Huge news out of Decorah and Des Moines today as Pulpit Rock and Barn Town have announced a huge new partnership. Here’s the release:
Cedar Rapids’ newest restaurant takes a classic pairing and adds their own twist. Moco Game Room and Hot Dog Bar is the latest culinary adventure from Tim Kindyl and Justin Zehr, who have given has Bricks Bar and Grill and what is probably Cedar Rapids’ best new restaurant from 2018, Local Pour Street Food.
At Moco they have taken the simple food of a hot dog and have jacked up the ingredients to give us many delicious and fresh options on the popular tubular meat. Located in an older Cedar Rapids neighborhood, right next to Old Neighborhood Pub, E Ave NE, this place has the feel of going to your dad’s local watering hole.
I took my 3 kids in for an early Sunday lunch and all 3 have been raving about it since we left. My son enjoyed the Frito Chili Cheese dog which was an excellent chili dog, my daughters shared a walking nacho platter which was enough for 3-4 people if not more. I went with a New York dog which comes with sauerkraut, onion, and mustard but also had to try the Bahn Mi dog which comes loaded with pickled veggies, fresh avocado and cilantro. The Bahn Mi was my favorite as those flavors always taste fresh and delicious to me but I think I’ll be dreaming of that Frito dog as well. This place has enough options that you can try a different dog almost every time you visit.
With hot dogs there has to be beer and Moco has a nice lineup of brews. I had the Barn Town Peach Milkshake IPA and my go to Bells Two Hearted. Any beer can pair well with a dog.
Overall, just a great place to take your family and have a dog, nachos, and a couple of brews while the kids play foosball or shuffleboard. Check out Moco folks!
Marquee Pizza will be hosting at BrrrFest kickoff party Friday night before the BrrrFest event. A great lineup of beers will be available including Barntown Cicada Killer and Backpocket 6th Anniversary Stout. On Saturday, from 9am-2pm they will be offering their delicious breakfast pizza as well as tapping Madhouse Freedom Toast and other greatness. Check the flyer below and have a great time during BrrrFest weekend!
This is always a fun but difficult list to compile. Looking back at 2018 Iowa breweries all over the state have made some fantastic beers this year and continue to do so, as we as consumers are very lucky to have such excellent brewers in our state.
Living in Eastern Iowa it has been great to be able to get Big Grove, Lion Bridge, SingleSpeed, and Reunion in cans to go along with the great beers that are already available. I’m sure 2019 will be just as, if not better than 2018 in the year of Iowa beer.
For my list, these are beers that had to have been released in 2018. There are many that I didn’t try, so if your favorite didn’t make the list, my bad, chances are I didn’t get around to trying it. I would love to hear your favorites of 2018. All 10 of these have the chance to be awarded the most prestigious award a brewery can get: The Iowa Beer of the Year Award. GABF, eat your heart out. Beer of the Year will be awarded in my next post! Here we go:
**Big Grove Big Ed 7.8%– this one was a no doubter for me. I was stoked when they released and I’ll be stoked every time they re-release. A case or two every time for me please Big Grove. This juicy double IPA is one of Iowa’s best and is worth seeking out and is a challenger for Iowa Beer of the Year!
**Toppling Goliath Term Oil Maple Cakes – a quick trip to Decorah (which is never a bad thing) and my first trip to TG’s new spot allowed me a pour of this delicious beer. A bourbon barrel aged stout with maple. Absolutely delicious and a perfect breakfast beer!
**Pulpit Rock Seriously Bro’?6.1% – Marquee Pizza celebrated their 1 year anniversary with a terrific taplist that included two beers brewed by Pulpit Rock especially for this anniversary; one of which was Seriously Bro? a milkshake IPA. While, I’m a little behind on the milkshake IPA craze, this one was packed with orange zest and a hint of vanilla. Delicious!
**Lion Bridge Brewing Tidbits –6.7%– this beer was my summer staple. A delicious pale ale brewed with unfermented pineapple led to a tropical and refreshing beer to enjoy in the midwest heat all summer long. I hope to see this one again this summer!
**Barn Town Pink Guava Massacre – 4.6% ABV -between this and Little Drippy from Dimensional for my favorite two Iowa sours of the year. Guava in a beer just works so damn good and with this sour it was spot on. Luckily, a few places in Eastern Iowa got some bottles of this so I was able to indulge. Well done Barn Town, keep this one coming!
**Lion Bridge Spice Must Flow 8% ABV – this is the perfect beer for me in the fall and winter months in Iowa. Maple Syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg added to a black ale screams cold weather drinking! Lion Bridge added this in cans which made for an easy taste by walking my ass to the fridge.
**Pulpit Rock Koffee and Doughnuts 6.8% ABV – breakfast in glass is served. Pulpit took their Pour Over porter and added a shit load of donuts to it and you have a Koffee and Doughnuts. Hope this one pops back up again as this was delicious.
**Big Grove Richard the Whale Macaroon 10% ABV – their Richard base with the addition of toasted coconut and almonds…this beer blew me away and I couldn’t wait to get another glass. Big Grove has had an amazing year and their beers have been fantastic. This one might have topped them all though!
**Dimensional A Little Drippy – 5.5% ABV – the new kid on the block came out with a bang and has made some terrific beers and these guys are just going to keep getting better. I enjoyed every beer I had at Dimensional but A Little Drippy just hit on all cylinders. Once again guava got the taste buds and the addition of passion fruit and mango make this one damn fine sour!
**Big Grove Color TV – 7.8% ABV – a double dry hopped hazy IPA that lets the galaxy hop shine. Another winner by Big Grove and hopefully another beer that they will make again….and again. Looking forward to what these guys have in store for 2019!
Tons of news tidbits from the past week to pass along to beer lovers. Iowa brewers have been busy with new releases, canning lines, and getting their beer to our shelves. So much great stuff out there to drink right now, get out there and support local breweries! Next Saturday (June 30th) is packed with beer releases! Big Grove, Barn Town, and Thew all will be doing bottle releases. Huge beer day in Iowa!
**Big Grove Brewery**– Big Grove has just announced that next Saturday (June 30th) they will be releasing bottles of Cherry Pie, a berliner weisse beer with tart cherries, lactose, and spices that is part of their Sugar Bottom Series. Both locations will have bottles, limit 6 per person, and a bit on tap. Make sure you check it out!
**Lion Bridge** – Lion Bridge keeps kicking out beers with the release of 380 South and Majestic Beast this week. 380 South is a collab with SingleSpeed (who did 380 North), and is a hazy IPA brewed with guava. Here’s more on these beers from Lion Bridge:
Lion Bridge and SingleSpeed are connected by more than a highway, and while we may not be mirror images of one another, the commonalities between the two of us are certainly worth noting. Both organizations are passionate about: community, historical preservation, authenticity, and of course, perhaps above all, the creation of great beer.
380 South sits as one half of what is a truly unique collaborative experiment. This hazy, single-hop Denali Pale Ale was crafted at Lion Bridge Brewing in Cedar Rapids, using the same grain and hops as 3-Eighty North, crafted at SingleSpeed Brewing in Waterloo. The only differences were the yeast, water and the fruit added. 380 South features guava, while 3-Eighty North features mango puree. A side by side tasting of the two sister brews is highly recommended.
The other Lion Bridge release is a re-release of Majestic Beast. One of my personal favorites. Here’s more on this brew courtesy of Lion Bridge:
This mirthful beverage was dry-hopped with Mosaic Lupulin Powder, as well as a bit of Simcoe and Eukanot. By using hop powder with the green plant material removed, we are dry-hopping a concentrated version of the aromatic oils found in the hops. Resinous and tropical; potent yet graceful. It may just bring a tear to your eye.
**Contrary Brewing** – heading over to Muscatine and Contrary Brewing company as they continue their line of Milkshake IPAs with a perfectly timed Bomb Pop Milkshake IPA. Here’s more on this brew courtesy of Contrary:
Next in our series of Milkshake IPA is the Bomb Pop! We combined raspberry purée, blueberry purée and lemonade with milk sugar, vanilla and hops. Summer is here! See you soon.
**SingleSpeed Brewing ** – everyone knows by know that SingleSpeed cans have it the market. Victory Dance, Ring Around the Gose, Tricycle, and Tip the Cow are all available so if you haven’t gotten some, this is the perfect weekend to grab a couple of sixers!
**Backpocket Brewing** – a widely anticipated release is on the horizon as Backpocket as announced the release of their 6th Anniversary barrel-aged stout. July 7th is the date, mark it on the calendar, make a day of it!
**Thew Brewing ** – the new kid on the block is going to start bottling soon as Thew Brewing in Cedar Rapids has announced for June 30th. Two amazing sounding stouts and other releases for the day. $50 gets you food and 2 12 oz bottles of their stouts. More below:
**Barn Town Brewing ** – Barn Town keeps pumping out the releases with another announcement of a guava berliner weisse and a sour IPA. More below:
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! firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
2017 brought many great things to the Iowa beer scene. More beers on our shelves, expansion of TG and Big Grove, brewers brewing some of best beers in the midwest, and also the introduction of some new breweries in Iowa. One of the newest breweries is no secret as their beers have been all over social media and with their slow but steady process of getting their beers on Eastern Iowa lines, more and more Iowans have been able to enjoy them. The brewery, obviously, is Barn Town.
I’ve had a few of their beers on tap at 30hop and Tin Roost but finally got to make a quick stop at the brewery itself as I was passing through Des Moines. A very easy trip right off of I-80 in a newer developed area that is very close to Jordan Creek Mall for any shopping aficionados, (beer helps shopping), Barn Town was the perfect pit stop after a long ride from Colorado. College Football games on their many TVs, a shuffleboard table against the back wall, and most important for my family is that it is kid friendly.
So I decided to do a sampler of 4 and enjoyed the 2 stouts and berliner-weisse I had but the Hop Skewer really stuck out to me so I got a regular draw of that. A murky juice bomb of an IPA that leaves you wanting another glass. Barn Town did a great job with this beer, good enough for me to get a crowler to take home.
Barn Town’s menu is pretty unique. Some great sounding sandwiches, burgers, sides, and more. My wife decided on the crab rangoon chicken sandwich with is exactly what it sounds like. Fried chicken with a rangoon/cream cheese spread, chili sauce and wontons. It was very tasty, something I would order again. What did my fat ass order? Oh, just the Poutine burger… two patties, covered with melted cheese and gravy and served over fries..you know..the lighter fare. It was delicious, plus their ranch that they serve with the fries is very good.
So many good things happening in the Iowa beer world and Barn Town has just added to it. The Des Moines area has a great thing going with breweries like Barn Town, 515, Firetrucker, Confluence, Exile and also the beer bars; El Bait, Iowa Taproom, Keg Stand, etc. A 2 hour trip to Des Moines needs to happen more often for myself, although I’m very content with my local offerings, it’s nice to see what’s going on elsewhere in the state.