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Baron’s Guide to Thanksgiving and Beer

November 24, 2014

turkeyHappy Thanksgiving everyone! I thought it would be fun to breakdown Thanksgiving Day and pair some craft beers with what would be my typical meal. Now, 15 years ago, Busch Light reigned supreme and would flow freely along with some boxed wine and a few bottles of booze. Times change and thankfully so do the drinks. I saw the guys at do this and thought it would be good to see an Eastern Iowa version of what beers to get.

**Early and often Beers**- while watching the football game with fellow family members and waiting for the bird to finish up cooking, it’s good have other options available other than the typical light beer, and Eastern Iowa now has a plethora of excellent, low abv brews.


Baron’s recommendation:

*Founders Brewing All Day IPA – 4.7%
*Lion Bridge Workmen’s Compensation – 4.7% (growler only – coffee variation dynamitbig grovee as well)
*Lion Bridge Whirligig – 4.5% (growler only, a Baron Favorite)
*Big Grove Que Sera Berliner Weisse – 4.4% (growler only)
*Destihl Brewing Here Gose Nothin’ – 5% (A little higher ABV and sour but I can down a few)
*Stone Levitation – 4.4% very tasty amber.

**Dinner Beers** - the food has made it’s way to the table and you are looking for a bottle of something to share with some loved ones. I’m in agreement with many beer lovers that the perfect style of beer for Thanksgiving are Saisons. And being a saison lover, there are quite a few to choose from around Eastern Iowa. I also think maltier IPAs go well with the majority of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Baron’s recommendation:

*Saison Dupont – 6.5%
*Boulevard Tank 7 – 8.5%
*Lion Bridge Untitled Saison – 6.5% (growler only)
*Deschutes Zarabanda – 6.3%lion bridge
*Sierra Nevada Celebration – 6.8%
*Bells Two Hearted – 7%

**Time for Dessert** – as with most holidays there is usually a table reserved just for desserts. Now, you should have a cooler reserved for dessert beers.  I would have loved to include New Glarus on this list and they would be at the top but they aren’t distributed anywhere outside of Wisky. So for dessert I would go with:

Baron’s Recommendations:

*Schlafly Pumkin Ale – 8% – a no-brainer here. One of the better pumpkin beers on the market.
*Big Grove Russian Imperial Stout- this beer pairs excellent with dark fruits. Had it at the brewery in Solon with some of their pickled bing cherries and was blown away. (growler only)
*Millstream Raspberry Latte Stout – ? ABV – Millstream’s newest offering has me craving more. A great millstreamcombo of raspberry and stout that’s perfect for dessert.
*Stone Xocoveza – 8.1% – if you’re lucky enough to still have a bottle this would be a perfect way to end the evening. Chocolate, cinnamon, and coffee makes this the perfect beer after a big meal and the heat does a nice job of warming you up for a chilly Iowa November evening.

**As always, I’m sure I missed a bunch of beers. Feel free to send me your list and if you hear of any news, would like a guest review post, or questions drop me a line!**


Coralville Brrr Fest Set for January 24th!

November 21, 2014



Save the Date!
When: Saturday, January 24, 2015
Where: Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
Time: 1:00pm – 4:00pm 
The time has come to start making your plans for BrrrFest 2015! 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. You’ll be able to take BrrrFest home with you for the second year – awesome! *A working list of beer available for purchase will be available on the BrrrFest website soon. 
Ticket Information:
Regular Entry*: $30
*Includes tasting glass
Brew Master (limited number available)**: $45
**Includes special tasting glass and early admission (12pm)
Tickets go on sale online on BLACK FRIDAY (November 28, 2014) and will soon be available in person (we will send out another note soon to let you know).
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 4th Fest and the Iowa Brewers Guild… so you are enjoying brew’s for a few great causes! Thank you in advance for your support.

Deschutes Tap Takeover @ Reds Alehouse Nov. 26th!

November 21, 2014

From a Red’s Alehouse email:

Coming to Shelves: NB Rampant cans, Boulevard, Sierra Nevada, Bells Wheat Beer Glass

November 18, 2014

Payday coming up on Thursday and I’m looking forward to adding a few beers to my fridge this week. I still haven’t gotten my hands on Pirate Bomb! from Prairie yet and hopefully I can still find it, and I’m hoping Toppling Goliath makes an Eastern Iowa drop this week as well. I need to find some of Millstream’s Raspberry Latte Stout and stock up on that as well. Last week I was able to pick up some Bells Double Cream Stout which is a favorite this time of year and I was lucky enough to get a few more bottles of New Belgium’s fantastic Hop the Pond the IPA which would be a welcome sight if it went year round. Hoping to see a few of you Friday night at Blackstone’s Border War! Onto some news tidbits!

rampant**New Belgium Brewing** – the can craze continues as New Belgium will be offering their Rampant IPA in cans. The following comes from

The hop profile heavily features Mosaic and Calypso, bringing stone fruit flavors to the front seat. We’re talking peaches, apricots, things like that. Centennials are in there too, rounding out the aroma with a big citrus blast. Rampant also offers a sturdy malt backbone to balance the flavor in such wonderful way. It is a really great beer, like really great…

New Belgium Rampant IPA will be available in 12oz cans. Release date to follow.

Style: Imperial IPA
Hops: Mosaic, Calypso, Centennial
Malts: Pale, Black

Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft. 12oz Cans (Soon)

boulevard**Boulevard Brewing** – Boulevard will be releasing “Last Splash” will be their 3rd release in their Backroads Beer series and this one is a wet-hopped ale. From Boulevard’s Instagram:

We’re bottling Last Splash, an upcoming wet-hopped Backroads beer, for an early November release today. This beer showcases Nugget hops that were shipped to us within hours of being harvested. 

sierra nevada**Sierra Nevada**- this December Sierra Nevada Brewing will be sending out a wild hop IPA. According to their website these are southwest hops that were found “while scrambling down hillsides near their home in New Mexico”. This will be the 5th and final release of the Harvest series of 2014 and the hop varietal they are using is called “Neomexicanus” which has melon, citrus, and apricot aroma and flavor. Here’s some quick stats from the fellas

Quick stats on Harvest Wild Hop IPA:

  • ABV—6.5%
  • BU—55
  • Hop(s)—Neomexicanus
  • Malts—Two-row Pale, Caramel

bells**Bells Brewing** – Bells Brewing has released a glass designed specifically for wheat beers. Here’s the description of the glass from Bells.

Bell’s was approached by renowned Austrian glassware manufacturer Spiegelau with an exciting partnership opportunity to create a custom Bell’s Wheat Beer Glass. Knowing how big of a role wheat beers play at Bell’s, we were excited for the opportunity to give wheat beers some attention and elevate the experience of drinking this flavorful, complex style of beer.  Designed to elevate the experience of drinking not only Bell’s Oberon Ale, Winter White and Oarsman Ale, the glass is poised to become the new standard for enjoying all wheat beers.

What makes the Bell’s Wheat Beer Glass enhance the enjoyment of wheat beers more so than a standard pint glass or hefeweizen glass?

• Raw quartz silica combined with Speigelau’s state of the art production methods help beer sustain head retention and carbonation

• Ultra-pure quartz material makes for unsurpassed clarity and flawless true color presentation of wheat beers

• Laser cut top lip of the glass resulting in crisp, clean delivery of the beer during each sip

• Larger body / bowl of the glass to capture and concentrate more of the delicate, complex aromas that are unique to wheat style beers

• Mouth opening delivers beer evenly across the palate to enhance the distinct mouthfeel, and harmony of sweetness and acidity that comes from the wheat malt in the beer

• Lip at the bottom of the bowl that results in a slight “slosh” after every tip of the glass, causing the carbonation to be re-activated, releasing more of the aromatics after each drink

• Thin walls maintain proper beer temperature longer

Madhouse Brewing Barleywine Release Party Nov. 20 info

November 14, 2014


2014 Madhouse Barleywine Release Party

Where: Madhouse Brewing Company. 501 Scott Ave. Des Moines, IA. 50309

When: Thursday, Nov. 20th. 6-10pm.

What: Madhouse will be hosting an open house to celebrate the release to two barrel-aged Barleywines:

2014 Barleywine. Aged 10 months in Tennessee whiskey barrels. 10.5% abv. Aromas of butterscotch, whiskey, caramel and oak. Rich and creamy texture with flavors of brown sugar, fig, molasses, and baking spice.

2014 Gnarlywine. Barelywine aged 20 months in Jasper Winery Port barrels. 13.0% abv. Dark fruit and currant aromas blend with caramel and chocolate flavors.


This will be the first opportunity to purchase bottles of these products. Tastings and pints will also be available. We will also be opening remaining bottles of 2013 Barleywine for sampling.


Bottle Share: Guests are encouraged to bring bottles of home-brewed or commercial examples of their favorite Barleywine for sharing.


Meats and cheese samples will be available which are selected by Madhouse staff to pair with Barleywine.


Music provided by DJ Brodacious

For more info-

Brewing phone- 515-988-5535

Coming to Shelves: Rogue, Lagunitas?, Founders, Enjoy By, more!

November 11, 2014

A lot of tidbits in this update as we have a bunch of beers hitting shelves and I know I missed a bunch so feel free to drop me a line if I missed anything. On to the update!

rogue**Rogue** - going with their recent VooDoo Doughnut releases, Rogue is coming out with Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale. A cruller for those who don’t know is just a style of donut. Another interesting flavor from Rogue and their VooDoo Doughnut lineup.

lagunitas**Lagunitas**- it’s been so great having Lagunitas in Iowa. Wonderfully affordable and even better tasting, Lagunitas is right up with Founders and Stone hitting our market. Their newest beer hasn’t been confirmed for Iowa and sounds very  limited. I’ll try to keep everyone updated if we see it here. Lagunitas Born Yesterday is a take on their pale ale recipe. Here’s more from Lagunitas on the beer:


founders**Founders** - according to Founders twitter account Big Lushious has been brewed and bottled and set for delivery. Here’s the tweet:

Founders Brewing Co.@foundersbrewing 2m

2 minutes ago

Big Lushious is on the bottling line today. Available beginning November 24: 

More from the brewery:

We plan to introduce Big Lushious, a chocolate raspberry stout, this December to mark the eleventh installment in our Backstage Series. Like all of our Backstage Series beers, Big Lushious will be sold in 750mL bottles, with a suggested retail price of $14.99 per bottle.

Big Lushious is a deep, rich stout that’s packed with flavor: roasted malts, all-natural dark chocolate, a subtle suggestion of burnt coffee grounds and a kiss of tart raspberries. At 7.8% ABV, it’s big, sumptuous and extravagant, but also balanced.

“We thought Big Lushious would make a great release for the holidays,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “It’s a luxurious beer for us. It’s meant for bringing to parties and is perfect for sharing with friends and family after a feast.”

Big Lushious will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, November 24 (note: updated from Monday, December 1, as previously announced),and will be available at our taproom that same week. This will be our last Backstage Series release in 2014—look for more in 2015.

destihl**Destihl Brewing** – coming out with another sour beer in their Wild Sour Series. I was fortunate enough, thanks to sLim, to try their Gose and really really enjoyed it so I will try to get my hands on this one as well. It is a Flanders Red that will clock in at 6.1%. More from the brewery:

Flanders Red is an acidic, sour ale with an initial impression of tart cherries and sour candy that dissipates into a complex palate displaying both a sharp lactic sourness with a backbone of caramel and biscuit malt profiles and minimal hop character. The dry, wine-like finish accentuates the complex malt profile and bright fruit notes showcased in this brilliant red colored hybrid of a modern Flanders and German-style sour.

Stone**Stone Brewing** –  Enjoy By 12/26 and Stone Master of Disguise both are scheduled to be shipped out of California on November 14th. Not sure when we will see it on shelves but it shouldn’t be much after the 14th date. More on Master of Disguise from a previous post here:


Huge news of Green Flash purchasing Alpine Brewing as well. If they add Alpine to the Iowa market we have a tough lineup of beers on the shelves to beat! As always, if you have news, rumors, or reviews you would like posted drop me an email! Cheers!

Distribution Rumor: Avery Brewing coming to Iowa in 2015?

November 6, 2014

averyThe latest gossip I’ve been hearing about breweries entering the Iowa market takes us to Boulder, Colorado and Avery Brewing company ( While the brewery is undergoing another expansion from my sources it sounds like once expansion is complete in 2015 they will be looking to expand distribution into Iowa. Their 1.55 million gallons wasn’t enough to cover their previous distribution map and had to pull out of some states and put further distribution on hold. Now, with the new brewery it looks like they could be producing up to 500,000 barrels of sweet, wonderful brew.

There is not definite confirmation on this rumor quite yet but it sounds pretty promising so stay tuned to further developments. In the meantime, checkout and do a little research on Avery brews here:

**If you have any beer news, rumors, a review you would like posted, feel free to drop me an email at


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