Surly Darkness Descends on Iowa Nov. 30th!

darknessReceived word (and a bottle of Darkness, woohoo!) from Surly Brewing that Darkness will indeed be hitting Iowa shelves starting on Nov. 30th! This russian imperial stout checks in at 11.5% and comes in 750 mL bombers. Here’s more on this year’s version of Darkness:

Our 2015 vintage bottling of Darkness features a screeching bat-nightmare by local artist Brandon Holt. No creature is more adept at navigating in the Darkness than a bat. Emerging from a deep and ancient cave, this year’s twisted nocturnal creature has evolved a et of adaptations well suited to detecting and devouring uncommon nourishment.

Notes of chocolate, coffee, dried tart cherries, and raisins emirate from his lair. If you can evade the talons and teeth, the think body of this Russian imperial stout finishes sweet, with a piney resinous character.

Blackstone Restaurant Hosting Stone Brewing Tap Takeover Dec. 11th


Blackstone restaurant in Iowa City will once again be hosting a tap takeover of sorts as Stone Brewing will be invading their tap lines with some tasty suds. So far, I ‘ve heard the following will be available at this event:

-Barrel-aged Arrogant Bastard
-Depth Charged Arrogant Bastard
-Stone + Sierra Nevada NXS collab (blend of a dry hopped IPA + barrel-aged IPA
-Enjoy By on Randall

plus more to come! Stay tuned for further details on this event, hopefully I’ll have more information on Monday!

Lion Bridge Brewery Announces Barrel-Aged January Lineup

lion bridgeThe following comes from Lion Bridge Brewing’s Facebook page. Very excited for this to take place again!

Barrel-Aged January 2016 Line Up

You have all patiently waited for the past year. We have been carefully filling barrels and planning how best to dominate the frigid month of January. Last year, we filled 10 whiskey barrels worth of beer. Roughly 500 gallons of beer. 4 different flavors, 4 weeks in the month. Seemed to make sense. We underestimated the popularity of the beers and we ran out way too quick.

This year, we have filled over 30 whiskey and wine barrels worth of beer. We aren’t really even sure how to release all these beers in one month…but we will sure try. We have 9, maybe 10 beers, to release throughout the month of January!

See the release dates below…

Tues 1/5 – CSA member private event – Oktobot 3000 pre-release party (This event is for members only. If you aren’t a member of the our Community Supported Ales Program, be sure to get one for you or as a gift for your loved ones for the holiday. It’s the gift that keeps on giving)

Weds 1/6 – Oktobot 3000 public release, Barrel-Aged January glassware release and festive polka from Czech Plus.

Fri 1/8 – Oktobot 5000 release! This is our Imperial Barrel-Aged Oktoberfest, Oktobot 3000, aged in Cedar Ridge Bourbon Reserve Barrels.

Saturday 1/9 – Englert Theater Collabeeration release. Local Talent Robust Porter. Not a barrel-aged beer but a great day to come out and enjoy some live music and a delicious new beer from Lion Bridge.

Weds 1/13 – The Royal Wee (Wee Heavy aka Strong Scotch Ale) release. Aged in Cedar Ridge Peated Whiskey, Apple Brandy and Dark Rum Barrels. Music TBD

Sat 1/16 – Cherry Wood Stave Royal Wee release. A portion of the Royal Wee batch aged in Cedar Ridge Cherry Stave Whiskey Barrels.

Weds 1/20 – Red Wine Barrel-Aged Saison. Not yet named, but we took a batch of our Untitled Saison and aged it in single-use Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from Piña Napa Valley. Music TBD

Sat 1/23 – Maple Disaster – Our GABF Gold Disaster at Meux re-fermented with copious amount of Great River Maple dark syrup and barrel aged.

Weds 1/27 – GAZPROM! release. Our Russian Imperial Stout aged in Cedar Ridge Single Malt Whiskey barrels with a re-fermenation from a lot of maple syrup. Music TBD

Oakland Rd Hy-Vee Bourbon County Release Info

bourbon countyHere’s the email I received from Oakland Road Hy-Vee concerning their Bourbon County Stout release. I hope everyone gets a bottle or two if you are looking for it!

It’s that time of year again and I wanted to drop you an email to inform you how we will be handling our release this year. On Monday, November 30, at 4:30 we will start handing out tickets for this year’s release and any variants we receive. At around 5:00 o’clock we will determine if we have enough beer to go around and if not we will then draw tickets and try to make sure as many people receive some as possible. Thank you for your understanding in this situation where it is hard to supply what everybody wants.

Bricks Bar and Grill Cedar Rapids Planning “Bricks University” Beer Education Program

bricksA fantastic opportunity to talk, learn, and taste all things beer is coming up from the folks at Bricks Bar and Grill in Cedar Rapids. Bricks University classes will be starting in January and will feature New Belgium Brewing Company. More classes will follow each month and the cost will be $25 per class. Here’s more info from Sam Tracy of Bricks:

We wanted to put together a program that allows people to be correctly educated about craft beer, so we’re bringing the best sources possible: the people brewing and selling the beer for featured breweries.  The goal is to have this be a laid back and fun thing that people of all levels of knowledge will be able to enjoy but also learn from.
The actual ‘classes’ include the following for $25:
– 30 minutes (or so) “lecture” that will cover some form of the brewing process or beer history (this is yet to be decided per class so far but will depend on each presenters strong suit).  Prior to this, everyone will be able to choose a pint out of the featured brewery’s core beers to sip on while they listen.
– 30 minutes (or so) “lab” that will include a pre-determined flight of four beers (there may be some fun surprises) that the rep or brewer will go through and talk about styles and expectations, how to enjoy, etc.
– The rest of the time is up basically for people to hang out, ask questions, enjoy the food provided, and just have a good time socializing in general.
The first class will be on January 23rd from 2-4 pm and will feature New Belgium.  The rest are not fully set in stone but we’re looking for the following months to be:
  • Peace Tree (February)
  • Boulevard (March)
  • Founders (April)
  • Big Grove (May – “Graduation Party”)
This is something we would like to continue doing on a fairly set schedule so in the future we will bring in different breweries.

Restaurant Review: Sauce Bistro; Cedar Rapids, IA

IMG_2204.JPGcr sauceA Friday night date night with my wife led us to the Czech Village as it does so often. We usually hit Lion Bridge for few tasty beverages and have a few bites to eat but tonight we wanted to hit the new restaurant in town, Sauce. Located  507 C Street SW this building was scheduled to be demolished due to the flood of 2008. Luckily, it was saved, gutted, and turned into a wonderful restaurant. Here’s the statement on Sauce’s website:

Sauce is a finer dining restaurant with a great atmosphere, food, and drinks.

We wanted to give Cedar Rapids something they have not had before and that everyone could enjoy.

Sauce’s menu is entirely seasonal and that will be reflected in the dishes we serve, to the wines and drinks we recommend.

We work with as many local providers as possible to source our menu. We are not looking to cut corners, especially with the quality of our products.

After a pre meal beer at Lion Bridge, (Sorachi Liberaci x 3), we headed up a block or two to Sauce. Upon entering, we noticed the chalkboard that listed all the local farms where the produce, fruit, and meat comes from, and another chalkboard on the opposite wall showcasing the local beers that are on tap. Drink local, eat local always appeals to us so we were excited to see the menu. 

IMG_2205.JPGThe dinner menu is ever-changing, I think the lunch menu IMG_2206.JPGmight have a more set options,actually, here’s a link to the lunch menu: but everything sounded tasty. We started with an appetizer of chicken fajitas with a sriracha creme fraiche, paired with Turner Alley Pils and that plate didn’t stand a chance. Main course was a little difficult to choose because all the options sounded great.

My wife decided to go with the special which was a Berkshire pork ragu with mustard greens over top of tortellini I believe. It was excellent, filling, and fresh. I ordered the seared scallops which were served on a bed of buttermilk chive mashed potatoes, and smoked paprika oil DELICIOUS! Paired my scallops with another Sorachi Liberace from Lion Bridge and I was as close to a food/beer coma as you can come.

Overall, the wait staff was very knowledgeable and friendly. The room was a bit dark (sorry about the pictures), but was a perfect setting for a date-night evening. Will I go back? Absolutely, and I can’t wait to see what’s on the menu next time!

Big Grove Beer Lecture Set for Dec. 4th @Cornell College; Mt. Vernon, IA

big groveI just received the following info on a beer lecture that is set to happen on Dec. 4th at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon with Big Grove brewery pouring their terrific beer and also talking history of beer styles. Here’s the official release from Big Grove:

Big Grove Brewery.

Thirsty Happens.™
For Immediate Release.

Cornell College Hosts Big Grove Beer Lecture – recorded as the soberest lecture ever given in Mount Vernon.

On December 4, 2015, at 6:00pm, Cornell College in Mount Vernon will host Big Grove in its first Beer Colloquium at the Garner President’s House. We will be pouring our favorite BGB beers that night, and giving an informal talk on the history of the styles, as well as the design and goals of the individual beers.

We are giving this lecture to help raise funds for the Cornell College Department of Music and Pandemonium – a group of beer lovers, to be sure – and because we’re all too broke to otherwise contribute money to the College’s general fund. Tickets are $45 per person (limit 50), and will go on sale Friday, November 13 (that’s not ominous at all).

The beers that we will be discussing are:

BoomTown – the abbreviated history of German brewing the United States, and its influence on cream ale.

Big Grove IPA – Steele’s research on export pale ales from the 18th and 19th century, and their relation to current trends in West Coast IPA.

Arms Race Pale Ale – a brief discussion of the last 40 years of craft brewing, and the trend line of single hop pale ales and IPAs. Also a brief foray in Citra and its lineage.

Que Sera Berliner-style Weisse – technique and results of hot side acidification procedures.

TBD – we will also bring one or two special release beers to taste and discuss, depending on availability.

Discussion will be lead by Big Grove Head Brewer Bill Heinrich, with a reception after the event to question the Big Grove brewery team.

Please contact Big Grove Brewery for reservations at (319) 624-2337 or You can also find us on Facebook (Big Grove Brewery) or Twitter (@biggrovebrewery) if that’s your preferred method of communication.

Cheers, z

The Brewery Staff
Big Grove Brewery

Brrr Fest Set for January 30th, 2016 @ Coralville Marriott

brrfestThe 2016 Coralville Brrr Fest is set for January 30th and once again will be held at the Coralville Marriott and Convention Center. Here’s more on the event:

Save the Date!
When: Saturday, January 30, 2016
Where: Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
Time: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

The time has come to start making your plans for BrrrFest 2016! Once again, BrrrFest will feature amazing breweries from across Iowa and the Midwest. 
Continuing this year, BrrrFest beer lovers will have the opportunity to buy bottles of the beers they love most. That’s right. BrrrFest will be selling beer from select breweries including some limited release offerings that are very hard to come by so you can take some of BrrrFest home with you! A working list of beer available for purchase will be available on the BrrrFest website soon. 
Ticket Information:
Regular Entry*: $30
*Includes BrrrFest 2016 tasting glass
Brewmaster Entry (only 500 available, sold online only!)**: $45
**Includes early admission (12:00 PM), a Brewmaster 2016 special tasting glass, and access to talk with brewers.
Tickets go on sale online on BLACK FRIDAY (November 27, 2015) at 8:00 AM and will be available in person starting Monday, December 7, 2015 at Coralville City Hall, Coralville Hy-Vee, and John’s Grocery.
We have sold out every year so don’t delay. The Black Friday release is a less than subtle message… BrrrFest tickets make great gifts! Make sure you get yours early. Remember, proceeds from the event benefit Coralville 4thFest and the Iowa Brewers Guild… so you are enjoying brew’s for a few great causes! Thank you in advance for your support.
We are looking forward to another fantastic BrrrFest!
-BrrrFest Committee

Reds Alehouse Presents: Toppling Goliath and Surly Takeover Info for 11/13/15

redsA great looking list of brews will be tapped at Red’s Alehouse this Friday starting at 11:00 a.m and continues throughout the day. Here’s the info from Reds:


This Friday’s beer lineup and details!

There will be NO Happy Hour on draft beers this Friday.

toppling goliath8oz and 16oz pours will surlybe offered on most beers.

Tapping at 11:00am:
Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. PseudoSue (no growlers)
TG Golden Nugget
TG Dorothy’s Lager
TG Light Speed (no growlers)
TG Smoove Opferator
Surly Brewing Company Furious
Surly Overrated
Surly Cacao Bender
Surly Todd the Axe Man (no growlers)
Surly Dumpster Fire

Tapping at 5:00pm:
TG Sosus (no growlers)
TG Zeelander (no growlers)
TG Thresher (no growlers)
Surly Brett Mikkels (no growlers)
Surly Abrasive (no growlers)
Surly Pentagram (no growlers)

Tapping at 7:30:
TG Mornin’ Delight (no growlers)
Surly Darkness (no growlers)

Starting at 5:30, tickets will go on sale for a 7oz pour of Mornin’ Delight AND Darkness. 1 ticket per person, $25/ticket, must be present and 21+ to purchase. If there is any beer left after all tickets have been collected, 7oz pours can then be purchased.

Beer Man Murph, Brewmasta Mike, and Chris Flenker from TG along with Omar, Jordan, Splinter, and Holly from Surly will be at Reds that evening. Man, that’s a whole lot of bigwigs under one roof!!

If you’re at Kinnick tailgating the next day, look for all of us! We’ll be floating around!