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itap.jpgDid St. Louis Craft Beer Week start and no one told me?  Between Microfest and Lauren Salazar’s visit, next week is shaping up to be one of the biggest weeks for craft beer in quite some time in St. Louis.

Including the New Belgium party on Wednesday, the International Tap House has two more events that will be taking place next week:

O’Dell Myrcenary Cask (Soulard): Thursday May 5th, 7pm
If you haven’t had this Double IPA from O’Dell Brewery you are missing out on one tasty treat. What’s better than this beer on draught? Hopefully this beer poured from a cask! We will find out for sure on Thursday May 5th at 7pm when we tap the cask! To top it off you can keep an O’Dell pint with the purchase of an O’Dell beer.

Kentucky Bourby Showdown (Soulard and Chesterfield): Saturday May 7th
Put on your best hat for the iTAP version of the Kentucky Derby or as we’ve dubbed it “The Kentucky Bourby”. It’s a can’t miss showdown between two Kentucky studs…Founders Kentucky Bourbon Stout vs Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Enjoy the horse race while enjoying two incredible stouts. Both beers will be on tap at 1pm.

Mycernary is one of my new, favorite double IPAs, so a cask of it is awesome news. Couple that with what’s gotta be one of the last kegs of KBS in St. Louis and you have a hell of a week of beer drinking.

I say this without hyperbole, New Belgium Brewing‘s Lauren Salazar may be one of the nicest people in all of brewing.  That’s a pretty big compliment when you realize just how nice most people in the brewing industry are.  Lauren’s job of Sensory Specialist has her as the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth of New Belgium.

But, the coolest part of her job is that she’s the primary person to to do New Belgium’s barrel-aged blending.  She gets to taste all of the sour/funky beers coming out of the New Belgium and blend them into things like La Folie or the more recent Le Terroir.

Well, she’s coming to town and she wants to meet all of you.  Here’s a list of events she’ll be attending next week:

Wednesday May 4th:
New Belgium Night at International Tap House Soulard at 8pm. The highlight of brewery nights is usually the beer and we’ll have a couple of great New Belgium Beers to choose from. However for this event it’s probably equally important to point out who will be in attendance. So who will be there? Non other than Lauren Salazar the sensory specialist and the person in charge of New Belgium’s sour and aging program. This is a great chance to “chat up” someone with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Oh, and all New Belgium beers will $1 off!

Thursday, May 5th:
Lips of Faith Beer Dinner at Dressel’s…starts at 7pm. All interested can call Dressel’s and make a reservation (314) 361-1060. The dinner will feature Vrienden, Le Terroir, Sahti and Transatlantique Kriek. Menu will be presented by Sous Chef Mike Miller. Dinner starts at 7pm in the Pub Above at Dressel’s. Cost is $50 per seat plus tax and gratuity.

Friday, May 6th:
New Belgium Love Beer Tasting at Bridge…starts at 9pm. We will be pouring three different New Belgium Love beers. 1) Felix (our lighter light-colored sour beer) aged in a peach whiskey barrel, 2) Oscar (our heavier dark-colored sour beer) aged in a blackberry whiskey barrel (this is supposed to be out of this world), and 3) an Oscar/Felix blend barrel aged in an apple whiskey barrel. All the whiskey barrels come from Leopold Brothers Distillery in Denver, CO (http://www.leopoldbros.com/Whiskies.html).

Saturday, May 7th:
Microfest…Lauren will be leading two separate seminars that day about Sour Beers (history of sour beer in Europe, US, and New Belgium’s Sour Beer program). FYI…we just purchased some new wood foeders from France which will increase our wood aged beer capacity by leaps and bounds. This purchase will make New Belgium’s Wood Beer cellar the largest in the United States. Pretty cool.

A bunch of great events next week for you to meet Lauren and tell her what you think of some of these great wood-aged beers that New Belgium’s been putting out.

The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton will be holding their Fifth Annual Beerfest on May 14th. Past festivals have featured over 100 beers to taste, so I’m sure this year’s festival will not disappoint.  There is a nominal $5 fee (which can be paid at the door) for attending the 2PM-4PM session.

There is also the much sought-after Premium Session that will take place between 1PM and 2PM.  There will only be allowed a limited number of tickets for the Premium Session to allow for a better chance to try beer. Tickets for this session will be $10 and can be purchased right now.

Here’s a preliminary list of beers that have been confirmed for the festival:

Six Row Brewing Company – Missouri
Six Row Whale Wheat
Plus one more TBA

Urban Chestnut Brewing – Missouri
TBA

Perennial Artisan Ales – Missouri
Belgian Dry Hopped Pale Ale

Jim from Bell’s Brewing – Michigan
Bells Porter CASK!
Bells Kalamazoo Stout
Bells Amber
Bells Oberon
Bells Pale Ale

Karen from Goose Island – Illinois
Pepe Nero
Fleur
Sofie
Matilda
Summer Kolsch
Dominique – draft only

Schlafly will be pouring — Missouri
Summer Helles
Raspberry Hefeweiss
Bavarian Weissbier
American IPA keglet
20th Anniversary. Vol #2 Hop Toddy

Missouri Beverage – Distributor
Bear Republic Ryevalry (draft only)
Founders Beers
plus much more

Golden Barrel – Distributor
Laughing Dog Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA – Idaho
Laughing Dog Dogfather Imperial Stout – Idaho
Laughing Dog Dogfather Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout – Idaho
Caldera IPA — Oregon
Caldera Pale Ale – Oregon
RJ Rockers Fish Paralyser – South Carolina

Tait from Charleville – Missouri
Tornado Alley
Half-Wit
Hoptimistic IPA
Maibock
Tripel-Wit

Blakelee from Magic Hat/Pyramid /Buffalo Bill’s
Magic Hat #9 – Vermont
Magic Hat Wacko – Vermont
Magic Hat Blind Faith IPA On Tour – Vermont
Magic Hat Single Chair Ale – Vermont
Pyramid Haywire – Washington
Pyramid Apricot – Washington
Pyramid Thunderhead IPA – Washington
Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA – Washington
Buffalo Bills Alimony IPA – California

Ray Hill from Ray Hill Brewing Company – Missouri
Ray Hill’s Classic American Pilsner

Anthony from Summit – distributor
Lagunitas IPA – California
Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale – California
Breckenridge Vanilla Porter – Colorado
Breckenridge Seasonal – Colorado
Boulder Hazed & Infused – Colorado
Boulder Seasonal Kinda Blue Blueberry Ale – Colorado

Kristen from Sam Adams – Massachusetts
Sam Adams Deconstructed IPAs
Sam Adams Latitude 48 Hallertau Mittelfrueh
Sam Adams Latitude 48 East Kent Goldings
Sam Adams Latitude 48 Ahtanum
Sam Adams Latitude 48 Simcoe
Sam Adams Latitude 48 Zeus
Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA
Sam Adams Summer Ale
Sam Adams Wee Heavy

Augusta Brewing – Missouri
Augusta Saison
Augusta Tripel IPA
Augusta Wit Bier

Leinenkugel/Blue Moon Brewing Co.
Leinenkugel Berry Weiss – Wisconsin
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy – Wisconsin
Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat – Colorado

They’re back!  For those of you that really enjoyed the Sunday beer dinners at the restaurant formerly known as the 1904 Beerhouse, they’re now back at the newly named Beerhouse.  This dinner, which will take place on April 17th at 6PM, will feature three different courses and a dessert paired with four different Cathedral Square Brewery beers.

The cost of the meal is $45/person (tax and gratuity not included) and reservations are required. You can make reservations by calling 314-388-7655. Here’s a look at the menu:

Starter
Baby Spinach Salad, Mustard Maple Dressing, Scotch Egg
Belgian Style Abbey Ale

Appetizer
Iglesia Poached Lobster Tail, Jicama Pickled kumquat Slaw, Poblano Foam
Iglesia Agave Ale

Entrée
10oz Rib-Eye, Wild Mushroom Medley, Matchsticks, Hail Mary Demi
Hail Mary Belgian IPA

Dessert
Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Pistachios
Belgian Style White Ale

In other Cathedral Square related news, Jerad Gardner announced that he’ll be the new sales rep for Cathedral Square. Congrats to Jerad, I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job.

I try not to play favorites.  The beers I love, I try to love equally.  But, just like with children and dogs,  the truth is that I do have favorites.  And one of those favorites is Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

(As a quick aside, if you’re one of those people yelling “sell out” at Goose Island and promise to never drink their beer again, I’ll happily take any of the BCS you have sitting in your cellar.  kthx.)

It might be one of the most perfect beers in the world.  Chocolate-ly, roasty, velvety, tons of vanilla and oak, and of course that wonderful bourbon.  It’s just amazing.

If you have the will power, it gets even better as it ages.  Everything mellows out and bit and melds into this single taste of amazingness.  But, that takes a lot of will power, and if you can’t hold on to this beer that long, I completely understand.

Luckily for you, The Stable has done the job for you.  This Friday, April 8th, starting at 6PM, the Stable will be offering up 8oz pours of a 2008 Bourbon County Stout and a 2010 Bourbon County Stout.  Each 8oz pour will set you back $8.

As BCS is typically only sold in 1/6bbl kegs, this means that there only about 82 eight ounce pours in each keg.  What I’m trying to tell you is that this will go quickly, so don’t miss out.

I’ve got a secret: I really, really, really like poker.  Stud, Omaha, Razz and especially Texas Hold ‘Em.  I’m not especially great at any of them, but that doesn’t stop me from playing.

Now, combine poker and beer and that’s a match made in heaven.  Well, heaven comes on Sunday, April 10th as Naturally Pure Salon hosts a charity event that will feature Texas Hold ‘Em and some homebrew brewed up by some of the area’s best homebrewers.

The event, which will take place from 2PM-6PM at the Shrewsbury City Center, will cost you $50 to play poker (or just $25 to taste the beer) and will benefit the The Audubon Society of Missouri.

Here’s a line up of the homebrewers and the beers they’re bringing:

  • Bryan Clauser – Cider and Doppelbock
  • Jim Leabig – India Brown (2011 GABF Pro-am Beer with O’Fallon) and APA
  • Troy Meyer – Imperial IPA, Rye APA, Vienna Lager, Cider
  • Jim Yeager – Black IPA, American Brown, American Amber (He says he wouldn’t call it Alright Already, but close)
  • Dave Blue – does know what he is donating

Visit the Naturally Pure Salon Facebook page for more information.  If you’re interested in playing (or just tasting) they’ll be taking money at the door.

With all of the excitement of new breweries coming into St. Louis, it’s easy to overlook some of the great beer that’s already available to us.  One of those great breweries is Big Sky Brewing Company out of Montana.

If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy a Big Sky beer recently, here’s your chance to revisit some of their beers.  The International Tap House is having a Keep the Glass event tonight, April 5th, from 7PM to close at their Chesterfield location and from 7PM to close on April 7th at the Soulard location.

Not only will you get a chance to enjoy some Moose Drool, Heavy Horse, Cowboy Coffee Porter and a Big Sky Limited Release, but you’ll also get to add a glass to your collection.  Be sure to check out iTap’s Facebook page for more information.