Drink This! Big’s BBQ Jackhammer Stout

Bigs.jpgLiving in a small college town like Mount Vernon, IA it’s nice to have a few great options when it comes to beer and food. Chameleon’s Pub and Grub with about 10 craft beer lines focusing on the local breweries such as Big Grove, Lion Bridge, and Reunion and up a couple shops from Chameleon’s we have Lincoln Winebar that has the best pizza in the state along with a huge wine list and some very good craft beer bottles as well. Adding to those two places is a new BBQ joint right down the block.

Big’s BBQ is a welcome addition to the area adding a cuisine we didn’t have. Terrific ribs, brisket, and pulled pork are just a few of the options at Bigs, but what is really great (especially for me) is that they are also a brewpub. Turning out their own beer starting with 2 on their opening week, Big’s currently has around 6-7 of their own on tap. Last night, I was able to try their Jackhammer Stout. Checking in at 8.5%, this stout delivers in all aspects that you would like a stout to deliver in the flavor profile. Perhaps a bit thin but the roastiness along with chocolate and coffee with a tad of some dark fruit makes for a very drinkable stout with a very well-hidden 8.5% ABV.

Pair this beer with some ribs, brisket, or a sandwich and it’s a tough combination to beat. They’ve only been open for a few months but I like what the future holds for this place for both food and beer. You’ll have to make the trek to Mt. Vernon, and if you do, hit up Chameleon’s for a Lion Bridge Workman’s Comp, head to Winebar for a terrific pizza and then walk down the block for some ribs and Drink This! Jackhammer Stout at Big’s! Cheers!

bigs.png

 

Ames Hosting Foodies and Brew Event August 4th!

foodies and brew

The City of Ames will be hosting a Foodies and Brew event in their downtown area on Friday August 4th from 6 – 9 p.m. This event showcases local restaurants, chefs, brewers and gives attendees a chance to visit each vendor and then pick their favorites for the “People’s Choice Award”. Here’s more on this event:

Join us on Friday, August 4th in downtown Ames for Foodies & Brew – a special evening event that features local cuisine and regional craft beer sampling! 

Local restaurateurs and chefs will showcase their talents by providing samples of unique food creations. Event attendees will be encouraged to visit each station and vote for the People’s Choice Award. A selection of craft beers will also be available for sampling, and each attendee will receive a souvenir glass.

WHEN: August 4th, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

WHO: Featuring musicians Ben Shrag & The Cautionaries, Sean Huston Combo and Evan Campbell.

WHERE: On the corner of Douglas and Main in Downtown Ames, IA

COST: Tickets are $30 in advance ($35 day of the event)

Foodies & Brew is a fundraiser for the Main Street Cultural District to support beautification and growth of the downtown business district.

Click here for tickets! I will be attending and I hope to see some of you there! Cheers!

Bar Review: The Map Room; Cedar Rapids, IA

IMG_1461

Add The Map Room to the ever-growing list of great bars/restaurants in Cedar Rapids. What used to be Stella’s, located at 3rd St. SE right across from the Backpocket Pilot Pub, The Map Room is the perfect place to meet up with co-workers, have a quick drink, an order of one of their unique fry baskets or even grab yourself a burger.

This place is what you want your local bar to be; cozy, comfortable, friendly wait staff, good beer and booze list, and some very good fries and burgers. The prices on the food were very friendly and the unique offerings make it a great place to try their different burger and fry basket toppings. I was pleasantly surprised to see they had SingleSpeed/Pulpit collab Coconut Migration, which has become my favorite beer of the summer so far, along with an Alpine, Lion Bridge, and many more offerings. Around 10-12 tap lines and a nice booze selection as well.

On my visit I enjoyed a Coconut Migration (or 2) and although I wasn’t very hungry the fries were calling to me. I went with the Cusco Fries, which come with a beef gravy, onions, tomatoes, and a cilantro type pesto. They were terrific with the perfect amount of spice and went perfectly with the beer. The Map Room is the perfect place to go before a Kernels game, meet for post work beers, have a quick bite to eat and enjoy the comfort that this cozy bar creates. This is a bar that I will be stopping at when I’m in downtown CR. Check it out if you get to the area, you won’t regret it! Cheers!

 

 

Drink This! SingleSpeed + Pulpit Rock Coconut Migration Double IPA

cocont.jpgSweltering hot and humid Iowa summers make you yearn for a beachside drink while overlooking the ocean, well, for me they do and thankfully SingleSpeed Brewery and Pulpit Rock Brewery have teamed up for a collab that brings the tropics to Iowa. We are missing the white sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean but we have the drink…we have the drink!!

Visiting Need Pizza I was honestly a bit skeptical of ordering this beer as it didn’t seem coconut and a double IPA would go well together. I ordered a small sample and my skepticism was immediately put to rest! Pineapple and coconut are very evident and extremely refreshing, not too overpowering and the hop profile does not overpower or get lost with the toasted coconut. A very creamy double IPA that goes down easily. As I stated in my untappd check-in, if a double IPA and a Pina Colada banged the shit out of each each this would be their love child.

Here’s more from the brewery on this beer:

American Double IPA, rested on toasted coconut

A Pulpit Rock Brewing Co. (Decorah, IA) / SingleSpeed Brewing Co. Collaboration

Brewing with the guys from Pulpit Rock is like taking a vacation. This time around our destination is the tropics. If you like Piña Coladas and/or getting caught in the rain you’re probably gonna be feeling this beer. If you don’t like either of those things, well that sucks for you. We still recommend ordering one.

This is a Pina Colada in beer form, but for me, it tastes even better. If you don’t like coconut, then, as SingleSpeed said, sucks for you, if you enjoy coconut and tropical fruits this a beer you must seek out this summer. Thankfully, Need Pizza and I believe Bricks had it in Cedar Rapids, for how long? I’m not sure, but I hope this beer hits more lines. Possible beer of the year so far for me. Drink This! this summer!

Alaskan Brewing Coming to Iowa this Summer!

alaska.jpgI just received the following tweet from Alaskan Brewing Company:

Johnson Brothers will be doing the distribution. The Alaskan sampler pack will be the first thing we will see on shelves and will be a great opportunity to get acquainted with the brewery.

Here’s more from the brewery’s website:

Juneau-based brewery will enter Iowa market in summer 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (June 6, 2017) – Beer drinkers in the Hawkeye state will soon be able to get their hands on an award-winning beer from the Last Frontier, as Alaskan Brewing will be on tap and on the shelves in Iowa this summer. Alaskan is partnering with Johnson Brothers Distributing to bring a variety of brews made from the glacier-fed waters of Juneau to the heartland. In a surprising way, this reestablishes a 30-year link that the founders of Alaskan Brewing have with Iowa.

Co-Founder Geoff Larson was mentored by the staff at Millstream, a craft brewery in Amana, where he worked as a short-term visiting brewing apprentice in 1985. “Iowa was where I brewed at a commercial level for the first time. Those were exciting days early in my brewing career, learning from excellent craftsmen and getting to know and appreciate the hard-work ethic of the people of Iowa. Their passion for their community and their work has left a lasting impression on me.” said Larson.

“We are truly excited to welcome Geoff Larson back to Iowa, it’s always rewarding to see Iowa training pay off in such a successful way!” added Johnson Brother’s President Lyle Stutzman.  “One of the most requested Craft Beers in Iowa has been Alaskan Amber. We hear that request from our customers and beer drinkers all over Iowa!”

Consumers can expect to see the Alaskan Sampler Pack first in select locations starting this June. The Sampler is a great way to get to know Alaskan – it features the flagship Alaskan Amber, the invigorating Icy Bay IPA, a Belgian-style wheat beer called Alaskan White, and a rotating series of small batch beers that highlight the creativity of Alaskan brewers.

Starting in August, Iowans will begin to see the year-round packages of Amber, Icy Bay IPA and White, plus Alaskan’s bold Double-IPA, Hopothermia and Alaskan’s Seasonal lineup starting with the Kölsch-style Summer Ale.

Iowa marks the 19th state of distribution for Alaskan.

Alaskan Brewing Co. was founded in Juneau, Alaska, in 1986 by Marcy and Geoff Larson. Then age 28, they solicited help from about 80 investors to form the country’s 67th independent brewery at the time, the first since prohibition in Juneau. Though founded in 1986, its history reaches back to the Gold Rush Era, from which many recipes draw inspiration.

For more information and updates, check out Alaskan Brewing Co. online at www.alaskanbeer.com.

The Tappening Final Brewery List: June 10th @Noon

Tappening Poster 2017 (1)The Tappening in Dubuque, IA, part of America’s River Festival will be taking place this Saturday starting at noon. VIP tickets have all been sold out but general admission tickets are still available. Visit here for more info. Below is the final list of breweries that will be sampling out their beers this Saturday!

Brewery City State
3 Oaks Distillery Holy Cross IA
Another Road Brewing Marion IA
Backpocket Coralville IA
Baraboo Brewing Co Dubuque IA
Barn Town Brewing West Des Moines IA
Bells Kalamazoo MI
Bent River Brewing Moline IL
Big Grove Solon IA
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co Galena IL
Catfish Charlie’s Dubuque IA
Confluence Brewing Des Moines IA
Contrary Brewing Muscatine IA
DeSchutes Bend OR
Duber – Dubuque Bier Co. Dubuque IA
Elysian Seattle WA
Exile Brewing Des Moines IA
Firestone Walker Paso Robles CA
FireTrucker Brewery Ankeny IA
Franklin Street Brewing Co Manchester IA
Front Street Brewing Davenport IA
Galena Brewing Co Galena IL
Generations Brewing Company Freeport IL
Golden Road Los Angeles CA
Iowa Brewing CO Cedar Rapids IA
Jubeck Brewery Dubuque IA
Kalona Brewing Co. Kalona IA
Lake Front Brewing Milwaukee WI
Millstream Amana IA
Mississippi River Distilling Co. Le Claire IA
Odell Fort Collins CO
Paradise Distilling Dubuque IA
Potosi Brewery Potosi WI
Schlafly St. Louis MO
Sierra Nevada Chico CA
Spiked Seltzer St. Louis MO
Surly Minneapolis MN
Toppling Goliath Decorah IA
Virtue Cider Fennville MI

If you are in the Dubuque area this weekend and are looking for something to do, check out America’s River Festival and The Tappening!

Jubeck New World Brewing Kicking off Summer with Summer Sour Series…6 Ways!

Jubeck New World Brewing in Dubuque, IA will be starting off the summer by releasing their first barrel-aged sour. The great thing is that there will be 6 variations of this beer and a new one will be tapped every other Saturday starting June 3rd! Here’s more from Jubeck:

About a year ago, we brewed our first barrel-aged golden sour ale with the help from our friends, Keith Weber and Joe Specht. We’ve split this batch into several different variations:

  • straight up golden sour ale
  • dry hopped with huell melon
  • mulberry
  • black raspberry
  • juneberry
  • juneberry dry hopped

Starting in June, we’ll be tapping a new version every other Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Get it while it lasts—there’s only 10 gallons of each version!

SAVE THE DATE!
Saturday @ 11 a.m.
6/3, 6/17, 7/1, 7/15, 7/29, & 8/12

Big Grove Brewpub in Solon Tapping “Easy Eddy” Unfiltered IPA Friday 5/26 @3:00 p.m.!

big groveBig Grove Brewery will be adding a new IPA to their lineup as they tap “Easy Eddy” this coming Friday, May 26th at 3:00. This is an unfiltered IPA that checks in at 6.5%. It will also be tapping Saturday at Big Grove Brewery and Taproom upon opening. Here are the deets on this refreshing sounding brew:

EASY EDDY
Unfiltered IPA
6.5%
Flaked wheat and oats make for a brilliant golden haze in this Unfiltered IPA. Hopped during the whirlpool with Citra and Loral lupulin powder showcasing tropical aromatics and a soft bitterness. Dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra lupulin powder and Mandarina Bavaria for intense punchy flavors of pineapple and candied melon. Featured Malts: 2 row, Flaked Wheat, Flaked Oats Whirlpool Hop Additions: Citra lupulin powder, Loral lupulin powder, Hallertau Mandarina Bavaria Dry Hop: Mosaic, Citra Lupulin powder, Hallertau Mandarina Bavaria

Hidden Gems: Club 76 The Lodge in North Liberty, IA

I’ve always wanted a northern woods type vibe at a bar I frequent. I always picture John Candy and Dan Aykroyd bellied up to their bar drinking a stubby of Miller Lite while asking the gentlemen next to them how many times he’s been struck by lighting.

For some reason, that setting and scene always resonated as the perfect place to have a beer and listen to an interesting story from a local. Well, I think we have that place in Eastern Iowa. You might not hear of a guy getting struck by lightning 66 times but at Club 76 the Lodge, located off of Mehaffey Bridge Rd in North Liberty (between Solon and North Liberty) is pretty damn close to being Northwoods Esque!

For some readers, this isn’t a hidden gem, but a weekly destination point. Where else can you get the feel of being out in the timber in a log cabin while having the option of 18 tap lines? I took my latest trip last Sunday and met up with Club head-honcho Jeremy Freerks. Shooting the shit while sipping on a Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin was the perfect Sunday afternoon. After the Merlin I went with Firestone’s Luponic Distortion #5 and got a sample of a beer I hadn’t seen on tap anywhere else, August Schell’s Stag Series #10 Tropical Stout which was damn tasty!

Not only are the tap lines constantly rotated but this is the perfect mix of clientele. You’ll get your cyclists, motorcyclists, farmers, regulars, craft beer drinkers, Busch Light drinkers…you get the picture. On tap of that they have 2 huge fundraisers every year. An Oyster Stout and Sour festival and The Red, White, and Bluegrass Festival held on the 3rd of July which draw huge crowds. Here’s more on Club 76:

Club 76 is an American legion located on 12 beautiful acres close to Coralville reservoir just outside of North liberty on Mahaffey Bridge Road. We do two major fundraising events each year. The Oyster Stout and Sour festival. who’s fourth year estimated five or 600 people attend. On July 3rd is the  Red, White, and Bluegrass Festival. Five or 600 people attend this to listen to five or six regional and national touring artist. Three years ago we built an amphitheater on our property. We focus on selling craft beer at great prices. Just four years ago we had five beers on tap that all said light behind the name. We spent some money and eventually put in 18 tap lines and a big walk-in cooler,
Nitro lines and a glycol system. Probably the only veterans organization around like it in the country.
The Red, White, and Bluegrass Festival is coming up and here’s some info on that event:
Located right here in the corridor the Red, White and Bluegrass Festival has been bringing you Bluegrass for 7 great years now. The Festival hosts great local and Midwest Bluegrass and Jam Grass bands.

The Festival is ran by the American Legion Post 1976. It is staffed by Veterans and friends of veterans volunteers. This is only of 1 of 2 fundraisers your local veterans do each year. Thanks for your support in the past and future it means a ton to our American Legion, it’s veterans and the charities we support.

The event is very affordable and family friendly with kids’ activities, fireworks, an official sanctioned flag retirement ceremony performed by area Veterans, great food and of course great music.
Line-up:
Juglife
Slewgrass
Miles over Mountains
Flash in the Pan
Trinity River Band

Please check out Club 76 the next time you’re in the area. Great people doing things the right way! Cheers!