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!

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!

Big Grove Releasing “Morgan Horse” barrel-aged maple imperial stout on 4/20! + 3 others!

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Big news from Big Grove this week as they prep to release “Morgan Horse” barrel-aged maple imperial stout on April 20th along with 3 variants of that brew. With that, they will be releasing “Color TV”, their double dry hopped New England style IPA as well. Both Big Grove locations will be participating in the release. Hope to see you there, check below for more info!

If you’re a fan of our Richard the Whale parties—or fond of fun parties in general—here we go again! Saturday, April 20 is the release of our new Barrel-Aged Maple Imperial Stout, Morgan Horse + 3 AWESOME variants.

Joining Morgan Horse at the party is the second coming of Color TV, our Double Dry Hopped New England Style IPA brewed with galaxy hops. Arrive early for brunch and stick around for what will be an all-day party. 9:00AM Doors Open. Free coffee for anyone in line.

No tickets required. This event will be hosted at both the Iowa City Taproom and Solon Brewpub. More info to be released in the coming weeks. Thanks for the support!

Local/Small Iowa Breweries Need Your Support Now! Please Read!

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Tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. an Iowa bill, HSB 210, will be presented that will greatly impact where us, as Iowans can purchase our favorite Iowa made beer. The bill that could greatly affect almost every brewery in the state of Iowa states:

HouseStudyBill210-BY(PROPOSED COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE BILL BY CHAIRPERSON CARLSON)A BILL FOR An Act concerning alcoholic beverage control,relating to:
1)
limitations on business interests of certain manufacturers,
2)
wholesalers and retailers of alcoholic beverages.
3)
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:

So, in essence this bill that may be passed unless people step up, email and voice their concern to the subcommittee, will affect how we get our beer in this possible way:

I live 10 minutes from Big Grove in Solon. I love being that close and I’m there multiple times a week, however, if this bill passes, we wouldn’t be able to get anything that is brewed in the Iowa City Big Grove location at the Big Grove Solon location. So, going to Iowa City would mean no BGB IPA, Easy Eddy, Arms Race and many other fantastic beers. This also means that any place partner owners of Big Grove are partner owners elsewhere, those other locations wouldn’t be allowed to sell Big Grove beers. So, no Big Grove beers at Reds Alehouse, Pullman, St. Burch, etc. Also, if multiple breweries are owned, they would be limited to produced 10,000 bbls.

Big Grove is just my local example of how they would be affected. Chances are you have a local brewery being affected as well. Help those who get us our wonderful beer, and shoot an email or make a call to the following to voice your concern:

*Gary Carlson (R-Dist. 91) Gary.Carlson@legis.iowa.gov
*John Jacobsen (R-Dist. 22) Jon.Jacobsen@legis.iowa.gov
*Amy Nielsen (D-Dist. 77) Amy.Nielsen@legis.iowa.gov
*Senator Jake Chapman (Dist. 10-Dallas, Guthrie, Adair Counties)
jake.chapman@legis.iowa.gov
*Senator Amy Sinclair (R-Dist. 14-Knoxville and to the SW)
amy.sinclair@legis.iowa.gov
*Senator Jim Lykam (D-Dist. 45-Davenport) 
jim.lykam@legis.iowa.gov

Get those emails to them by 8:30 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday 2/27) and support our local breweries. Please help stopping this bill.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Dessert Stout latest Sugar Bottom Release from Big Grove

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Big Grove will be releasing their latest beer from their Sugar Bottom series as Chocolate Covered Cherry Dessert stout will be available on February 13th! Here’s more on this release and other goings on at Big Grove:

Looking for a spot to to bring the ones you love this week? Big Grove has you covered! (chocolate covered that is 😉)

Wednesday the 13th marks our next release in the Sugar Bottom Series, ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry’ dessert stout! Snag a bottle to share will your gal pals or your partner! 😍
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We will have food specials too!

Risotto with Poached Lobster, Beef Tenderloin, and a dessert you won’t want to miss!

Specials will run all week starting on the 13th until they are gone!

Mosley’s hosting BBQ+Beer Dinner with Big Grove Brewery on Jan. 22nd!

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Mosleys BBQ and Provisions will be hosting a BBQ and Beer dinner with Big Grove Brewery on January 22nd! More info below:

BBQ+Beer Dinner is set for Jan. 22 with our friends from pairing brews with our finest barbecue over 4 courses. Tickets are $40 and they’ll go fast—reserve your seat by emailing mosleysic@gmail.com.

Food and beer pairings will be:

*Burch the Bear paired w/ smoked Ham hocks
*Quick n’Dirty w/ stuffed pork loin
*Blood Orange Arms Race w/beef rib
*Espresso Imperial Stout paired with pecan diamonds & bourbon whip.

Iowa Beer Baron’s Iowa Beer of the Year: Big Grove Macaroon Richard

big groveAs we countdown the hours until 2018 is behind us and we ring in 2019, it’s time to name my 2018 Iowa Beer of the Year. So many wonderful brews came to us from our local breweries across the state that it made this a challenging task. In fact, I had a hard time narrowing my list of 10 for new Iowa beers of the year…which you can see if you click here.  So…without further ado, my Iowa Beer of the Year is…..

 

 

Big Grove Macaroon Richard!!

Imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, featuring organic toasted coconut & almonds.

The Richard the Whale release of 2018 was a very memorable experience. The line of guys waiting to get in and sharing beers with everyone, the wonderful food, the great conversation, and of course….the beer.

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I was expecting coffee to be my favorite just because I love coffee in barrel aged stouts. Macaroon was a bonus to get the others and then I went ahead and tried it on tap….BLOWN AWAY!!! The nose, creaminess, sweet but not over the top/coconut sugar sweet and the nuttiness from the almonds meshed so damn good together that I needed to have another glass…and then another one that night at the Solon location, and then another for lunch the next day…well, you get it, I really loved this beer and that is why it is my 2018 Iowa Beer of the Year winner! Congrats Big Grove and I’m looking forward to the 2019 Richard release!