Cedar 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.
Upon 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.:
IOWA BREWING COMPANY
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.
Getting 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.
Back 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!