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!
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
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.
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!
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!
Big Grove Brewery has announced the release details for the one of the best, if not the best, beer releases in the state of Iowa as Richard the Whale will be coming back to us on December 4th! Pre Order starts this Wednesday (10/13), check out the information below courtesy of Big Grove for more details! Click HERE for Wednesday’s presale!
Richard the Whale, our bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, resurfaces Saturday, December 4. To get your fins on this big, beautiful four-pack, you can snag it beginning Wednesday at 10AM online at biggrove.com. Additionally, we’ll once again host the Friday night Omakase Dinner at the Iowa City Taproom, featuring the very best in food and beverage from our chefs and brewers—prepared right in front of your table. Saturday, December 4, Richard the Whale returns with brunch for all alongside…HDTV | Imperial Hazy IPA Double Dry Hopped with Galaxy | We took inspiration from our Color TV, which is brewed with a whole lot of Galaxy hops and brewed a truly out-of-this-world beer: HDTV. This one is hitting the airwaves at a whopping 9.2% ABV. Project Hop Fisch | Big Grove collab with Lua Brewing + Toppling Goliath | This second round of the Hop Fisch IPA collab heads into the tanks later this week… and you can count on something special from this trio of Iowa brewmasters. This release is available from our Iowa City Brewery & Taproom and Solon Brewpub.Iowa City 7am-10am: in-house pick-up with brunch menu availableSolon 7am-10am: in-house pick-up with regular menu and breakfast options available No limits. Proxies are allowed with the buyer’s order number and a digital copy of ID. The pick-up for this release is in-house pick-up only and will not include a drive-thru.
Easy Eddy fans get ready for Easy’s big brother Royal! This will be coming this October, “Royal Eddy” Imperial Hazy IPA will be making its debut on shelves and on tap! This bad boy will check in at 9% ABV. Stay tuned for more info on this release!
Leading up to the University of Iowa football game against Colorado State, Reds Alehouse in North Liberty is hosting a “brew-off” between Big Grove and Odell Brewing. Both breweries have brewed their version of strata hopped beer, called “Strata Combata”, and you get to judge which you like best! Here’s more from Reds:
Join us for some speciality tappings of Strata Combata! Our friends at Big Grove and Odell Brewing have been hard at work to bring you a new hazy IPA, Strata Combata, for the Iowa vs CSU game! We’ll have prizes for both Big Grove and Odell for you to win!Both Breweries made a batch of this and its up to you to decide who’s is who!Also Tapping this day will be Colorado Lager Sippin Tropical Hazer Tag
Big Grove Brewery Brewpub in Solon will be celebrating their 8 year anniversary on September 5th and as Big Grove has always done, it will be one hell of a great party! Doors will open at 10 a.m. on that Sunday for food, drinks, and plenty to do for the kids! Here’s more from Big Grove:
Can’t believe it — but we’re almost ready to celebrate 8 years in Solon! We opened our doors Labor Day weekend in 2013… and every year we take that weekend as a chance to reflect on and appreciate all the joy you all bring us.Plus we like to party Sunday, September 5 • Doors open at 10am with food specials running all day… we’ll have the beer garden going on the patio and the street blocked off once again with beer tubs and walk-up service. And, of course, games for all and chalk and temporary tattoos for the kiddos! We’re excited to share some live music as well, with Keegan Moore from 12-2:30 + DJ Derek Thorn 3-6. And don’t miss the 50/50 raffle for the food bank.The beer? We haven’t even gotten to the good part yet! Turtle Hunter Hazy DIPA 2016 Barrel-Aged Richard the Whale 2017 Barrel-Aged Richard the Whale 2020 Batch 1000 Barleywine Whiskey Barrel Blend ❤️🔥 Sidehill Sour Barrel Aged Sour with Passionfruit Sidehill Sour Barrel Aged Sour with Blackberry