David Basinger, 28, Iowa City
Bartender @ The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary claims to be Iowa’s best beer pub. What makes you the best?
We have the largest selection of beer in Iowa City by far. We have 21 drafts, and over 100 different bottles, and we rotate and change it up pretty regularly.
What’s the best beer you have on tap?
Right now we have a Belgian beer called Gulden Draak that I like a lot. It’s a stronger Belgian ale. Also, the Rogue Brewery out of Oregon — we’re one of their preferred customers because we sell so much of their product, so we get a lot of their smaller batch stuff. It changes every two weeks or so.
What about bottles?
Any of the Belgian beers. They’re all really good. It just depends what you’re in the mood for.
What was the first beer you ever tried?
It was probably something like a Keystone Light or a Bud Light at, like, a family gathering, stealing it. I didn’t really get into good beer until I was 22 or 23. It takes some time to learn that there is something other than Miller Light and Bud Light.
What’s a good beer for someone branching out from a Bud or Miller for the first time?
Start off with Stella (Artois), something similar in flavor, then maybe work your way into some of the lighter wheat beers. After wheat beers, maybe start doing American ales, getting into the hoppier stuff, like Rogue Dead Guy Ale or Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, then eventually start getting to the stronger, more obscure stuff. A lot of times, if someone’s never had the Framboise Lambic, the raspberry beer, I’ll give them that and they’ll be like, “This is beer?!”
What beer do you wish you could get more easily in Iowa?
Anything by the New Glarus Brewery up in New Glarus, Wisconsin. They don’t export their beer out of the state, and pretty much anything they make is good. They make this cherry beer that is one of my top five beers. Every time I’m in Wisconsin, I end up dropping like $60 on a case, and just hoard it in my house.
What’s the best thing about being a bartender?
People. Meeting new people. Every shift is different. It’s not like a job where you go to your desk and sit down and do the same thing day in and day out. You meet new people. You’re active. It’s just fun. And you get to drink, to try out the product while you’re here. Not a lot of professions allow you to get a drink or two while you’re getting paid.