Release Roundup: Odell, Lagunitas, Avery, Founders Brewing

Some future release news of beers that will be hitting our Eastern Iowa shelves in the future. First, we start with Odell.

mountain.jpeg**Odell Brewing Lone Comet IPA** – Odell giving us another IPA that will be using only Comet hops. It will check in at 6.5% and come in 12 oz bottles. (

**Odell Brewing Mountain Standard Black IPA** this beer will be released in 12 oz cans and come in at 8.1%. More on this brew from Odell:

As winter sets in we embrace the darkness with this Double Black IPA—released as Daylight Savings falls back to MST. We brew it with hops handpicked on Colorado’s Western Slope. The assertive American hop profile and roasted malt character balance perfectly with just a touch of bitterness. Go ahead. Give in to the dark side.
Available yearly from September through December

lagunitas**Lagunitas 12th of Never Ale** – Lagunitas Brewing finally starting to package in cans with 12th of Never Ale. A hop forward 5.5% brew that will have a different saying on top of each can. Here’s more courtesy of mybeerbuzz:

I’m excited to give you your VERY fist look at a new can (yes cans!) coming from Lagunitas.  This is the new 12th of Never Ale and the neame refers to Lagunitas Brewing’s desire to be the last (or second-to-last) craft brewery in America to can their beers.  This hop-forward beer will hit 5.5%-AbV and you’re looking at the 12oz can.  Each of the designs below will feature a different saying at the top of the can and these cans look like they will be packaged in both Petaluma, CA and Chicago, IL.  Stay tuned here for release details (I’m hearing the cans will be purple).

**Lagunitas Stoopid Wit** – what sounds like a hopped up Belgian-wit is coming from Langunitas. Stoopid Wit will be a limited release and come in at 4.8% ABV in 12 oz bottles.

avery coconut.jpeg**Avery Barrel-Aged Coconut Porter** – a beer that will no doubt be a highly anticipated release and will fly off the shelves, Avery will be packaging this beer in May and should hit shelves shortly after. This is the bourbon barrel version as there is also a rum barrel version. It will check in at 9.5% ABV and come in 22 oz bottles. Stay tuned to more on this release. (

pale joe**Founders Pale Joe w/Coffee** – 5.4% pale ale infused with coffee is going to hit the bottling line. Here’s more from Founders on this brew:

A light, golden ale brewed using high end, lightly roasted, fruit forward coffees that don’t get too bitter or astringent. Brewed with Kenya Windrush and a Tier 3 experimental coffee roasted at Ferris, right here in town.


Pulpit Rock Pop-Up Taproom Coming to Blackstone June 3rd

blackstoneIf you’ve been reading the rave reviews, seeing the photos and posts that make you drool, read the descriptions of their beer, but haven’t been able to try Pulpit Rock yet? Now is your chance Eastern Iowa! Blackstone restaurant in Iowa City will be hosting a Pulpit Rock Pop-Up taproom on June 3rd. 9 beers on tap from Pulpit Rock, one of Iowa’s hottest up and coming breweries! Check it out! Hope to see you there!


Iowa Brewers Guild Celebrates American Craft Beer Week w/ Tour De Tanks and Beer Trails

ACBW15_logo_nodates.jpgPress Release courtesy of Jay Wilson and Iowa Brewers Guild:


Contact: J. Wilson, Iowa Brewers Guild

(641) 202-6823,

IBG celebrates American Craft Beer Week with Tour de Tanks, Beer Trails

In conjunction with American Craft Beer Week, over 50 Iowa Brewers Guild (IBG) member breweries are opening their doors to beer lovers for a daylong series of free VIP tours of their facilities on May 21.

Tour de Tanks, a backstage pass into the brewing process—complete with samples of beer mid- and post-production—offers a special opportunity for beer lovers to learn from the brewers who are making the Iowa brewing scene so exciting.

“While Tour de Tanks will be fun day for beer travelers to explore Iowa’s growing number of breweries, it will also be a great educational opportunity,” said organizer J. Wilson of the IBG. “Attendees will taste a deeper level of understanding about the impact of ingredients and fermentation as they sample actively fermenting beer as well as the finished product.”

Throughout the state, tours will take place between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., with each brewery setting its own schedule and tour size limit. Attendees will have the opportunity to not only learn directly from the brewmaster, but also to win limited-edition glassware marking the event.

“With a designated driver and good time management, beer enthusiasts can visit multiple breweries on this one special day designed to encourage education and exploration,” said Wilson.

For those unable to participate in Tour de Tanks, the IBG is unveiling its Iowa Beer Trails program on the same day. Beer travelers can pick up maps at participating breweries to guide their ongoing beer travels around the state. When visiting a brewery, staff will stamp this “passport” and once all breweries in each of six trails have been visited, beer travelers will receive a button marking their accomplishment. With a little time and effort, focused travelers can collect them all.

There are six Iowa Beer Trails to discover: Western Iowa, Central Iowa, Des Moines Metro, Northeast Iowa, Corridor and Southeast Iowa.

“Our goal is to encourage beer enthusiasts to get out and explore not only our breweries, but also the many other attractions around this state,” said Wilson. “Whether you like ’em hoppy, mild, roasty, or wild, Iowa’s brewing industry has something for you!”

More info:

Tour de Tanks:

Iowa Beer Trails

American Craft Beer Week

A Taste of the Locals

beerbaronWith Cedar Rapids Beer Week behind us but  with American Craft Beer Week starting this week I thought I would take time to focus on some new and noteworthy offerings that have been given to us from the great brewers in our surrounding area and the places that serve them.

I understand it’s very difficult for many of us to get out as much as we’d like due to jobs, kids, money, etc., but here are a few things to try IF you are able to get out on the town. Keep in mind, the breweries in our area are very kid friendly! I think my kids have been to Lion Bridge, Big Grove, and Third Base more than they’ve been to McDonalds. My son would be able to recognize Bill Heinrich, Doug Goettsch and Quinton McClain before Ronald McDonald. Anyway, here are a few things to get after!

big grove**Big Grove Brewery**– brand new Barley Wine just hit the lines to go along with De Facto pale ale. Was able to try their Cucumber/Mint que sera. Not sure they will be doing any more pins of that but if you see it (Last Friday @Bricks) jump at any variants of Que Sera. Can’t forget the new double IPA, Cronos. Peach, pine, and citrus in a glass. An extremely drinkable double.Rabbit, Kent, and Chad are busting ass and getting some great beer in our glasses. Tasty stuff! The food is some of the best in the area as well as Chef Benjamin Smart and crew bring the goods. If they ever advertise a beer dinner, jump all of that shit, it’ll be worth it!

lion bridge**Lion Bridge Brewery** – having Yard Sale readily available is a treat. This is one of my favorites in the area and each batch seems to get better and better. Throw in Alec Travis’ Cowabunga Common (California Common), at least one Saison (I believe Jackhammer is on right now, fantastic brew), and they always reliable Workman’s Comp to round out the lineup. Throw in some pork nachos to go with the brew, and my friend, that is a good night!

third base**Third Base Brewery** – UNDERRATED BREWER ALERT!! Jim Johnston can flat out brew some damn great beer! Many of you know this already, many of you don’t. You see the strip mall brewery and probably pass by it without a thought. His Pink Drink, a berliner-weisse with hibiscus, rose hips, passion fruit, and orange peel, is excellent and refreshing. I’m still going crazy of Shame, a pale wheat/blonde. Reminds me of Gumballhead, maybe better? Next time driving on Blair’s Ferry, make it a point to stop in and drink a few, and don’t forget to grab some wings, they might be the best in the area!

iowa**Iowa Brewing Company**
– the new kid on the block. I’ve been there twice since they’ve opened and have enjoyed my experience each time. With the addition of some food trucks on weekends, expect this to be a major player in the brew game. Their citra pale ale was delicious, and like many other breweries in the area, I expect them to get better and better with time.


Need**Need Pizza**– the pizza is great and then they went ahead and put Pulpit Rock/Alluvial Whippy-Dip Ah double IPA on tap ALONG with Saftig. It made for a good night, but almost made for a night to call a cab. CR have uber yet? Take your significant other and kids to Need, grab a pie, drink a couple beers, and enjoy downtown.


lincoln**Lincoln Winebar (Mt. Vernon)** – if you don’t know Jesse Sauerbrei, you’re missing out. To go along with his humorous personality, knowledge of fine wines and beer, and making the best pizza in the area, is a guy who has really kept the food movement going in the small town of Mt. Vernon. Not only are there excellent pizzas, but an extensive wine list and a great selection of bottles of beer. Always personable, always willing to talk local food scene, talk wine and beer, Winebar is a standout.

chameleon's.jpg**Chameleon’s Pub and Grub (Mt. Vernon) ** – don’t let a small town bar fool you. Don’t think they won’t have much to offer in terms of beer. Nick at Chameleon’s has made sure that the craft beer geek in all of us will not go thirsty in Mt. Vernon. This little bar will usually have something from Lion Bridge/Big Grove/Exile/Peace Tree on tap to go along with the newest from New Belgium among others. The last time I was there I was able to try PeaceTrees Grapefruit IPA and I always leave with a growler of Workman’s Comp from Lion Bridge (YES! They do growler fills).

turner alley**Turner Alley** – I’ll take Travis Scheidecker’s Pils over just about any I’ve had in the states, Pivo Pils withstanding…maybe. His double IPA was excellent and the Brucemore Brown was roasty and delicious. I’m looking forward to more offerings and I need to get my ass over the taproom to have a few from the source.


the sausage foundry**Sausage Foundry (NewBo Market)** – go to Sausage Foundry, talk beer and sausage with Steven, leave with a bunch of tubular meats to enjoy. If you’re smart, get there on a Thursday before his latest offerings fly off the shelves!

Weekend is looking nice folks! I haven’t touched the Iowa City area yet and above is a list of greatness awaiting you! Go out, eat local, drink local, and support local!


A Visit to Iowa Brewing Company

IMG_0308Cedar Rapids’ latest brewery opened it’s doors last week. Located at 708 3rd St. SE I had the impression that I was going to be walking into a small, tight spaced brewery but I couldn’t have been more wrong. A 30 bbl system with TONS of room for brewer Mike Wing Jr. to work and room to possibly expand in the future and a beautiful taproom that appeals to not only craft beer nerds but holds a throwback feel that would appeal to the “supper club” age as well.

IMG_0317Upon entering the brewery I noticed the logo on the door. An eagle with a hop for its abdomen. Simple but stunning, I knew I would be buying a shirt. I love the “Hopeagle” look. The perfect representation of what craft beer is! The taproom was stunning. A LONG table  splits the bar patrons from the folks who want to lounge supper club style on a chair or sofa. The table gives you enough room to enjoy your beer but allows for some conversation with other beer folks. A crowler system behind the bar and six beers from Iowa Brewing on tap and 6 guest tap lines as well. Here’s the mission statement of Iowa Brewing Co.:


Our mission is to brew great beer for the people of Iowa – and beyond.

Wherever you are, we want to be your neighborhood brewery. Located in Cedar Rapids between the Downtown and New Bohemia districts, our taproom is an easy walk to our city’s cultural and dining attractions. For a bite between beers, we are partnering with area food trucks and we also encourage our guests to bring their favorite foods, preferably enough to share.

You will soon be able to find our beers on draft across our state and eventually in your favorite stores.

IMG_0311Getting the tour of the brewery and seeing the massive vats was impressive and even more impressive is that there is possibly room for more. A lab will be put in to help maintain and measure the quality of the beer, and from what Andy Skelton (Taproom Manager) and Mike told me, the long term plan would be putting in a canning/bottling line. Walking back even further and into the cooler to see the massive of amounts of beautiful kegs waiting to be filled with sweet wonderful beer. Beyond the cooler sat a collection of mountain bikes. Wondering what they were about Andy explained they are thinking of painting them Iowa Brewing colors and kind of using them as non-payment rental for people to ride the bike paths up to Lion Bridge or down to Need for a pie.  A nice little map of some craft beer destinations would be a sweet addition, but I thought this would be a terrific idea. Overall, very impressive system they have, and here’s more from their website:

Very shiny and growing. Our Brewhouse is a three vessel 30 bbl system with 60 bbl hot and cold liquor tanks. Our Cellar features two 60 bbl horizontal maturation tanks, three 60 bbl fermentation vessels, one 60 bbl brite tank and three 10 bbl pilot fermentation/brite vessels.

IMG_0313Back in the taproom and I got to enjoy their Citra pale ale which was very good. I was excited to see an oatmeal stout on tap, their IPA was damn tasty as well. Mike poured me a taste of his new Hoppy Wheat recipe and that is going to a winner when that hits the lines. Gumballhead with more citrus, excellent tasting brew. Being able to have a brew with Mike and Andy was a real treat. You can tell these guys are driven. They aren’t satisfied with mediocre and the more I talked to Mike the more you got the idea that given time, he will be pumping out some of Iowa’s tastiest brews.

Overall, definitely worth a trip down to visit.  Food? No kitchen, and there probably won’t be one but expect food trucks to be rolling in so you can support a local food truck while also supporting an Iowa brewery. Can’t wait for my next visit down! Thanks Mike and Andy, it was  great night!




Week of Events @Mt. Vernon Rd. Hy-Vee in CR; Celebrating Cedar Rapids Craft Beer Week

crcbMount Vernon Road in Hy-Vee has an impressive lineup of events celebrating Cedar Rapids craft beer week. That stout breakfast sounds pretty damn promising!

Hopefully you can get yourself out and make it to a few of these events! Cheers!

Here are the events we are hosting the rest of the week:

Wednesday 5/11 5-7pm Meet Big Grove
We will be hosting Big Grove Brewery in our Tasting Room. They will be available to chat and answer questions about the brewery and brewing process. We will be pouring their new IIPA and they will have samples of some of their other brews. Free Event!

Thursday 5/12 5-7pm Beer 101 with Chad Atherton from Founders Brewing
Come chat and have a beer with Chad as he gives us some of the basics of beer. We will be pouring Founders Curmudgeon and maybe a bonus Founders brew! Free Event!

Friday the 13th 4:30-7pm Tasting Event
We will have 13 vendors pouring a variety of things to try, food from our Chefs and a DJ spinning the tunes! Free Event!

Saturday 5/14 8-11am Stout Breakfast
Our Market Grille will host a Stout Breakfast featuring a Breakfast Buffet and 4 Four ounce pours of beer. The buffet will feature two special Chef prepared items, Chicken Fried Brisket with and stout and coffee gravy and Pork Belly Hash amongst other b fast favorites. The beers are Tall Grass Barrel Aged Vanilla Buffalo Sweat, MadHouse Carpe Diem, Central Waters Rye Barrel Porter( although not a stout I couldn’t pass it up) and finally Barrel Aged Yeti! Cost for the buffet and flight is $25

More on the Big Grove Brewery Expansion

big groveThe news is spreading quickly that Big Grove is expanding to a production facility in Iowa City. Excellent news for all of us and even better news for the community as not only are we getting more beer but more jobs as well. Also, Big Grove going green? It sure sounds like it! I was able to talk with Chad Young, sales/marketing manager of Big Grove, and he gave me a bit more insight as to what to expect from the brewery:

Baron: How many jobs will this open up?

CY: A lot of details are still being placed this next week or 2. Right now an estimated 70 jobs.

BARON: Will you be canning/bottling or both?

CY:The concept right now is eventually a canning line but growth of the brewery will be slow and steady and continue to focus on draft only for the first year or two.
Honestly very vague on a timeline with a project like this. The 1st part is to make sure the beer is as great as what is being brewed in Solon. Everyone is absolutely behind continuing the high standard on quality first. Once we get that dialed in, then we will bring on the next phase of production.
BARON: What type of brewing line will the brewery house?
CY:Installing a “Meura Mash Filter”, which is an incredible piece of brewery technology. Super efficient with raw materials with very high extract yields, while using less water and energy. This will be one of the greenest brewing production facilities not just in iowa, but in the region.
BARON: What will become of the Solon location brewery?

CY: Specialties and barrel aging will continue at the Solon location

Sour Showdown! Big Grove v. Exile; 5/13/16 @ 5:00 Bricks Bar and Grill

sour showdown.jpgThis Friday night at Bricks Bar and Grill in Cedar Rapids is the SHOWDOWN OF THE CENTURY!!! Well, maybe not the showdown of the century but there will be some amazing beers on hand as two of Iowa’s finest, Big Grove out of Solon and Exile out of Des Moines square off in a “Sour Showdown”! I was able to try some of both breweries beers this weekend at Benz Beerfest and if that is any indication of what’s to come then this showdown will not disappoint!

Exile has been dominating the sour scene in retail and their latest addition, Blood Orange Bohemia, has been a hot sell. I was able to try their Peachberry Beatnik and was blown away; one of the best beers at the festival.

Big Grove has had people rolling through their doors for their terrific beers, and one of those responsible has been the Que Sera. I would expect some offshoots of this beer at the showdown. I had their cucumber mint que sera pin at the beer festival and thought it was absolutely terrific.

This should be a great event, with two great breweries, at an excellent beer bar. Don’t forget to say hi to the bad ass mothers in the picture below! They are out for blood! Cheers!