La Vecina opening this week! Soft opening review!

The newest venture from Sam Hall, owner/operator of Marquee Pizza and Clinton Street Social Club, is set to open its doors this coming week. La Vecina, located in the popular Iowa River Landing district, is going to be opening their doors this coming Wednesday to the public. Hours are going to limited in the first couple of weeks so stay tuned to their Facebook page for updates. Check it out here:

I was lucky enough to attend their soft opening on Friday night. When asked to describe the cuisine, the easy answer is Mexican food, which in most regards can get my ass to that place, but this is a bit more than that..maybe a lot more than that. I’ve never been to San Diego but for some reason this cuisine put me on a beach in Southern California; the freshness, open fire grill, and ambiance of the restaurant make it hard for you not to be California dreaming. Sam and staff had to have done their research…the technique, the flavors, the freshness and the care put into every dish were exactly what you’d expect from a west coast “mexican” restaurant. Enough of my jabber, let’s look at the dishes:

STARTERS

The guac: It’s hard to mess up guac, but it’s easy to overdo it as well and La Vecina makes the best guac I’ve ever had. The thing everyone needs to realize is that the chips/tortillas are freshly made. Not just pressed, but the corn is ground there, pressed, and then made into tortillas/chips. Crunch rim, soft and chewy middle. Load those suckers up with guac, or pic #2 is a shrimp ceviche that I would walk through broken glass to get to.
Pic #3 is octopus. Don’t be scared folks, it’s amazing. The sauce that completes the char on the octopus compliments it perfectly. Soft and tender and refreshing dish. On to the queso fundido…my recommendation…just order this dish…you may want two…cheesey and amazing and served with fresh tortillas, cilantro and pickled onions which complement it perfectly. You can’t go wrong with the starters here.

TACOS

I missed a few pics but I tried the four tacos on the menu. You get three to an order and you are wanting more and more…

*Carnitas – you really can’t go wrong. Tender meat, fresh veggies, and a perfect complement of salsas.

*Fried Avocado Tacos – the surprise of the night. Crispness from the avocado with a chewy interior mixed with the fresh veggies and sauce…yes..I would eat a million of these bad boys.

*Fish Tacos – a huge chunk of white fish. Flaky, delicious and that spice from the salsa makes you happy you have drink next to you. Wonderful fish taco.

*Brisket Tacos – the meat was as tender as you’d expect. The beauty was the guava bbq.

It wouldn’t be hard to put 3 of each taco down during a sitting. Everyone had a something unique about them but everyone was delicious. Share with someone, order all 4 and share. Worth it.

DRINKS

I don’t know shit about cocktails, but I tried everyone on the menu. Watermelon, jalapeno, basil, bell pepper…a mix huge mix of ingredients with the finest booze around and you can’t go wrong when pairing with a taco or ten. Plus, Big Grove has El Lenador on tap..a craft spin on a Mexican lager which was a perfect pairing to everything.

I can’t say enough about how great this place is going to be. Our waitress was beyond terrific and each dish was unique, fresh, and exactly what makes it stand apart and should make you want to get to La Vecina. Sam, Staff, Chefs…keep rolling…this is EXACTLY what the area needs. Cheers!

Abu Nawas Drops this week: Fat Orange Cat, Stillwater, Abomination

A bunch of new brews from 3 great breweries will be hitting the shelves next week from Abu Nawas. Let’s get to it!

FAT ORANGE CAT

  • Fat Orange Cat Blood Orange Billy 16oz CAN – Blood Orange NE-IPA. 6.66% ABV
  • Fat Orange Cat Lorenzo Blue 16oz CAN – New England DIPA LOADED with Galaxy and Citra. 8% ABV.
  • Fat Orange Cat Sweet Jane Pineapple 16oz CAN –  Milkshake IPA brewed with Vanilla, Lactose, Coconut, & Pineapple. 7.9% ABV.
  • Fat Orange Cat FOC All Cats Are Grey in the Dark 16oz CAN –  White Stout – A light colored stout with a hint of coffee and strong notes of both chocolate and vanilla. 7.2% ABV.

STILLWATER

  • Stillwater ASMR Frisson 001 16oz  CAN –  Sour ale brewed with wild blueberry, rolled oats & milk sugar. 6% ABV.
  • Stillwater Log Out 16oz  CAN – Double India pale ale quadruple dry-hopped with Mosaic, Galaxy, Citra, and Nelson Sauvin. 9% ABV.
  • Stillwater This is only a Test Stout 005 CAN – Imperial Stout brewed with Ginger, Chili peppers and Sichuan Peppercorn 11% ABV
  • Stillwater Extra Dry 16oz CAN – A Saison brewed with sake rice and dry hopped with Citra, Hallertau Blanc, and Sterling. 4.2% ABV.
  • Stillwater Artisanal Ales Extra Extra 16oz CAN -Double Brut IPA. 8% ABV
  • Stillwater  Rhinestones & Sequins 16oz CAN – Sour Brut Double IPA brewed with Sauvignon Blanc Grapes. 8% ABV.

Abomination Brewing

  • Abomination Brewing Bedtime Stories 16oz CAN –  Imperial Milk Stout with Graham Crackers, Flaked Oats, Vanilla Beans and Marshmallows. 9.3% ABV.
  • Abomination Brewing Rotting Earth 16oz CAN – Double IPA with a blend of Ariana, Pacific Jade, Eukanot and Denali. 9.3% ABV.
  • Abomination Brewing Shotgun Sour 16oz CAN – Sour Ale brewed with Black Currant, Apricot, & Peach. 6.1% ABV

Backpocket Anniversary Party set for June 29th!

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Backpocket Brewing will be celebrating their 7th Anniversary next month as they host their anniversary party and will be releasing their highly sought after  Anniversary Stout! Live music, food, and most importantly delicious beer aplenty. Here are the deets on the party:

On Saturday, June 29th join us for our private Anniversary Party from 9am – 11am. DJ NYJ will be spinnin tracks from 9am – 12pm as we release our 7th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout. You’ll want to stick around because we will have all you can eat breakfast, timed pins, a surprise brewery only bomber release at 11am, and live music from The Surf Zombies from 4 – 6 pm.
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Tickets will be on sale for the general public Tuesday, May 28th at 8am.
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General Ticket Holders will receive:
(1) Bottle of 7th Anniversary Stout.
(1) Bottle of our 7th Anniversary Stout Double Barrel (Rum and Bourbon) Variant
(1) 4 oz. Pour of 7th Anniversary (Bourbon ONLY)
(1) Exclusive 7th Anniversary Glass
(1) Ticket for ALL YOU CAN EAT breakfast.
Access to a party exclusive pin variant.
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VIP tickets are $110 and will include..
(1) Bottle of 7th Anniversary Stout.
(1) Bottle of 6th Anniversary Stout
(1) Bottle of our 7th Anniversary Stout Variant Double Barrel (Rum and Bourbon) Variant
(1) 4oz. Pour of 7th Anniversary (Bourbon ONLY)
(1) Exclusive 7th Anniversary Glass
(1) Ticket for ALL YOU CAN EAT breakfast.
Access to a party exclusive pin variant

Gezellig Brewing in Newton opening June 7th!

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Newton, IA will be the home of Iowa’s newest brewery as Gezellig Brewing will be opening their doors on June 7th! Before the doors to the brewery open however, you will be able to try their beer if you’re in the Muscatine or Pella area as Bonnie’s on the Avenue in Muscatine and the Cellar Peanut Pub in Pella will have the following brews on tap from Gezellig: Turn Down for Brown, Newtonian Haze IPA, and Kviek and Subscribe IPA. These beers will be tapped at 1:00 this Friday, May 24th at those two locations.

Here’s more info on a couple beers mentioned above, and stay tuned for more info on the opening of this brewery. If you want some Gezellig beers on your lines, reach out to them via their Facebook page by clicking here.

Onto the brews:

*Newtonian Haze – Newtonian Haze checks all the boxes. Plenty hazy, a huge fruity nose, and it’s quaffable as all get out. Massive pineapple, papaya, and passionfruit leap out and say ‘it’s gonna be one of those nights, Jim’. Super-charged lemon lime pineapple coats your tongue but doesn’t overstay its welcome. If you wanted a milkshake, Dairy Queen is down the street. This right here is a drinking beer.

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*Turn Down for Brown -Cool kids beware. Your old man loves this beer and wants to tell THOSE 3 stories all night on repeat. Slight roasty coffee, sweet chocolate, and a hint of vanilla from German Ariana hops are rounded out by a bittering addition of UK Challenger and carefully selected caramel malts. Hunker down in brown town buddy. It’s gonna be a long night.

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Abu Nawas drop this week: Decadent, Evil Twin, Free Thought

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Another big drop of some tasty brews coming from Abu Nawas in the coming week. Here’s what’s coming down the line:

DECADENT

CANS
  • Decadent Ales Bacon French Toast 16oz CANS – 8.4% IPA with Maple Syrup, Caramelized Sugar and Loads of Bacon
  • Decadent Ales Peach Frosted Pastry 16oz CANS –  8.6% DIPA with peaches, cinnamon and allspice added
  • Decadent Ales S’mores 16oz CANS –  9.1% All Mosaic Double Dry-Hopped DIPA brewed with Graham Crackers & Marshmallows
  • Decadent Ales Blueberry Frosted Pastry 16oz CANS – Mosaic Dry-Hopped DIPA brewed with Blueberries & Madagascar Vanilla Beans. 8.6% ABV.
  • Decadent Ales Coconut Almond Macaroon  16oz CANS – Double Dry-Hopped All-Mosaic IPA brewed with Coconut & Almond. 8.2% ABV.
  • Decadent Ales Double Toasted Marshmallow 16oz CANS – Dry hopped with a variety of hops featuring mosaic, Madagascar vanilla bean, marshmallows and a variety of candied, turbinado, coconut and other sugars create the mellow sweetness of campfire toasted marshmallow. 9.1% ABV.
  • Decadent Ales Ecto Cream Pop 16oz CANS – Vanilla makes this “ecto” brew unique from its companions. Or does the Ecto make it unique from its fellow Cream Pops? Double Dry-Hopped IPA with Madagascar vanilla bean, tangerine and orange zest added. 8.7% ABV.
  • Decadent Ales Ectoplasmic Orange 16oz CANS – All Citra double dry hopped IPA, with tangerine and orange zests added.
  • Decadent Ales Multiflora 16oz CANS – All Mosaic Double Dry-Hopped DIPA 9.7% ABV.
  • Decadent Ales Pecan Pie IPA  16oz CANS – Double India Pale Ale with Pecans and Maple Syrup. 5.2% ABV.
  • Decadent Ales Strawberry French Toast 16oz CANS – DIPA with Vermont Maple Syrup, sugar burned and caramelized stove top, juicy strawberries, and a touch of cinnamon. Notes of dough and pancake batter round out the finish. Good for breakfast. Great for dessert. 8.6%
  • Decadent Ales Strawberry Frosted Pastry 16oz CANS – Mosaic Dry-Hopped DIPA brewed with Strawberries & Madagascar Vanilla Beans. 8.6% ABV.
  • Decadent Ales Vermont Maple IPA  16oz CANS – Crisp base beer with a bitter touch that cuts the sweetness of Vermont maple syrup providing a pleasurable aroma on the tongue but still leaving you believing this is an IPA. 4.75% ABV.
  • Decadent Ales Winter Spice French Toast  16oz CANS –  Exactly like it sounds! Spiced Double India Pale Ale with Maple Syrup, Allspice, and Madagascar Vanilla Bean. 8.6% ABV

EVIL TWIN

  • Evil Twin / Decadent Delight #1 16oz CANS – The first collaboration with Evil Twin brewing. This imperial stout was brewed with pistachio. Coconut and cinnamon tie the nutty aroma with the roast and chocolate of the base. 11.7% ABV
  • Evil Twin 60 Day Dry Aged Stout 16 oz CANS – 6% Oatmeal Stout; a bit more easy going than the 90
  • Evil Twin 90 Day Dry Aged Stout 16 oz CANS –  milk stout brewed with dry-aged malt. 9% ABV.
  • Evil Twin Imperial Wedding Cake Break 16oz CANS –  yes, this is a beer brewed with an actual wedding cake. What started as a gift to a friend on his big day quickly made it online with crazy ratings and thus, the latest (one-time) iteration of Imperial Biscotti was born
  • Evil Twin Brewing Sour Sun Saft 16oz CANS –  8% Mosaic DIPA brewed with Black Currant & Mint

Free Thought

  • Free Thought Madcap 16oz  CANS –  6% Sour Ale with Lapsang Souchong (a smoked tea), cocoa and Tamarind
  • Free Thought Superposition 16oz  CANS – 8% Idaho 7 DIPA
  • Free Thought Principia 16oz CANS – Sour Ale brewed with Fennel Pollen, Meyer Lemon, Honey, & Milk Sugar. 6% ABV. ****VERY LIMITED**** FreeThought
  • Free Thought Sapere Aude 16oz CANS – “Dare to think for yourself!” Double IPA hopped with Citra, Whole Cone Citra, & Citra Lulupin Powder. 8.5% ABV.

 

Shakespeare’s Celebrating 20 years on June 8th w/ Richard Macaroon, Carpe Diem, GAZPROM!, and more being tapped!

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Make your calendar for June 8th folks! Shakespeare’s in Iowa City will be celebrating 20 years with a plethora of wondrous beers being tapped! Check it out!

Exile + Uinta team up for Brut IPA Collab! Backcountry Brut set for June 7th release!

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Here is some big news out of Des Moines as Exile and Uinta Brewing have teamed up to brew “Backcountry Brut”, a Brut IPA. Here’s more on this release courtesy of Exile!

Exile Brewing and Uinta Brewing brew collaboration Brut IPA

Exile Brewing (Des Moines, IA) and Uinta Brewing (Salt Lake City, UT) announce Backcountry Brut, a collaboration double brut IPA brewed at Exile for Des Moines Beer Week.

“Collaboration beers represent what we love about craft brewing – community, experimentation, and great beer.  We are big fans of Uinta and are excited to have them at our place to brew, share stories, and enjoy a few beers.” Said Joey Hansen, head brewer at Exile.  After deliberation, brewers at each respective brewery settled on a double brut IPA. “It would be perfect in a dry, sunny climate like Utah or a humid Iowa summer,” says Hansen.

“We love the spirit of collaboration beers and see it as a way to connect with beer enthusiasts in markets we don’t get a chance to spend much time in” said Jeremy Worrell, Director of Marketing at Uinta Brewing. “Believe it or not, there is an abundance of Iowa natives now living in Utah and we consider this their chance to tip the ‘ol cap to those back home” said Worrell. “The team at Exile have been incredibly welcoming through this whole process and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

Backcountry Brut will be packaged in limited quantities of 6-pack bottles and kegs which will only be available for purchase in Iowa.  Release date is set for June 7th, 2019 and will be available on tap and in bottles during Des Moines Beer Week.

Drink This! Clock House Low Bandito Cherry/Coconut

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One of my favorite tap rooms to visit is at Clock House Brewing. Something about that space that just makes me feel comfortable, and the fact that they are turning out some damn tasty brews too. I stopped in on a relatively slow Sunday afternoon and was lucky enough to have a pour of their Low Bandito Cherry/Coconut barrel-aged stout.

Low Bandito is their imperial stout and they’ve made some different variants of that tasty brew. I’ve had the vanilla, chocolate, coconut variant and really enjoyed that but the Cherry Coconut really stood out! Here’s more on this brew:

Driftless Glenn Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Aged on tart cherries and coconut

Wonderful aroma from the barrel that blends really well with the subtle coconut flavor. Cherry wasn’t prevalent right away but after it warmed the cherry really shined through. I ordered a Hazy Clock Tease while I let the Bandito sit for a while just to get more from that tart cherry. This checks in at a 9.6% but it was trying not to order a second draw.

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I’m not sure how much of this brew Todd and Clock House have left so you might want to make the trek to downtown CR to get yourself a taste of this delicious brew. It is CR Craft beer so that can be your reason to get out and Drink This!

HUGE Crooked Stave drop coming from Abu Nawas!

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Tons of great Crooked Stave beers will be making their way to our shelves here in Iowa in the next week! Huge list so make sure to read through carefully!

CANS

  • Von Pilsner 12oz CAN – Unfiltered Keller Pilsner
  • CO WildSage 12oz CAN – Brett saison brewed with lemongrass and sage
  • St. Bretta 12oz CAN –  Brettanomyces citrus saison
  • Coffee Baltic Porter 12oz CAN – Baltic porter featuring rotating coffee roasters
  • Crooked Stave IPA  12oz CAN –  American style IPA
  • Do You Even Zest?! DIPA 12oz CAN – Citrus Double IPA ***NEW CAN*** Elevated from our experimental hazy IPA series, Do You Even Zest?! is a limited release loaded with an immense amount of hops and freshly zested citrus. This Citrus Double IPA was born out of our playful nature as brewers looking to challenge the status quo. Our team meticulously zests fresh citrus for each and every batch, which begs the question, do you even zest?
  • Sour Rosé 12oz CAN – Wild ale aged in oak barrels with raspberries and blueberries

750’s LIMITED

  • Framboise 2018  – Golden sour ale aged in oak barrels with Washington raspberries and vanilla beans.
  • Origins Vintage
  • Silly Cybies  – Belgian style dark ale aged in oak barrels with Washington raspberries
  • Mama Bears Sour Cherry Pie 2017  – Burgundy sour ale aged in oak barrels with Colorado Montmorency cherries
  • L’Brett d’Apricot 2017  – Golden sour ale aged in oak barrels with Colorado apricots
  • L’Brett d’Or  – Surreal golden sour ale aged in oak barrels
  • Surette Reserva Palisade Peach 2017 – Reserva saison aged in oak barrels with Palisade peaches
  • Nightmare on Brett Vintage – Dark sour ale aged in Leopold Bros whiskey barrels
  • Nightmare on Brett Sour Cherry 2017 l – Dark sour ale aged in Leopold Bros whiskey barrels with Colorado Montmorency sour cherries

375s

  • Sunnyside of Bruxelles  – Sunnyside Sour Red/Brown Ale brewed in collaboration with Yvan De Baets from Brasserie de la Senne.
  • Raspberry Origins
  • Blueberry Origins
  • Petite Sour Tart Cherry
  • Petite Sour Blueberry 2016 Vintage  – Mixed fermentation ale aged in oak with Washington blueberries
  • Petite Sour Raspberry 2016 Vintage  – Mixed fermentation ale aged in oak with Washington raspberries
  • Petite Sour Rosé  – 2016 Vintage  – Wild ale aged in oak barrels on fruit skins
  • Petite Sour Peach  – Mixed fermentation ale aged in oak with Colorado Palisade peaches
  • St. Bretta  – Brettanomyces citrus saison
  • Vieille  – Artisanal barrel-aged saison lightly dry hopped
  • CO Wild Sage  – Brett saison brewed with lemongrass and sage
  • L’Brett d’Or Vintage  – Surreal Golden Sour Ale Aged in Oak Barrels
  • L’Brett d’Apricot  – Golden sour ale aged in oak barrels with Colorado apricots
  • Raspberry Bianca WWB  – A new school gose brewed with lactose and added raspberries, brewed in collaboration with Omnipollo 
  • Key Lime Tau – Collaboration with Hawkshead Brewery, a mixed culture fermentation brewed with lactose, fresh lime peel and lemongrass
  • Progenitor  – Dry hopped golden sour ale
  • HopSavant  – American Brettanomyces IPA
  • Vieille  – Artisanal barrel-aged saison lightly dry hopped
  • CO WildSage  – Brett saison brewed with lemongrass and sage
  • Progenitor – Dry hopped golden sour ale
  • Nightmare on Brett Blueberry 2015 – Dark sour ale aged in Leopold Bros whiskey barrels with Washington blueberries
  • Nightmare on Brett Raspberry 2015 – Dark sour ale aged in Leopold Bros whiskey barrels with Washington Raspberries
  • Ampersand Vol. 3 Ch. 1 –  Golden Sour Botanical Ale, Aged in Ransom Old Tom Gin Barrels
  • Ampersand Vol. 3 Ch. 2 – Burgundy Sour Ale, Aged in Ransom Rye Whiskey Barrels
  • Wild Wild Brett Batch #200 –  American Wild Ale Aged With Raspberries and Dry Hopped
  • Surette Reserva Prunus Persica – Golden sour ale aged in oak barrels with peaches We have hand picked each Surette Reserva from unique batches that develop with indefinable complexity. Through embracing variation within our brewing seasons, each limited release is an expression of the terroir from which our fruit is sourced, the skilled stewardship of the farmers we work with, and the rustic beers we produce.