A Taste of Mother's Love


by Elizabeth Shelton


You know when a middle-aged man gets choked up talking about his brewery, he’s passionate. And now that not one, but THREE of his Missouri-made craft beers are available in Southeast Missouri, you may join Jeff Schrag, owner of Mother’s Brewery, in shedding a joyful tear. For lovers of a full-flavored brew, thankfully, the wizard behind the tap isn’t in Kansas anymore.


After attending Kansas State, Schrag located from McPherson, KS, to Springfield, MO, (by way of Minnesota) nearly twenty years ago. A seasoned newsman at twenty-something, he purchased and still owns The Daily Events, which focuses on the legal industry. Through the years he added a jewelry business and refurbished a few downtown buildings before deciding to begin the next refreshing chapter of his interesting life.


When the newspaper industry began declining in the 1990s, rather than laying off employees and closing shop, as so many print publications did, Schrag looked for another way to employ his talented team. He explains, “I began attracting more good employees than I had jobs for, so I began acquiring other businesses. I felt I had one more business in me. I had always dreamed of doing a winery, but I was not going to gamble all I had on a new business venture in my fifties. Then I read an article about extreme craft beer, and I realized I could have a brewery in downtown Springfield and brew as good a beer as anyone in the world without the worries of soil and other things that go along with a winery.”


The term “extreme craft beer” usually refers to a full-flavored beer that is higher in alcohol than most traditional pilsners and may contain ingredients that also differ from the norm. According to Schrag “This is where the beer and wine worlds meet. It’s a higher alcohol content, more flavorful, more traditional.”


The alcohol content of Mother’s beers ranges from 5-7% with Mother’s Others coming in at 8 or 9%. Mother’s Three Blind Mice brown ale has been the crowd favorite in the ten months the brewery has been distributing, which may have been influenced by cooler temperatures. Schrag elaborates: “Three Blind Mice is an interesting every day beer combining elements of German Alt, Irish Red and English Brown. We took inspiration from many sources. The Alt beer leads to the hoppiness and slight bitterness on the end, which separates it from most sweet brown beers. Irish reds are light and drinkable, so that is the body. Chocolate and toffee notes are in the classical English brown on the front of the tongue. I am so grateful people have gravitated to it. I dreamed about that beer when we did the first batch.”


Schrag is curious to see if Tow Head, an American Blonde, will gain in popularity as summer approaches. He explains, “Tow Head is for the person who enjoys an easy-drinking beer. It is a cold yeast beer, like Schlafly or Boulevard Wheat, a classic Midwestern wheat beer with a Kölsch-style that is filtered. It is superior because it has complexity, a beautiful nose and finishes very clean—people will find that with all of our beers.


“To determine what flavors to brew, we sat down and drank all different types of beers and compared what was in markets here and what was not here but was in other markets. We don’t brew stylistically pure beers. We don’t strictly adhere to style; we brew to flavor. Generally our beers are a mishmash of several styles or elements of those styles. We’ll do anything to get the flavor we want.”


Mother’s Lil’ Helper is the third beer available in the Southeast Missouri market. It is an India Pale Ale and the highest in alcohol of the three. Described by Schrag as “a hoppy beer that is not bitter, rather with citrus and tropical fruit flavors,” he confesses, “we knew we had to name a beer Mother’s Lil’ Helper.”


Schrag hopes to expand distribution into the states contiguous to Missouri with no plans for national expansion. He indicates that craft beer consumption in the U.S. is at 6% but only 3% in the Midwest. Since this region of the country frequently runs a few years behind national trends, Schrag hopes he is ahead of the curve, offering: “The coming trend is ‘regionality.’ We want to focus on places we can drive to in four hours or less so we can really support our distributors and be in touch with our customers. Our beers have done so well! We spent a bunch of time developing our brand, focusing on who we are as a brand. We tried to communicate love through everything we do, and that has really resonated. Our beers can add love to any occasion.”


If you’re craving a lil’ Mother’s love, visit one of the upcoming tastings, three of which will be attended by Mother’s owner Jeff Schrag. You can also find out more about locations serving Mother’s Brewery beers.


Elizabeth Shelton, owner of Write Results Marketing is a marketing communications professional who works with a talented team of web, video, graphic design and photography professionals. Ms. Shelton has the unique experience and perspective few communications professionals can claim, having devoted almost twenty years serving in nearly every professional capacity of the communications industry.

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