Big Grove “Richard the Whale” tickets go on sale Oct. 19th! Plus 2 beers returning benefiting Iowa’s Waterways!

Richard the Whale 2022

Wednesday, October 19 at 10am — Richard the Whale will go on sale for pre-order… then you can sip and sit back with our favorite barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout when he resurfaces on December 3 in our Iowa City, Solon, and Des Moines taprooms. 

But it does beg the question… which variant styles should we pull from the oceans of options?? Chocolate Coconut Cake, Well Baked, and Coffee were reallllly tasty in 2021.

Wade Wisely and Greener State of Mind Returning

Wade Wisely and Greener State of Mind each return on Friday, September 30 with a mission to improve the quality of Iowa’s waterways!

Raise a glass of our annual Oatmeal Coffee Stout project with coffee from JBC Coffee Roasters and you’re benefiting The Driftless Flyathlon. And when you pick up our citrus-forward pale ale in collaboration with GreenState Credit Union, proceeds support the mission of Wings2Water

And after they hit the shelves of our breweries, they’ll both find their way across Iowa to your favorite beer coolers in the first week of October.

Big Grove IC hosting “Okotberfest” beer dinner on Thursday October 13th!

Tickets are available for Big Grove’s latest beer and food pairing, this time emanating from their Iowa City location. Menu and beers not released yet, but stay tuned for more info on that as the date nears! Get your tickets HERE. Here’s more from BG on this dinner:

Dust off the lederhosen and get ready for another Oktoberfest at Big Grove! The chefs and brewers of Big Grove are coming together for a one-night, German beer dinner in Iowa City.

Throughout this five-course meal, prepared by our award-winning chefs, we’ll celebrate our very own Oktoberfest with games and good times. We’ll have a pretzel flip, stein hold, hammerschlagen, and a special surprise at the end!

Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and dinner service will begin at 6:30 p.m. Each guest will receive their own Big Grove stein and a complimentary pour of their Big Grove lager of choice.

The menu will be released closer to the event date.

This event will be hosted in our private game room area with tables of 4 or 8.

Tickets are sold as a whole table.

Big Grove “Velvet” releasing August 27th, Pre-order link available, plus “Tropical Summer Jam” and !

Big Grove will be releasing one of their more anticipated beers on August 27th as “Velvet” comes back to their taprooms! About Velvet:

VANILLA BARREL-AGED IMPERIAL STOUT
ABV: 13.3%

This special brew is an Extended Boil, Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout that we aged in freshly emptied Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The beer was aged for a year and then finished on Grade A Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans. You can expect a viscous mouthfeel, notes of roasted malt, marshmallow, dark chocolate, and an explosion of vanilla—highlighted by a smoothness that only comes from age and using the finest ingredients.

Along with “Velvet”, Big Grove will be releasing “Tropical Jam Fruit Sour” and “Double Norwegian Demon”. To pre-order your Velvet please click HERE! Below is more info on release day:

Release Day:

• Pick up period is 10:00am to 10:00pm on Saturday, August 27, 2022

• All three Big Grove Brewery locations will open at 10:00am for beer pick-up

• Breakfast food specials will be available from our chefs from 10:00am – noon

For the first time, we’ve crafted 100 bottles of a variant aged in a rum barrel sourced from the Virgin Islands with a nose of fresh cut sugarcane and light banana. This one-time release will only be available in bottles to the first 50 guests in Iowa City, 35 guests in Des Moines, and 15 guests in Solon.

Price: $50 per Barrel Aged Velvet bottle (500mL), limit of 6 per guest, available in Des Moines, Iowa City, and Solon. It will also be available in very limited draft at our breweries.

Variant: $50 per Barrel Aged Velvet Rum Variant bottle (500mL), limit 1 per guest in order of arrival. Available in Iowa City, (50 bottles), Des Moines (35 bottles), and Solon (15 bottles). It will also be served in very limited draft at our breweries.

New Brews Joining the Party: Tropical Jam Fruited Sour Ale (draft and 4-pack), Double Norwegian Demon Hazy Double IPA (brewery-only, draft-only).

Remember to bring your order number and a valid ID. 

On Saturday, come on in and a Big Grove employee will greet you, check your ID, and retrieve your order. Please have the order number from your receipt available. 

You’re invited to pick up the goods (proxy) on behalf of a friend, so long as you have their order number and a copy of their ID. 

Pending availability, you’re welcome to purchase any of our remaining beer inventory at that time.

Lion Bridge + Big Grove collab, “Fortune Favors the Cold” cold IPA releasing this Friday (7/15)!

Lion Bridge and Big Grove are teaming up for a cold IPA release this Friday as “Fortune Favors the Cold” will be hitting the tap lines at Lion Bridge starting at 11 a.m. Here’s more on this brew courtesy of Lion Bridge’s Facebook page:

Fortune Favors the Cold is a collaboration with our buddies in beer at Big Grove Brewery. We have enjoyed making this new “Cold IPA” style, which is defined as non-hazy, with discernable bitterness, and big dry-hop additions.

Cold IPA with Simcoe, Strata, Idaho 7 and Cryo Talus. ABV 7.0%

Taproom open at 11am!

Iowa Eats: Shuey’s Restaurant and Lounge; Shueyville, IA!

This past weekend I had some time to hang out with my oldest and I asked him where/what he wanted to eat. He simply responded, “Bar food”. So after a quick trip to Big Grove in Solon we headed to Shueyville, about 10-15 minutes from Solon, and hit up Shuey’s Restaurant and Lounge.

We were greeted right in by a very friendly staff and had drinks ordered within seconds. Easy Eddy for me, root beer for the lad. Tap lines were typical of your small town bar with some craft on, Easy Eddy seems to be an option no matter what bar you hit and tastes good all the time so the choice was relatively simple.

Although I wasn’t very hungry, their menu has a lot of intriguing options. I let my sign go crazy, if queso is on the menu, he’s going to order it, that with an order of sliders and a mushroom swiss burger. A lot more than I anticipated but was game to try it all.
Queso came out first and was delicious, warm and crispy tortilla chips. Paired well with the beer.
Sliders and burger next, meat quality tasted wonderful, perfectly seasoned. The crinkle cut fries served as the side also went well with the queso dip.

Overall, so much more I want to try. The food was delicious and tasted fresh, the staff was friendly and welcoming, the feel of your small town bar was definitely there but also a place you could bring your whole family for a delicious meal. A place I will frequent and a place you should check out too!

Big Grove celebrating 5 years in Iowa City on March 12th! 5 beers to be released including Velvet + Apple Brandy Imperial Stout!

5 years in the books for Big Grove in Iowa City and what better way to celebrate than releasing 5 beers for their beer-loving fan base to indulge in and help with the anniversary fun?! Here’s what’s happening at Big Grove on March 12th:

Let’s celebrate together on Saturday, March 12. To kick off the fun, we just opened the pre-order window for some special new and returning brews we’re brewing. More news and events to come for a week’s worth of fun on March 7-13… but for now you can check out this awesome release at our website’s shop tab.
🎁 Velvet vanilla imperial stout
🍎 Apple Brandy barrel-aged imperial stout
🥃 Bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout
💣 Cannonball hazy double IPA
🍺 Northside Helles

Chameleon’s Pub and Grub in Mt. Vernon tapping Richard the Whale, Jesus on a Forklift, Bourbon County Stout this weekend! (2/4)

I always love when small town bars are able to get their hands on some big time beers and proudly promote and serve them! This weekend, my hometown bar, Chameleon’s Pub and Grub in Mount Vernon will be tapping 3 big bourbon barrel-aged beers, 2 of which are local and also Goose Island Bourbon County stout! This beauty is, you don’t have to dedicate yourself to full pours of these high ABV brews as Chameleon’s is offering flights of them along with their other amazing lineup of craft beers. To go along with the beer, they will be having an amazing cheeseburger special…prepare yourself for….THE BACON JAMBURGER!!! Here’s more courtesy of Chameleon’s Facebook page:

COMING TOMORROW: OUR ANNUAL BOURBON BARREL TAKEOVER ON TAP
We were trying to tap them today but we can’t get Richard the Whale until tomorrow. I hope this isn’t and inconvenience but we will have it for sure tomorrow!! Plus a great special to go with it. The Big Boys are coming out to play, so don’t miss out!!We have Goose Island Bourbon County, Big Grove Brewery Richard the Whale and also, Exile Brewing Co. Jesus on a Forklift. These are limited and will go fast so come and get them while you can. We will also have flights available, so try them all.
Weekend Special to pair with our Bourbon Barrel Beers is The Bacon Jamburger!! A fresh never frozen Hamburger sits atop homemade Bacon Jam, and then covered with a homemade creamy Cheddar cheese spread that has pimentos, cream cheese, Korean chili paste and sriracha, finished with Lettuce, Pickles and onions. Served with our House Cut Fries. This is a great burger.

Beer Baron’s Top 10 of 2021!

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!
LIST CRITERIA
*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!

Big Grove Richard the Whale Dinner: Food and Beer Event of the Year!

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!