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The ‘Malt Whisperer’ behind Civil Life’s American brown ale

Civil Life head brewer Dylan Mosley.
Danny Wicentowski
Civil Life head brewer Dylan Mosley

When it comes to St. Louis-made beers, there’s a special place in Iain Shaw’s heart for Civil Life’s American brown ale. A staff writer for Sauce Magazine, his new essay “An Ode to Civil Life’s American Brown Ale” sings the brew's praises.

There’s nothing flashy or trendsetting about the beer, Shaw writes. He describes it as “a brewer’s beer” with few imitators, a “teacher’s beer” and a “beer for all seasons and occasions."

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Shaw discussed his long-standing fascination with the ale and its status as Civil Life’s flagship drink.

Danny Wicentowski
Sauce Magazine staff writer Iain Shaw

“The more that I drank it, the more I kind of realized there's something very special about this,” he said. “It's not just a beer that I like, because I love stout and brown ales. Every time I drank it, I would find something new.”

Dylan Mosely, head brewer at Civil Life, reflected on the ale’s creation in 2011, as well as his reputation as a “malt whisperer” among local brewers.

“We had tasted our way through a number of beers and a number of ingredients. And we had settled on quite a few malts that we really enjoyed,” he recalled. “We came from home brewing, so this was our first foray into the professional world. And we had never made beer on the scale before. There was a lot of nervousness. And I remember tasting, specifically the brown beer out of the tank after our first brew of that beer — and thinking to myself that we were going to make it.”

For more from Civil Life head brewer Dylan Mosley and Sauce Magazine’s Iain Shaw about American brown ale, including why it deserves to be the subject of an ode, listen to the full conversation on St. Louis on the Air on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.

Listen to Dylan Mosely and Iain Shaw on St. Louis on the Air

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org

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Danny Wicentowski is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."