So many great things have happened in Eastern Iowa this past year. The number of nationally renowned breweries that have hit our shelves has made our choices as consumers a bit more difficult but also more fun. But for me, the biggest events of the last 12-18 months has been the opening of some new breweries in the Eastern Iowa area. Big Grove in Solon is a little more than a year old, Lion Bridge is still in infancy age but making headlines with their fantastic beers, Millstream hitting a homerun with their raspberry latte stout, Backpocket pushing out new beers at a high rate, and Kalona really making its mark with their impressive lineup. Some breweries in Des Moines I didn’t get to spend much time at, so if you didn’t make the list, chances are I didn’t get out to try your brews. A New Year’s Resolution I need to make is to visit every Iowa brewery, but with 3 kids it can be a bit of a chore.
Onto the first part of my list:
*Lion Bridge Coffee Compensation* – a variant from their gold medal winning Workman’s Compensation, this brew is made with Ethiopian Banko Beans and is the perfect breakfast beer if there ever was one. So good, and now available in growler fills.
*Madhouse Brewing V.I.P. Double Porter* – I really enjoyed last year’s version but this years has a bit more tasty barrel on it that I really enjoyed. Luckily I stocked up a snagged 5 bottles for myself. Comes in at 10.5% so pace yourself, a good one to share, but I’ll take the bottle myself.
*West O Beer Coco Stout* – with all things imperial and barrel-aged it’s nice to have just a fantastic stout to drink during these winter months. I was lucky enough to try this while it was on tap at Lion Bridge and I’m glad I did. Chocolate and coffee in the forefront of this Great American Beer Festival gold medal winner!
*Big Grove Que Onda Roja* – in the world of sours Big Grove is starting to make their mark. One of the more complex beers I’ve had this year and I the first time I tried it I was pretty confused. Did I love it? Dislike it? Well, after a few more tastings, this beer is becoming more and more sour and more and more likable. Awesome brew that’s getting better!
*Great River Imperial Gingerbread Stout* – this was a happy accident finding this on tap. Shopping with my wife when we decided some coffee was in order. Went to Brewvana in the New-Bo district and was surprised to see this on tap. This is what Xmas should taste like! Not overally spiced, just the perfect amount of clove and spice. Tasty brew!
**Okay, part 1 is done. Part 2 coming soon. I hope to hear from some of you on your lists. I have 10 to go and it’s going to be difficult! **