Stubborn German in Waterloo, Illinois, is proud to present its latest creation, the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Black Forest Cake Stout. While many may opt for champagne at midnight, I prefer the bubbles in my beer on New Year’s Eve. With beer, you can enjoy the entire day leading up to the countdown, from watching the College Football Playoffs to partying well into the new year. So, let my year-end beer round-up serve as a guide to the best beer in Missouri and southern Illinois, whether you’re on your way to a celebration or just watching the ball drop from home. These breweries are also worth a day trip if you’re looking for a change of scenery.

KC Bier Co. Schwarzbier – You’ve probably seen the iconic red boxes of old-school glass bottles from Kansas City all over the STL metro, but don’t let the simple packaging fool you. KC Bier Co. has become a nationally recognized expert in German-style lagers. Their naturally carbonated, cold-lagered Schwarzbier is a deliciously roasty and warm treat.

Broadway Brewing Blubber Chubber – This CoMo brewery has emerged as one of the state’s most reliable brands outside of major cities. Their hazy IPAs are particularly refreshing, especially the Blubber Chubber dry-hopped with Citra, Sabro, and Riwaka hops.

Last Flight Pineapple Habanero IPA – Jefferson City has long been in need of a craft beer destination, and Last Flight has finally answered the call. In just under three years, they have established themselves as a go-to spot for a variety of styles, from a Dubbel-style Sturmbier to a Key Lime Pie in the Sky Berliner Weisse to a dill pickle sour called Splash Hog. Last summer, I found myself craving a little sweet heat, and their habanero IPA hit the spot.

Ebb & Flow Fermentations Blastbeets – Cape Girardeau may not be known for its art and adventure, but Ebb & Flow is changing that, at least in the world of beer. Their wild fermentation process, using housemade yeast blends, creates unique and delicious flavors. Their tart and earthy blonde ale aged on beets is a prime example of their creativity.

Banter Brewing Tryptich Series Base Dunkelweizen – Located on the south side of Springfield, Missouri, Banter is slowly building a reputation for their rotating Tryptich series. The name comes from the Romans’ concept of a tablet with three waxed leaves bound together, and the brewery follows suit by producing three variations of a beer or style meant to be enjoyed together. Their Base Dunkelweizen is a must-try, but be sure to check out their other offerings as well.