Category Archives: Beer Bar

Hopshot!: Stone Brewing Total Tap Takeover

20110426-101612.jpg

Lucky four day weekend for this beer drinker. And iTap’s Stone release event started it off. I think I counted about 6 or 7 deep at the bar. Waited 30 minutes to unsuccessfully get a (second) beer. Was a little disappointed in the service at iTap, but not in the beer.

Advertisements

Better Thursday: Stone Total Tap Takeover at iTap in Soulard


Yes!  I…sorry Goose…WE (my wife and I) are going to the Stone Brewing Company “Total Tap Takeover” at iTap in Soulard (and the fact that I am off work for Good Friday the next day, makes April 21 Better Thursday).  According to their website, of the 40 taps that iTap has, 24 of them will be dedicated to Stone.  The list:

  1. Stone IPA
  2. Stone Pale Ale
  3. Stone Levitation Ale
  4. Stone Smoked Porter
  5. Arrogant Bastard Ale
  6. OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale
  7. Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
  8. Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
  9. Stone Ruination IPA
  10. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2011
  11. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2010
  12. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2009
  13. Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 2007
  14. Stone Old Guardina BELGO Barley Wine
  15. Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2010
  16. Stone 14th Anniversary Ale
  17. Double Bastard Ale 2010
  18. DDH Stone IPA
  19. DDH Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
  20. Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean
  21. Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle
  22. Stone Smoked Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels
  23. Arrogant Bastard Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels
  24. Stone Imperial Russian Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels 2008
I have only ever had Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, so this is going to be a treat.  My only problem will be deciding which Stone beers to try–I can’t possibly try them all can I?

Help me out… What have you had and what should I try first? 

Draft Magazine Gets it Right

In 2010, Draft Magazine listed McGurk’s as the best beer bar in St. Louis.   For their 2011 list of Best Beer Bars in America, Draft Magazine seems to have beefed up the STL scouts.  Two of the best “beer bars” in St. Louis, iTap and Bridge, finally made it onto the list.  With nearly 700 beers available between them, these two spots are the most obvious choices in St. Louis.

Congrats to both Bridge and iTap for the well deserved recognition!

While most of the beer news in St. Louis has been the amount of new brew pubs opening up, there are still quite a few beer bars to choose from in the area.  My additions to the “Beer Bar” list for St. Louis, would be the same as last year:

The Stable (http://www.thestablestl.com/)– The fine folks at Stable are definitely doing something right.  Their most recent beer event (tapping a cask of Bell’s Hopslam) saw more than 200 people in attendance and a blown cask in 42 minutes.

Cicero’s (http://ciceros-stl.com/)– Cicero’s continues to be a solidly diverse beer bar that offers free beer school on Wednesdays.

33 Wine Bar (http://www.33wine.com/)– Don’t let the “wine bar” in the name fool you, this  is one of the better kept beer secrets in STL.  They have no sign in front of their Lafayette Square location and, honestly, don’t really need one.  Most of their marketing seems to be from word of mouth and Twitter and from the strength of their awesome beer list.

Sunday Snapshot!

It eludes again.
Canadian Breakfast Stout.
Founder’s I love you.

“Breakfast of Breakfasts” at Stable

On Sunday November 21, 2010, Stable will host the Breakfast of Breakfasts.   From Stable:

This is a beer lovers dream! We’ll open up for brunch at 9:30 am and along with our delicious brunch menu, we’ll be serving Founders Breakfast Stout, Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Canadian Breakfast Stout. You decide if you want to pour them over your waffles.

What an amazing event.  Founders Breakfast Stout would be enough of a reason to get out of bed on its own, but throw in the coveted Kentucky Breakfast Stout, very rare Canadian Breakfast Stout and mix it with Stable’s awesome brunch menu and you’ve got yourself a  reason to nurse your hangover from the STL Hops Anniversary Party.

Best “Beer Bar” in St. Louis?


In September, Draft Magazine published a list of the 150 Best Beer Bars of 2010.  They “scoured the country from Alaska to Hawaii and Portland, Maine to Portland, Ore., to find the bars where you’re guaranteed to sip unmatched suds.”  For St. Louis, they picked McGurk’s Irish Pub and Garden.

This is, if not a completely wrong choice, at the very least an odd one.  McGurk’s is definitely a good bar/pub/restaurant.  I’ve had great food there and have enjoyed a beer by the fire in their “garden”.  But the fact that they have an amazing patio, good Irish pub food and a substantial client base, notwithstanding, I don’t think anyone in St. Louis would call this a “Beer Bar.”

From the article:

JOHN D. MCGURK’S IRISH PUB & GARDEN
St. Louis
Irish imports don’t come strictly in the form of beer at this 31-year-old pub; McGurk’s also brings in the Emerald Isle’s musicians to play its stage seven nights a week. Pouring 80 beers in all, the beer list predictably pours Guinness and Belhaven Wee Heavy, but rounds out with offerings from Schlafly and Odell. Sample the house beer, McGurk’s Irish Ale, in the 8,000-square-foot garden with the pub’s legendary fish and chips, or a bowl of Mrs. McAteer’s Potato Soup. 1200 Russell Blvd., mcgurks.com

In my estimation, a “beer bar” should be a bar with the philosophy of “furthering the culture of craft beer” at the forefront of its business, not just a place you can get a good beer.  Anyone can stock an Imperial Stout but it takes true guts to be a bar in STL that stocks an Imperial Stout and which doesn’t even sell Bud Light.

Here are some “Beer Bars” in St. Louis getting it right:

iTap
http://www.internationaltaphouse.com/
iTap is by far the front runner in the STL Beer Bar scene.  They have two locations (Chesterfield and Soulard), nearly 500 beers available (40 or so on an ever-changing tap) and a multitude of special events that bring craft beer to the masses.  If you haven’t experienced iTap, change this fact now.

Cicero’s
http://ciceros-stl.com/
Cicero’s has 53 beers on tap.  153 in bottles.  And have been around for 30 years.  Their Beer School aims to educate its students on the “many varieties, flavors, and intricate ways of the brewer’s craft.”  Plus it’s free (the school–not the beer).

Bridge
http://www.thebridgestl.com/
A relative newcomer to the scene, Bridge serves up 250+ beers with 55 of those on tap.  Bridge holds quarterly beer dinners that serves the foodies and beer geeks alike with great beer and great food.

Stable
http://www.thestablestl.com/
Stable almost doesn’t fit into the category of beer bars in that they are also a microbrewery (Amalgamated Brewing).  However, their guest taps are plenty and are ALWAYS great.  Stable doesn’t merely carry other brewers’s beers to fill some hole that the brewery itself is unable to fill (e.g. Paulaner Oktoberfest around Oktoberfest time).  Instead, they seem to be saying, “Here are our beers to sample.  But please have some of these fantastic beers as well.”

33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar
http://www.33wine.com/
Don’t let the name fool you, this is a Beer Bar.  Located in a nondescript building –with no sign– in Lafayette Square, 33 Wine has an extremely impressive beer list.    The back patio, which connects to Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, lends itself to drinking and general merriment.