Drink This! Big’s BBQ Jackhammer Stout

Bigs.jpgLiving in a small college town like Mount Vernon, IA it’s nice to have a few great options when it comes to beer and food. Chameleon’s Pub and Grub with about 10 craft beer lines focusing on the local breweries such as Big Grove, Lion Bridge, and Reunion and up a couple shops from Chameleon’s we have Lincoln Winebar that has the best pizza in the state along with a huge wine list and some very good craft beer bottles as well. Adding to those two places is a new BBQ joint right down the block.

Big’s BBQ is a welcome addition to the area adding a cuisine we didn’t have. Terrific ribs, brisket, and pulled pork are just a few of the options at Bigs, but what is really great (especially for me) is that they are also a brewpub. Turning out their own beer starting with 2 on their opening week, Big’s currently has around 6-7 of their own on tap. Last night, I was able to try their Jackhammer Stout. Checking in at 8.5%, this stout delivers in all aspects that you would like a stout to deliver in the flavor profile. Perhaps a bit thin but the roastiness along with chocolate and coffee with a tad of some dark fruit makes for a very drinkable stout with a very well-hidden 8.5% ABV.

Pair this beer with some ribs, brisket, or a sandwich and it’s a tough combination to beat. They’ve only been open for a few months but I like what the future holds for this place for both food and beer. You’ll have to make the trek to Mt. Vernon, and if you do, hit up Chameleon’s for a Lion Bridge Workman’s Comp, head to Winebar for a terrific pizza and then walk down the block for some ribs and Drink This! Jackhammer Stout at Big’s! Cheers!

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Lambic and Gueuze Fans Rejoice! Abu Nawas Bringing Brouwerij Boon to Iowa!

boon.jpgMore great brews being brought in by Abu Nawas! The following information is courtesy of Abu Nawas Distribution:

We are excited to announce our new partnership with the award winning Brewery Boon. From the traditional Oude Gueuze Lambic to Limited Editions to Fruit Lambics Boon is the gold standard. Boon brands are perennial award winners. It is an honor and privilege to bring the Boon tradition and spectacular brands to Iowa.

Team Abu Nawas Beverage

A little Boon History:

Since 1975, Boon Brewery has been owned and run by Frank Boon, one of the pioneers of the authentic lambic and gueuze revival. But the first signs of the brewery date back to 1680, as a farm-brewery and distillery in the village of Lembeek. In 1860 Louis Paul bought the brewery to brew only lambic and faro. From 1875, he began bottling gueuze lambic. In 1898, Pierre Troch bought the brewery. But after the economic crisis of 1927, it came into the hands of Joseph De Vits. His son, Rene, is renowned for the production of soft and fine gueuze lambic. As Rene De Vits had no children, he sold the brewery to Frank Boon.

Say “Lembeek” in English and you hear “Lambic”. Lembeek was traditionally a “stokershol”, a distiller’s hideaway. During the many wars of the 12th century Lembeek was a free city: you could brew beer and distill gin without paying taxes. Dozens of distilleries (43 in all) and brewers set up. The French occupying forces in 1794 scrapped the tax-free status. To avoid this a public servant was on occasion bribed to notify false declaration by the brewer on the kind of brew he had brewed. But because of the number of brewers and distillers, the French called Lembeek “Le Village d’alambique (the village of stills). Gradually, the “biere di Lembecq” became “Biere d’Alambique”, the first references to lambic!

 

Bar Review: The Map Room; Cedar Rapids, IA

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Add The Map Room to the ever-growing list of great bars/restaurants in Cedar Rapids. What used to be Stella’s, located at 3rd St. SE right across from the Backpocket Pilot Pub, The Map Room is the perfect place to meet up with co-workers, have a quick drink, an order of one of their unique fry baskets or even grab yourself a burger.

This place is what you want your local bar to be; cozy, comfortable, friendly wait staff, good beer and booze list, and some very good fries and burgers. The prices on the food were very friendly and the unique offerings make it a great place to try their different burger and fry basket toppings. I was pleasantly surprised to see they had SingleSpeed/Pulpit collab Coconut Migration, which has become my favorite beer of the summer so far, along with an Alpine, Lion Bridge, and many more offerings. Around 10-12 tap lines and a nice booze selection as well.

On my visit I enjoyed a Coconut Migration (or 2) and although I wasn’t very hungry the fries were calling to me. I went with the Cusco Fries, which come with a beef gravy, onions, tomatoes, and a cilantro type pesto. They were terrific with the perfect amount of spice and went perfectly with the beer. The Map Room is the perfect place to go before a Kernels game, meet for post work beers, have a quick bite to eat and enjoy the comfort that this cozy bar creates. This is a bar that I will be stopping at when I’m in downtown CR. Check it out if you get to the area, you won’t regret it! Cheers!

 

 

Cedar Rapids Beer Nuts Present: 6th Annual Homebrew Festival, Saturday August 19th

Beer lovers, mark your calendars for Saturday, August 19th as the Cedar Rapids homebrew club, Beer Nuts, will have their 6th annual Homebrew Festival. There will be 100 unique beers by some of the area’s best homebrewers as well as food provided by The Sausage Foundry. Add live music from The Surf Zombies and you have yourself a nice little Saturday. $20 for tickets in advance and $25 at the door. Get to Benz Beverage Depot on the 19th, sure to be a great event!

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Drink This! SingleSpeed + Pulpit Rock Coconut Migration Double IPA

cocont.jpgSweltering hot and humid Iowa summers make you yearn for a beachside drink while overlooking the ocean, well, for me they do and thankfully SingleSpeed Brewery and Pulpit Rock Brewery have teamed up for a collab that brings the tropics to Iowa. We are missing the white sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean but we have the drink…we have the drink!!

Visiting Need Pizza I was honestly a bit skeptical of ordering this beer as it didn’t seem coconut and a double IPA would go well together. I ordered a small sample and my skepticism was immediately put to rest! Pineapple and coconut are very evident and extremely refreshing, not too overpowering and the hop profile does not overpower or get lost with the toasted coconut. A very creamy double IPA that goes down easily. As I stated in my untappd check-in, if a double IPA and a Pina Colada banged the shit out of each each this would be their love child.

Here’s more from the brewery on this beer:

American Double IPA, rested on toasted coconut

A Pulpit Rock Brewing Co. (Decorah, IA) / SingleSpeed Brewing Co. Collaboration

Brewing with the guys from Pulpit Rock is like taking a vacation. This time around our destination is the tropics. If you like Piña Coladas and/or getting caught in the rain you’re probably gonna be feeling this beer. If you don’t like either of those things, well that sucks for you. We still recommend ordering one.

This is a Pina Colada in beer form, but for me, it tastes even better. If you don’t like coconut, then, as SingleSpeed said, sucks for you, if you enjoy coconut and tropical fruits this a beer you must seek out this summer. Thankfully, Need Pizza and I believe Bricks had it in Cedar Rapids, for how long? I’m not sure, but I hope this beer hits more lines. Possible beer of the year so far for me. Drink This! this summer!

Alaskan Brewing Coming to Iowa this Summer!

alaska.jpgI just received the following tweet from Alaskan Brewing Company:

Johnson Brothers will be doing the distribution. The Alaskan sampler pack will be the first thing we will see on shelves and will be a great opportunity to get acquainted with the brewery.

Here’s more from the brewery’s website:

Juneau-based brewery will enter Iowa market in summer 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (June 6, 2017) – Beer drinkers in the Hawkeye state will soon be able to get their hands on an award-winning beer from the Last Frontier, as Alaskan Brewing will be on tap and on the shelves in Iowa this summer. Alaskan is partnering with Johnson Brothers Distributing to bring a variety of brews made from the glacier-fed waters of Juneau to the heartland. In a surprising way, this reestablishes a 30-year link that the founders of Alaskan Brewing have with Iowa.

Co-Founder Geoff Larson was mentored by the staff at Millstream, a craft brewery in Amana, where he worked as a short-term visiting brewing apprentice in 1985. “Iowa was where I brewed at a commercial level for the first time. Those were exciting days early in my brewing career, learning from excellent craftsmen and getting to know and appreciate the hard-work ethic of the people of Iowa. Their passion for their community and their work has left a lasting impression on me.” said Larson.

“We are truly excited to welcome Geoff Larson back to Iowa, it’s always rewarding to see Iowa training pay off in such a successful way!” added Johnson Brother’s President Lyle Stutzman.  “One of the most requested Craft Beers in Iowa has been Alaskan Amber. We hear that request from our customers and beer drinkers all over Iowa!”

Consumers can expect to see the Alaskan Sampler Pack first in select locations starting this June. The Sampler is a great way to get to know Alaskan – it features the flagship Alaskan Amber, the invigorating Icy Bay IPA, a Belgian-style wheat beer called Alaskan White, and a rotating series of small batch beers that highlight the creativity of Alaskan brewers.

Starting in August, Iowans will begin to see the year-round packages of Amber, Icy Bay IPA and White, plus Alaskan’s bold Double-IPA, Hopothermia and Alaskan’s Seasonal lineup starting with the Kölsch-style Summer Ale.

Iowa marks the 19th state of distribution for Alaskan.

Alaskan Brewing Co. was founded in Juneau, Alaska, in 1986 by Marcy and Geoff Larson. Then age 28, they solicited help from about 80 investors to form the country’s 67th independent brewery at the time, the first since prohibition in Juneau. Though founded in 1986, its history reaches back to the Gold Rush Era, from which many recipes draw inspiration.

For more information and updates, check out Alaskan Brewing Co. online at www.alaskanbeer.com.

The Tappening Final Brewery List: June 10th @Noon

Tappening Poster 2017 (1)The Tappening in Dubuque, IA, part of America’s River Festival will be taking place this Saturday starting at noon. VIP tickets have all been sold out but general admission tickets are still available. Visit here for more info. Below is the final list of breweries that will be sampling out their beers this Saturday!

Brewery City State
3 Oaks Distillery Holy Cross IA
Another Road Brewing Marion IA
Backpocket Coralville IA
Baraboo Brewing Co Dubuque IA
Barn Town Brewing West Des Moines IA
Bells Kalamazoo MI
Bent River Brewing Moline IL
Big Grove Solon IA
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co Galena IL
Catfish Charlie’s Dubuque IA
Confluence Brewing Des Moines IA
Contrary Brewing Muscatine IA
DeSchutes Bend OR
Duber – Dubuque Bier Co. Dubuque IA
Elysian Seattle WA
Exile Brewing Des Moines IA
Firestone Walker Paso Robles CA
FireTrucker Brewery Ankeny IA
Franklin Street Brewing Co Manchester IA
Front Street Brewing Davenport IA
Galena Brewing Co Galena IL
Generations Brewing Company Freeport IL
Golden Road Los Angeles CA
Iowa Brewing CO Cedar Rapids IA
Jubeck Brewery Dubuque IA
Kalona Brewing Co. Kalona IA
Lake Front Brewing Milwaukee WI
Millstream Amana IA
Mississippi River Distilling Co. Le Claire IA
Odell Fort Collins CO
Paradise Distilling Dubuque IA
Potosi Brewery Potosi WI
Schlafly St. Louis MO
Sierra Nevada Chico CA
Spiked Seltzer St. Louis MO
Surly Minneapolis MN
Toppling Goliath Decorah IA
Virtue Cider Fennville MI

If you are in the Dubuque area this weekend and are looking for something to do, check out America’s River Festival and The Tappening!

Big Grove Brewpub in Solon Tapping “Easy Eddy” Unfiltered IPA Friday 5/26 @3:00 p.m.!

big groveBig Grove Brewery will be adding a new IPA to their lineup as they tap “Easy Eddy” this coming Friday, May 26th at 3:00. This is an unfiltered IPA that checks in at 6.5%. It will also be tapping Saturday at Big Grove Brewery and Taproom upon opening. Here are the deets on this refreshing sounding brew:

EASY EDDY
Unfiltered IPA
6.5%
Flaked wheat and oats make for a brilliant golden haze in this Unfiltered IPA. Hopped during the whirlpool with Citra and Loral lupulin powder showcasing tropical aromatics and a soft bitterness. Dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra lupulin powder and Mandarina Bavaria for intense punchy flavors of pineapple and candied melon. Featured Malts: 2 row, Flaked Wheat, Flaked Oats Whirlpool Hop Additions: Citra lupulin powder, Loral lupulin powder, Hallertau Mandarina Bavaria Dry Hop: Mosaic, Citra Lupulin powder, Hallertau Mandarina Bavaria

Volunteers Needed for Surly Gives a Damn Event: June 17th, Snyder Heritage Farm

surly gives a damn.pngThe Surly Gives a Damn Team is at it again as they continue to provide time and support for communities around the Des Moines area. This time they will be helping at Snyder Heritage Farm near Ankeny removing brush and invasive species. They are looking for 20-30 people to provide some time and assistance! Here’s more info on this event:

SGAD IA Brush Removal at Snyder Heritage Farm
On Saturday, June 17th, from 9:00am-11:30am, join us and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to remove invasive species from Snyder Heritage Farm! For over two decades, Snyder Farm has been slowly transitioning from a traditional farm to an exquisite blend of prairie, oak savanna, wetland and woodland ecosystems. It’s now a super-spectacular prairie oasis outside of Des Moines. We’re looking for 20-30 to help remove brush and invasive species from the area. Afterwards, we’ll grab a FREE thank you Surly beer to celebrate our hard work.
Here’s the main Surly Gives a Damn page:
 
Here’s the direct link to the sign up page (this page can also be reached from the main SGAD page):