There’s no better place to warm up during the month of January in Iowa than Lion Bridge Brewing in Cedar Rapids as they have announced their “Barrel-Aged January” schedule! Beer, food, and more beer throughout the month of January, check the schedule below courtesy of Lion Bridge’s Facebook page:
BARREL-AGED JANUARY 2023
Saturday 1/7 at 11am —- THREE BEER RELEASES
Home-Baked 2023 (Imperial Stout w/ Hazelnut, Cinnamon, Cacao, Love, 11%) – Dessert for your desert island. Fudge and saigon cinnamon meld with a little bit of hazelnut goodness and bourbon barrel to produce something we liken to a cookie in beer form.
Vanilla Home-Baked (Imperial Stout/ Hazelnut, Cinnamon, Cacao, Vanilla, 11%) – We took our dessert for a desert island and dosed it with huge amounts of whole bean Madagascar Vanilla. An even more decadent treat!
Power Crystal (Imperial Stout w/Maple Syrup, 12%) – REWORK DESCRIPTION…. You have the power in you… Manifest/// Mind, body, spirit…. Collaboration with Illuminations Center for Enlightment in NewBo
Complimentary Donut Wall (while supplied last)
Food Special! Poblano Short Ribs on Goat Cheese Polenta
Illuminations Center for Enlightenment will be at our Taproom with a Crystal display for sale from 12-4
WED 1/11– Home-Baked 2022 – (Imperial Stout/ Hazelnut, Cinnamon, Cacao, Vanilla, 11%) – Last year’s Vintage of Home-Baked.
WED 1/18 Royal Wee 2017 (Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale, 10.5%) – A Lion Bridge deep cut for our loyal followers. Come try a BAJ beer from 6 years ago! Last keg in existence!
Saturday 1/21 11am- FOUR BEERS RELEASES!!!
Dark Money (Barrel-Aged Imperial Milk Stout w/Amburana wood, 12%) – Amburana wood aging contributes flavors akin to gingerbread. A fascinating addition to an already beautiful beer.
Percussive Maintenance (Barrel-Aged Macaroon Stout, 12%) – Aged 14 months in Willet Barrels, then blended with a heavy dose of toasted and untoasted coconut as well as cacao nibs. A decadent treat for a time when we need to savor every sip.
Forgotten Time (Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, 12%) – The real deal Barley Wine. Brewed in collaboration with our friends at Clockhouse Brewing. Aged for 18 months in 10-year-old Templeton barrels. Sherry, chocolate, dark fruit for days.
Remembered Time 2022 (Barrel-Aged Strong Ale, 12%) – Our first Barrel-Aged January Collaboration ever! We worked with our friends at Clock House to brew a rich Barley Wine and then blended it with some strong stout from our cellar to make something entirely new and amazing.
Brunch & Music !!
Food Special- Brunch Boards for sharing (4 or 2 people)
ALL MONTH FOOD SPECIAL!
Maple Bacon Burger
Beef burger topped with house-made maple coffee jam, bacon, caramelized onions, lettuce and garlic aioli all on a pretzel bun and served with kettle chips or your choice of upgraded side. (Add a sunny side up egg and/or cheese!)
Suggested pairing Home-Baked 2023
Big news out of Cedar Rapids as Iowa Brewing Company will be coming off of their ever popular Cousin Eddie Thanksgiving Day party and on Black Friday releasing Barrel-Aged Imperial Oja and variants. Here’s a rundown of this release courtesy of Iowa Brewing’s Facebook page:
We’re releasing FOUR barrel-aged beer variations of our popular Oja Baltic Porter. Availability starting on Black Friday.
Barrel-Aged Imperial Oja – Regular
Barrel-Aged Imperial Oja – Double Vanilla
Barrel-Aged Imperial Oja – Cordial Cherry
Barrel-Aged Imperial Oja – Praline Coconut
All four variations have been aged in Cedar Ridge bourbon barrels.
It’s that time of year! For the 3rd year in a row I’ve teamed up with Gly-Mawr The Local in Mt. Vernon, IA to put together an Iowa-only beer advent calendar! We tried to include as many Iowa breweries as possible and also to include different options than we had last year! With that being said, I’ll be giving one calendar away to one lucky winner! Here’s how you can win!
**Comment on any of my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram pages (@iabeerbaron) where this link is posted by telling me your absolute favorite Iowa brewed beer, Iowa brewery and tag one of your friends and share the post!
-Deadline: Last time to comment to enter the drawing will be Wednesday, November 16th @ 8:00 p.m. I will be randomly drawing a name and will contact the winner. Pick up times for the calendar are as follows:
Please spread the word! There are a few calendars left for purchase as well and they make wonderful gifts! Cheers and good luck! For more info on the calendar please click HERE!
Lua Brewing will be the place to be as they are welcoming 3 new beers to their portfolio this coming Friday September 16th! A collab with Pulpit Rock and another with Horus Aged Ales out of California! Here’s the latest from the folks at Lua:
Two and a half years ago, we spent some time with our friends from @prbrewing and designed a stout recipe destined for barrels. Our friendship with the team at Pulpit is a special one, having such admiration for their beer long before Lua materialized. We look to the team there to inspire us, and push us to constantly improve our craft. We also have immense respect for them personally, and admire their integrity and care for their customers and community.
The beer we came up with was straightforward, a double mash, long boil stout that rested for well over 2 years in bourbon barrels. Two of these barrels were exemplary in our eyes, and worthy of showcasing on their own, unblended. The beer became Wistful, an homage to the time it was brewed, before the residual sugar arms race really reared its head.
WISTFUL BARREL #1 (14.9%) Imperial stout aged in a single Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel. Limit is one (1) 375mL bottle per person.
WISTFUL BARREL #2 (14.9%) Imperial stout aged in a single Blanton’s bourbon barrel. Limit is one (1) 375mL bottle per person.
GRACKLE (15%) Kyle from @horusagedales came over to the Hawkeye state a few months ago and helped us brew this big ol’ stout. Imperial stout conditioned on a whole buncha macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, & cacao nibs. Limit is two (2) 750mL bottles per person.
TWO WAYS to order:
– The good old fashioned line! Grab your favorite lawn chair and camp out. You’ll be handed a ticket for your bottles in line, and doors open at 11AM for purchases. Cutoff for tickets will be 10:30AM. Stay, have some pours, & hang .
– Online ordering through TOAST! Bottles go live at 10:45AM CST. Proxies are allowed (just make sure your proxy has your order number and name ready at pickup). All bottles MUST be picked up at the Lua Taproom by end of service (11pm) on 9/16.
See you all this Friday. Who’s ready for a #PatioStout?!
Pretzel Stout – Chocolate stout that was infused with pretzels with a splash of peanut butter.
Oatmeal Stout – Experimental oatmeal stout that has a touch of vanilla (draft only/taproom release)
Cereal Killer – Hazy IPA with loaded with lactose, marshmallow and mosaic, azacca and equinox hops then infused with hundreds of pounds of fruity cereal.
Saturday Morning Raspberry/Feijoa – One of our favorites in the Saturday Morning smoothie sour series with the return of Raspberry and Feijoa which is a mix of strawberry, guava and pineapple fruit flavors.
Another year in the books, and like every year since I’ve been doing this blog and releasing my Top 10 I was once again blown away by the amazing beers that our Iowa brewers and their staff have made for us this year! Not only that, the resiliency shown by breweries/restaurants/bars during the past few years cannot be overlooked and huge thank you to all service industry workers! Cheers to you! Onto the TOP 10!
*Beer must have been brewed in Iowa
*Beer must have been released in 2021
*Annual releases not counted unless a new adjunct had been added to that particular beer
Like every list, I know opinions will differ and I’m looking forward to reading what your top 10 list was for this year! Once again, so many beers, so little time, and I know I wasn’t able to even scratch the surface as to the beers I wanted to try!
**Big Grove Richard the Whale Chocolate Coconut Cake– – this year’s “Golden Ticket” beer during the Richard the Whale release, and like every year, it does not disappoint. Chocolate and coconut shine as this is wonderfully balanced, great for any time of the day, another win for Big Grove with this beer!
**Lion Bridge Silvia – Farmhouse ales are a style that goes overlooked and thankfully is making their way back to some breweries, and Lion Bridge not only made a great one, but possibly my favorite beer of the year. It was a perfect accompaniment to the Thanksgiving dinner table..not just one bottle either…If you’re a saison/farmhouse ale fan this is one to definitely try!
**Pulpit Rock Island Life – first enjoyed on a guy’s trip to Decorah and was blown away by the wonderful tropical flavor this beer brought. Maybe the setting had a lot to do with it, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a great beer to drink!
**Gezellig Long Story Short – 4.9%– smoothie sours/seltzers were all the rage in the beer world this past year and Iowa breweries sure made a whole lot of good ones. One of my favorites comes from the lovely folks in Newton, Iowa at Gezellig. Strawberry starbursts and pomegranate helped make this a flavor packed brew!
**Lua Brewing Dawn – 13.5% – part of last year’s “Resolution” I set for myself was trying to make it to Central and Western Iowa more often to taste what the breweries are pushing out there, especially the ones that don’t get much distro to Eastern Iowa..I kind of failed in that endeavor, however, I did get to Des Moines a few times and was able to procure some Lua brews! One that really stood out was this imperial stout. Coffee and a hint of vanilla make this decadent brew stand out, and hides that ABV very well! Looking forward to more from Lua in 2022!
**Clock House Brewing Barrel Aged Peanut Panic Porter – 12% – the base beer was one of my favorites in 2020 and then adding it to barrels and resting it on peanuts, cocoa nibs, and vanilla really added more depth to an already wonderful beer. The misconception from some was that this was a peanut “butter” beer, not the case, straight up peanuts and the balance of the flavors comes through remarkably!
**Adventurous Easy Peel (triple dry hopped Mosaic)- 8.3% – the 2nd Easy Peel I’ve had this year and I think the Mosaic barely beats out the El Dorado for me. Both very good and the combo of the mosaic hops and cryo mosaic hops really stands out. Excellent beer, any of the Easy Peel beers from Adventurous would be a safe bet!
**Lion Bridge Percussive Maintenance Macaroon – 11% – Chocolate and coconut paired with a great barrel is hard to go wrong and Lion Bridge balances this beer perfectly. There are some beers that you’ll always remember opening and pouring and this is definitely one of those for me. One to sip on yourself or share with someone you care about….a moment making beer for sure! One of the best of the year!
**Lua Pushpop: Because My Heart is in Iowa – Lua Pushpops can be hard to come by if you live in Eastern Iowa, luckily they sometimes drop a few beers off at Tin Roost in North Liberty to get us a taste here in Eastern Iowa. Mango and cherry beer, super thick and delicious. Lua dominated the slushie/sour landscape in the beer world! A trip to Des Moines in needed soon!
**Dimensional You Down with OCP – 13.1% – Pastry stouts can be hit and miss with me. Many are too sweet for my liking, and the adjuncts are too dominate over the base beer, but not with this one…Dimensional added 100 lbs each of oatmeal cream pies, oatmeal cookies, and toasted coconut to this big beer and it worked wonderfully. Not too sweet at all, in fact, if the 13.1% wouldn’t drop me I could easily see myself sipping on glass #2 letting the beer warm me up in the Iowa winter!
Friday night, December 3rd, sitting on a high raise table overlooking some of the best chefs in the state, maybe even the country, put on an absolute clinic on cooking, plating, and presenting some of the most wonderful food I’ve ever had put in front of me, all the while sipping on the yet to be released Richard the Whale Well Baked and Shadeshine IPA….I thought to myself…all food/beer lovers need to experience this one day and how lucky I was at that moment to get to take part in it. Big Grove has been the upper echelon on their releases, especially the Richard the Whale release, and every year they make it even more enjoyable with their food and beer offerings, but the one thing that shines even more than those things is just how amazing their staff is. Friendly, helpful, and just overall looking like they are happy to be there. This setup was a spectacle, setup like an Iron Chef type feel, video displayed on TVs showing the chefs plating, the amount of work and thought put into everything was evident. I won’t be breaking down every dish, I’ll trickle some pictures here and there, take a look and let your mouth water.
Watching the chefs put their talents on display for a 15 course dinner of foods that elegant was the ultimate treat. The care about what they serve, the interaction with the diners, and pure joy and smiles they had throughout the night was reflected in every dish. I do want to implore you, that if the chance to go to a Big Grove beer dinner is ever on the table for you, no matter what..do it…it’s worth it..it will be completely worth it….do not hesitate…this group of people simply do it the best!
Thank you Janelle for having me, thanks to all the chefs especially Ben, Sean, and T.J., thanks do Doug and Matt, thanks to Andy for sampling out some of their amazing beers…now it’s time to make your mouth water with some pictures! Cheers and thank you BG!
Add November 20th to your beer calendars and plan a trip to West Des Moines to get in line for the release of Barn Town’s BA Cicada Killer! Here’s more from Barn Town on this sought after release:
Mark those calendars! Saturday, November 20th, BARREL AGED CICADA KILLER is back in two new versions! We are super stoked about these two and look forward to you getting your hands on them! First, COCONUT FUDGE! Thicc and brewed with a ton of toasted coconut and cacao nibs aged for over a year. Second is CINNAMON, COCONUT, CARAMEL, & CHOCOLATE, also aged for over a year. Both will be in new formats of 500 ml bottles. Stay tuned for allotment and price info.
A hectic month that once again becomes bearable thanks to the brilliance and deliciousness of Lion Bridge Brewing company’s “Barrel-Aged January”. Year after year this remarkable brewery plans, develops, and brews some of the best beers in the state and maybe even the country. As of typing this, many of these releases are still available at the brewery! So, there are a lot of Drink These! beers listed, but the beauty with many, if not all of these beers is that you can buy a 4 pack, drink 2, and store two. Or in my case, drink 3 or 4, store 1 or none! Either way, well worth the trip to Lion Bridge before they are gone!
BA January Beer #1 – GAZPROM! Double Maple w/Coffee – 11% ABV
Lion Bridge’s GABF award-winning barrel-aged stout with Dark Roast Dash coffee and extra maple deliciousness!
BA January kicked off with a great start. The beauty of this beer is the balance between the barrel, the coffee, and the maple. Coffee can sometimes dominate a beer and so can maple syrup. In this beer, the coffee is upfront and is balanced perfectly on the finish with maple. When meshed this well, coffee and maple make a happy couple!
BA January Beer #2 – 2021 GAZPROM! – 11% ABV
Their 2016 GABF Bronze Medal Winner for Specialty Beer. Viscous and black. After primary fermentation this oily, Russian giant is re-fermented with Iowa dark maple syrup in bourbon barrels then blended back together to add consistency and complexity.
The beer (I assume) that started the BA January revolution! GAZPROM! returns and its 2021 form is just as good as I remember with the barrel flavor really standing out. Every year this is an excellent beer.
BA January Beer #3 – 2021 Homebaked – 11% ABV
Dessert for your desert island.
Fudge and Saigon cinnamon meld with a little bit of hazelnut goodness to produce something we liken to a cookie in beer form.
There’s not much left to be said about Homebaked really. This may be the best beer in Iowa, one of the best beers in the country, and definitely a beer that is worth seeking out. A beer that must be purchased every time you see it available!
BA January Beer #4 – Percussive Maintenance – 11% ABV
Put in barrels back when the world was a simpler place. Aged for 10 months then blended with a heavy dose of toasted and untoasted coconut as well as cacao nibs. A decadent treat for a time when we need to savor every sip.
An amazingly decadent beer! Barrel lovers and coconut lovers rejoice, as the beer you’ve been waiting for has arrived! Percussive Maintenance hits the nail on the head for those who aren’t necessarily into the overly sweet pastry stouts; instead we get more of a dark chocolate coconut combo that is more fresh coconut then sweetened and the balance of the barrels really makes this a special beer!
As Lion Bridge’s barrel-aged January comes to a close there is still hope for those who haven’t been down to the Czech Village to get a taste! All of these beers are still available for purchase in the taproom! If you’re lucky you may get a taste of one of them on tap, but you can definitely get a 4 pack or a few bottles to take home, and believe me, you should do just that and Drink These beers!