How does beer pair with running? Beautifully! That’s according to Brad Lobdell, co-owner of International Tap House (iTAP) in Chesterfield, Soulard, Central West End and Columbia, Mo. He’s been doing both for several years now, and there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down in his future.
How did you first get into running?
I played soccer growing up, and continued to play into adulthood, but didn’t get into “running” until I moved to Tampa, Florida, after graduating from Mizzou. I actually ran a 15k on a bet with some younger guys I worked with. The adrenaline or “runner’s high” I felt after that race had me hooked. I immediately started looking for half marathons. Halves became fulls, and fulls have become ultras.
I moved to back to St. Louis after a buddy of mine and I started iTAP in 2009, and I started venturing out onto the trails. I believe the first time was at Babler Park. I started looking around for more trails and trail races, and haven’t looked back! Except to look for snakes, hate snakes!
What aspects of running do you enjoy most?
Just being out in nature, in the woods, is such a peaceful and relaxing experience. I almost always run alone. As matter of fact, I think the only time I run with others is during a race. I’m a mid- to back-of-the-pack guy, so it’s always nice to chat with others during a race, but training solo is a nice bit of alone time.
What is your fondest achievement with regard to running?
Getting my 9-year-old son out on the trails with me. At such a young age, he already has a great appreciation for nature and the outdoors. We have a great time going on runs together, and when the weather gets too hot, we load up the mountain bikes and hit Indian Camp Creek or Castlewood.
What’s your favorite local running spot?
I like Castlewood because of the convenience, but as anyone reading this knows, when the weather is right, you aren’t going to find much room to move. I also really like to run Lewis and Clark Trail. It’s got a great mix of flats and hills, as well as some fairly technical spots to keep you on your toes. There’s also a killer view of the Missouri River!
So, let’s talk beer. When did you decide to start iTAP?
My business partner, Sean Conroy, and I started planning iTAP in the spring of 2008 while he was visiting me in Tampa. We were at a bar with a pretty “blah” beer selection, and the wheels started turning. As one beer turned into four, the bravado was showing and we had the whole idea figured out. He flew back to St. Louis, and I honestly didn’t think much would come of our discussion. Beer courage usually passes when the sun comes up. Next thing I know, he’s emailing me locations where he thinks a beer bar would work. I started researching cooler costs and putting together a business plan. It all happened pretty fast. Nine months after those beers, our first iTAP was open in Chesterfield.
From the start, we wanted iTAP to be a “neighborhood” bar with a world-class beer selection. We feel we’ve created just that. Even with four locations, our goal is still to provide a one-of-a-kind neighborhood bar experience…that just happens to have the best beer selection in town.
What’s your favorite post-workout beer?
After a long run you can find me posted up behind my Jeep likely drinking a 4 Hands Single Speed. It’s a nice, refreshing, lighter beer. I told the guys at 4 Hands it reminds me of grape Bubblicious. After that, it’s on to IPAs.
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of Terrain magazine