Iowa Brewers Guild Presents: “BYOB Virtual Beer Festival”!

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Grab some of your favorite Iowa brewed beers and join your fellow Iowa beer lovers, Iowa beer brewers, and Iowa beer workers as the Iowa Brewers Guild is hosting a “BYOB Virtual Beer Festival” on March 28th with all proceeds will go to Iowa’s brewing industry staff. Here’s more on this great event:

A BYOB virtual beer festival to raise money for Iowa’s brewing industry staff. Though we love to drink beer in the company of friends, the future of one of our favorite pastimes—beer festivals—is tenuous. And so are the livelihoods of our Iowa breweries and their teams. To help our industry staff in their time of need, the Iowa Brewers Guild is holding a BYOB “virtual beer festival,” and you’re invited to join us!

Here’s how it works:

1. Buy a ticket

2. Pick up some of your favorite Iowa beer

3. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram on Saturday, March 28, so we can drink beer together (from a safe distance), with the help of our hashtag, #virtualbeerfest

ALL proceeds will go to affected Iowa Brewers Guild member breweries’ staff that have lost jobs or significant hours!

More info and how to get a limited edition shirt at www.virtualbeerfest.org

Big Grove Brewery Celebrating 3 years w/ 4 new can releases on 3/14!

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Big Grove in Iowa City will be celebrating their 3 year anniversary on March 14th and in doing so will be releasing 5 beers, 4 of which had yet to be canned. This beers will be available in Iowa City and Solon locations on March 14th! Here’s more from BGB!

Iowa City Lager | German Style Pilsner
Color TV | Hazy Double IPA w/ Galaxy
Passion Fruit Vanilla | Fruited Sour Ale
Creek Jumper | New World Pale Ale
Bananas Foster | Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Bananas

Available ONLY at Big Grove Brewery in Solon and Iowa City starting Saturday March 14. Both locations opening at 10:00AM.

Drink This! Lion Bridge Home Baked 2020

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We are in the middle of Lion Bridge’s Barrel-Aged January and last night I was able to get a sneak peek of one of, if not, their most sought after beers, Home Baked! (Thanks Lange Brothers!).

I wouldn’t say last year’s release of Home Baked was a surprise hit since all of what Lion Bridge releases is of the best quality, but I think after a few social media posts, untappd check ins, and Iowa Craft Beer Crew posts this beer hit “best of Iowa” status quickly and the demand went through the roof! Attention from the 2019 version continued through the year and the countdown to today’s release (1/15) began! Here’s the deets from LB on their brew:

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

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I was lucky enough to be a +1 at the early release for Lion Bridge’s CSA members and eagerly watched with bated breath as the beer tender poured my beer. Served at the perfect temperature, maybe even let sit a bit after the initial pour, the aromas of hazelnut and cinnamon hit your nose immediately. The first sip is cinnamon with the roasted hazelnut, almost a coconutty taste to it followed by hit of fudge. The second sip…. pure decadence!

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The beauty of this beer is that not one adjunct dominates the flavor, they all mesh perfectly well and you get a hit of each with every sip. This is a beer to seek out, to beg a buddy to mule for you if you can’t get to CR, to pray to the beer gods that one winds up in your kitchen ready to be poured. Every sip comes with a smile!

This is one of the best beers that is brewed in Iowa…without a doubt and this year’s version may even be better than the 2019. Lion Bridge does it again…place of employment is canceled today, beer releases at 3:00 p.m…..hmm.. it looks like the beer gods want me to get more of this I believe! See you there and Drink This!

Beer Baron’s Top 10 Iowa Beers of 2019!

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Another Top 10 list coming at you as I present to you, dear reader, my top 10 “Iowa Beers” of 2019! Once again, this list is of beers released in 2019, Iowa brewed, and with annual releases (Richard the Whale, GAZPROM!) they aren’t counted unless the brewery releases a beer with that base and a new adjunct to it. I’ve missed out on many beers this year, one being the B.A. Cake Walk from Pulpit which many of you were lucky enough to try. Another great year in Iowa Beer as our breweries keep turning out amazing things!

I’d also love to hear your Top 10 beers of the year, so shoot back on me here or on the Iowa Beer page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter! So, after tedious nights of drinking amazing beer, here’s my top 10 (in no particular order)!

**Big Grove Brewery Richard the Whale Hazelnut + Chocolate -11.5%- this is a beer that was overshadowed by the golden ticket release of Richard Coconut Vanilla, and maybe rightfully so as that beer is amazing, but if you have a bottle of this, drink it! You’d be hard pressed to find a beer with that much hazelnut flavor that is balanced perfect with chocolate. Big Grove continues to shine with their Richard series!

**Confluence Brewing Smoothest Road Hazy Triple IPA- 10% – Confluence teamed up with Weldwerks Brewing to come up with this Triple and they really nailed it. Smoothest in the title and that’s exactly what can be said about a triple that drinks like a regular hazy. Delicious and easy drinking, watch out for that 10% on this baby! Keep this coming Confluence!

**Clock House Brewing Pineapple Witch Slap– 6% – what a great year for Clock House as Todd and crew have been busy cranking out some delicious beers and even a few can/crowler releases. One of the most notable for me was an off shoot of their popular Witch Slap IPA, Pineapple Witch Slap. All the greatness from Witch Slap with some fresh tasting pineapple added to it. What I like the best in adjunct beers is when it doesn’t taste artificial, and this beer was the perfect example. Fresh pineapple, the perfect beer for a warm day or any day for that matter!

**Lion Bridge Brewing Home Baked – 11% – this was the beer that started off my 2019 and to top this beer would be quite an accomplishment! I must be a sucker for hazelnut in my stouts, and add some cinnamon and fudge and you have one of the best beers ever brewed in Iowa!

**Toppling Goliath Double Dry Hopped King Sue-7.8% – I’m not sure when this was actually released so if it was early then 2019, my bad. But, I recently had my first bottle of it and it has to be up there with the best IPAs brewed in the state. Delicious beer!

**Dimensional Brewing Imperial Peanut Butter Cup – 10% – was lucky enough to get this on tap on trip to Dubuque. If you did peanut butter porters/stouts then this is one you need to try. Not overly sweet either, that can be a deal breaker for me. Dimensional continues to do great things after celebrating their 1 year anniversary!

**Big Grove Richard the Whale Vanilla Coconut – 11.5% – one of the best beers of the year no doubt! The “golden ticket” beer has exceeded the hype. The coconut shines, and once again not too sweet. I don’t know how Big Grove can outdo themselves again next year, but I’m sure they will. A beer of the year nominee!

**Pulpit Rock Gravy Boat – 7.1% – I know it’s not the B.A. Cake Walk that would make everyone’s list if you tried it, but Pulpit is continually making great beers of almost every style. Their sours/stouts/pils/pastry stouts/IPAs are all delicious. Gravy Boat is an IPA that I could drink many of, and in fact, many of these pairs well with some Need Pizza!

**Clock House Snozberry Sour – 5% – one of the best kettle sours I’ve ever had as Clock House loaded this baby up with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Sessionable and not overly tart. This would be ideal on a hot summer day!

**Lion Bridge Double Maple GAZPROM! – 12% – barrel aged January was amazing in 2019 and expectations have been set high for 2020! One of the highlights along with Home Baked was Double Maple GAZPROM! They upped the maple dosage and turned this into an even more decadent delight!

Well, there’s this year’s list…..Once again, sooooo many great beers being produced in our lovely state that it is hard to get your hands on all of them! It’s a great problem to have! Cheers to the breweries and the folks in the brewing industry and thanks to all the readers of this blog and my @iabeerbaron twitter handle, as well as the Iowa Beer Facebook members. I would love to hear your top 10 so give me a shout! Cheers!

 

Richard the Whale 2019 Release Review

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Just when you think Big Grove can’t do any better with a big time release, 2019 Richard comes around! From top to bottom, one of, if not the best release I’ve been to!

It would be hard for a brewery to top what Big Grove did in 2018 with Macaroon Richard and Double Barrel Richard but they pulled it off and the star of the show may be my front runner as 2019 Iowa Beer of the Year and that was Coconut Vanilla Richard.

My buddies and I arrived at around 5:30 and the line was probably 50-60 deep by that point with a big congregation of beer lovers circling the fire pits outside and tasting some great beers. The beauty with some of these releases is people sharing some really hard to find beers while waiting in line with complete strangers. All one big beer loving family. The doors opened at 8 and as you walked in with your precious golden ticket you were greeted by the Big Grove family with a fist bump or a high five. We found some seats, ordered ourselves a Coconut Vanilla and were blown away. Liquid almond joy with a kiss of barrel. Outstanding beer!

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The beer wasn’t the only star of the show as a brunch buffet that included fresh shucked oysters, homemade bagels and lox, a Richard donut wall, bacon, potatoes, sausage, etc. is what really puts this release over the edge. Throughout the morning you would see Big Grove brewers and employees talking and interacting with many of their customers.

A four pack, glass, a pour, brunch, golden ticket, and a friendly ambiance and overall wonderful experience are what makes this a can’t miss event every year. Cheers BG crew, can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2020!

 

Lion Bridge releasing “Oakonut Delight” Imperial Stout on Black Friday!

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Black Friday has gone from Christmas shopping to beer shopping for many of us and Lion Bridge brewery has thrown their hat into the ring! On Black Friday, tap room only, they will be releasing “Oakonut Delight” Imperial Stout! Here’s more on this delicious sounding brew courtesy of Lion Bridge:

Oakonut Delight will be a brand new Imperial Stout from us at Lion Bridge. Coconut, Chocolate, Caramel and 10 months in whiskey barrels. Really looking forward to this.

Dimensional Brewing 1 Year Anniversary Party set for November 23rd!

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Dimensional Brewing in Dubuque will be celebrating their one year anniversary part on Saturday November 23rd. A huge tap list of beers, a band, and a food truck along with bottle releases will be part of this event. Here’s more from Dimensional:

We can’t believe its been almost a year already, so we are throwing ourselves a birthday celebration! Will have an awesome tap list on Saturday along with a bottle/crowler release that is sure to tickle you tastebuds.

**Details Below (will be updated with prices and limits as we get closer to the day):**

Saturday at 10:30 am, we will be releasing 375ml bottles of 2 new imperial stouts which will be sold in 4 packs of 2 of each.
– Sweet Acoustics: 13.5% ABV thicc imperial stout with Madagascar vanilla beans.
– Gussied Up: 13.5% ABV thicc imperial stout with Jumble Coffee, Madagascar vanilla beans, toasted coconut and cinnamon.

There will also be crowlers available of the following:
– Bubble Baths with Nelson: 7.2% New England IPA w/ Citra & Nelson Sauvin hops.
– Robot Voice: 6.6% New England IPA w/ Galaxy, Citra, & El Dorado hops.
– 90 Mile Smile: 4.7% Margarita Style Gose w/ Raspberry, Lime & Sea Salt we did with our pals from Pulpit Rock Brewing Company

The tasty vittles from Grillbilly’s BBQ will be available for purchase.

Cranes/Vultures will be playing the taproom from 7-10

and, of course, our traditional Saturday night Cookie Time at 10pm

Big Grove Richard the Whale release set for Dec. 7th, both locations! Tickets on sale October 9th!

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Big news from Solon and Iowa City today as Big Grove has announced the release of their popular Richard the Whale brew! The release date is set for December 7th and the tickets will go on sale the coming Wednesday, October 9th! They will be doing another golden ticket release so look for that as well! Here’s more on this release:

This year, Big Grove Brewpub in Solon joins the fun! Richard the Whale, our bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout returns for its annual party on Saturday, December 7. If you’re solely looking for a four-pack of bottles and collector’s glass, you’re invited to our Solon Brewpub! Tickets on sale Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 8:00am.

This ticket includes a collector’s glass and personal four-pack of Richard the Whale: 2 Richard the Whale, 1 Richard the Whale Coffee, 1 Richard the Whale Chocolate Hazelnut.

This package is $79.00 and can be purchased online here.

Golden Ticket beer, Richard the Whale Vanilla Coconut (500 mL), is exclusively available in Iowa City during the brunch bottle release party from 8:00-11:00am.

Tickets will be available through Eventbrite at this link.

Quarter Barrel “Darkest Peru” Imperial Stout 4 pack going to the Pop Culture Trivia winner on September 10th!

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Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery with some fun news to share. On September 10th they will be hosting a Beer and Pop Culture Trivia Night on September 10th and the winning group on this night will be receiving a 4 pack of their yet to be released 4 pack imperial stout called “Darkest Peru”! Here’s more on this tasty sounding brew:

It’s a 14% abv imperial stout that was aged in bourbon barrels for 9 months and with Peruvian coffee, Peruvian cacao nibs, and an herb called Huacatay that is also known as Peruvian Black Mint (it’s not particularly “minty”, but just adds some spice to the heat).

And for you trivia freaks who happen to be beer freaks…here’s how you sign up for this event:

Maybe you can’t pronounce Reinheitsgebot, and for all you know, the ingredients in beer are hops, skips, and jumps … but you’ve grown up on movies, music, and TV that more than occasionally reference the world’s greatest beverage. Queue up some old episodes of Cheers, re-watch Strange Brew, channel your inner Barney Stinson and join us for Beer in Pop Culture trivia on Tuesday, September 10. The Quarter Barrel is the featured brewery at this year’s BrewNost International Beer Festival at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, so we’ve teamed up with them for a little pre-game fun.

We cap Trivia at 20 teams. The cost is $5 per team and registration proceeds will benefit the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. You need your team size and team name to register. Teams are limited to 6 members or less. Trivia sells out so register now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beer-in-pop-culture-trivia-registration-70730072551.

Come early to eat, drink and be merry before Trivia starts at 7:30pm. Prizes will be given to the 1st and 2nd place teams!

Also, go visit the NCSML staff at the BrewNost table where you can purchase a raffle ticket for $10 to win a trip to Prague with airfare for 2 and 7 nights with breakfast at Hotel Rott. BrewNost will also be giving out throwback glasses and will have a special BrewNost giveaway free to enter! To purchase tickets to BrewNost visit: NCSML.org/BrewNost

Another great local event with another great local beer to be had. Get to Quarter Barrel and give your team a shot..even if you don’t win…you might be able to get a taste of Darkest Peru sometime…if you’re lucky!

 

Iowa Beer Baron’s Top 10 Iowa Beers of 2018!

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This is always a fun but difficult list to compile. Looking back at 2018 Iowa breweries all over the state have made some fantastic beers this year and continue to do so, as we as consumers are very lucky to have such excellent brewers in our state.

Living in Eastern Iowa it has been great to be able to get Big Grove, Lion Bridge, SingleSpeed, and Reunion in cans to go along with the great beers that are already available. I’m sure 2019 will be just as, if not better than 2018 in the year of Iowa beer.

For my list, these are beers that had to have been released in 2018. There are many that I didn’t try, so if your favorite didn’t make the list, my bad, chances are I didn’t get around to trying it. I would love to hear your favorites of 2018. All 10 of these have the chance to be awarded the most prestigious award a brewery can get: The Iowa Beer of the Year Award. GABF, eat your heart out. Beer of the Year will be awarded in my next post! Here we go:

**Big Grove Big Ed  7.8%– this one was a no doubter for me. I was stoked when they released and I’ll be stoked every time they re-release. A case or two every time for me please Big Grove. This juicy double IPA is one of Iowa’s best and is worth seeking out and is a challenger for Iowa Beer of the Year!

**Toppling Goliath Term Oil Maple Cakes – a quick trip to Decorah (which is never a bad thing) and my first trip to TG’s new spot allowed me a pour of this delicious beer. A bourbon barrel aged stout with maple. Absolutely delicious and a perfect breakfast beer!

**Pulpit Rock Seriously Bro’?6.1% – Marquee Pizza celebrated their 1 year anniversary with a terrific taplist that included two beers brewed by Pulpit Rock especially for this anniversary; one of which was Seriously Bro? a milkshake IPA. While, I’m a little behind on the milkshake IPA craze, this one was packed with orange zest and a hint of vanilla. Delicious!

**Lion Bridge Brewing Tidbits 6.7%– this beer was my summer staple. A delicious pale ale brewed with unfermented pineapple led to a tropical and refreshing beer to enjoy in the midwest heat all summer long. I hope to see this one again this summer!

**Barn Town Pink Guava Massacre4.6% ABV -between this and Little Drippy from Dimensional for my favorite two Iowa sours of the year. Guava in a beer just works so damn good and with this sour it was spot on. Luckily, a few places in Eastern Iowa got some bottles of this so I was able to indulge. Well done Barn Town, keep this one coming!

**Lion Bridge Spice Must Flow 8% ABV – this is the perfect beer for me in the fall and winter months in Iowa. Maple Syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg added to a black ale screams cold weather drinking! Lion Bridge added this in cans which made for an easy taste by walking my ass to the fridge.

**Pulpit Rock Koffee and Doughnuts 6.8% ABV – breakfast in glass is served. Pulpit took their Pour Over porter and added a shit load of donuts to it and you have a Koffee and Doughnuts. Hope this one pops back up again as this was delicious.

**Big Grove Richard the Whale Macaroon 10% ABV – their Richard base with the addition of toasted coconut and almonds…this beer blew me away and I couldn’t wait to get another glass. Big Grove has had an amazing year and their beers have been fantastic. This one might have topped them all though!

**Dimensional A Little Drippy – 5.5% ABV – the new kid on the block came out with a bang and has made some terrific beers and these guys are just going to keep getting better. I enjoyed every beer I had at Dimensional but A Little Drippy just hit on all cylinders. Once again guava got the taste buds and the addition of passion fruit and mango make this one damn fine sour!

**Big Grove Color TV – 7.8% ABV – a double dry hopped hazy IPA that lets the galaxy hop shine. Another winner by Big Grove and hopefully another beer that they will make again….and again. Looking forward to what these guys have in store for 2019!