Beer Baron’s Top 10 Iowa Beers of 2020!

What a year it has been! With all that is going on our local breweries still put out a ton of amazing beers and this was the toughest “Top 10” I’ve had to come up with. As the year winds down, a heartfelt thank you to all the brewery/restaurant workers out there working their butts off to get us excellent beers and delicious food while trying to keep their businesses afloat. Keep supporting local people!

List criteria:
*Beer must have been released in 2020
*Iowa brewed only
*Annual releases not counted unless a new adjunct was added to the beer

I know that I’ve missed many, my goal in 2020 was to get to as many Iowa breweries as possible and I was able to get to many that I hadn’t been before and hopefully that trend continues in 2021. After you read my list I would love to hear what your Top 10 is this year! Follow me on twitter @iabeerbaron or join the Iowa Beer page on Facebook. Cheers to you all!

*Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee – 12.5% – the last few years of the Richard release, the golden ticket addition has added excitement but also even more creativity from the BG brewers and crew to up the ante every year to produce an amazing beer and this year was no different. The balance between the coffee and coconut blends perfectly with barrel and the vanilla rounds it out perfectly. A truly decadent and delicious beer. To quote Virginia Madsen from “Sideways”, “You know, the day you open a Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee….that’s the special occasion”.

Big Grove Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee

*Lion Bridge Off Grid – 6.6% – there may not be a better beer to showcase the trying year many people have faced in 2020. Off Grid was brewed after the derecho storm left many in the Cedar Rapids area without power, shelter, etc. Brewing with generator power, not only did Lion Bridge get beer to us, they gave us one of the best IPAs brewed in Iowa in 2020 and I hope we get a taste of it again in 2021….minus the derecho.

Lion Bridge Off Grid

*Barn Town Nelson Sauvin Neon – 6.5% – as Barn Town’s Neon is becoming more available in Eastern Iowa, it has certainly taken its place amongst my ever revolving beer fridge as a staple. However, Barn Town decided to showcase different hops in their popular IPA and after tasting Nelson Sauvin Neon, dare I say I want more of this version? I love Nelson hops and the addition of this adds a nice peppery finish to an already delicious citrus IPA.

*Lua Algorithm – 4% ABV – trips to Des Moines in the last year certainly have been more common to get some to go beers from many of the breweries in that area and one certain stop has been Lua. Lua’s lineup of beers range from wonderful pilsners, hoppy IPAs, BA stouts, and one their extremely popular Pushpop lineup of brews! There were many that I really enjoyed but Algorithm was the one that stood out to me most. The combo of orange, mango and peaches can be enjoyed any time of the day! Lua is currently doing curbside only for the foreseeable future so make sure you place an order with them and pick up some amazing beer and food!

*Clock House Peanut Panic Porter – 5.5% – Clock House has had an amazing year with their beer releases and with the addition of a canning line they can get us our favorites more efficiently and timely. Of all the beers I’ve had of theirs this year, (I think I’ve had them all), their Peanut Panic Porter stood out. I’m a huge porter fan, Founders Porter is still one of my all-time favorite beers, and when Clock House added peanuts to this beer I was sold. Now, this isn’t a overly sweet “peanut butter” beer, this is boiled raw peanuts and some added cocoa nibs making this one of the best porters I’ve had and definitely the best peanut porter I’ve ever had. Still on tap I believe, give it a shot!

*Big Grove HDTV – 9.2% – galaxy hops gone mad! Big Grove took their popular Color TV and added a bunch more galaxy hops to it to give us this baby! A wonderful welcome addition to Richard the Whale day, HDTV is not only delicious, but it’s deceptively drinkable coming in at 9.2%. You still may be able to find cans of this in the wild or certain bars (Club 76 has it on tap).

Big Grove HDTV

*Single Speed Barrel-Aged Double Donuts – 10% – aged in Cedar Ridge single malt whiskey barrels? Yes please! Single Speed took inspiration from their popular Zach’s Mexican Donuts, threw it in some amazing whiskey barrels and barrel-aged Double Donuts was born! Luckily I have a few cans left of this and I have every intention to sit by the fireplace and watch the snowstorm blow in tomorrow night and sip and enjoy this wonderful brew!

*Pulpit Rock Double Dave-O – 7.6% – I remember having this beer way back in January at Marquee Pizza in Coralville during their anniversary celebration. Marquee always did a great job getting Pulpit Rock on tap (Thanks Sam!) when many places couldn’t and I remember thinking that it’s going to be nice being able to visit here, have some great food and sip on some Pulpit beers…..things have changed a bit because of the pandemic but Pulpit sure has adapted to the changing times and have done an amazing job getting their cans available in certain locations around Eastern Iowa (Need Pizza + Reds Alehouse). Double Dave-O stood out because of the hop profile. Citra and mosaic, two of my favorites made this a quenching IPA leaving me wanting another one!

Pulpit Rock Double Dave-O

*Dimensional Imperial Cinna-Man Bun – 11.7% – there are some beers that you can be a little hesitant to order because you’ve already played it out in your head how it was going to taste. With this particular beer, I thought for sure it would be way too sweet for me with over the top cinnamon, admittedly I was completely wrong. Dimensional brought balance to a beer that could have gone the complete opposite direction, especially for a pastry stout. Another great fall/winter beer to sip on, wish I had some more of it!

Dimensional Imperial Cinna-Man Bun

*Clock House Sweet Innocence – 5.2% – 42 lbs of black cherries added to this kettle sour which made for a truly refreshing beer to sip on on hot ass August night in Iowa. This is a beer that I hope to see again during the warmer months and if you haven’t tried it, if Clock House does release it again, it’s worth the trip to Cedar Rapids!

Clock House Sweet Innocence

There is the list! It’s always fun to compile but never easy to narrow down! With such a trying year in the beer/restaurant industry it is amazing on how these breweries have adapted to keep their businesses alive and to also keep us stocked with beer. A huge cheers to all of them and I hope you continue to support your local brewery and businesses. I know I probably missed your favorite of the year so please let me know what your list looks like! Cheers!

Tin Roost offering beer delivery on Black Wednesday! Featuring brews from Adventurous, Barn Town, Big Grove, Lua, and Pulpit Rock!

Tin Roost saves Thanksgiving!! An awesome idea from the North Liberty restaurant as they will be delivering beers directly to your doorstep on Wednesday, November 25th. Preorder will start Tuesday night. Here’s more from Tin Roost:

Alright, we’re just going to drop this little teaser right here! Mark your calendars because you are not going to want to miss this one. Our online store is going live Tuesday, November 24th @ 11am. We collaborated with 5 of our best buds in the Iowa Brewing scene to put together one KILLER Thanksgiving Beer Pack. The BEST part? We’re going to drop it like it’s hot directly on YOUR doorstep on Black Wednesday (contactless delivery, of course). Adventurous Brewing LLC. Barn Town Brewing. Big Grove Brewery. Lua Brewing. Pulpit Rock Brewing Company. More details with how to order and beer included coming soon. See you on Wednesday, November 25th with the fresh pack that’s gonna make your untappd buddies soooooooooooo jelly.

Great Iowa Beer Festival Vote: Barrel-Aged/Imperial Stouts

It might not be the best idea to combine barrel-aged and imperials into one category but to have time I had to. So many great offerings again, vote for your favorite! As always, if I missed any beers that should be on this list please let me know!

The American-style imperial stout is the strongest in alcohol and body of the stouts. Black in color, these beers typically have an extremely rich malty flavor and aroma with full, sweet malt character. Bitterness can come from roasted malts or hop additions.

Great Iowa Beer Festival Category Vote: Hazy/New England Sytle IPA

From BA: NEIPA is essentially an unfiltered IPA or Double IPA that’s been aggressively hopped. Appearance ranges from slightly hazy or cloudy to opaque or muddy. Dry-hopping, the use of high-protein grains (flours, flaked oats, wheat), certain yeast strains, water chemistry, CO2 levels, and other techniques may also contribute to the beer’s haze and mouthfeel. But the overall goal is typically a hazy, juicy IPA packed with fruity and floral flavors

30hop CR Tapping 3 Barn Town Brews! Pickle Tickle, Vanilla Milkshake, + Cotton Candy Sour on the lines!

30hop in Cedar Rapids has tapped 3 unique and flavorful brews from Barn Town brewing this weekend! The wonderfully named Pickle Tickle, Vanilla Drive Thru (Milkshake IPA), and Cotton Candy Sour have all been tapped and are available right now! Try all three and spend your Sunday on 30hops patio enjoying the beautiful weather and some tasty brews! A perfect way to spend your Sunday! Here’s more on each of these 3 beers:

Pickle Tickle-  A glorious Golden Ale with a delightful tickle of pickle – 5.2%

Vanilla Drive In – Milk Shake IPA with Vanilla Bean and Cashmere Hops – 6.4%

Cotton Candy Sour – Kettle Sour – 5.4% ABV

Releases this week in Iowa Beer

A lot of great beer releases happening this week around our state, so if you’re looking for something to do, supporting your local brewery is always an option. I know doubt know I’ve missed some other releases and many others may be posted later this so please feel free to let me know what to add! Contact me here benmed15@yahoo.com Here’s a look at this week’s releases:

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**Contrary Brewing – Friday July 24th – Syvyys Russian Imperial Stout

Barrel-aged (for 16 months!) Syvyys Russian Imperial Stout release is this Friday, July 24th at 3pm! We are selling the Syvyys 4-packs for $80/tax included. Sorry, no substitutes. Individual bottles will be available for sale, while supplies last. There will be no limit. No preorders, except for our Lifetime members (some limit restrictions apply, please see your email). That said, we did our best to get enough Syvyys into bottles that we do not foresee running out too quickly (I’ve been wrong before, and I will be again, but…). We look forward to sharing this beer with you!

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**Lion Bridge Brewing – Wednesday July 22nd- Cucumber Kolsch

One of our summer favorites, Cucumber Kölsch, will be available this Wednesday on draft and in cans for the first time ever!

The bright melon character of freshly picked local cucumbers play with the crisp, spicy nature of the style. The result is refreshing and delightful.

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**Big Grove Brewing– Saturday July 25th – BA Velvet, Double Nod, Into the Jungle

BA Velvet is a sold out ticket release, but will be available on tap. Double Nod and Into the Jungle will be available presale starting on July 22nd so check Big Grove out on Facebook for that link. Along with those 3 beers, their popular Strawberry Lemonade sour is available around the area right now. Here’s more on the 1st 3 brews:

We are excited to present you with Barrel Aged Velvet. This special brew is an Extended Boil Imperial Stout that we aged in freshly emptied Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. The beer was aged for a year and then finished on Grade A Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans. You can expect a viscous mouthfeel, notes of roasted malt, marshmallow, dark chocolate, and an explosion of vanilla—highlighted by a smoothness that only comes from age and using the finest ingredients.

We offer BA Velvet to you as an escape from life’s stressors, and a celebration of what is good in life.
Many thanks and cheers,
The Big Grove Team

Barrel Aged Velvet will be available for pick up July 25 in Iowa City and Solon. The Iowa City Taproom and Solon Brewpub will each open at 9:00 am. You’re welcome to come into the Taproom to get your beer (with strict social distancing measures in place), or we will have a contactless drive-thru available from 9-11 am. You’re required to have your ID and receipt with your order number (paper or electronic version) available for pick up.

We will be running food specials starting at 9:00 am and Barrel Aged Velvet will be on tap at both locations.

Double Nod and Into the Jungle (new) will also be available for purchase. We will be launching a pre-sale for those 2 brands on 7/22 at 10 am. They will be available for pick up when during the same period as Barrel Aged Velvet. It is okay to order separately and pick up together, though we ask that you please keep all receipts on-hand.

Proxies are allowed. The party picking up the beer must have a photo of the buyer’s ID (smartphone image is acceptable) and the order receipt (paper or electronic version) for the beer they are picking up.

backpocket

**Backpocket Brewing – Wednesday July 22nd – Pucker Up Right Meow

Backpocket will be releasing their double dry hopped sour this coming Wednesday and if you’re a mug club member you can get a free pour today!

marto

**Marto Brewing – ALL WEEK! Happy 1 year anniversary to Marto Brewing Company and they have a lot of tasty beers in store all through the week! Here’s their lineup:

Bent w/ hazelnut, Madagascar vanilla beans, & coconut. 11% ABV pastry stout brewed with lactose. Available on tap only, no crowlers.

Monday- Bent w/ hazelnut, vanilla, & coconut. On tap only.

Tuesday- Squishee – Say It Ain’t So (Raspberry, Black Currant, Cherry Kool-Aid, & marshmallow) On tap only.

Wednesday- Member Berries – It’s back! On tap & crowlers.

Thursday – Whammo – Hefeweizen – On tap & crowlers.

Friday- Bent w/ cinnamon, vanilla, cacao nibs, & habanero. On tap only.

Saturday – Birthday Diva – Bourbon barrel aged imperial stout w/ toasted coconut, vanilla beans, cacao nibs, & pecans. On tap & available in limited bottles at noon.

Sunday – Bent w/ maple & Stone Bru coffee. On tap only.

barn town

**Barn Town Brewing – Saturday July 25th – Citra Neon

Coming off a delicious release of Nelson Sauvin Neon, Barn Town looks to go back to back with the release of Citra Neon. Here’s more on this brew:

Our Neon Hazy IPA made with 100% Citra Hops & Double Dry Hopped with all the Citra Hops! Available in 4 packs and draft!

 

 

Breweries and Beers Announced for 2020 BrrrFest!

We have an early list of breweries and beers that will be available at the 2020 Coralville BrrrFest thanks to the folks at flitebrite. You can access and create your untappd wishlist for the event by clicking here

Here’s the list, I’ll continue to post updates as they come in. Cheers!

-515 Brewing Company
*Dunkel on the Haterz
*Mexican Spring
*OJ Gets Lei’d
*Poobah of Passe
*Puppy Jake
-5ive Cities Brewing Company
-7 Hills Brewing Co.
*Baca Inocula
*Betty’s Private Reserve
*Bi-Polar Vortex
*Bold Blavatsky
*Cerebral Haze
*Muddy Tugger w/Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup
-Alluvial Brewing Company
-Backpocket Brewing
-Barn Town Brewing
-Bent River Brewing Company
*Barrel-Aged Marshmallow Stout
*Chocolate Covered Banana
*Lactobaxpress
*Liquified
-Big Grove Brewery
*Buster
*Cask Sera w/white peppercorn + pineapple
*Easy Eddy Strawberry Pineapple Milkshake
*Experimental Sour w/passion fruit, raspberry + vanilla
*Justice for Barb
*Richard the Whale Vanilla Coconut
*Snowbird
*Static
*White Stout
*Xibalba Wade Wisely
-Boone Valley Brewing
-Brightside Aleworks
-Carroll Brewing Company
*Black Lager
*Carroll Red
*India Pale Ale
*Mild
*Tokyo Pils
-Cedar Ridge
-Clock House Brewing
-Confluence Brewing
-Contrary Brewing
*Finger Licken’ Good
*German’s Chocolate Cake
*Punch You in the Eye
*Zoom Doggy (w/maple & cinnamon)
-Court Avenue Brewing Company
-Crawford Brew Works
-Dimensional Brewing
*Dad Bod
*Denim Venom
*Easy Steve
*Gussied Up
*Jumbled Up: Hazel
*Sweet Acoustics
-East Grove Meadery
-Exile Brewing Company
-Fat Hill Brewing Company
-Fenders Brewing
*Morning Ride
-Firetrucker Brewery
*Black Magic Coffee Stout
*Brigade Ale
*Burnout Brown
*Destination IPA East Coast Style
*Tropical Burn Mago DIPA
-Fishback and Stephenson Cidery
*Maple Starship
*Salty Poser
-Fox Brewing
Franklin Street Brewing
-Front Street Brewery
Gezellig Brewing Company
*From Zero to Iffy
*Hug Deal Gone Sideweiss
*Tank in the Frank!
-Green Tree Brewing
-Iowa Brewing Company
*Barrel-Aged In-Tents w/ Trung Nguyen Legendee Coffee
*Barrel-Aged OREOja
*Bohemian Rapids
*Cousin Eddie’s Breakfast Ale
*David Hefehoff
*Double Barrel Hang Fire
*Eagle Lime
*Jinkies! – Lotus, Exp. 07720, Exp. 09326
*Oja’s Peanut Butter Cup Porter
-Jackson Street Brewing
*4 Non Blondes
*Hell’s Half Acre Stout – French Toast
*Imperial Chocolate Peanut Butter Treat
*Nannerbock
*Sioux City Sours & Barrel Aged Stouts
-Jefferson County Ciderworks
-Kalona Brewing Company
-Keg Creek Brewing Company
*Brick Red Ale
*Illuminator VII
*Kashmir Kush DIPA
*Mas Mexican Style Lager
*Moongold Apricot
*Rehashed IPA
-Lake Time Brewing
*Funfetti
*Haze of Our Lives
*Lost Dutchman
*Oreo Speed Wagon
*Peanut Butter Porter
*Welcome to the Jungle Juice
-Lark Brewing Company
-Limestone Brewers
-Lion Bridge Brewing Company
-Millstream Brewing Company
-Mississippi River Distilling
Mistress Brewing Company
-NoCoast Beer Co.
-Parkside Brewing Company
*Belly Dancer Chai Stout
*Kyle
*No Scurvy
*Raspberry Mother
-Peace Tree Brewing Company
-Pivo Brewing
*Balltown Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownie Milk Stout
*Dorchester British Best
-Pulpit Rock Brewing Company
-Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery
-Reclaimed Rails Brewing 
-ReUnion Brewery
*Cosmic Creamsicle Juice Factory
*Imperial Banshee (2019)
*Ocean Sprayed Cranberry Gose
*Reunion Lager
*Rock ‘N Roll Bus Driver
*Tank Puncher IPA
-Second State Brewing
*Schwarzbier
*Vienna Lager
-SingleSpeed Brewing 
*A-Two-Hoo
*Gable
*Hard Won Not Done
*Slightly Heightened Conversation V2.0
*Tip the Cow
*Tip the Cowconut
*Two Cows (Walk into a Barrel)
*Victory Dance
-Thew Brewing
*Candy Double Tappa
*Hello Hazy
*Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree
-Third Base Brewing
*At the Heart of Winter
*Smoak ‘Em If You Got ‘Em
-Toppling Goliath Brewing
*Cherry Fandango
*Dorthy’s New World Lager
*Dragon Fandango
*King Sue
*Mornin’ Delight
*Pompeii
*Pseudo Sue
*Supa’ Sumo
*Term Oil
-Torrent Brewing Company
-Twisted Vine Brewery
*5 Horizons Black Lager
*Cali-Steamer
*Snowlicious
*Twisted Blonde
*Westown IPA
*Whadda Juicebag
-West O Beer
-Wild Culture Kombucha
-Wilson’s Hard Cider
*Old Blue
*Pina de Iowa
*Sutliff Hard Cider
-Worth Brewing

 

Moco Game Room + Hot Dog Bar brings new meaning to having a Beer + a Dog

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Cedar Rapids’ newest restaurant takes a classic pairing and adds their own twist. Moco Game Room and Hot Dog Bar is the latest culinary adventure from Tim Kindyl and Justin Zehr, who have given has Bricks Bar and Grill and what is probably Cedar Rapids’ best new restaurant from 2018, Local Pour Street Food.

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At Moco they have taken the simple food of a hot dog and have jacked up the ingredients to give us many delicious and fresh options on the popular tubular meat. Located in an older Cedar Rapids neighborhood, right next to Old Neighborhood Pub, E Ave NE, this place has the feel of going to your dad’s local watering hole.

I took my 3 kids in for an early Sunday lunch and all 3 have been raving about it since we left. My son enjoyed the Frito Chili Cheese dog which was an excellent chili dog, my daughters shared a walking nacho platter which was enough for 3-4 people if not more. I went with a New York dog which comes with sauerkraut, onion, and mustard but also had to try the Bahn Mi dog which comes loaded with pickled veggies, fresh avocado and cilantro. The Bahn Mi was my favorite as those flavors always taste fresh and delicious to me but I think I’ll be dreaming of that Frito dog as well. This place has enough options that you can try a different dog almost every time you visit.

With hot dogs there has to be beer and Moco has a nice lineup of brews. I had the Barn Town Peach Milkshake IPA and my go to Bells Two Hearted. Any beer can pair well with a dog.

Overall, just a great place to take your family and have a dog, nachos, and a couple of brews while the kids play foosball or shuffleboard. Check out Moco folks!