3 Iowa Beers to Drink Now!

beerbaronI couldn’t do just 1 Drink This! edition this time around as the state of Iowa is sending out so much great beer I had to do three! As we approach the 2017 Coralville Brrr Fest and with the program released this past week anticipation is mounting for ticket holders to get a taste of Iowa’s finest breweries and beers. Within the last 5 days I’ve had the opportunity to try 3 amazing beers from 3 amazing Iowa breweries. So here are three beers the you have to DRINK NOW!

img_0990**Big Grove Brewery – Buster Triple IPA** – Buster released this past Tuesday and I knew for sure I had to hit Big Grove and try this baby fresh. Mosaic hops shine with flavors of juicy fruit gum, tropical fruits, and some grassiness. A wonderful dank ass triple IPA. There is one thing that can be bad about this brew…it’s scary drinkable. An 11.4% ABV triple IPA can definitely put you on your ass if you don’t pay attention! This might arguably be the best or one of the best double/triple IPAs in the state. Follow this link to see my post on where it will be available and they also just hit the Cellar Peanut Pub in Pella with a hell of a lineup! So good, can’t wait for another glass! Cheers Big Grove!

 

IMG_0992.JPG**Lion Bridge Brewery – GAZPROM 2017** – I’ve been waiting for this release since last year. Lion Bridge takes the shitty, dark, long ass month of January and makes pretty damn enjoyable with their Barrel-Aged January releases. A new release, every week, for the month of January and all barrel-aged beers. I’ve loved the Winter Warmer and the Royal Wee but the big dog for me is GAZPROM!. The sweetness from the syrup is the perfect balance to booziness from the barrels. I say this a lot but this is a top-tier beer for me….maybe top 10? Top 5? Either way, I can’t wait to have more of this and thank you Quinton and Alec and Lion Bridge for making January tolerable!

 

img_0994**Madhouse Brewery – VIP Barrel Aged Vanilla Porter** – was happy my Mt. Vernon Road Hy-Vee had a few bottles of this, wasn’t sure if we would see it all. I had been hearing good things coming from the fine beer folks in Des Moines and was hoping to land one of these. I’ve been hit and miss with vanilla added to my beers. Sometimes I dig it when it’s not over they type vanilla extract and with Madhouse VIP I’m really digging it. The slight sweetness from the vanilla pairs with the barrel and just a faint hint of cigar smoke on the aftertaste. Viscous, tasty, and warming. An excellent companion to a chilly January evening.

There you go Iowa. Three newer beers for you to try. Hopefully all 3 make it somewhere close to your area and you get a taste, and hopefully you enjoyed them as much as I did/do! Cheers!

Big Grove Brewery Presents: “Stout with a Bang”, Friday Dec. 30th @ 11 a.m.

big groveBig Grove Brewery will be bringing out the heavy hitters this Friday, December 30th as they present “Stout with a Bang”. A tap takeover consisting of stouts only..and some great stouts at that. Tapping begins at 11 a.m. on Friday morning. Here’s the beer list for this event:

-Richard the Whale 2015
-Richard the Whale Coffee 2016 following the 2015 Richard
-Pralines & Richard
-2016 Calf-feinated Zadar! Nitro Milk Stout with JBC coffee
-Prairie Bomb!
-Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura
-Goose Island Bourbon County 2016
-Clown Shoes Hammer of the Beast
-Sierra Nevada Narwhal 2016

I’ll be there right around 11 so hopefully I see a few folks there! Also, don’t forget the Triad is on tap as well! Cheers!

More on the Big Grove Brewery Expansion

big groveThe news is spreading quickly that Big Grove is expanding to a production facility in Iowa City. Excellent news for all of us and even better news for the community as not only are we getting more beer but more jobs as well. Also, Big Grove going green? It sure sounds like it! I was able to talk with Chad Young, sales/marketing manager of Big Grove, and he gave me a bit more insight as to what to expect from the brewery:

Baron: How many jobs will this open up?

CY: A lot of details are still being placed this next week or 2. Right now an estimated 70 jobs.

BARON: Will you be canning/bottling or both?

CY:The concept right now is eventually a canning line but growth of the brewery will be slow and steady and continue to focus on draft only for the first year or two.
Honestly very vague on a timeline with a project like this. The 1st part is to make sure the beer is as great as what is being brewed in Solon. Everyone is absolutely behind continuing the high standard on quality first. Once we get that dialed in, then we will bring on the next phase of production.
BARON: What type of brewing line will the brewery house?
CY:Installing a “Meura Mash Filter”, which is an incredible piece of brewery technology. Super efficient with raw materials with very high extract yields, while using less water and energy. This will be one of the greenest brewing production facilities not just in iowa, but in the region.
BARON: What will become of the Solon location brewery?

CY: Specialties and barrel aging will continue at the Solon location

Top 15 Iowa Beers for 2014: Part 1

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 chorelion bridge.

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 madhousethis 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*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 theirbig grove 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*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! **