We were live from Thew Brewing in downtown Cedar Rapids for our 5th installment of BeerCast. We had awesome conversation with Mark Jensen and Matt Franklin from Cedar Rapids Brewing Society on their upcoming Drink Local! Festival which is happening this weekend at Benz Beverage Depot in downtown CR. Tickets available here. $25 now or $30 at the door. We were also joined by the proprietors Thew Brewing, Travis and Haley Flenker who talk about what is coming up for their brewery in the next few weeks. And of course, at Beercast wouldn’t be complete without wonderfully deep conversations from our host Scott and the rest of our panel. This will be the best hour and a half of your life! Check it out!
Quite a few new releases making their ways to our local Iowa breweries with the big news of Big Grove brewery beers hitting our local liquor stores. Here’s more:
**Big Grove**– with a successful release of Easy Eddy cans last Saturday (I would like more of this please!) Big Grove followed that up with the release of 4 packs of First Launch Double Dry Hopped IPA. These cans hit select spots (see poster) and will be followed with the release of Big Grove’s core lineup. Exciting stuff coming from Solon and Iowa City. Also, that cask of Easy Eddy w/pineapple and mango was absolutely terrific. But yes, more Easy Eddy cans please!
**Lion Bridge Brewery** – swinging over to Cedar Rapids where Lion Bridge has been consistently busy supplying us with new and awesome beers. Zack Morris Cell Phone IPA release was a hit and delicious and they have followed that up with Tidbits Pineapple Pale Ale which was tapped yesterday (4/26). I’m looking forward to sucking a few of those down this weekend. Along with Tidbits, Lion Bridge is getting back to getting some of their amazing Saisons on the lines. This past week Plum Saison was tapped and prior they had their Apricot Saison on the lines. And last but not least for Lion Bridge was the release of one of my favorites…Coffee Kolsch! They even got that on the lines of my local watering hole in Mount Vernon, Chameleon’s Pub and Grub. Guessing Quinton, Rob and Alec did that just for me, thanks fellas!
**Thew Brewing** – the new kid on the block continues to impress with some excellent offerings even though they are less than a month old! This week they released I-380 pale ale which checks in at 6.7% and Kingston Kolsch made its way to their lines. Thew brews have also found homes in a few other establishments in CR and the surrounding area so keep an eye out. Food Trucks and Friday $2 off pours make this your perfect post work pit stop today!
**Third Base Brewery** – some excellent beers brewed and consumed on Blair’s Ferry Road this past week as 3rd Base released their version of a hazy New England style IPA, Crooked Monkey. Along with the Monkey they also released a delicious double pils called Intergalactic Pilsner.
**Backpocket Brewing** – starting this week Backpocket offers 16 oz crowlers to be filled of your favorite Backpocket brew. They also released an Australian sparkling ale and two other beers. SOKOL juicy IPA and a variation of their Australian Sparkling ale made with tangerine purée, vanilla, lactose sugar, cinnamon and clove. Those all tap today (4/27)!
**Millstream Brewing** – Iowa’s oldest brewery has been testing some brews on their pilot system and yesterday tapped a Session IPA. Brewery only for this one so get there and grab a taste.
**Barn Town Brewing** – heading over to the Des Moines area we have Barn Town continuing to pump out some very tasty ales. The addition of their beers to tap lines at 30hop, Marquee, and Tin Roost has been welcomed with open arms. Pulp non-Fiction is back on the lines at the brewery which hopefully means we will see it back on the lines near us. Along with that, they released Appaloosa, a New England style IPA that checks in at 7.3% and is currently available at Marquee Pizza in Coralville! They also announced that Sticky Juice will be their next bottle release. Stay tuned for more news on that!
**Toppling Goliath** – the big news out of TG this week is the return of the popular Scorpius Morchella, a double IPA. This beer has been brewed and distro has started so keep your eyes peeled for this bad boy!
**That’s all I have for this week. If I missed something or you have news or brews to share drop me a line! email@example.com Cheers!
Finally, after a few weeks I’m finally getting back to finishing the Top Ten list that everyone’s been waiting for….(crickets)…..Anyway, with all the great things happening in the Iowa beer scene, every year making a list becomes that more difficult. There are so many breweries I would like to visit, and some I wish I could spend more time at. New Year’s Resolutions are always fun but sometimes get forgotten. I, however, will make one of my Resolutions happen…I will make it to some more Iowa breweries, I will continue supporting my local breweries, and I will continue supporting the Iowa Beer Community! Onto the final five!
*Backpocket 5th Anniversary Stout – many are hailing this as their Iowa Beer of the Year and it would be hard to argue. I thought I had missed out on this beer until a lunch trip to Backpocket Pilot Pub in downtown Cedar Rapids and to my astonishment, 5th Anniversary was still on the lines. After a Grinch-like smile, I went ahead and ordered one…..and then another….and then…kidding, only two but it totally lived up to the hype. If you still are sitting on bottle..you lucky bastard…
Russian Imperial Stout
*Third Base Miserable in Mexico – I had this beer at the 2017 Brrr Fest (missing this year unfortunately) and was blown away. Jim has been making some great beers for a while now and has 3rd Base as an under the radar brewery. Miserable and Mexico would have been the perfect beer to have these past few weeks in chilly-ass Iowa. Booziness from the bourbon, a bit of heat from the pepper and a ton of chocolate. Boozy Mexican hot chocolate..yes please! Well done Jim and 3rd Base!
It all started when we put our “Endless Descent Into Ruin” imperial stout in a bourbon barrel and let it rest for 8 months. It emerged as “Miserable.” We then took Miserable and infused it with chocolate and chili peppers. Grown up Mexi Hot (Cold) chocolate
*Pulpit Rock Rechoncho – Another Brrr Fest 2017 beer and another imperial stout to add to my list. Another brew similar to a Mexico hot chocolate but with some added vanilla to it. Pulpit Rock has become a big time player in the Iowa beer game in a short amount of time and 2018 will be even bigger and better for them.
Spanish for Pudgy – this decadent stout was brewed with Ancho and Chipotle chile peppers, cocoa, cinnamon, Mexican vanilla beans, & coffee.
*Barn Town Brewery Pulp Non-Fiction – the new kid on the block has taken off pretty damn fast as a must try brewery! I finally got to visit and not only were the beers tasty but the food was excellent as well. Check out my write-up on Barn Town here: I was pleasantly surprised to this brew on tap at 30hop and have since seen some Barn Town pop up at a few other Eastern Iowa locations and hopefully we see them hit even more spots in 2018. A hazy, NE style juice bomb full of the murky, hoppy goodness!
A juicy & hazy NEIPA brewed with Simcoe, El Dorado & Citra. Roy-al-ly hopped!
*Lion Bridge Majestic Beast – I’ve been a fan of all of Lion Bridge’s IPAs when released but it seems recently they’ve really upped their game. Dangler was delicious, they now have Triple IPA that’s been barrel-aged slightly and one that I hope that they bring back is Majestic Beast. A 7% IPA that is extremely drinkable made with a journey into Lupulin powderes. Lion Bridge continues to impress, in every beer style, in food, in what it means to be a local business. More of this please!
First foray into lupulin powders has produced this mirthful beverage. By using a hop with the green plant material removed we are only dry hopping a concentrated version of the aromatic oils found in eukanot and mosaic. Resinous and tropical; potent yet graceful.
There you have it! The list of Best of Iowa beers 2017. Chances are your list looks a bit different but that’s what makes drinking and trying local beer great! It was stressful, I’m sweating and need a beer. I also have to give a shout out to Nick Jubeck for creating the Iowa Beer Baron logo at the top of the post! Thanks man, check out and like his Facebook page by clicking here: Cheers to the breweries who make the beers, the restaurants and bars that serve them and cheers to 2018!
New Belgium Brewing has quite a few releases coming this fall. Some beers they had released previously and some are new to their lineup. This list comes courtesy of Beerpulse:
The brewery’s latest seasonal, Lips of Faith, Hop Kitchen, and stainless steel offerings pair perfectly with the final days of summer
(Ft. Collins, CO) – New Belgium Brewing has four new releases to help make the fall transition a little easier to bear. The beers include Pumpkick, a fall festival favorite; Le Terroir, one of New Belgium’s favorite wood-aged sours; Bretta IPA, which crosses wild Brettanomyces yeast with fruity hop varieties; and Fruit Fly, a refreshing stainless steel sour.
Pumpkick Spiced Seasonal Ale
Pumpkick is back bringing a bite of tartness to New Belgium’s traditionally spiced pumpkin ale. The tart cranberry kick offers a bright burst of seasonal flavor. Pumpkick pours a slightly hazy, glowing orange, packed with pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a snappy dose of cranberry. The mouthfeel is creamy from added oats, followed by a quick, dry finish, making Pumpkick the perfect beer to kick off fall.
Yeast: Ale yeast
Malts: Pale, Munich, Caramel
Availability: Now in 6-and 12-packs
Le Terroir Dry-Hopped Sour Ale
Le Terroir, named after the French term meaning “of the earth,” packs the bold and hoppy nose of an American IPA, plus the pucker of a well-crafted sour. Felix, New Belgium’s wood-aged pale sour beer, is dry hopped with Amarillo and Galaxy hops to create Le Terroir. The mango and peach tones of the hops playfully complement the wood-aged backbone without any bitterness, creating a beer that changes every time New Belgium brews it.
Yeast: Lager yeast
Malts: Pale, Wheat, C-80, Carapils, Oats
Special Processing: Dry Hopped with Amarillo and a little Galaxy in stainless tanks in wood cellar
Availability: August 29 in 22 oz. bombers and on draft
Bretta IPA, part of New Belgium’s Hop Kitchen series, which showcases New Belgium’s hop heavy beers, is out now. This beer crosses wickedly wild Brettanomyces yeast with some of New Belgium’s favorite fruity hop varieties. Bretta is conditioned on two strains of Brettanomyces for a month, giving it citrusy, piney hop notes thanks to Equinox, Galaxy, and Warrior. It has a bite that lingers, but a sweetness that emerges with a touch of pineapple.
Yeast: Ale yeast, Brettanomyces Clausenii, Brettanomyces Bruxellensis
Hops: Cascade, Equinox, Galaxy, Warrior
Malts: Pale, Caramel 120, Spelt
Special Processing: Brewed with two types of Brettanomyces yeast and dry-hopped with Equinox, Galaxy and Warrior.
Availability: Now on draft
Fruit Fly Passionfruit Citra Sour
Fruit Fly is a fruity, refreshingly tart, and juicy summer release, putting a new spin on the classic tartness of Berliner weisse. New Belgium acidifies this stainless steel sour beer with its house lacto strain, then dry-hops it with fruity Citra. During fermentation 800 pounds of tropical passion fruit is blended in. Fruit Fly has big citrus flavors and rich guava-like aromas, with a finish that is tart and dry; an ideal summer beer.
“At New Belgium, fruited beers are very much a part of our DNA,” said Andrew Emerton, New Belgium specialty brand manager. “We’ve been using real fruit since the very beginning with a beer called Old Cherry and since 1991 we’ve sent to market 34 beers brewed with fruit. Last year, our Pilot Brewers were challenged with creating a few stainless steel sour recipes featuring our proprietary lacto blending process and beautifully tart house lacto strain. While all recipes were great we felt the Passionfruit Citra Sour just killed it.”
Special Processing: Additions of passion fruit and dry-hopped with Citra hops.
Availability: Now on draft
To learn more on the differences between stainless steel sours, like Fruit Fly, and wood-aged sours, like La Folie, check out: How is your New Belgium Beer Sourced? (http://www.newbelgium.com/community/Blog/new-belgium-brewing/2016/06/01/how-is-your-new-belgium-beer-soured)
Old Chicago in Coralville will be hosting a Tallgrass Brewing tap takeover this Wednesday night. Tallgrass will be bringing some of their big guns from the Explorer Series as well as a pin called “Buffalo Sex”. One of my personal favorites, Big RICC, will be on tap as well. The complete lineup and release poster is below, make sure to check it out if you are in the area!
We will be tapping 3 beers from the explorer series. Bourbon barrel buffalo sweat, bourbon barrel vanilla bean buffalo sweat, and big RICC. We will also be tapping a pin at 5 pm that is called Buffalo Sex. It is Buffalo Sweat with chocolate and cherry!
A new poll is upon us and with the past polls I’m hoping for some fun discussion and comments. Lion Bridge takes home gold in the barrel-aged/imperial stout category and Big Grove takes home the gold in the IPA category. Toppling Goliath dominates the entries in the pale ale field and is probably a clear favorite.
Of British origin, this style is now popular worldwide and the use of local ingredients, or imported, produces variances in character from region to region. Generally, expect a good balance of malt and hops. Fruity esters and diacetyl can vary from none to moderate, and bitterness can range from lightly floral to pungent.
American versions tend to be cleaner and hoppier, while British tend to be more malty, buttery, aromatic and balanced.
Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-7.0%
Once again, if I’ve left off a possible entry please shoot me a message so I can get it added. Voting will close next Sunday night! Good luck, have fun, and cheers!
Quite a few tidbits on this Thursday to pass along. The next Big Grove double IPA gets released tomorrow and I’ll also be pouring some fine Big Grove brews tomorrow during ragbrai in Solon, so if you’re around stop by and say hi. Onto the news this week:
**Boulevard Smokestack Series Imperial Stout X Cherry Tart – the next release in the series for Boulevard gets a little sour! They add tart cherries to fermentation. This brew will come in at 11% and will be available caged and corked in 750 mL bottles and be available in September.
**Oskar Blues Blue Dream IPA – the latest release from the brewery as it was recently unveiled at the Brevard, NC facility. Little is known about this release right now except it will be another can offering and will check in at 6.4% abv. Stay tuned for more on this brew.
**Founders Spectra Trifecta – following Mosaic Promise and Black IPA comes Spectra Trifecta. A kolsch style beer, this will be coming in at 5.9% and be available in September. Here’s more from the brewery:
Brewed in the traditional kolsch style, which requires fermenting ale yeast at a colder temperature and give she beer a clean finish without fruity yeast esters. This bright, golden beer is brewed with a trifecta of natural ingredients: earthy, floral and slightly sweet chamomile; a touch of citrusy lemongrass; and a hint of spicy fresh ginger.
**Great Divide Whitewater Hoppy Wheat – the newest seasonal release which was originally a gold medal winner at GABF in 1994 is back in 6 packs of cans and bottles. It checks in at 6.1%. Here’s more from the brewery:
WHITEWATER is an American wheat ale built for exploration. The bold hop profile adds complexity to this crisp, balanced ale, while hints of citrus, light floral notes, and a satisfying bitterness leave a perfect reminder of trails climbed and rapids subdued. Whitewater is the perfect complement to any adventure.
**Alpine Brewing hitting the Iowa Market in August – the beeradvocate forum is bursting with news that Alpine Brewing, which was recently acquired by Green Flash, will start hitting the market (Des Moines specifically) in August. According to some folks from Doll Distribution it will start with kegs and then bottles will roll out in November. I hope this means the same for Eastern Iowa!
*Any news or new beers you want to talk about? Send me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org