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Dining with Nancy at Prison Brews

By Nancy Giddens, The Giddens Group

Fundraising is in full swing. Golf courses around the state are filled with local candidates, along with an infusion of folks with a Jefferson City zip code. Busch Stadium continues to pull the lobbying crowd for special Senators and Representatives who have donated suites for their fundraising events. As a non-golfer, I particularly like fundraisers held at Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City. It gives me a great excuse to try out some of Boulevard’s new varieties (well done on the 80-acre Hoppy Wheat Beer). Though, sometimes – just sometimes – you get to sit down with an elected official and simply catch up with no real agenda. IMG_6457

This week, I experienced one of those moments thanks to Rep. Robert Cornejo, [R-St. Peters]. Upon learning he was in town and available for an early dinner, I knew the exact spot to go – Prison Brews. As a home brewer, Representative Cornejo appreciates handcrafted ales and Prison Brews did not disappoint. Hello “Hard Time IPA!”

The Place

Prison Brews is Jefferson City’s own brewpub. Situated two blocks from the old Missouri State Penitentiary at 305 Ash Street, the aptly named Prison Brews touts a relaxed environment, live music, a large outdoor patio, nicely crowded bocce courts and the freshest beer in town. Brewed on site, Prison Brews’ ale is made in small batches with no additives or preservatives. The beer must be a draw as the eatery is home to a 32-team bocce league, held in partnership between the brewpub and the local Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis-Prison Brews Bocce League raises money for local boys and girls’ activities. Complementing active bocce courts, we were fortunate to visit Prison Brews the night “Spontaneous Serendipity” was playing live music. Covering Gotye, Tom Petty, Adele and others, the band was fantastic…and I’m a hard sell on Adele covers.

The People

Kevin, our bartender, was awesome! He served us promptly and was sure that our glasses were never empty. He poured a couple samples for me to try while chatting with Cornejo about beer and beer clubs in St. Louis. Assisting with our food selections, he made our Prison Brews experience even better. Thanks for a great time, Kevin!

Nancy Giddens
Nancy Giddens

The Product 

As indicated on Prison Brew’s website, “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” I won’t speak for Cornejo, but I did my fair share of quality control testing and the IPA is delicious! As a side to our frosty glasses, we shared some incredibly healthy fried green beans. Cornejo balanced our appetizer with a turkey wrap and I doubled down on the health front and selected a brick oven tomato, feta and bacon pizza. My pants might be regretful, but my taste buds were not!

The Price

The menu is diverse and there is something for everyone. Prices range accordingly from $6-$9 for salads, brats and sandwiches. Pizzas center around $10-$12. Entrees, including fish, chicken, beef and pasta, hover around $13-$15. For complete food and beer menus, visit the Prison Brews website at

The Pizzazz

Beer. Nothing says summer and relaxation like a great beer with a friend. This week, Representative Cornejo and Prison Brew’s IPA made my summer a bit better. Many of the servers sported shirts embellished with “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” While I contend that shoes are better evidence to that fact, I must admit that the IPA did make me reconsider my position for a minute or two.