West Coast Tap War! Stone v. Ballast Point; Presented by Blackstone Restaurant July 29th!

Blackstone.jpgBlackstone restaurant in Iowa City will once again be hosting another great Tap War as Stone Brewing Company and Ballast Point Brewing will be engaging in the West Coast Tap War on July 29th starting @ 3 p.m. Xocoveza and Apricot Wench will be tapped at 5:00. Here are the lineups for this big event:

*Ruination with orange & vanilla
*Wootstout 2016
*Foudre aged imperial saison
*Barrel aged saison with blackberries
*Xocoveza charred

ballast pointBallast Point
*Victory at sea
*Orange Vanilla Fathom
*Apricot Sour Wench
* Cask Conditioned Pescadero Pilsner with Raspberries

Stone Enjoy By Release Schedule for Remainder of 2016

stone enjoy byStone has released the schedule for the remainder of 2016 for their immensely popular Enjoy By Series. This list covers the rest of 2016 and part of 2017. The schedule is below courtesy of Stone’s website:

Stone Enjoy By 09.05.16 Unfiltered IPA
9.4% • 12oz 6pks, 22oz & draft

Stone Enjoy By 10.31.16 Tangerine IPA
9.4% • 12oz 6pks, 22oz & draft

Stone Enjoy By 11.25.16 Black IPA
9.4% • 22oz & draft

Stone Enjoy By 12.25.16 IPA
9.4% • 12oz 6pks, 22oz & draft

Stone Enjoy After 04.20.17 Brett IPA
7% • 750ml • Really? Cellar an IPA? Yes. Brettanomyces brings about charmingly unpredictable complexities of spice, funk, acidity and more.

Stone Enjoy After 10.31.17 Brett IPA

enjoy by.png

Tallgrass Brewing Updates

tallgrassI just received the following email from Tallgrass Brewing Company with some release informations. It looks like Zombie Monkey is returning soon at it’s going to join their year round portfolio. Here’s more info:

tallgrassZombie Monkie Returns, With a Twist…
The annual release of Zombie Monkie imminent! Sporting a fresh look with the same textured tactical grip, this robust porter will start hitting markets the next several weeks.
As the Zombie Monkie fanbase has continued to grow, it has become apparent that this combination of world-class beer and strong brand with a fun backstory carries greater potential than being a seasonal release. As a result, Zombie Monkie will become part of the Tallgrass year-round portfolio beginning this year.
flyin hawaiian.jpegNew Release: Flyin’ Hawaiian
Next up in the Explorer Series is the Flyin’ Hawaiian, an 8.4% double IPA with pineapple slated to ship to wholesalers August-October. 
The Flyin’ Hawaiian is brewed with Nugget hops to provide earthy and pine notes, while the interplay of Pacific Gem and Falconer’s Flight hops creates notes of citrus, dark berries and tropical fruit. 
A burst of fresh pineapple purée enhances the hops with an extra layer of tropical sweetness, and the simple malt bill of 2-Row, C40 and Cara-Pils allows the hops to shine and erupt with tropical citrus flavors. 
Why the Flyin’ Hawaiian? The name was first used for one of our cellarmen’s cask beers. When our founder caught wind of the name, it was just too good to not slap on a can, and it had to be appropriated for our brewmaster’s new double IPA.
Available in 16 oz. 4-packs, 1/2 bbl and 1/6 bbl kegs, this brand also marks the transition of Explorer Series beers from 12 oz. 4-packs to 16 oz. 4-packs. All Explorer Series beers will be packaged in 16 oz. 4-packs moving forward.

A Visit to the Iowa City Beer Caves

IMG_0518.JPGThis past Friday evening I was lucky enough to be part of a group that was able to tour the Iowa City beer caves. Need to give special thanks to Chad Young of Big Grove for giving me the opportunity to go and also Nate Kaeding for setting up the tour.

The tour started in the Brewery Square building right across the street from High Grounds Coffee shop in Iowa City, which is now a La James hair salon. Now, you can’t just head to the building and expect to give yourself you’re own tour, so don’t show up unless you want your hair done or nice little massage.

I don’t want to try to attempt a history lesson like Marlin Ingalls gave us about the history of the caves, but a little background on these caves that I gathered from our tour guide, Mr. Ingalls, says that there were 3 breweries between East Market and Linn Streets with the Union Brewery, now Brewery Square, is still there. According to Mr. Ingalls, the tunnels were constructed using limestone slabs in a stone box method.

As we made our way to caves, our first obstacle was the 25 foot climb down a rickety-ass ladder. I’m not huge fan of heights and just the initial task of getting a strong foothold and grasping of old stone was a challenge for me. I may have been shaking just a tad but I finally made it down. As Mr. Ingalls said, it’s one thing to talk about these tunnels and to look at the 3D map of them, but to actually see them in person, and be down in spot where brewers were making their beer was just a terrific experience and seeing the history of brewing in Iowa City is something I’ll never forget.





IMG_0528.JPGIMG_0529.JPGThere were a few spots where there was accumulating water and Mr. Ingalls believes this water was used to float the kegs/barrels down and made transferring of the heavy barrels a bit easier for the workers. After some questions about if the caves had exits, Mr. Ingalls did confirm they do not lead to the Iowa River but there are still a few parts of the caves that they are not sure what they were used for.
Read more on the caves at the links below and the next time you are down by Brewery Square in Iowa City think about the history that you’re walking above as you make your way to George’s for an Arms Race from Big Grove and a couple of cheeseburgers. Many thanks again to Chad Young, Nate Kaeding, and Marlin Ingalls for the great experience!




Hitting Shelves: Fall Releases, Stone Oakmeal, Jubalale, BB Quad, Destihl

Quite a few new brews will soon be hitting packaging lines and then off to distro and HOPEFULLY!…hopefully hitting our shelves. Let’s get on with the list!

stone**Stone Oakmeal Bourbon Barrel Stout** – this is part of Stone’s Small Batch series so I’m not sure if we will see this beer or not. According to mybeerbuzz.blogspot.com this is Stone’s bitter chocolate oatmeal stout aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for 7 months. It will come in at 11.4% ABV and packaging will begin this month. More on this beer courtesy of Stone Brewing:

Brewed December 5, 2015
Originally inspired by the recipe of two Team Stone members, Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout became an instant classic. The onyx-hued beer also proved to be an ideal barrel-aging specimen, thanks to the rich, thick mouthfeel and chocolate-heavy flavors and aromatics. 

destihl.jpg**Destihl Wild Sour Series: Synchopathic** – another brew is making its way to Destihl’s popular Wild Sour Series and Synchopathic is a dry-hopped American Wild ale bursting with flavors.Here’s more on this brew courtesy of beerstreetjournal.com:

…with totally rad aromas and flavors reminiscent of grapefruit, orange, lemon, tangerine, pineapple and hints of pine, giving way to a biscuity-crackery malt back beat, low bitterness and a dry finish to bring everything in synch.

Destihil Wild Sour Synchopathic is available in 12 ounce cans and draft starting in mid-July.

Style: American Wild Ale
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Release: Mid-July, 2016

6% ABV

**Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad** – the 750 ml are no more for this beer as we will be getting it in 12 oz 4 packs. It will still check in at 11.8% ABV and it sounds like it will become available in October. Expect the price to be a tad higher than most other Boulevard 4 packs due to it being barrel-aged. quad.jpg

deschutes.png**Deschutes Jubalale** – the annual release from Deschutes will be available starting in October. It will once again be available in 12 oz 6 packs and check in at 6.7%. Here’s more on this beer courtesy of Deschutes’ website:

Available October – December. Warm spiciness and tradition grace this bold winter ale. Intriguing, layered flavors unfold to reveal chicory, dried fruit and toffee notes with a hoppy kick to finish. The deep garnet color pairs perfectly with holiday celebrations.

bully**Boulevard Cranberry Orange Radler** – something you usually consider a summer-style beer, radler, is getting fall makeover courtsey of Boulevard. Their popular lemon/ginger radler will take a backseat as the cooler months approach and be replaced by Cranberry/Orange radler. We will see this one coming in October as well. Here’s more from Boulevard:

Beginning in the fall of 2016, Cranberry Orange Radler will be available in six packs of 12-ounce cans. Using our experience from creating Ginger Lemon Radler, we’ll follow the same process, but instead of using ginger and lemon juice, we’ll add (no surprise here) orange and cranberry to the beer.

Beautifully hazy and slightly pink in color, Cranberry Orange Radler will open with an aroma of sweet blood oranges and just a hint of cranberry. The blood orange character boldly manifests in the flavor giving way to cranberry tartness. The base beer, Unfiltered Wheat Beer, contributes a slightly sweet bready flavor to the malt profile of the beer that shines with bright citrus flavor and a touch of acidity. Cranberry Orange Radler clocks in at 4.05% ABV and 12 IBUs.

Jeremy Danner, Ambassador Brewer

Know of anymore releases? Send a message my way! Cheers!

Restaurant Review: The Pig and Porter; Cedar Rapids NewBo District

IMG_0489.JPGThe wait is over…The Pig and Porter has finally opened and I was able to make a trip over with wife and my 2 year old daughter (she did better than I thought she would, and yes! they have high chairs!). I’ve had my eye on this place as soon as the sign went up in front, anytime you include the fine swine, you know it’s gotta be good!

The bar is the first thing you see when walking in and a big chalkboard with all the beer that they have on tap. Lion Bridge Kundera Kolsch? 90 degrees, yes, I think so. Tank 7, you bet! Anyway, 12 beers on tap plus High Life in a bottle, my guess is the lines will be rotating quite a bit.IMG_0488

FullSizeRender (4).jpgA busy night as the outdoor seating was starting to pick up, we were initially sitting where the sun was hitting but their server was kind enough to ask if we’d like to move which was a great gesture. So we moved close to the open kitchen, which I love, as you get to see the chefs in their element.

The menu. New American cuisine, with small plates and large plates to share with someone else. There was no doubt we were going to start with the garlic fries and that’s what we went with. I’ve had many a french fry as has my wife, and she declares these as the GREATEST FRIES she’s ever had! They were served with house made smoked ketchup AND french onion dip which were both on point. The fries were crispy on the outside with the perfect amount of salt and the great garlic flavor and nice and soft in the middle. I know it’s fries, but I get excited about great fries. I’ve had too many that were a mushy damn nightmare. Not these, order these, and order more ketchup + onion dip! We licked that bowl clean!FullSizeRender (3)

FullSizeRender (2).jpgAfter the fries we were lucky enough to get a taste of the Red Hot Sausage with house smoked beans. The sausage was made in house as were the beans and topped with an over easy egg, homemade corn bread croutons, and some thin sliced onion! AWESOME! Loved it. The sausage was spicy so make sure you have a cold beer nearby but it was packed with flavor. The house-made beans were some of the best beans I’ve ever had. A little sweet, a little smoky and a perfect pairing with that sausage. Crack that egg yolk over the top of all of it and it could make for a heavenly breakfast. IMG_0482.JPG

The green beans. The dishes that chefs come up with amaze me at times, and this is one. On paper it doesn’t sound too appealing to me but I’m so glad my wife wanted to order it because it was fantastic! The green beans were served in an eel sauce, with, I believe,smoked eel and crispy shallots. SO…F’ing….GOOD. Order this. (Pacifier not included)FullSizeRender (2).jpg

And then the Caesar salad. Perfectly dressed with pickled green grapes and parsnip croutons. Wonderfully refreshing for the hot day and something I’ll probably order every time I go. I’ll take a bowl full of those grapes on the side as well. IMG_0486.JPG

Another great addition to the Cedar Rapids Food scene. We had many dishes and enjoyed each one, but the menu still has a lot to offer as that roasted chicken did not go unnoticed! My wife and I highly recommend it! Andi, the server, and Will Monk, co-founder, were so helpful and kind. Terrific atmosphere with terrific people running the show. Congrats to Will and a tip of the hat to the chef and kitchen staff. We will be back for sure and hopefully soon! For more info on The Pig and Porter visit their Facebook page here: The Pig and Porter

Stone Bringing Back Unfiltered IPA: Enjoy By 09/05/16 Coming August 1st

unfiltered.pngA beer I was unable to land the last time it was released will be making another appearance on our shelves here in Eastern Iowa starting August 1st. Stone Enjoy By 09/05/16 Unfiltered IPA will be available in 12 oz and 22 oz bottles and check in at 9.4%.

The last time this was released it didn’t last long on the shelves so make sure you get to your local bottle shop quick to snag a few! Here’s more from Stone on this release:



In most cases, skipping a step is a bad thing. Not this time. This version of Stone Enjoy By IPA omits the part where we filter out the extra yeast, hop sediment and proteins that build up in beer as a natural result of the brewing process. Though it may sound like it, this missed step was no misstep. By letting this IPA go unfiltered, its peach and tropical fruit hop flavors are amplified while its golden-hued color takes on a hazy appearance. Like its filtered counterpart, this IPA is brewed specifically NOT to last, and is shipped immediately to ensure hopheads get their hands on it as soon as possible.

Mondo’s Reunion Brewery Hosting Beer Dinner July 20th

mondosCoralville’s Mondo’s Reunion Brewery will be hosting a beer dinner Wednesday July 20th at their Coralville Strip location. 5 beers paired with 5 different courses for $40. Below is the menu for this event:

July 20th @ 7 p.m. – Mondo’s Reunion Brewery

Course 1
Cold smoked salmon, capers, crostini and avocado.

Juice Factory – pale ale
Local green garden salad with herbs, beets and crispy onion strings with a mint/honey vinaigrette

Pub Ale
Grotto Misto with fresh Cod, green beans, cauliflower, lemon fennel and garbanzo beans served with malt aioli

Hermit- belgian golden strong
Linguini with prosciutto di parma, basil and garden tomatoes



Drink This: Crooked Stave L’Brett d’or

l'brett d'or.jpgThank the Beer Gods for Abu Nawas! They are responsible for getting Iowans a chance to try Crooked Stave whose beers always challenge and satisfy the palate.  Crooked Stave specializes in barrel aged sours, wild ales, and saisons. When there’s a Crooked Stave delivery day, I’m usually in line to pick up a few bottles and I just so happened to be at Winestyles at the Iowa River Landing in Coralville doing a little beer shopping when I came upon their L’Brett d’or. Dry hopped sour aged in oak barrels? Yes please! Here’s more on this beer:

A dry hopped surreal golden sour ale aged in oak barrels that comes in at 7% ABV.

There have been a few variants released of L’Brett d’Or, none I’ve seen in Eastern Iowa but this dry hopped is excellent in many ways.

#1: This is the perfect gateway beer for those who are not 100% into sours/wild ales yet. It’s not too tart, don’t get me wrong, tartness is there, but an acidic vinegar bomb it is not. It’s sweet enough for fruit fans to get on board with and the Brett is very present but doesn’t dominate the flavor.
#2: For Brett fans, once you open up that bottle and get the aroma of Brett and oak you will be ready to dig into this beer. The sweetness of peaches and apricots mesh perfectly the with oak and you get a little bit of an herbal taste that I’m guessing comes from the hops.

#3: The complexity of flavors: As this beer warms a bit it brings out the peaches and apricots as I said above but there is some green apple and faint balsamic vinegar.

Would I buy again? Absolutely! I was happy to share this with some people but regret that I didn’t buy another bottle to selfishly drink by myself. I really want more of this and it would pair perfectly with a warm Iowa 4th of July weekend.

I’m not sure if Winestyles still has it in stock but check out Benz in CR as well, they carry quite a few Crooked Stave beers. If you find some, let me know where it’s at because I need more! If you are not satisfied with it and purchased multiples, get a hold of me and I’ll buy the rest from you. Get out there and Drink This!