the taps. You can’t get more hyperlocal than that.”
Exit Strategy serves 8-12 flagship beers including the Exit Strategy American Pale where hops are front and center. A nuanced combination of hop varietals balanced with malt minimizes bitterness. The resulting beer boasts flavors of citrus, grapefruit, and pine. Another perennially popular offering at the Forest Park brewery is Persephone, a refreshing pomegranate wheat ale known for balancing tart fruit, malt, wheat and barley. It is an ideal brew for folks who don’t consider themselves beer lovers.
The brewery’s restaurant menu, served Wednesday through Saturday, is designed to play a supporting role to their arsenal of craft brews and aims to feature beer as an ingredient in every dish. The seasonally rotating, beer-driven offerings include pairing suggestions. Valleau suggests enjoying the Scaramouch Bohemian Pilsner with a garlic oiled and salted pretzel with pub mustard and beer infused queso. Korean Q-tine comprised of seasoned hand cut fries, spicy BBQ sauce, fried cauliflower and kimchi calls for a pint of the brewery’s double IPA, Judgmental Dick.
The husband-and-wife team behind Exit Strategy set out to create a place where they would want to hang out. Today the brewery exists as a comfortable gathering place where all are welcome, and patrons can get a proper beer and some quality grub. Cheers to that!
Exit Strategy Brewing Co.
7700 Madison St., Forest Park