A few months ago, I blogged about how I think every person needs a happy place. Or three. Well last weekend, Mikey found his. And it’s no surprise to anyone who knows him, that this happy place is all about… beer.
It’s called the International Tap House or iTap for short. There are two locations in the St. Louis area, one in Chesterfield and one in Soulard. And the concept is yes, beer. But practically every beer imaginable. Take your pick of microbrewery beers from across the U.S. or venture out of your comfort zone to sample a brew from Japan or Germany or Australia. 40 beers on tap — always on rotation — and about 480 different beers by the bottle from 25 different countries. IPA’s, Hefeweizens, Kolschs, Pilsners. And everything else under the sun.
We went to the Soulard location last Sunday, and really enjoyed ourselves. Aside from the beer selection, here are some other reasons why iTap made our A-list.
- BYOF. Bring Your Own Food. iTap doesn’t have a kitchen, which I was kind of bummed about at first. Because eating is my thing. But they do allow you to bring your own food or order food into the bar. So you could have pizza delivered to iTap. Or, you can stop by your favorite restaurant, pick up your choice of grub and tote it on over to iTap, which is what we did. We brought a greased-up bag of Five Guys Burgers & Fries to the bar and enjoyed it alongside our beers. It really is a genius idea. Taking any kind of food you want into a bar. The possibilities are endless because you don’t have to order from a restricted menu.
- Great outdoor patio. Because when is drinking beer on a patio not a good thing?
- Friendly, knowledgeable bartenders/barbacks. We chatted up the barback that evening, who happened to be the brother-in-law of the owner. He gave some great beer recommendations — one of which has now surpassed Mikey’s #1 ranking, Guinness. It’s Buster Nut Brown Ale by Ska Brewing Company, Durango, Colorado. Bet the copywriter had a fun time coming up with THAT name.
- No smoking inside. It’s just nice to come home without feeling like I have to wash my smoke-drenched hair before I go to bed.
- Lack of loud music. The only dull roar you hear in the building is the sound of chatter and laughter. No need to scream at the top of your lungs to the person sitting a foot away from you. I enjoy having a voice at the end of a night out.
- Take it to go. As we were closing out our tab, Mikey realized there was a beer on the menu that he didn’t get a chance to try. So the barback conveniently told us that we could purchase beers by the bottle for carry-out. So we customized a six-pack of Buster Nut Brown Ale, Bell’s Oarsmen and Ellie’s Brown Ale by Avery Brewing Co. And a couple days later, we’re still enjoying our custom pack.
I think it’s pretty evident that we’ll be back for more. Mikey was happier than a kid on Christmas. After about four beers in, he turned to me, grinning from ear to ear and said, “This has just become my favorite place on earth. Ever.”
And to show you how hardcore we were about our experience there, we kept a running list of the beers we tried. There wasn’t a single one we didn’t enjoy. And the Bell’s Oarsmen, a seasonal sour beer, topped both our lists.
Paulaner Hefeweizen – Mikey
Avery White Rascal – Me
Bell’s Oarsmen – Mikey
Ace Pear Cider – Me
Duvel – Mikey
Guinness – Mikey
Buster Nut Brown Ale – Mikey
Ellie’s Brown Ale – Mikey
Judging by the distribution of beer between the two of us, can you guess which one was the designated driver?
So to sum it all up, iHeart (or rather, weHeart) iTap.