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Founders Next Backstage Series Beer Set: reDANKulous coming in August

June 24, 2015

dankI just saw the following Tweet from Founders Brewing Company. reDankulous will be released this August in 750 mL bottles around the $9.99 price point. Here’s more from Founders on this brew:

We plan to release reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA in August 2015 to mark the thirteenth installment in our popular Backstage Series. Like all Backstage Series beers, reDANKulous will be sold in 750mL bottles, and it will have a suggested retail price of $9.99 per bottle.

reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA is a no frills, bold 9.5% ABV India Pale Ale. It pours a pleasing burnt amber with some sweetness due to the Caramalt and roasted barley used in the malt bill. But hops are the true headliner in this elaborate sensory experience. The spicy, piney, tropical complexities of Chinook, Mosaic and Simcoe hops hit you right away with their dank aroma—and they stick around. Take a sip to have your palate simultaneously walloped and caressed in all the right places. Combined, the hops take the beer to 90 IBUs. It’s not just ridiculous. It’s reDANKulous.

“We love hops,” said Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “Simple as that. Our brewers love to experiment with new varieties, new combinations and new techniques. This dank beer is a fun, intense showcase of hops. We hope all of you hop heads out there enjoy it.”

reDANKulous will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, August 31, and will be available in our taproom beginning on Friday, August 28. This will be the second Backstage Series release from Founders in 2015; beer enthusiasts should expect one more release from Founders later in the year.

A Trip North to Minny

June 24, 2015

minnyA weekend guys trip that has happened in a few years was back on as a group of friends and myself decided to check out Target Field and its surroundings. We try to hit a new stadium when we go but little did I know that selecting Minneapolis and Target Field would open up the what wondrous wonderland of beer this state has!

fulton brewingGetting up there early Friday let us hit up Fulton Brewing Company ( which is only a few blocks from the stadium. A very cool atmosphere with indoor/outdoor seating and tonight an excellent food truck with some great tacos. For brews, I started with the Sweet Child of Vine, an IPA with a good sized malt backbone. A tasty brew and a good way to start the trip. Following that I went with The Expat, a spicy saison that is brewed with a bunch of rye. A tasty and refreshing brew. Fulton was a great start and a very cool place that I recommend hitting up if you’re in the area.

Target Field at last! What a beautiful stadium folks. Even though I’m a Dodger fan it sure is fun hitting different stadiums and Target Field would be right up there with one of the nicest I’ve been to. The pick for beer here was pretty easy, a lot of Surly around so why not do what the locals do and grab a Furious or 3. Pairs well with the Walleye or foot long hot dog. I didn’t venture out too much to look for other brews but I did see a couple Fulton Brewing taps as well. Beautiful place, will visit again!

Bar hopping after turned a bit fuzzy so I’ll skip the rest of Friday night so we will head right into the Saturday festivities. Woke up a bit groggy but Surly was looming on the horizon. A cup of coffee, a few tylenol, a greasy breakfast, and I was good to go. Using Uber is recommended as well, save you a dime or two.

photo 1 (1)Upon entering the Surly ( compound I was blown away by its appearance. It looks like a glorious German Beer Hall on the inside and the outside looks like the greatest tailgating party with people drinking some of the greatest beer! photo 1Seriously, for beer fans, this is a must visit. A bit of a wait but well worth it to get a table. I got my Todd the Axeman so I didn’t care where I sat but our table was ready and I was ready to pig out. The menu was terrific. When I see charcuterie on the menu, I sold. House made sausages and pates, and low and behold, a childhood favorite, BRAUNSCHWEIGER! The Axeman was the perfect cure for a little hangover so I decided to order another along with the schweiger but I also saw Hog Frites. Pig + Fries + cheese = heaven. Why the hell not? Order that too, buddy got some lamb sausages and we are good to go. Surly beer is loved as well as it should, but having a restaurant of this size to go along with your brewery YOU MUST HAVE TERRIFIC FOOD! And they come photo 3 (2)through. Some of the best I’ve ever had. The hog frites stole my heart and those alone are worth the trip up north, Fries topped with pulled pork, giardiniera, cilantro, garlic, photo 4 (1)and a pepper jack cheese sauce! YES! Home run meal! We took the beer tour and spoke to a few employees which got us another free drink, another Axeman. Got to taste fresh Overrated, Coffee Bender, Hell, which were all terrific, and then chilled on the lawn watching people play bags. An ideal afternoon was had, one of my favorite beer experiences of all time.

photo 2 (1)

photo 2

After that we had to hit a few more breweries. We started with Dangerous Man dangerous manbrewing. ( Dangerous Man is located in NE Minny, and you can only get their beers at their taproom. I was recommend this place by many Twitter friends and from the fine folks at Benz. The recommended beer was their Peanut Butter porter. Luckily they had it on regular draft and nitro. I was thinking this beer was going to be too sweet but it ended up being one of the best beers of the trip. More nutty than sweet to go with the chocolate, smoky porter base. I loved it! I loved it so much I had another glass. Dangerous Man is in a very unique/old style neighborhood and with a food truck parked outside to don’t have to go too far. I also had a few tasters of their IPA which was outstanding. Highly recommend!!

photo 3Our last brewery stop of the day was Indeed Brewing Company ( This was another brewery that came highly recommended. Every brewery we visited was heavily populated so you know these guys are doing things right. The best part of Indeed aside from the beer was…..wait for it….. A SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE! YES! GAME ON! Note to future breweries/pubs/restaurants: GET A SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE! Since it was the end of the night I decided to keep it lighter with the brews and went with their Shenanigans Summer Ale. I noticed they had a Mojito shenanigans as part of their “Derailed Series” and tried that as well. A bit too mouthwashy for me but the regular summer was terrific. A few games of shuffleboard (won by yours truly and sLim) and a couple of brews and it was time to call it. Actually we ended up going for a late bite to eat but again, things got a bit fuzzy.

Overall, an A+ trip. Really recommend the trek north. The amount of breweries is stunning. I love that different neighborhoods have breweries somewhere on one of their streets and THEY ARE BOOMING with business. The recipe seems simple enough I guess: good beer + good food + good environment = JACKPOT!

Todd the Axeman coming to cans in July, Guinness Nitro IPA, New Belgium Hop Tart

June 22, 2015

axemanA few news tidbits to start the week. I spent the weekend in Minneapolis and had my first visit up to Surly Brewing. Let me say that this place blew me away. The food, the staff, and of course… the beer were top notch and I’ll post more on this visit and all other other breweries I visited while in Minny. I talked to a number of staff members and was told that Todd the Axeman will be canned in July, but they couldn’t tell me whether we would see it in Iowa or if it was just a Minnesota release. Stay tuned for more info on this but if we can get Todd in cans in Iowa, this will be one happy beer drinker.

The 2nd bit of news is that Guinness will be releasing a canned Nitro IPA for U.S. consumers. I still really enjoy a pint or 2 of Guinnesss but it might take some persuading for me to purchase this brew. I’m not a nitro pale/IPA fan but who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy it.

hop tartAnd last but not least New Belgium Hop Tart is the latest offering from the Hop Kitchen series. This beer uses pale malt with the addition of Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, and an experimental hop to give it that fruit flavor. It checks in at 5% ABV, here’s more from the folks at New Belgium:

There’s quite a lot of cool stuff to pull out of Hop Tart, but you’re pretty busy, so I’ll distill it down to three simple points:

  • Like Snapshot, Hop Tart undergoes lactic fermentation in a stainless steel tank, using a single lactobacillus strain we pulled from our malt and propagated in our lab.
  • The beer’s malt bill includes one of our new favorite varieties: Colorado Belgian-style Pale Malt, made locally by the Colorado Malting Co.—it’s super juicy and sweet.
  • We’re really excited to combine the lemony lacto flavors with über-fruity hop varieties: Hop Tart’s brewed with the likes of Cascade and Mandarina Bavaria, and dry-hopped with Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin and Experimental Hop 522. The result is a tropical bomb with a clean, tart bite in the back.

While Hop Tart stems from a collaboration we did with Bluejacket before our D.C. Tour de Fat in 2014, we’ve toyed with hoppy sours for a while now. Our popular dry-hoppedLips of Faith Le Terroir is a favorite both in and out of the brewery (that one’s 100-percent barrel aged in our foeders), while our brewers have experimented with dry-hopped Berliners and the like on very small scales. We thought it was time to bring our newest iteration of the hoppy sour to draft accounts throughout our distribution because, well, is there anything more magnetic right now than the idea of a sour ale dry-hopped with some of the coolest, trendiest hops around? (hint: no)

So, check out the video above, which features our one of the Hop Kitchen brewers Matty Gilliland diving into the beer, and then stay tuned as we gear up for the official launch of this awesome beer June 15.

Have beer news? Send it my way!

Beer Review #121: Funkwerks Tropic King

June 18, 2015

funkwerksIn Iowa we’ve gotten a lot of new breweries hitting our market and one that got me particularly excited was hearing Funkwerks was coming to our shelves. I’m a big fan of Saison style beers and Funkwerks is known for their Saisons. Saisons are a complex beer style because of the wide range of ingredients that are usually used in the brewing process. Usually pilsner malt is used and more hops are added compared to other German style beers to go along with many adjuncts, i.e. spices, honey, fruits, etc.

Tropic King is an Imperial Saison brewed with New Zealand Rakau hops, that give it the mango/citrus flavor, hence the name, and a house yeast strain that give it that peppery flavor. This beer should be served in a tulip glass to get the full aroma of the beer.

Here’s more on this brew:

Bursting with aromas of passion fruit, mango, and peach, our Imperial Saison is brewed using New Zealand Rakau hops. Combined with notes of pepper and ginger produced by our house yeast strain, Tropic King has a unique flavor that has gained it a loyal following.

I’m kind of in love with this beer. Between Saison Dupont, Tank 7 from Boulevard, and now Tropic King from Funkwerks, I have a fridge full of terrific saisons. I really enjoy them in the summer but with the high ABV of Tank 7 and Tropic King these brews should be good to age for a few months, maybe up to a year.

img_0517-620x465FOOD PAIRING
Saisons are also known as Farmhouse style beers so serving a saison should be easy to pair with any old school style dish. For example, I had mine with a beer butt roasted chicken and potatoes. The next night I served it with a wedge of Fromager d’Affinois double crème brie. (available at most Hy-Vees). It’s listed as a double crème but it’s creamier than most double and triple crèmes I’ve had. Addicted to this cheese. It was all terrific. Spicy foods should be a perfect companion as well.

STYLE: Saison/Farmhouse
ABV: 8%
PURCHASED AT: Mt. Vernon Road Hy-Vee
POUR: Golden orange color with a huge white head.
AROMA: Spicy, peppery from the yeast and tropical fruits.
TASTE:  I get a lot of the spice up front and the tropical fruit at the end. Delicious and thirst quenching stuff. rating: 95/100
Beeradvocate rating: 88/100
Overall: A

My recommendation: Buy it. This beer will be a staple and it goes with any kind of temperature we get in Iowa. Great for grilling and will great on a snowy day. This is the type of beer I would recommend to wine drinkers who haven’t found a beer they like because of it’s complexity. Drink away!

New Lips of Faith Beer Announced by New Belgium, Anchorage Saison, Tallgrass Ginger Peach Saison

June 15, 2015

lipsanchorage*New Belgium – Continuing on with the Lips of Faith series New Belgium has announced a future release and it will be a blackberry barley-wine ale and it checks in at a hefty 12% ABV. No word on when this beer will be released but stay tuned for news on that.

*Anchorage – I hope we see this newer release from Anchorage Brewing hit Eastern Iowa shelves. If you do see it please drop a line and let us know where it can be purchased. Here’s more on Anchorage Brewings Mosaic Saison courtesy of

Anchorage Mosaic Saison recently hit shelves. The Alaskan brewery actually released this new offering on Mother’s Day, but as you can imagine (and if you have a map of North America) it takes a little time for Anchorage beers to make it to other markets.

Anchorage Mosaic Saison uses just Mosaic hops, and is fermented with two saison yeast, and two strains of Brettanomyces. Fermented in oak tanks (seen in the background).

Available now in 750ml bottles.

Style: Saison (Oak Aged)
Hops: Mosaic

Availability: 750ml Bottles
Release: May/June, 2015

6.5% ABV

ginger*Tallgrass – another Saison that will hit markets will be in the form of tallboys. Tallgrass will introduce us to their new saison, Ginger Peach and hit should start popping up in stores and on draft this month. Here’s more on this brew courtesy of

“We tried several different strains of yeast before arriving at a Belgian strain used in the final recipe,” Brandon Hoag, Tallgrass brewmaster said. “A lot of the flavor comes from the yeast, but it’s the way it interacts with the ginger and peach that makes it slam on the taste buds.”

Tallgrass Ginger Peach Saison is available in 16oz cans as a summer seasonal.

Style: Saison (w/ Ginger, Peaches)
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft. Summer seasonal
Launch: June, 2015

?? ABV

Stone 24 Carrot Golden Ale hitting shelves in September

June 5, 2015

24 carrotAnother very unique beer coming from Stone Brewing in collab with Monkey Paw. Here’s the write-up on this unique Carrot Cake inspired beer courtesy of Stone Brewing’s blog:

It seems hard to believe anyone could accomplish this, much less do so in a manner so impressive that the resulting beer would be good enough to beat out hop-heavy IPAs, strong ales, robust stouts and other more mainstream, universally adored styles. Yet, that’s just what Goldenberg did. To the extent where our judging panel was eager to find out just how she did it; concoct an ale that brings in the vegetal, spicy, confectionery essence of such a classic dessert. She started with two key ingredients—20 pounds of whole, grated carrots and golden raisins. The latter were puréed with the wort and both were added to the boil. Though a less obvious specialty additive, beet juice was also included in the recipe to help bolster the eventual orange color of the finished beer. Cinnamon was also added, post-fermentation, to round out the cake flavors, but Goldenberg didn’t stop there. She also wanted to tackle carrot cake’s iconic cream cheese icing. To do that, she incorporated milk sugar (lactose) in the boil and vanilla beans post-fermentation, resulting in a semi-creamy mouthfeel with a flavor reminiscent of fluffy, decadent frosting. When the beer is brewed for real here at Stone, there’s one other special ingredient she’ll draw on, which wasn’t a part of her original recipe—the brewing knowledge and might of downtown San Diego’s Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery, the brewpub she selected as the third collaborator for this strange but sultry beer.

Look for Juli Goldenberg/Monkey Paw/Stone 24 Carrot Golden Ale (see what we did there?) to start hitting shelves across the country in places Stone beer is sold in September. Until then, enjoy a sneak peek at the conceptual artwork for this award-winner and maybe let it inspire you to explore uncharted territory on the homebrewing front from the comfort of your abode.

Rock Bottom Brewer headed to Exile; Update on Need Pizzeria in Cedar Rapids

June 5, 2015

exileA few bits of news this morning.

It looks like Eric Sorensen, brewer at Rock Bottom, is moving on to brew at Exile Brewery in Des Moines. Huge news as Eric has a fantastic reputation as a terrific brewer as Exile has just gained someone with a great following and knowledge. Congrats to Eric and to Exile! Looking forward to seeing what he can dish out at Exile.

The Second bit of news this morning deals with a new pizza place opening up in downtownNeed Cedar Rapids at 207 2nd Ave. I had some correspondence with Bob Wagner just to get a feel for what they will be offering beer related and also what style of pizza we will be getting. A shuffleboard will be there which sells me already? I challenge any takers to a game! Thanks to Bob for taking the time to get back to me and here’s what he had to say:

Thanks for reaching out! We will have 30 lines going. We would like to have some local stuff on, like Crimson Sunset Peach and Hopped Cider, Lion Bridge, Turner Alley, Backpocket, Big Grove. We plan to do most all of our tap beer as craft and then some cans and bottles of other product as well. It will be a full bar to back up the craft focus. Pizza will be New Haven Style hand crafted thin crust. We will have Ping Pong Tables and shuffle board. Bar area, dining area, private and large party area. Kid friendly and friendly to kid inside the grown up.


Bob Wagner


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