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!
What a year it has been! With all that is going on our local breweries still put out a ton of amazing beers and this was the toughest “Top 10” I’ve had to come up with. As the year winds down, a heartfelt thank you to all the brewery/restaurant workers out there working their butts off to get us excellent beers and delicious food while trying to keep their businesses afloat. Keep supporting local people!
List criteria: *Beer must have been released in 2020 *Iowa brewed only *Annual releases not counted unless a new adjunct was added to the beer
I know that I’ve missed many, my goal in 2020 was to get to as many Iowa breweries as possible and I was able to get to many that I hadn’t been before and hopefully that trend continues in 2021. After you read my list I would love to hear what your Top 10 is this year! Follow me on twitter @iabeerbaron or join the Iowa Beer page on Facebook. Cheers to you all!
*Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee – 12.5% – the last few years of the Richard release, the golden ticket addition has added excitement but also even more creativity from the BG brewers and crew to up the ante every year to produce an amazing beer and this year was no different. The balance between the coffee and coconut blends perfectly with barrel and the vanilla rounds it out perfectly. A truly decadent and delicious beer. To quote Virginia Madsen from “Sideways”, “You know, the day you open a Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee….that’s the special occasion”.
*Lion Bridge Off Grid – 6.6% – there may not be a better beer to showcase the trying year many people have faced in 2020. Off Grid was brewed after the derecho storm left many in the Cedar Rapids area without power, shelter, etc. Brewing with generator power, not only did Lion Bridge get beer to us, they gave us one of the best IPAs brewed in Iowa in 2020 and I hope we get a taste of it again in 2021….minus the derecho.
*Barn Town Nelson Sauvin Neon – 6.5% – as Barn Town’s Neon is becoming more available in Eastern Iowa, it has certainly taken its place amongst my ever revolving beer fridge as a staple. However, Barn Town decided to showcase different hops in their popular IPA and after tasting Nelson Sauvin Neon, dare I say I want more of this version? I love Nelson hops and the addition of this adds a nice peppery finish to an already delicious citrus IPA.
*Lua Algorithm – 4% ABV – trips to Des Moines in the last year certainly have been more common to get some to go beers from many of the breweries in that area and one certain stop has been Lua. Lua’s lineup of beers range from wonderful pilsners, hoppy IPAs, BA stouts, and one their extremely popular Pushpop lineup of brews! There were many that I really enjoyed but Algorithm was the one that stood out to me most. The combo of orange, mango and peaches can be enjoyed any time of the day! Lua is currently doing curbside only for the foreseeable future so make sure you place an order with them and pick up some amazing beer and food!
*Clock House Peanut Panic Porter – 5.5% – Clock House has had an amazing year with their beer releases and with the addition of a canning line they can get us our favorites more efficiently and timely. Of all the beers I’ve had of theirs this year, (I think I’ve had them all), their Peanut Panic Porter stood out. I’m a huge porter fan, Founders Porter is still one of my all-time favorite beers, and when Clock House added peanuts to this beer I was sold. Now, this isn’t a overly sweet “peanut butter” beer, this is boiled raw peanuts and some added cocoa nibs making this one of the best porters I’ve had and definitely the best peanut porter I’ve ever had. Still on tap I believe, give it a shot!
*Big Grove HDTV – 9.2% – galaxy hops gone mad! Big Grove took their popular Color TV and added a bunch more galaxy hops to it to give us this baby! A wonderful welcome addition to Richard the Whale day, HDTV is not only delicious, but it’s deceptively drinkable coming in at 9.2%. You still may be able to find cans of this in the wild or certain bars (Club 76 has it on tap).
*Single Speed Barrel-Aged Double Donuts – 10% – aged in Cedar Ridge single malt whiskey barrels? Yes please! Single Speed took inspiration from their popular Zach’s Mexican Donuts, threw it in some amazing whiskey barrels and barrel-aged Double Donuts was born! Luckily I have a few cans left of this and I have every intention to sit by the fireplace and watch the snowstorm blow in tomorrow night and sip and enjoy this wonderful brew!
*Pulpit Rock Double Dave-O – 7.6% – I remember having this beer way back in January at Marquee Pizza in Coralville during their anniversary celebration. Marquee always did a great job getting Pulpit Rock on tap (Thanks Sam!) when many places couldn’t and I remember thinking that it’s going to be nice being able to visit here, have some great food and sip on some Pulpit beers…..things have changed a bit because of the pandemic but Pulpit sure has adapted to the changing times and have done an amazing job getting their cans available in certain locations around Eastern Iowa (Need Pizza + Reds Alehouse). Double Dave-O stood out because of the hop profile. Citra and mosaic, two of my favorites made this a quenching IPA leaving me wanting another one!
*Dimensional Imperial Cinna-Man Bun – 11.7% – there are some beers that you can be a little hesitant to order because you’ve already played it out in your head how it was going to taste. With this particular beer, I thought for sure it would be way too sweet for me with over the top cinnamon, admittedly I was completely wrong. Dimensional brought balance to a beer that could have gone the complete opposite direction, especially for a pastry stout. Another great fall/winter beer to sip on, wish I had some more of it!
*Clock House Sweet Innocence – 5.2% – 42 lbs of black cherries added to this kettle sour which made for a truly refreshing beer to sip on on hot ass August night in Iowa. This is a beer that I hope to see again during the warmer months and if you haven’t tried it, if Clock House does release it again, it’s worth the trip to Cedar Rapids!
There is the list! It’s always fun to compile but never easy to narrow down! With such a trying year in the beer/restaurant industry it is amazing on how these breweries have adapted to keep their businesses alive and to also keep us stocked with beer. A huge cheers to all of them and I hope you continue to support your local brewery and businesses. I know I probably missed your favorite of the year so please let me know what your list looks like! Cheers!
Another week goes by and it seems our brewers and breweries are doing everything in their power to keep our heads up on a weekly basis as disturbing news and difficult times continue; even though many of them are fighting to keep their heads above water. The plea has been said all over social media, but if you are able, support your local businesses, bars, and breweries. Hopefully good times will be seen soon….in the meantime, a favorite from Lion Bridge returns on December 9th!
The Emperor of Ice Cream (Imperial Milk Stout w/Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, 10%)Let be be finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.Released on draft and available in 4-Packs.
Tin Roost saves Thanksgiving!! An awesome idea from the North Liberty restaurant as they will be delivering beers directly to your doorstep on Wednesday, November 25th. Preorder will start Tuesday night. Here’s more from Tin Roost:
Alright, we’re just going to drop this little teaser right here! Mark your calendars because you are not going to want to miss this one. Our online store is going live Tuesday, November 24th @ 11am. We collaborated with 5 of our best buds in the Iowa Brewing scene to put together one KILLER Thanksgiving Beer Pack. The BEST part? We’re going to drop it like it’s hot directly on YOUR doorstep on Black Wednesday (contactless delivery, of course). Adventurous Brewing LLC. Barn Town Brewing. Big Grove Brewery. Lua Brewing. Pulpit Rock Brewing Company. More details with how to order and beer included coming soon. See you on Wednesday, November 25th with the fresh pack that’s gonna make your untappd buddies soooooooooooo jelly.
What better way to ring in December than with your very own Iowa Beer advent calendar! I was lucky enough to take part in helping pick out some amazing Iowa beers to include in this awesome calendar made by Glyn Mawr Winery in Mount Vernon, IA and now you have a chance to get one for free! Here’s what you need to do:
*Visit Glyn Mawr’s Facebook post and respond to it with your favorite Iowa brewed beer and also tag and friend and you will automatically be entered. Visit their Facebook page by clicking HERE!
*Visit Glyn Mawr’s Instagram account and respond to the post with your favorite Iowa brewed beer and also tagging a friend. Click HERE to go to their Instagram account!
*Winner will be randomly drawn and notified. Proxies are allowed for pickup, just notify myself or the winery for that!
About the calendar: We tried to include as many different Iowa breweries as possible and also tried to include as many different styles of beer as possible. There are so many great beers being brewed and I think we have a great collection included in this calendar!
GIVEAWAY TIME!! You guys have BLOWN US AWAY with pre-orders, so we have decided to have a GIVEAWAY for one of our Craft Iowa Beer Advent Calendars! ($85 value!)TO QUALIFY: COMMENT below with your favorite IOWA craft beer, and TAG a friend that might want to get in on one of our calendars before they sell out! Check out the list of breweries we have included: @clockhousebrewing, @fsbtaproom, @singlespeedbrewingco, @dimensionalbeer, @gezelligbrewing, @thewbrew, @biggrovebrewery, @tgbrews, @5ivecitiesbrewing, @reunionbrewery, @exilebrewingco, @backpocketbrewing, @sutliffcider, @lionbridgebrew, @iowabrewingco, @wilsonsorchardia We will pick a winner this weekend! It will be available to pick up 11/25, 11/27, or 11/28!ALSO, we only have 10 CALENDARS LEFT, so get online and pre-order yours today!
This category of stouts will not include imperial/barrel aged/pastry/adjunct except coffee! Those will be broken down into another category down the road! Thanks to everyone who has participated in the voting and to the brewer’s making the beer! Cheers!
Stout is a dark, top-fermented beer with a number of variations, including dry stout, oatmeal stout, milk stout. The first known use of the word stout for beer was in a document dated 1677 found in the Egerton Manuscripts, the sense being that a “stout beer” was a strong beer, not a dark beer.
From BA: NEIPA is essentially an unfiltered IPA or Double IPA that’s been aggressively hopped. Appearance ranges from slightly hazy or cloudy to opaque or muddy. Dry-hopping, the use of high-protein grains (flours, flaked oats, wheat), certain yeast strains, water chemistry, CO2 levels, and other techniques may also contribute to the beer’s haze and mouthfeel. But the overall goal is typically a hazy, juicy IPA packed with fruity and floral flavors
This Friday, one of of Iowa’s newest breweries will be the latest to have their beers hit the canning line. Gezellig will start canning their beers and have them available for purchase this coming Friday! If you haven’t been to the brewery, you should make the trek to Newton and support not only a great Iowa brewery, but a great group of people running the show! Here’s what will be available:
Fresh off of the canning line, we are excited to share our new cans!
* Perfectly Pleasant – American Stout w Coffee
* Dopptoberfest – Doppelbock
* All The Goodness – Fruited Farmhouse Ale
* Hugzilla – Rye Hazy Double IPA
Big news from Big Grove Brewery last night as they subtly announced the release date for Richard the Whale for December 5th! It was a sneak peek at a Richard sampling so as of now, no details on the process release were given, but stay tuned for more information on that as that date approaches! Here’s what BG had to say courtesy of their Facebook page:
Pulled a sample of Richard the Whale 2020 today from this Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel. Annnnd can bet the beer is fire 🔥 But you may not know the barrel (and more specifically the nail we used to pierce the barrel) was on fire to keep the process sanitary. 😏 Oh and save the date for Saturday, December 5 for the release of our favorite barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout 🐳
This year’s version of Lion Bridge’s popular barrel-aged marzen is set to be released on Wednesday, September 2nd starting at 3:00. This beer will be available in 4 packs, and don’t forget about Wednesday’s (8/19) Collapse of the Multiverse release! Here’s more from Lion Bridge on this release:
Oktobot 3000 (Barrel-Aged Imperial Märzen, 8.5%abv) – A fusion brew with German and Czech roots in the recipe as well as the name (“robot” is a word with Czech origins). Munich and Bohemian Pilsner Malt are the motherboard to this amped up version of the style, while 6 months in Rye Whiskey barrels greases the cogs and makes sure it all computes. Available in 4 packs.