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The Brass Tap to Pour Locals Heavy

Thanks to a random Facebook connection, I just caught wind of a new craft beer bar setting up shop in Clifton soon.  It boasts 80 lines of draft, 300 craft bottles, and a small portfolio of fine wines.  Big deal – another bar with a boatload of draft beer taps, right?  We already have King Yard House downtown.  I think The Brass Tap is going to be a little bit different and will serve a slightly different audience.  New owner Mic Foster kindly answered my questions so we can get the real scoop on what this place is all about.

The Difference is the Beer Geography

This isn’t just a bar with a bunch of beer.  There won’t be any liquor poured and wine will be somewhat limited.  The focus here is craft beer and what  really caught my attention was an immediate focus on local beers.  Mic is a Cincinnati native and has been energized by our city’s brewing renaissance.  Because of this, he is initially committing a minimum of 20 handles to just local beers.  Yes, 20.  As in, one more than 19.  I thought this was pretty damn impressive as I think its safe to say this would outshine any other bar in the city in regards to a focus on our local breweries. He hopes that one day all 80 taps can be local beers and the franchise can replicate itself in other midwest cities to feature that area’s local beers.  This is a very admirable and hopefully, one day, achievable goal.

With 20 taps dedicated to the Queen City that leaves 60 more to load up with other tasty beers from around the country and world.  Current plans call for a 10 beer core lineup that will change very infrequently, if ever.  That means 50 more taps to rotate on a semi-regular basis with a goal to change out 5 to 8 on a weekly basis.  Oh and don’t worry – there will not be any Bud, Miller, or Coors macro brews.  The staff will all be well trained on true craft beer in order to educate the person who orders a Bud Light.  They pride themselves on their culture of education and want nothing more than to help start someone on the craft beer journey.  Personally, I would love to see a lineup of Cicerone Certified Beer Servers to take things to the next level.

Eats, Tunes, Teachings

This isn’t a brewpub so there won’t be  a regular restaurant menu.  Pretzels and small pretzel crust pizzas will be available to fill stomachs but there will be partnerships with outside food vendors to deliver food in to patrons as well as an open policy to bring in outside food.  Another twist is live music Thursday through Saturday.

Continuing the focus on the beer, there is a loyalty program that offer t-shirts and gift cards as you amass points for drinking different beers (that is, unique beers drank).  There will be tap takeovers and monthly tasting programs (such as Sour Beer Breakfast and Taptoberfest) to keep the beer nerds interested and reinforce the education culture.  I love the focus on education since it can help open people’s eyes to the world of beer with flavor and helps them as a business to develop a better and more loyal customer.

About The Brass Tap – U Square

The Brass Tap is a franchised all craft beer bar originally founded in South Florida.  How does a regionalized craft beer concept make its way to the midwest? Mic did his due diligence when planning the business, from creating a new concept to investigating the variety of beer bar franchise opportunities around the country.  At the end of the day, Tampa’s The Brass Tap was a perfect fit to bring in an efficient and fine-tuned operation to allow him to focus on the beer.  He didn’t have to reinvent the wheel and stumble through start-up mistakes for day-to-day operations.  After spending a significant amount of time at their Tampa bars he signed on with this group and picked up some prime real estate in Clifton’s new U Square @ the Loop development.

With it being right in the middle of a huge college student population I had to wonder how successful a craft beer bar could be where many area residents sustain themselves on ramen noodles.  However, craft beer seems to have made its way into the hearts, stomachs, and wallets of college students as well.  To ease the burden for that crowd, there will be daily promotions on draft and bottles, happy hours, ladies nights, and others opportunities to save.  Beyond college students, the area hosts a variety of socio-economic levels with the staff of seven large hospitals and that little school next door that is the second largest employer in the city.  The opportunity certainly exists so it will be up to The Brass Tap to bring them into the fold.

They are shooting for a July opening as they await permitting and approvals.  Keep it here to find out when The Brass Tap begins pour and check them out on Facebook.

P.S. – I don’t know if the cigar  thing will be happening at this location…


Mike Stuart

Craft beer enthusiast and hombrew dabbler. Part-time writer, sometimes funny.

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