Here at Gut Check, we love St. Louis history. A large part of it revolves around beer.
The Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard & DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599) is taking advantage of this city's love of beer with its History on Tap tours that examine early St. Louis neighborhoods and the way beer shaped this city.
The first neighborhood tour takes place Wednesday, April 17 (that's tomorrow!), and delves into Soulard's history as seen through beer goggles. The cool, figurative kind of beer goggles. Not the kind they make you wear in alcohol-awareness classes. Not that we would know. Anyway...
The Soulard tour will be led by Michael Allen, a local history buff who is especially knowledgeable about St. Louis architecture. According to Nellie LaVigne, the development coordinator for the Missouri History Museum, Allen gives interesting and entertaining lectures about history, so no part of the tour will be boring. Or dry. Get it? 'Cause it's about beer.
"We picked Soulard because of its ties to the beer industry," LaVigne explains, "but the tour will also cover manufacturing in the area and how the neighborhood developed. People will get to look at artifacts from the MHM archives, like old maps of the area and original designs for Soulard Market."
The tour starts at the museum's Library and Research Center at 5:30 p.m. From there, a bus will take guests to Soulard, stopping for drinks and history lessons at McGurk's, Joanie's Pizzeria and the Shanti. The tour will end back at the library at 9 p.m.
The event was organized by the Young Friends of MHM, a membership group devoted to creating and participating in activities geared toward a younger audience. Bar crawls may seem like a young man's game, but guests of any age are encouraged to join in the fun.
Tickets are $45 for non-members and $35 for members. The price includes two complimentary drinks and dinner at Joanie's pizza. There will also be drink specials for the tour group at each location. Reservations are required.
If you can't make this tour, though, fret not. LaVigne assures us this is just the first of many. The museum hopes to make History on Tap tours a regular part of the MHM experience.
"We have a crazy long list of neighborhoods that sound fun and interesting," LaVigne says. "Dogtown is next, and that will be July 24. There's a lot of history there that relates to the World's Fair. We've already talked to the Dogtown Historical Society people, and we're all really excited."