Hot 25 of ’13: Part 2!

25Continuing on with my picks for the best beers in Eastern Iowa in the year 2013, I will start with another offering from Toppling Goliath. Now be warned, this won’t be their last entry either. They are one of the hottest and most sought after breweries right now and rightfully so. Back to the list………..

**Toppling Goliath pseudoSue**
A no-brainer really. I’ve talked this beer to death and I think that the sueonly thing I can say is that I can’t wait for the day that I can get this anytime, any day, I want. This is one of my favorite all-time beers. The comparisons between this and Zombie Dust continue with beer geeks that have had both. I can honestly say, that I would much rather has Sue than Zombie, and I’m not being homer. I think this is the better beer overall. Here’s more from brewery:

This single hop ale showcases the Citra hop. Named for the largest T-rex fossil ever discovered, she roars with ferocious aromas of grapefruit, citrus, mango and evergreen. Delicate in body with a mild bite in the finish.

Ratebeer: 100/100
Beeradvocate: 100/100

515**515 Brewery O.J. IPA**
Ok, ok, I know that Clive, IA isn’t exactly Eastern Iowa, but piss on it, this is my blog and it’s close enough. I was lucky enough to stop by 515 Brewery in Clive ( on a trip back from Kansas City. I got a flight of brews and enjoyed them very much, but the O.J. was the one that shined for me. This beer is scary drinkable. Refreshing, crisp, clean, with the perfect amount of hops. An awesome beer! Hopefully 515 will soon have growler fills (fingers crossed) or even start bottling (down the road???) so more people can enjoy their brews. But if the Des Moines area, this place is definitely worth the trip!

Ratebeer: N/A
Beeradvocate: N/A

evil twin**Evil Twin Barrel-Aged Biscotti Break**
This brew definitely came with a hefty price tag. I wasn’t able to secure one in Iowa but found the last bottle at a Steve’s in Madison, WI. I balked a bit at the $25 price tag, but went ahead with purchase, after my wife told me to just do it so I wouldn’t talk about not getting to try it. Great wife. Anyway, I’ve seen this on a lot of “Best Of 2013” lists. If you enjoyed the regular Biscotti then this is your next step. If you could get two, then lucky you, one now and one in a year or two. From the brewery:

Imperial Biscotti Break aged on Bourbon barrels for 9 months.

RATEBEER: 99/100

tank 7**Boulevard Tank 7**
This beer has been on our shelves for so long, and saison/farmhouse ales aren’t as glamorous as Imperial IPAs or barrel aged beers, but man, I love a great saison, and this is a great saison. This is a brew that is good anytime of the year. If you are looking to get into a new style of beer, try saisons. There are so many good ones that we have on our shelves (2 more will appear on my list:) that there is no excuse not to try them. More from the brewery:

Most breweries have at least one piece of equipment that’s just a bit persnickity. Here at Boulevard it’s fermenter number seven, the black sheep of our cellar family. Ironically, when our brewers were developing variations on a traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale, the perfect combination of elements came together in that very vessel. You could call it fate, but they called it Tank 7, and so it is. Beginning with a flavorful surge of fruity aromatics and hoppy, grapefruit notes (Amarillo hops), this complex, straw-colored ale finishes long, dry and spicy.

RATEBEER: 99/100

bells**Bells Two Hearted Ale**
It’s been around a while. It’s still one of the best beers we have available year round on our shelves. This beer gets overlooked a lot of the time with all the anticipation of limited releases or seasonals, but when in doubt, you can always go to Two Hearted Ale. I used to pass this beer up, way back in the day, not taking the fish on the cover serious as a possible good-tasting brew. Don’t make the mistake of judging a beer by its cover because this is one tasty brew. I have since grown to love that fish. More from the brewery:

India Pale Ale style well suited for Hemingway-esque trips to the Upper Peninsula. American malts and enormous hop additions give this beer a crisp finish and incredible floral hop aroma.

RATEBEER: 100/100

So there’s the next ten. I am on my way tonight to Big Grove Brewery in Solon to try their new Citra hopped pale ale. I’ve heard nothing but great things and some have even said that it is better than……GASP……PSEUDOSUE!! DOUBLE GASP!! If that’s the case then they might have kick me out of the joint because I’m not leaving! CHEERS!!

Bells Brewery Week at Reds Alehouse Dec. 5-13th

I received the following email from Reds Alehouse with a huge list of events, tap lists, special releases, and much more concerning their 2013 Bells Brewery Week. Here’s a rundown of events:




This should be a terrific week at Reds and I hope to see a few of you there. The Black Note release is sure to make for a busy evening so get there early, order some terrific food, and have a good time!

Bells Brewery Canning Oberon and Two Hearted Ale

bellsThe following news comes courtesy of Tailgating just got much more exciting!

(Comstock, MI) – Two Hearted Ale and Oberon Alewill debut in cans beginning in late April, 2014.

They will be available to purchase in 16-ounce four-packs in all markets the brewery currently distributes to.

Both designs will feature familiar images, but the Two Hearted can design will also bring back a local Kalamazoo artist’s illustration from a previously retired label first introduced in the late 1990s.

Future can offerings will include Bell’s Brewery’s seasonal lineup ‑ Best Brown Ale, Winter White Ale and Smitten Golden Rye Ale to start.

“This new option will allow our fans to take our beer to places where glass is not allowed. It opens up a lot of new opportunities to enjoy Bell’s beer and that’s a win for everyone,” said Laura Bell, Bell’s Vice President.

“We are all very excited about this,” she added.

The brewery’s new canning line is part of Bell’s most recent expansion which also includes the addition of twelve 800-barrel fermenters to its Comstock Brewery. The filler will have the capacity to fill 500 cans a minute and is from KHS USA Inc. located just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The cans are produced by Denver-based Ball Corporation.

2013 Bells Expedition Stout on Eastern Iowa Shelves

BellsAccording to Benz Beverage Depots’ facebook site, the 2013 Bells Expedition Stout is out and on Eastern Iowa Shelves. At Benz, it is selling at $16.99. I still think you can find the 2012 in select Hy-Vees throughout Eastern Iowa as well. Here’s more about Expedition Stout from Bells website:

The darkest beer we make; this Imperial stout contains double the malt and five times the hops of our Kalamazoo stout and is perfect for cellaring as its complex character will evolve over time. Available October-March.