WHAT: Centro is welcoming the Twin Cities’ Surly Brewing to Des Moines with an exclusive food and beer event this week. The event will showcase Surly beer and food prepared by Centro executive chef Derek Eidson and Surly executive chef Jorge Guzman. Both chefs will feature dishes for sampling while guests are able to taste Surly’s beers.Entrance includes five Surly beer tasting tickets, two paired small plates from Guzman, hors d’oeuvres from Eidson, and a complimentary branded tulip snifter. Additional pours of Surly beer will be available for purchase.
SURLY FOOD MENU:
- Red Chili Pork Tamale with Cotija cheese, pickled red onion and cilantro
- Pecan Smoked Brisket, sweet potato bun, spicy pickles
CENTRO FOOD MENU:
- Full hog porchetta, South Union Bakery bun and pickled vegetables
- Roman-style pizzas with assorted toppings
- Charcuterie (assorted cured meats and accouterments)
- Housemade frites with saucesWHEN: Thursday, March 26, 6pm – 9pmWHERE: South Union Bread Café at Centro, 1007 Locust St., Des MoinesTICKETS: RSVP to RDeAngelo@CentroDining.com, $30/person
Within the last 2 weeks I’ve been to quite a few local restaurants and breweries. Granted, I practically live in these places but lately I continue to be blow away with what these brilliant minds are doing. Let me start with what I love…the beer. The sweet, the hoppy, the malty, the chocolatey, the coffeey?, just beer.
My wife I headed to 3rd Base Brewing in Cedar Rapids to meet her bro-in-law and his family for a meal. I’m not going to lie, they had Abrasive on tap, and it was delicious. But, after my Abrasive, their Cobra coffee oatmeal stout caught my eye, and then after the first one, caught my taste buds again. A fantastic stout, wonderful for the coffee lover, wonderful for the stout lover, wonderful for the beer lover. 3rd Base has become a staple, a mainstay, a frequently attended spot for the Baron and family. Why? I get great beer, excellent food, and the best thing, I can take my kids.
Onto my next destination. Lion Bridge. Now, Quinton and Alec probably get sick of seeing my mug at this place. I probably should just rent an apartment nearby. I live 13 minutes and 36 seconds away from Lion Bridge and depending on my aggressiveness, can get their a bit sooner. Yellow light means speed up, correct? Anyway, the beer they brewed for St Pats and St. Joseph’s Day, the Olde No. 17 could easily replace Guinness as my go to green holiday stout. In fact, it should be go to year round stout. Brewed with potatoes to give it more dryness, this beer is what I picture people enjoying at the classic pubs across Ireland for years, now turns into what people enjoying at pubs/breweries in IOWA enjoying for years to come. Excellent stuff. And, once you finish that, I hope you have/had the opportunity to try a GAZPROM! and the collab Mellowdrama. All terrific!
Off to Big Grove in Solon I go. Since opening close to two years ago I’ve spent more time at this establishment than I have at my workplace. Ok, a bit far-fetched, but seriously, I’m here alot. And why not? Another 11 minute and 24 second trip from door to door, being able to talk to the brewery, talk to the restaurant manager, talk to the manager, and at times enjoy beers with them. With their latest and greatest beer, Bill and company have hit one out of the park. The first ever, Iowa-brewed, Triple IPA. And like most of the things these folks do, there’s a terrific cause behind it. This brew benefits the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society of Eastern Iowa. The beer is the smoothest of all triple IPAs I’ve ever had and most doubles as well. I believe it checks in at 11.4%, but the booze is hidden remarkably well, making this dangerous so damn drinkable.
Onto the grub. All three of the above have terrific menus. Some are the basic bar/pub fare, some are locally sourced, some are unique and artisanal. All are amazing. Chef Ben Smart at Big Grove puts out some the best food in the area, his Beer Dinners are becoming legendary and their not even 2 years old yet! Now, onto my town. Mount Vernon, Iowa. Smaller college town that has 2 options I think can satisfy both beer and food. 1st place is Chameleon’s Pub and Grub. Nick and company continue to get craft beer on tap, pushing the envelope in a small town for craft beer can be very difficult. He’s working his ass off to do it. Lion Bridge, Big Grove, Exile, Kona, Summit all on tap, with Stone, Green Flash, Sam Adams, Founds coming in bottles. Get yourself a bacon, bleu-cheese burger, a local brew and sit back and enjoy and comfortable atmosphere.
The next stop is Lincoln Wine Bar. A once, sometimes twice, sometimes three times a week stop for the Baron household is pushing out wood fired pizzas with nightly specials using locally sourced ingredients. All the pizzas I’ve ever had have been terrific. The last one being a goat cheese, shrimp, and jalapeno, pie of perfection. I just met Jesse (sp?) for the first time on my last stop. He had a full selection of new-to-Iowa Surly Beers which go excellent with their terrific pizzas. Not only Surly, but a excellent bottle list for such a small-spaced pizzeria. Not to mention, he also kicked out a Prairie Apple Brandy-Noir. Does he want draft lines? Absolutely. Right now the space is too tight but I think this guy is going to make it work one way or the other.
Okay, that’s too much typing for me. Time for a brew. The good news is, tons of people know about and support these places, the better news is, I think it’s only going to get better. Cheers!
What:Surly Brewing Co., the Twin Cities-based craft brewery has just arrived in the Quad Cities as part of its Invasion of Iowa. Now, two weeks since its launch in Iowa, the brewery is kicking off its community engagement program, Surly Gives A Damn (SGAD) in Iowa by bringing together Minnesota and Iowa craft beer fans in Davenport this weekend to help the city’s spring corridor cleanup.SGAD is Surly’s community engagement program. Since 2010, the brewery has enlisted local beer fans to help with service projects across Minnesota. In 2014, SGAD organized nearly 1,000 Surly fans to take part in 2,376 volunteer hours. The program is now following Surly beer to Iowa.The first SGAD Iowa event will be this Saturday in Davenport, to help the city with their spring corridor cleanup. Surly is bringing 40 volunteers from both Iowa and Minnesota to take part. They will work together to help the city with its spring corridor cleanup, ensuring that unwanted garbage doesn’t make it into the local creeks, streams and waterways this spring and summer. The SGAD group will be cleaning from the LULAC Club, 4224 Ricker Hill/Blue Grass Rd and then making its way to Utah and Rockingham Rd. After the event, volunteers will come together to enjoy a Surly beer or two.When: Saturday, March 21, 8:30am – 11amWhere: From the LULAC Club, 4224 Ricker Hill/Blue Grass Rd, Davenport, IA, and then making its way to Utah and Rockingham Rd, Davenport, IA.Visuals:
- Minnesotans and Iowans working together to help clean up along Davenport highway
- SGAD organizers to discuss its plans to help out with future Iowa community projects
- Celebrating Minnesota’s craft beer coming to Iowa by supporting community projectsSurly has confirmed a number of events around the state this month, and will be posting more Iowa events throughout the months ahead. More information can be found at http://bit.ly/SurlyIowaEvents. SGAD will continue to organize and host volunteering events in Iowa, more information can be found at http://www.surlybrewing.com/surly-gives-a-damn.
Two new beers will be hitting Eastern Iowa shelves soon as Boulevard has released a new spring saison and Stone is releasing their popular Enjoy By Series in 12 oz 6 picks. Also making news this week is Stone releasing a brew from their Spotlight Series that fans got to vote on; the winner: Imperial Mutt Brown Ale. Here’s more on all 3 of these brews:
Boulevard Spring Belle Saison :
Spring Belle marries the crisp, spicy flavor of a traditional farmhouse ale, with its citrusy hop notes, to the fresh floral aromas of chamomile, rose petals and elderflower.
Stone Enjoy By: Available in both 12 oz and 22 oz bombers:
You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers- especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs- we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the bottle, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and beer fans. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.
Stone Imperial Mutt Brown:
Coming in April in 22 oz bombers. This was the winner chosen by fans. There is no ABV information on this brown ale quite yet. Stay tuned for more.
Got to love technology! With so many apps in the marketplace I thought I would go through and list my favorite beer-related apps. Just doing a bland beer search on your iPhone app store brings up thousands of hits. Let’s sort some of these out, here are my go to beer apps:
*Untappd* – the most popular app with most beer lovers. A fun app that ables you to socialize with your fellow beer “friends”. It’s also a great way to see who is drinking around your current area and also gives you a beer recommendation list based on your ratings. Feel free to add me: iabeerbaron
*TapHunter* – only one restaurant/brewery in Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area comes up on TapHunter and that is the Iowa Chop House. By using this app I know all their updated tap lists. This comes handy when traveling to bigger cities and I hope it catches on in the corridor.
*SipSnapp* – love the idea of this app as you can take pictures of a bar’s beer menu and then it provides ratings of those beers with their partner Ratebeer.com. So, if you are presented with a huge menu or see a bunch of beers that you’ve never heard of, snap a pic, upload and SipSnapp takes care of the rest.
**Those are the three I use the most. There are a ton of apps that allow check-ins, add wishlists, check abv, check history, etc. Beeradvocate app comes in handy as well but the 3 more unique are the ones I’ve listed. Chances are, by the time I publish this, another great app will have been created. What are favorite beer apps?
Some new beers will be hitting Eastern Iowa shelves soon. 2 new releases, one of which will be extremely difficult, and an old standby returns. If you know of any new beers hitting shelves feel free to drop me a line! Here we go:
Wasatch Polygamy NITRO Porter – this beer will be available in 12 oz bottles and will be a new year round release for Wasatch brewery. Here’s more on this beer courtesy of Wasatch and thefullpint.com:
To date there are less than a handful of breweries successfully packaging nitrogenated craft beers.
“Getting nitrogen to pour properly in a bottle is about a hundred times more challenging than nitrogenating a keg.” Schirf said. “I could not be prouder of our guys putting their cumulative brewery experience of more than a hundred years together and pulling off a game-changing achievement in the craft brewing industry. You really have to try it to fully appreciate the love.”
The Wasatch Polygamy Nitro Porter aroma comes off as cocoa in the nose from the use of chocolate malt. The silky smooth texture and mouthfeel is provided by fine nitrogen bubbles.
To enjoy the ultimate experience of nitro beers, it requires an aggressive approach. “Pour it harder into your favorite glass and enjoy watching a bazillion little nitrogen bubbles make their way to the top of the glass,” brewmaster Dan Burick says. “Watch the beautiful dark mahogany fluid that Polygamy Porter is cascading through the rising bubbles. This necessary foreplay creates a dense head of foam that invites you to enjoy a silky smooth Porter.”
Wasatch Brewery has been bottling a four percent session Polygamy Porter since 2001. Recognized at World Beer Cup and winning gold and silver awards in the session category. The name and edgy taglines – Take some home to the wifes! Why have just one? I’ve tried polygamy. – have grabbed the attention of craft beer drinkers over the years. It is not difficult to see it was time to add to the fun.
Green Flash Silva Stout - a beer I’m really excited for is Green Flash’s Silva Stout. This is their double stout aged in oak bourbon barrels and comes in at 10.1%. Everything I’m reading online tells me this beer will for sure hit the Des Moines market with Doll in April but be extremely limited; I haven’t heard about when/if Eastern Iowa will see this brew. Here’s more from Green Flash:
Our Double Stout ages in oak bourbon barrels, and artfully emerges as Silva Stout. This midnight black ale features elegant notes of oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, roasted barley and ripe cherry. Round and delicately balanced in body, each sip envelops the palate with its impressively complex craft composition.
BLACK ALE AGED IN BOURBON BARRELS
IBU’S: 45 ABV: 10.1
Bells Oberon Returns March 23rd – an always popular beer for the late spring/early summer months here in Iowa is Bells Oberon. This American Wheat beer will make its return on March 23rd. More from Bells:
Bell’s Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer.
Oberon release day was so popular the last few years, that a pint was poured every 15 seconds for 15 hours.
**Madhouse Brewing El Hefe** – A beer I’m very excited to try comes to us from our friends at Madhouse Brewing! El Hefe is a Mexican stout brewed with chili peppers, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks, and barrel aged. Extremely limited bottle release but check it out at their taproom THIS WEEKEND!