The “Love Handles” department in Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® is devoted to great beer bars. Here are the three beer bars that we explored in Issue 18 (April/May 2017).
The Stein & Vine (Brandon, Florida)
A steampunk-styled English pub and foodie paradise that boasts a massive tap and bottle list
WHAT IT IS: Outside The Stein & Vine (at top), all the sign above this place says is “Pub.” Inside is a publican who rearranges his menu every day, cooking for the beer geek in everyone. He pours forty-two taps and 180 bottles in a cozy English-pub-meets-steampunk makeover with one of the best-curated tap lists matching a full-flavored menu.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Ask anyone from the area what the most beer-loving restaurant in town is, and (s)he will reply, “The Stein & Vine.” The restaurant is a labor of love for Owner Ty Mathis and his wife Lacey, as they make a menu that challenges patrons not to order “one of each,” and they have a tap list that makes for better pairings than Tinder. In this foodie fun factory, the 33 1/3 burger is one-third bacon, and only the hottest jalapeños will do for the Volcano burger. New breweries often tap their first kegs at The Stein & Vine, and Florida’s best breweries are represented on the tap list with regular offerings from Cigar City Brewing, J. Wakefield Brewing, 7venth Sun Brewery, and Funky Buddha Brewery. In one of the busiest sections of Tampa Bay, The Stein & Vine is the place to slow down and have a beer.—Mark DeNote
Hours: Noon−Midnight, Sunday−Thursday; Noon−2 a.m., Friday & Saturday
Address: 827 West Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon, FL
Crafted (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho)
A craft-beer lover’s dream located near the waterfront in Coeur d’Alene
WHAT IT IS: Crafted (above) is a gastropub located near the waterfront in Coeur d’Alene that features fifty rotating taps and a food menu with interesting twists on American favorites, such as sweet potato fries with Gorgonzola fondue and RiverDog Oreos, oreo cookies fried with house-made pancake batter and caramel, peanut butter, and cream cheese sauce. The beers on the draft list come from local breweries and all over the world and are served by Cicerone Certified beer servers. And to further help in making the right beer selection, guests are handed an iPad with Crafted’s own app to learn more about the beers.
WHY IT’S GREAT: The vibe is friendly and laid-back, with a clean-looking stainless-and-concrete industrial aesthetic and a massive patio. It’s perfect for beer geeks and the casual beer lover alike, while remaining family friendly. Everything on the food menu is made from scratch and comes from locally sourced ingredients. And if you’re truly up for something unique, try to catch one of the turtle races (you read that right: turtles).—Haydn Strauss
Hours: 11 a.m.−10 p.m., Sunday−Thursday; 11 a.m.−2 a.m., Friday & Saturday
Address: 523 Sherman Ave., Coeur d’Alene, ID
el Bait Shop (Des Moines, Iowa)
A bait shop−inspired dive bar with a massive draft and bottle selection
WHAT IT IS: Des Moines has a big nightlife and a growing cycling community, and el Bait Shop (above) is right in the heart of it. It’s next to Principal Park, home to the farm team for the Chicago Cubs, which makes it a perfect place to pre-game. The vibe is divey and cozy, very laid-back, and home to a crowd of beer enthusiasts.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Let’s start with the beer menu: 189+ taps, 170+ bottles, and a handful of cans from all over the world. You can find your favorites, such as Surly and Toppling Goliath, as well as sought-after selections that are tough to get elsewhere and many selections from Iowa breweries. The staff is fun and knowledgeable, and the menu is full of American fare and comfort food (try the buffalo chicken egg rolls or the bacon-wrapped tater tots!).—Andrew Fitzgibbon
Hours: 11 a.m.−2 a.m. daily
Address: 200 SW 2nd St., Des Moines, IA
Craft-beer breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars are expanding all over the United States at a rapid rate, yet who do you trust for accurate and up-to-date information about where to go and what to drink? The Ultimate Beer Guide Western Edition 2017 answers that question with expertly curated reviews, suggestions, and insight from the editors and writers of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Order your copy today.
PHOTOS FROM TOP: COURTESY STEIN & VINE; COURTESY CRAFTED; COURTESY EL BAIT SHOP