Bells Brewery Releases 2018 Calendar

Some new stuff mixed in with the Bell’s classics!

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Marquee Pizzeria Opening End of October in Coralville’s Iowa River Landing!


The newest addition to Coralville’s Iowa River Landing location, Marquee Pizza, will be opening its doors to the public at the end of this month. While pizza made in a Modena, Italy brick oven will be featured, their menu will offer appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. A few pictures below of some of Marquee’s menu items…mouth-watering looking!

The food will no doubt be amazing and I’m pretty stoked to try it out, but I’m also pretty excited to get into those 20 beers lines! Marquee will have 20 draft lines that will emphasize quality. There will be great Iowa made brews as well as some of the best from bigger craft breweries in the country. Marquee is also going to put emphasis on forward thinking breweries such as Evil Twin, Prairie, and Grimm. They also hope to always offer some “oh wow, I’ve had this before” beers. The everyday/frequently seen smaller breweries will play a smaller role in their draft lineup and for the domestic beer lover they will have your Coors Banquets and Budweisers offered in cans.

One thing I’m particularly excited for is Marquee’s mission to offer events.  Things such as local brewery spotlight all the way to off the radar events that will provide more meat than just a simple tap takeover. One good way to keep track of these events is to sign-up for Marquee’s newsletter here.

As the date of opening approaches, stay tuned for many more updates, pictures, and hopefully soon a tap list! Check out Marquee when they open!

Big Grove Bringing the Big Guns to Northside Oktoberfest this Saturday September 30th

big groveBig Grove isn’t messing around folks. This weekend they are hauling their own BGB trailer to Northside Oktoberfest in downtown Iowa City and rolling out some amazing sounding brews to satisfy your thirsty livers. Not only are they rolling a trailer downtown but they are also having a cask rack and….AND….some sumbitchin’ growlers of Richard variants they are sharing. Jean Luc is a must try! Not messing around folks, don’t miss this. So, let’s take a look at each Big Grove station and what will be available.

ON Tap at the BGB Trailer
  1. Boomtown Premium-4.5% Simple ol’ Beer brewed as a traditional cream ale.
  2. West Main Wheat-5.2% American Wheat Ale
  3. Sidehill Sour-4.5% Berliner Weisse-style
  4. Double Blackberry Sidehill Sour-5% Berliner Weisse-style w/Blackberries & Boysenberries
  5. Arms Race-6.2% American Strong Pale Ale, Centennial, Chinook, & Citra
  6. BGB IPA-7% West Coast inspired IPA, Centennial, Chinook, & Simcoe
  7. Red Headed Stranger-6.8% Red IPA, Loral lupulin powder, Citra lupulin powder, & Mosaic
  8. Russian Imperial Stout-9% Imperial Stout
  9. War Rig-9.8% Hopocalypse Double Black IPA, Midnight Wheat & Cascade\
Cask Rack
  1. Thunderdome-8% Hopocalyse Double IPA, Mosaic lupulin powder, Citra lupuiln powder, El Dorado
  2. Arms Race-6.2% Double Dry-Hopped w/Citra then some more Citra.
  3. BGB IPA w/Amarillo-7%
  4. Sidehill Sour w/Blueberries & Lavender-4.5%
  5. Sidehill Sour Grapefruit Gose-4.8%
  6. Dirty Little Secret-9% American Strong Ale w/Raspberries & Cocoa Nibs
Growler Release
11:00am-2017 Richard the Whale
11:30am-2017 Richard the Whale Coffee
noon-2016 Barleywine
12:30pm-2017 Jean Luc Richard
Wow! Iowa beer lovers rejoice at this lineup! How the hell do you not smile looking at lineup? Cheers folks!

Pullman Bar and Diner Presents Stouts, Sours, and Oysters for post-Northside Oktoberfest Celebration

pullmanPullman Bar and Diner in downtown Iowa City will have a great selection of brews available for people who are stopping in after the Northside Oktoberfest celebration this coming weekend. Starting at 3 p.m. Pullman will be putting the following brews on tap:

Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut
Evil Twin Even More Jesus
Prairie Paradise
Surly Darkness 
Founders KBS
Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Blueberry
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Lemon
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Passionfruit
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Raspberry 
That’s a bad ass looking lineup of brews and accompanying those beers will be Chef Emily’s oysters. A can’t miss event, if you’re in the area hit up Pullman this Saturday, September 30th. Cheers!

Ska Brewing Hitting Iowa Distro Next Month

ska brewing.pngA couple of sources have told me and it has been confirmed by a recent John’s Grocery photo that Ska Brewing Company will be hitting Iowa distro next month. Ska Brewing is in Durango, Colorado and is known for the Modus Hoperandi along with a few other brews. Hopefully I’ll have more details as they become available and pinpoint an exact release date. Cheers!

Big Grove/Pullman Kroul Farm Beer Dinner #2: Fall’s Can’t Miss Beer Dinner



If you ever come across a social media site advertisement consisting of any combination of these words: Beer Dinner, Big Grove, Pullman, Chef Smart, Kroul Farm….do yourself favor and get some tickets. For the 2nd straight year this combination of restaurateurs, chefs, farmers, and wait staff put on an amazing culinary experience highlighting fresh and local food and local beer.


Kroul Farms is about 2 minute drive from my town of Mount Vernon, IA just off of Highway 1. They grow and sell sustainable seasonal produce and for the second year in a row they have teamed with the fine folks from Big Grove + Pullman to bring us an amazing dining experience. There’s something to be said about enjoying a five course meal on a farm, sitting on seasonally decorated picnic tables and watching a chef and his staff cooking food over open flames. Onto the dinner:

Course #1:
**Tomato and Onion Confit Tart with Milton creamery white Cheddar
Paired with: Big Grove Sidehill Peach Sour 

The perfect item to start off the dinner. Blistered tomatoes on top with the onions and cheddar gave you familiarity of an excellent slice of pizza and the sour from the Peach Sidehill cut through the richness of the tart. Many of these I could devour in a sitting. 

Course #2:
**Ajo Blanco
Paired with: Big Grove Sidehill Peach Sour

I knew I was getting my first ever chilled soup but I wasn’t sure what the base of the soup was until after the fact. Ajo Blanco is a chilled soup with a bread, almonds, garlic, water, olive oil. I was very intrigued by this dish because of the melon and pickled grapes served with it. It was extremely refreshing and absolutely delicious. Getting the perfect bit of the base along with a pickled grape and a fresh cucumber was heavenly.

Course #3: Lamb and Garlic Sausage
Paired with: Bengoetxe, Txakolina 2015 (I think I spelled that right)

I’ll be the first to admit that lamb is not necessarily a food item that I crave. However, my apprehension and skepticism about this dish quickly disappeared after the first bite. This dish was served family style with a side of grilled pita and a dill yogurt. I piled the yogurt sauce as the aroma from that was intoxicating and when it mixed with the juice from the lamb sausages it was even better. It was paired with a white wine, I don’t know shit about wine so I won’t pretend that I do, let’s just say it was good:)This is a dish that would be perfect for a fall Saturday morning tailgate and couple of Boomtowns. (I ate it so fast I forgot a table picture, so here’s a picture of the Lamb Sausage being cooked).

Course #4: Smoked Trout with Melted Leeks and Horseradish Crema
Paired With: Big Grove Red Headed Stranger

I forgot to get a pic of this dish too but it was very campfire like. The smoked trout was served with a side of melted leeks (yum!) and a big dollop of horseradish cream, which I could eat on almost any dish. It also came with a campfire style potatoes and wild mushrooms wrapped in foil. All superb. I hadn’t had Red Headed Stranger for a while and I forgot how well-balanced it for a Red/Rye? IPA. Hops on the nose and flavor and then balanced perfectly by the malt. A really great and underrated Big Grove beer IMO.

Course #5: Wood Roasted Pork Chop
Paired With: Hedges Estates CMS Red 2015

I was very excited about getting to this dish especially when you actually go see the chefs and cooks cooking this on an open fire. It was served family style, cut into huge portions and also had some pork belly crisped up and served with it. The polenta was creamy and when the juices from the chop mixed with that polenta you had one hell of tasty bite of food. The succotash could be served all on its own and I would be perfectly happy with that too! The chop was tender and juicy and packed with flavor. Mouth watering and delicious! I finally took the time to take the fork out of my mouth and snap a picture.

Course #6: Caramel Apple Glazed Parsnip Cake
Paired With: Big Grove Brewery Jean Luc Richard

I’m not a big dessert kind of guy and I was really looking forward to just sipping on the glorious brew that accompanied the dish. A parsnip cake? No clue what this was going to be about but my god was this the best dessert I’ve ever had and I’ll have continued dreams about it. The cake was a cinnamon spiced cake that was made with, you guessed it, parsnips. It was delicious! Served with a mini caramel apple and also with the greatest ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Brown butter ice cream. A bit of cake with some caramel and some ice cream on the spoon was completely satisfying and beyond delicious. That was paired with Big Grove’s new Richard beer, Jean Luc Richard, which is described as a creme brulee tasting beer. The beer was exactly that; sweet, some barrel on it, chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel flavors. Simply awesome!

**With year two of this dinner in the books, it’s not too early to look forward to year 3. I know I am. How do the chefs top this though? The thing is, they will. Special thanks to the Kroul Family for hosting this event and Corey Kent, Ben Smart, Doug Goettsch and their hard-working staff. I will look forward to this every single year…it’s the event of the Fall!!

Surly Gives A Damn Event Saturday Oct. 14th: Volunteers Needed for Bur Oak Land Trust in Iowa City

surly gives a damnBur Oak Land Trust nature work! Join us in Iowa City on Saturday, October 14th from 9:00am-12:00pm at the Bur Oak Land Trust, a collection of nine preserved natural areas in Iowa. We need 20 people to help burn the prairie, remove invasive species, maintain trails, or plant prairie seed! Sign up here! 

The Details:
Join us in Iowa City on Saturday, October 14th from 9:00am-12:00pm at the Bur Oak Land Trust, a collection of nine preserved natural areas in Iowa. We need 20 people to help burn the prairie, remove invasive species, maintain trails, or plant prairie seed! Afterwards we’ll head to a local event partner for a FREE Surly beer. Join us and do some good!

When: Saturday, October 14th from 9:00am-12:00pm, with a free Surly beer to follow

Where: O’Mara Newport Woods Property
4319 320th St NE
Iowa City, Iowa

The link to the main Surly Gives a Damn page can be found here:– gives-a-damn/

The direct link to the sign-up for this event can be found here (this can also be accessed from the main SGAD page): 7wv3cj8ZVgBKaTXD2

Drink This! Big Grove Thunderdome Unfiltered Double IPA

big groveAhhh……it sure is nice to have the Hopocalypse back at Big Grove. A new double IPA released every two weeks, the first one being an unfiltered double with Mosaic and Citra and pairing it with some korean chicken wings? Yes please!

Last Friday Big Grove started this year’s Hopocalypse series and the first release was Thunderdome. Here’s the description of this brew courtesy of Big Grove:

This year’s Hopocalypse series starts with a hazy unfiltered inspired recipe for a big fruit forward Double IPA kickoff. Big pineapple, melon, and mandarin orange flavors, full-bodied mouthfeel with a soft bitterness. Welcome to the Thunderdome.

Featured Malts: Flaked Wheat, Red Wheat, Flaked Oats, & C60
Hops: El Dorado, Mosaic Lupulin, & Citra Lupulin


Huge fruit notes and a very well hidden ABV makes this an extremely drinkable IPA. The hops shine with the perfect balance of bitterness and flavor. The hops used are evident as you get citrus, tropical and melon flavors with just enough malt to round it out. Big Grove nailed this one, and like I said above, pairing it was some spicy Korean chicken was the perfect companion. I would love to see this one stick around for a while but from what I hear it’s going fast on the tap lines! A few select places in CR and IC have had it, but I’m not sure what remains. The Hopocalypse concept is brilliant, new double IPA every two weeks, all of which will be different. I’m particularly stoked to see what they have in mind for the “Futuristic Double IPA”.  If you want to see what Big Grove is releasing next just click here.

With Hopocalypse taking over for the next few weeks and Lion Bridge having Dangler on tap, Eastern Iowa hopheads should be in heaven for while as they support their local breweries! Thunderdome won’t be around long, so Drink This! while you still can!

Big Grove Hopocalypse Returns this Friday 8/25! Thunderdome Unfiltered DIPA 1st of 6 releases!

hopocalypse.jpgIf you’re ready for the Hopocalypse you need to get to Big Grove brewpub this Friday, August 25th in Solon! They will be releasing 6 different beers with this series; one every 2 weeks. The first of the releases is called Thunderdome. Here’s the info on this one:

Thunderdome is an unfiltered double ipa with flaked wheat, flaked oats, and red wheat in the grist. Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado are the featured hops. It’s very fruit forward with light bitterness. 

The schedule following Thunderdome consists of:

9/8: Fury Road (English style DIPA)
9/22: War Rig (Black DIPA)
10/6: V8 Interceptor (Midwest DIPA)
10/20: Wasteland (New Zealand DIPA)
11/3: Tomorrow-Morrow Land (Futuristic DIPA)

Pretty terrific sounding lineup! Hope to see you at Big Grove!

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!