Beer Baron’s Top 10 Iowa Beers of 2020!

What a year it has been! With all that is going on our local breweries still put out a ton of amazing beers and this was the toughest “Top 10” I’ve had to come up with. As the year winds down, a heartfelt thank you to all the brewery/restaurant workers out there working their butts off to get us excellent beers and delicious food while trying to keep their businesses afloat. Keep supporting local people!

List criteria:
*Beer must have been released in 2020
*Iowa brewed only
*Annual releases not counted unless a new adjunct was added to the beer

I know that I’ve missed many, my goal in 2020 was to get to as many Iowa breweries as possible and I was able to get to many that I hadn’t been before and hopefully that trend continues in 2021. After you read my list I would love to hear what your Top 10 is this year! Follow me on twitter @iabeerbaron or join the Iowa Beer page on Facebook. Cheers to you all!

*Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee – 12.5% – the last few years of the Richard release, the golden ticket addition has added excitement but also even more creativity from the BG brewers and crew to up the ante every year to produce an amazing beer and this year was no different. The balance between the coffee and coconut blends perfectly with barrel and the vanilla rounds it out perfectly. A truly decadent and delicious beer. To quote Virginia Madsen from “Sideways”, “You know, the day you open a Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee….that’s the special occasion”.

Big Grove Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee

*Lion Bridge Off Grid – 6.6% – there may not be a better beer to showcase the trying year many people have faced in 2020. Off Grid was brewed after the derecho storm left many in the Cedar Rapids area without power, shelter, etc. Brewing with generator power, not only did Lion Bridge get beer to us, they gave us one of the best IPAs brewed in Iowa in 2020 and I hope we get a taste of it again in 2021….minus the derecho.

Lion Bridge Off Grid

*Barn Town Nelson Sauvin Neon – 6.5% – as Barn Town’s Neon is becoming more available in Eastern Iowa, it has certainly taken its place amongst my ever revolving beer fridge as a staple. However, Barn Town decided to showcase different hops in their popular IPA and after tasting Nelson Sauvin Neon, dare I say I want more of this version? I love Nelson hops and the addition of this adds a nice peppery finish to an already delicious citrus IPA.

*Lua Algorithm – 4% ABV – trips to Des Moines in the last year certainly have been more common to get some to go beers from many of the breweries in that area and one certain stop has been Lua. Lua’s lineup of beers range from wonderful pilsners, hoppy IPAs, BA stouts, and one their extremely popular Pushpop lineup of brews! There were many that I really enjoyed but Algorithm was the one that stood out to me most. The combo of orange, mango and peaches can be enjoyed any time of the day! Lua is currently doing curbside only for the foreseeable future so make sure you place an order with them and pick up some amazing beer and food!

*Clock House Peanut Panic Porter – 5.5% – Clock House has had an amazing year with their beer releases and with the addition of a canning line they can get us our favorites more efficiently and timely. Of all the beers I’ve had of theirs this year, (I think I’ve had them all), their Peanut Panic Porter stood out. I’m a huge porter fan, Founders Porter is still one of my all-time favorite beers, and when Clock House added peanuts to this beer I was sold. Now, this isn’t a overly sweet “peanut butter” beer, this is boiled raw peanuts and some added cocoa nibs making this one of the best porters I’ve had and definitely the best peanut porter I’ve ever had. Still on tap I believe, give it a shot!

*Big Grove HDTV – 9.2% – galaxy hops gone mad! Big Grove took their popular Color TV and added a bunch more galaxy hops to it to give us this baby! A wonderful welcome addition to Richard the Whale day, HDTV is not only delicious, but it’s deceptively drinkable coming in at 9.2%. You still may be able to find cans of this in the wild or certain bars (Club 76 has it on tap).

Big Grove HDTV

*Single Speed Barrel-Aged Double Donuts – 10% – aged in Cedar Ridge single malt whiskey barrels? Yes please! Single Speed took inspiration from their popular Zach’s Mexican Donuts, threw it in some amazing whiskey barrels and barrel-aged Double Donuts was born! Luckily I have a few cans left of this and I have every intention to sit by the fireplace and watch the snowstorm blow in tomorrow night and sip and enjoy this wonderful brew!

*Pulpit Rock Double Dave-O – 7.6% – I remember having this beer way back in January at Marquee Pizza in Coralville during their anniversary celebration. Marquee always did a great job getting Pulpit Rock on tap (Thanks Sam!) when many places couldn’t and I remember thinking that it’s going to be nice being able to visit here, have some great food and sip on some Pulpit beers…..things have changed a bit because of the pandemic but Pulpit sure has adapted to the changing times and have done an amazing job getting their cans available in certain locations around Eastern Iowa (Need Pizza + Reds Alehouse). Double Dave-O stood out because of the hop profile. Citra and mosaic, two of my favorites made this a quenching IPA leaving me wanting another one!

Pulpit Rock Double Dave-O

*Dimensional Imperial Cinna-Man Bun – 11.7% – there are some beers that you can be a little hesitant to order because you’ve already played it out in your head how it was going to taste. With this particular beer, I thought for sure it would be way too sweet for me with over the top cinnamon, admittedly I was completely wrong. Dimensional brought balance to a beer that could have gone the complete opposite direction, especially for a pastry stout. Another great fall/winter beer to sip on, wish I had some more of it!

Dimensional Imperial Cinna-Man Bun

*Clock House Sweet Innocence – 5.2% – 42 lbs of black cherries added to this kettle sour which made for a truly refreshing beer to sip on on hot ass August night in Iowa. This is a beer that I hope to see again during the warmer months and if you haven’t tried it, if Clock House does release it again, it’s worth the trip to Cedar Rapids!

Clock House Sweet Innocence

There is the list! It’s always fun to compile but never easy to narrow down! With such a trying year in the beer/restaurant industry it is amazing on how these breweries have adapted to keep their businesses alive and to also keep us stocked with beer. A huge cheers to all of them and I hope you continue to support your local brewery and businesses. I know I probably missed your favorite of the year so please let me know what your list looks like! Cheers!

Great Iowa Beer Festival Category Vote: Stouts

This category of stouts will not include imperial/barrel aged/pastry/adjunct except coffee! Those will be broken down into another category down the road! Thanks to everyone who has participated in the voting and to the brewer’s making the beer! Cheers!

Stout is a dark, top-fermented beer with a number of variations, including dry stout, oatmeal stout, milk stout. The first known use of the word stout for beer was in a document dated 1677 found in the Egerton Manuscripts, the sense being that a “stout beer” was a strong beer, not a dark beer.

Great Iowa Beer Festival Category Vote: Hazy/New England Sytle IPA

From BA: NEIPA is essentially an unfiltered IPA or Double IPA that’s been aggressively hopped. Appearance ranges from slightly hazy or cloudy to opaque or muddy. Dry-hopping, the use of high-protein grains (flours, flaked oats, wheat), certain yeast strains, water chemistry, CO2 levels, and other techniques may also contribute to the beer’s haze and mouthfeel. But the overall goal is typically a hazy, juicy IPA packed with fruity and floral flavors

SingleSpeed Brewing Presents: Virtual Happy Hour w/ Dan Gable! 5/20 @ 5 pm!

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SingleSpeed brewing company is hosting a virtual happy hour with legendary Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable on May 20th starting @ 5 p.m! Here are the deets on this exciting event courtesy of SingleSpeed’s website:

What is Dan going to talk about? 
All kinds of stuff.  Wrestling.  Beer.  The Olympics.  Community.  Toughness.

Can I ask Dan a question? 
You sure can.  There are two ways to do this.

OPTION ONE: Fire your question our way via email.  Rachel will select the best of the best to present to Dan.  rachel@singlespeedbrewing.com

OPTION TWO: Join the live chat on 5/20 and ask your question in real time.  We will be monitoring the chat and will try to get as many questions to Dan as time permits.

I’m not on Facebook, is there another way to watch?
You bet.  We don’t know exactly what this will be, but we promise to figure it out before 5.20 and we will share that information here.

 

Breweries and Beers Announced for 2020 BrrrFest!

We have an early list of breweries and beers that will be available at the 2020 Coralville BrrrFest thanks to the folks at flitebrite. You can access and create your untappd wishlist for the event by clicking here

Here’s the list, I’ll continue to post updates as they come in. Cheers!

-515 Brewing Company
*Dunkel on the Haterz
*Mexican Spring
*OJ Gets Lei’d
*Poobah of Passe
*Puppy Jake
-5ive Cities Brewing Company
-7 Hills Brewing Co.
*Baca Inocula
*Betty’s Private Reserve
*Bi-Polar Vortex
*Bold Blavatsky
*Cerebral Haze
*Muddy Tugger w/Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup
-Alluvial Brewing Company
-Backpocket Brewing
-Barn Town Brewing
-Bent River Brewing Company
*Barrel-Aged Marshmallow Stout
*Chocolate Covered Banana
*Lactobaxpress
*Liquified
-Big Grove Brewery
*Buster
*Cask Sera w/white peppercorn + pineapple
*Easy Eddy Strawberry Pineapple Milkshake
*Experimental Sour w/passion fruit, raspberry + vanilla
*Justice for Barb
*Richard the Whale Vanilla Coconut
*Snowbird
*Static
*White Stout
*Xibalba Wade Wisely
-Boone Valley Brewing
-Brightside Aleworks
-Carroll Brewing Company
*Black Lager
*Carroll Red
*India Pale Ale
*Mild
*Tokyo Pils
-Cedar Ridge
-Clock House Brewing
-Confluence Brewing
-Contrary Brewing
*Finger Licken’ Good
*German’s Chocolate Cake
*Punch You in the Eye
*Zoom Doggy (w/maple & cinnamon)
-Court Avenue Brewing Company
-Crawford Brew Works
-Dimensional Brewing
*Dad Bod
*Denim Venom
*Easy Steve
*Gussied Up
*Jumbled Up: Hazel
*Sweet Acoustics
-East Grove Meadery
-Exile Brewing Company
-Fat Hill Brewing Company
-Fenders Brewing
*Morning Ride
-Firetrucker Brewery
*Black Magic Coffee Stout
*Brigade Ale
*Burnout Brown
*Destination IPA East Coast Style
*Tropical Burn Mago DIPA
-Fishback and Stephenson Cidery
*Maple Starship
*Salty Poser
-Fox Brewing
Franklin Street Brewing
-Front Street Brewery
Gezellig Brewing Company
*From Zero to Iffy
*Hug Deal Gone Sideweiss
*Tank in the Frank!
-Green Tree Brewing
-Iowa Brewing Company
*Barrel-Aged In-Tents w/ Trung Nguyen Legendee Coffee
*Barrel-Aged OREOja
*Bohemian Rapids
*Cousin Eddie’s Breakfast Ale
*David Hefehoff
*Double Barrel Hang Fire
*Eagle Lime
*Jinkies! – Lotus, Exp. 07720, Exp. 09326
*Oja’s Peanut Butter Cup Porter
-Jackson Street Brewing
*4 Non Blondes
*Hell’s Half Acre Stout – French Toast
*Imperial Chocolate Peanut Butter Treat
*Nannerbock
*Sioux City Sours & Barrel Aged Stouts
-Jefferson County Ciderworks
-Kalona Brewing Company
-Keg Creek Brewing Company
*Brick Red Ale
*Illuminator VII
*Kashmir Kush DIPA
*Mas Mexican Style Lager
*Moongold Apricot
*Rehashed IPA
-Lake Time Brewing
*Funfetti
*Haze of Our Lives
*Lost Dutchman
*Oreo Speed Wagon
*Peanut Butter Porter
*Welcome to the Jungle Juice
-Lark Brewing Company
-Limestone Brewers
-Lion Bridge Brewing Company
-Millstream Brewing Company
-Mississippi River Distilling
Mistress Brewing Company
-NoCoast Beer Co.
-Parkside Brewing Company
*Belly Dancer Chai Stout
*Kyle
*No Scurvy
*Raspberry Mother
-Peace Tree Brewing Company
-Pivo Brewing
*Balltown Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownie Milk Stout
*Dorchester British Best
-Pulpit Rock Brewing Company
-Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery
-Reclaimed Rails Brewing 
-ReUnion Brewery
*Cosmic Creamsicle Juice Factory
*Imperial Banshee (2019)
*Ocean Sprayed Cranberry Gose
*Reunion Lager
*Rock ‘N Roll Bus Driver
*Tank Puncher IPA
-Second State Brewing
*Schwarzbier
*Vienna Lager
-SingleSpeed Brewing 
*A-Two-Hoo
*Gable
*Hard Won Not Done
*Slightly Heightened Conversation V2.0
*Tip the Cow
*Tip the Cowconut
*Two Cows (Walk into a Barrel)
*Victory Dance
-Thew Brewing
*Candy Double Tappa
*Hello Hazy
*Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree
-Third Base Brewing
*At the Heart of Winter
*Smoak ‘Em If You Got ‘Em
-Toppling Goliath Brewing
*Cherry Fandango
*Dorthy’s New World Lager
*Dragon Fandango
*King Sue
*Mornin’ Delight
*Pompeii
*Pseudo Sue
*Supa’ Sumo
*Term Oil
-Torrent Brewing Company
-Twisted Vine Brewery
*5 Horizons Black Lager
*Cali-Steamer
*Snowlicious
*Twisted Blonde
*Westown IPA
*Whadda Juicebag
-West O Beer
-Wild Culture Kombucha
-Wilson’s Hard Cider
*Old Blue
*Pina de Iowa
*Sutliff Hard Cider
-Worth Brewing

 

Your Iowa Beer Guide to Black Friday!

oakonut

If you are out and about this coming Black Friday there are quite a few options from the beer community to take advantage of. Can releases, bottle releases, and speciality tappings a plenty!
*If you know of an event that I didn’t post up please drop me a line and I’ll add it to the list! 

**Lion Bridge Brewery – Oakonut Delight release. 1 case per customer per purchase starting at 11 a.m., but if you get back in line you can get more! Imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels with coconut, chocolate, and caramel!  

confluence.jpg

**Confluence Brewing – If you are in the Des Moines area Confluence has a stellar Black Friday lineup.
-Letter of Marque Rum Barrel Aged DIPA W/ Coconut
-Kiano’s Cut Rye Barrel Aged Rye DIPA
-Conifer Ginelly Gin Barrel Aged Saison W/ Cranberries & Spruce
Tips
-Ghostly Presents Tequila Barrel Aged W/ Agave & Peppers
Doors open at 11 AM. No bottle limits. Enjoy $2 off pours of everything in our taproom until noon!

 

bourbon.jpg

**Bricks Bar and Grill – Bourbon County and Black Friday go hand in hand and what better way to take a break from the early morning shopping and stop by Bricks for a 2020 BCS or variant. Here’s what Bricks will have on the lines:

Featuring Five BCBS beers on draft ~ 2018 BCBS Original ~ 2018 BCBS Bramble Rye ~ 2019 BCBS Original ~ 2019 BCBS Cafe De Olla ~ 2019 BCBS Mon Cheri
Blind Auction for 2 2015 BCBS Rare Bottles ~ 4 2012 BCBS Coffee Bottles

~Breakfast Taco Bar~

iowa brewing.jpg

**Iowa Brewing Company – a big day of bottles for Iowa Brewing Company as they are set to release Barrel-aged OREOja Baltic Porter that is finished in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels with “America’s Favorite Cookie.” This and the Hurricane Season will be available Friday the 29th @ 11AM only at the Iowa Brewing taproom.

thew**Thew Brewing Company – Thew will be continuing their “Dark Beer” week on Friday with a whole bunch of tappings. Here’s what they have going:

On tap Friday:
– Darkest Corners (barrel-aged imperial stout)
– Double Tappa (imperial brown ale)
– Old Man Strength (barrel-aged old ale)
– Black IPA
– Imperial stout
– Belgian strong

Bottle release deets courtesy of Thew:

We’ve had an old ale aging in a Weller barrel from Buffalo Trace and we’re anxious to share it with you. Old Man Strength will be packaged in 22 oz. bomber bottles and wax sealed.

Thew Crew members will have two bottles each reserved. You may pick your bottles up beginning Wednesday. Member bottles will be held until Friday, December 6th.

For the general public, release will start at noon on Friday. $20/bottle, 4 bottle per person limit.

In addition to Old Man Strength, we’ll have:
– Firkin of Double Tappa with Coconut
– Randall with Helianthus (sunflower saison) infused with fresh cranberries

 

**Quarter Barrel – Darkest Peru Russian Imperial Stout aged 9 months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels with Peruvian Coffee, Peruvian Cacao, and Huacatay (Peruvian Black Mint) will be sold in 4-packs @ The Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery! 

darkest peru.jpg

**Big Grove Brewery and Bootleggin’ Barzini’s have teamed up for an exclusive barrel-aged barleywine release only available at Barzinis on Black Friday. This barley wine is aged in Cedar Ridge single malt whiskey barrels and will come in a 375 mL bottle. Barzinis will also have their Bourbon County release.

barzinis.jpg

**Marto Brewing Company – Marto will be releasing All the Bean Things which is their
first in house collaboration that was brewed with  Barn Town Brewing!
A  13.1% imperial stout brewed with Ugandan vanilla beans, Caturra Coffee Roasting Co. – A Subsidiary of Coffee King, Inc Mexico Altura coffee beans, & Ghana ABOCFA cacao beans roasted by Just the Nib in Lincoln, NE.
Available on tap & limited crowlers to go. $18 per crowler.

marto.jpg

**Clockhouse Brewing – From Clockhouse:

They say, “We all need a little more fruit in our diet.” So we loaded our kettle sour with Raspberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries. The perfect trifecta for starting your post thanksgiving diet.

clockhouse.jpg

need

**Need Pizza – Need tapping some heavy hitters on Black Friday!

2018 Bourbon County Bramble Rye
2019 Madhouse El Jefe
Pours and crowlers available while they last!

SingleSpeed Releasing Coconut Migration Saturday April 27th!

coconut.jpg

One of my favorite beers as the weather gets warmer will soon be returning to cans. Singlespeed Brewing is releasing their collab beer with Pulpit Rock on April 27th. That’s right, Coconut Migration will be making its return to cans just in time (hopefully) for the warmer weather! Here are the deets:

Join us as we celebrate the return of our Pulpit Rock Brewing Company collaboration! 🥥

If you like Piña Coladas, and/or getting caught in the rain, you’re gonna be feeling this beer. If you’re not into either of those things, well that sucks for you. We still recommend ordering one.

BEER STATS
IBU: 75
OG: 1.070
ABV: 7.4%