Mike Holtrup loves craft beer. It’s a passion that has defined his popular O’Fallon bar, Mike’s Grill & Tap, and helped to make it a Mecca for serious craft beer fans.
“We’re an upscale casual grill with a focus on craft beer with 24 local craft beers on tap,” Holtrup said, smiling.
He noted that beyond the taps, the bar also stocks a good amount of bottled beer selections, wine and cocktails.
“You don’t have to drive around to find your favorite craft brewery beer – we’ll have them here,” he said. “And since we have 20-plus beers on tap we can now sell growlers (32-ounce jugs) thanks to the recent change in Missouri law.”
Counted among Mike’s ever-growing list of craft brewery favorites are those from Urban Chestnut, 2nd Shift, Civil Life, Six Row and, of course, O’Fallon Brewery, which also brews its house beer.
“Our house beer, Angry Irish Wife, is made exclusively for us by O’Fallon,” said Holtrup. “So if you like it you’ll only find it here.”
O’Fallon’s beers also contribute to Mike’s recipes, often as a key ingredient in tempting dishes such as the Thai Coconut Mussels. Fresh-harvested mussels are steamed in O’Fallon Golden, coconut milk and ginger. O’Fallon’s IPA is featured in the batter used to dip cod to fill plates of Fish and Chips and to coat roasted and stuffed Anaheim chiles for Mike’s standout Shrimp and Goat Cheese Rellenos.
Speaking of chiles, diners are sure to notice subtle Mexican influences dotting the menu. They are a nod to Holtrup’s former Rolla restaurant, La Posada.
Must-try items for chile lovers are the Chipotle Chicken Quesadilla served with cilantro lime sour cream and the Mango Habanero Salmon (grilled salmon topped with mango habanero salsa). Both dishes complement the menu’s classic pub grub – burgers and wings along with unexpected specialties, including Nachos Roma (fried pasta chips topped with tomatoes, Kalamata olives, banana peppers, pesto chicken, cream sauce and melted mozzarella).
“We wanted a simple upscale casual menu with a lot of diverse items to appeal to a lot of different tastes,” Holtrup said. “We make everything from scratch and use the freshest ingredients. Even our burgers are made with custom-ground, grass-fed Angus Beef (from Creekstone Farms) that was in the pasture a week ago. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.”
Burgers weigh in at a hefty half-pound and are themed with offerings such as ginger coleslaw and spicy Korean barbecue sauce on the Asian Burger, and pork belly and bacon garnishes on the Triple B Burger, which is served on a pretzel bun. Traditional carnivores always can opt for the classic burger, with or without cheese. All burgers come with a side and a house recommendation – “try the homemade chips.”
Mike’s also offers 13 different sandwiches and wraps, three entrée salads and an impressive showing of affordable full plates such as Bourbon Maple Pork Chops and Chicken and Beer Dumplings. Small plates, always a winner when paired with a pint, are as varied as the rest of the menu with options including Garlic Mozza Bruschetta, Short Rib French Onion Sliders and Brewpub Pretzels. As for Mike’s No. 1 appetizer – wings retain the title thanks to Holtrup’s special recipe.
“They’re brown sugar and spice brined for three days,” he said, hinting at what makes them so very good.
When asked for tips on selecting the right beer to pair with Holtrup’s delicious offerings, he recommended an easy rule.
“A lighter crisp beer is going to taste better with chicken and seafood while the heavy dark beers like stouts and porters will taste better with a burger,” he said.