Benz Beverage Depot Announce 14th Annual Beerfest Set for May 12th!

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The following comes from Benz Facebook page, stay tuned for participating breweries and beer availability:

Details

14th Annual Benz Beerfest
Tickets available in-store or online at benzbeerfest.com

$40- VIP Ticket (Limit 700)
$30- General Admission

$5 in store discount (per ticket) from March 1st – April 31st

VIP tickets come with a special Benz Beerfest tasting glass and it allows you to come in to sample beer an hour before it is open to the public.

1:00pm-2:00pm (VIP hour)
2:00pm-5:00pm (General Admission)

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!

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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2017 Benz Beerfest set for Saturday May 13th!

benzThe 13th annual Benz Beverage Depot Beerfest has been announced and is set for Saturday May 13th! Tickets are available for purchase by visiting www.benzbeerfest.com.

There are two different ticket options.
1. General admission – $25 and goes from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

2. V.I.P admission – $35 starts at 1 p.m

Last year’s event was terrific! Many fantastic local and regional breweries showcasing some of their excellent brews. I hope to see you there! Stay tuned for a list of breweries and beers as they become available!

Cedar Rapids Ale Trail Spotlight: Breweries

ale.jpgThe Cedar Rapids Ale Trail is a terrific way to venture out and try some the best food and beer in the area and save money while doing so!

Over $500 in discounts and perks at more than 25 of the best breweries and restaurants in the Cedar Rapids area. Available on your phone for only $30 per year.

The best way to experience Cedar Rapids’ national award-winning craft beer & culinary scene.

Let’s go ahead and focus on some of the perks that having the CR Ale Trail app can get you by looking at what our local breweries/beer stores are offering when purchasing. Here we go:

another road**Another Road Brewing** 
1. Buy one pint get the second pint half off. Put the bag in the hole with one shot on table bags, get free bottle opener.
2. $5 off $25
3. Buy one pint and get 2nd pint 1/2 off

benz**Benz Beverage Depot**
1. 15% off 2 mix and match 6 packs.
2. 10% off 1 mix and match 6 pack
iowa-brewing**Iowa Brewing Company**
1. $10 off $25
2. $5 off a growler fill – limit two per day

lion bridge**Lion Bridge Brewing Company**
1. Free 8 oz beer with purchase of taster tra
2. 1/2 price nacho platter with purchase of taster tray

millstream**Millstream Brewing Company**
1. $10 off $25
2. Buy one beer and get the 2nd for $1

quarter barrel**The Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery**
1. Two free beer flights with purchase of any pizza
2. 1 liter glass stein of any house brew for price of a pint

third base**Third Base Brewery**
1. Receive a 25 oz mug for the price of a pint: $4.50

 

That’s just the breweries! Stay tuned for deals at Hy-Vees and restaurants! For more information visit the Cedar Rapids Ale Trail Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/crAleTrail/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Thanksgiving Week: Beer Happenings in Eastern Iowa

drink.pngQuite a few things going down Thanksgiving weekend in the beer community in Eastern Iowa. Everyone knows that Goose Island Bourbon County Stout releases on Black Friday but there are a ton of other goings on happening with local bars and breweries too! Below you will find a list of many releases taking place, not just BCBS. Also, a big update on future Big Grove pins and an update on their new brewery too! I’ll hopefully be updating this as the list continues to grow. For more info on Lion Bridge’s release, make sure you clink the link to their Facebook page. If you have more news, shoot me a message and I’ll get it posted ASAP!

another roadAnother Road Brewing
Another Road will be having a free lunch with a beer purchase. They will have beef stew made with Dry Pump Stout, beer cheese soup made with our Honey Wheat, and Brownies made with our Vanilla Porter. We will be tapping the Vanilla Porter at noon, As well as setting out food. This is all taking place on Small Business Saturday. Another Road brewing is located in Marion, IA. 

benzBenz Beverage Depot
Benz Beverage Depot will be handing out samples and releasing Goose Island Bourbon County Stout on December 10th from 10-Noon. Allocation information will be coming soon. On November 23rd they will be having a whiskey tasting. 10% off wine beer and spirits all day, and on November 25th it will 15% off wine beer and spirits.

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big groveBig Grove Brewery
Here is the release schedule for future Big Grove pins. Make sure you mark these on your schedule. Also, some picture updates below on the new brewery coming to Iowa City next year! 

11/18 Boomtown with ginger, Honey, Vanilla

11/25 Que Onda Roja with Dates and Figs

12/2 IPA with Juniper

12/9  Arms Race Pale Ale with Pineapple, WL Amarillo

12/23 Russian Imperial with Ginger, Clove, Allspice, big-grove-2Molasses

12/30 Que Onda Roja with Tart Cherries’

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**30bbls serving vessels and a 60bbl fermenter.

 

barzinis.pngBootleggin’ Barzini’s
Barzini’s will be having a 6:00 p.m. release on Black Friday for regular Bourbon County Stout and the limit will be 2 per person. Any other Bourbon County offerings will be available via lotteries during December along with many sought after bourbons and whiskies…..Pappy something I hear. If in the Iowa City area check them out!

bricksBrick Bar and Grill
Bricks is hosting Stout and Wars and although the event is sold out there may be some tap lines that still have some greatness in them. Here’s more from Bricks:

11 of the 12 beers should make it through the event to be available at around 5 pm on December 10th when it finishes. (Vanilla Rye will be the only bottle pour of this event). To recap the full lineup:

1. Founders Brewing Co. Kentucky Breakfast Stout
2. Goose Island 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout
3. Stone Brewing w00tstout 3.0
4. Stone Brewing Xocoveza Charred
5. Oskar Blues Brewery Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy
6. Big Grove Brewery Richard the Whale Praline
7. Odell Brewing Co Jolly Russian
8. Goose Island Bourbon County Vanilla Rye 2014
9. Third Base Brewery TBD Stout
10. Founders Brewing Co. Lizard of Koz
11. Avery Brewing Company Vanilla Bean Stout
12. Evil Twin Brewing Imperial Biscotti Break

 

 

confluenceConfluence Brewing Company
We will have extended taproom hours and beer specials throughout the week of Thanksgiving! Make sure you stock up on beer for your holiday gatherings. Our hours and specials are listed below.

Tuesday, November 22nd- noon-10pm. $2 off 64oz growlers, $1 off 32oz growlers (new and refills).

Wednesday, November 23rd- noon-10pm. $2 off 64oz growlers, $1 off 32oz growlers (new and refills).

Thursday, November 24th- Taproom CLOSED.

Friday, November 25th- Black Friday special! $1 off pints of “black” beers from noon-5pm.

Saturday, November 26th- noon-11pm. No beer specials.

Sunday, November 27th- noon-7pm. No beer specials.

Coralville Brrr Fest

Brrr Fest tickets go on sale on Black Friday. Brewmaster/VIP tickets sold out in less than a week last year. Date for this year’s Brrr Fest is January 28th. John’s Grocery and Coralville Hy-Vee will be selling general admission tickets as well.

Coralville Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits
The Coralville Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits will be having a Black Friday bourbon county release 11/25/16. Their release will start at  6:00 am and be 2 per person limit on Bourbon County Stout and 1 per person limit on barleywine.

iowa brewing.pngIowa Brewing Company
Iowa brewing company is having a Ready for Eddie party on the patio Thanksgiving morning from 7-12.  They are offering $3.00 beers and an escape from parades and family. unless your family is cool, then you can bring them along. More details on our Facebook page.

johns.pngJohns Grocery
John’s Grocery will be filling Richard the Whale, Richard with Coffee, and Richard with Praline starting on Black Friday @ 11:00 a.m. They are hoping to have Bourbon County in at the same time but it all depends on the truck drops. BCBS Barleywine will be released sometime in December. 

KickshawKickshaw Barrel Works

Kickshaw Barrel Works will be doing a Pipo preview at Lion Bridge Brewing Company in Cedar Rapids on November 26th. Here’s more on Pipo:

7% watermelon sour, fermented for 5 months with Kroul Farms watermelons.Lion Bridge Brewery

lion bridgeLion Bridge Brewery

Lion Bridge will be having their Maple Disaster bottle release on Saturday, November 26th starting at noon. They will also be selling 2nd Anniversary Biere de Garde bottles and will have maple disaster, Coffee maple disaster, and Biere de Garde on tap that day as well. Click HERE to link to their Facebook event page, should be great! 

madhouseMadhouse Brewing Company
Not technically Thanksgiving week but Madhouse will be hosting a Barrel-Room Open House and tasting party. According to their Facebook page, which you can visit HERE, this is the list of brews that will be available:

Join us for a beer release party and grand opening for our new Sour Barrel-Room events space.

NEW BEERS TO BE RELEASED:

-2016 Madhouse Wee-Heavy – Imperial Scotch Ale aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Caramel and toffee aromas with sweet malt flavors. Available in 750ml bottles.

*Madhouse Fruit & Spice Series – A collection of sour beers, each showcasing a unique flavor combination of fruit and spice. Available in 750ml bottles.
-Strawberry Fields – Strawberry/Basil
-Mango Tango – Mango/Cardamom
-Velvet Fuzz – Peach/Lavender
-Maui Wowie – Pineapple/Coconut

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Mt. Vernon Road Hy-Vee

We will be doing a first come first served basis on all bourbon county that we get, limit one or two depending on how much we receive. Delivery should be early in the morning but no set time. On Tuesday, November 22nd they will be releasing a barrel-aged Maple Disaster by Lion Bridge starting at 5:00. Limit 1 per person. 

Oakland Rd Hy-Vee

Oakland Rd. Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids will be releasing on the 28th at 4:00 pm and limit 3 person until it is gone. 

quarter barrelQuarter Barrel Brewery and Arcade
Quarter Barrel Brewing will be releasing  Ebenezer Old Ale on Black Friday. This is a recipe that the brewer and his wife have homebrewed and shared with friends and family for years before opening our brewery. Since they weren’t able to open in time to release a full scale version last year, it was brewed in February and set it off to age. A more limited availability whiskey barrel aged bottled version will be available closer to Christmas.

redsRed’s Alehouse
Reds Alehouse is planning a BOCO event on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and are still hammering out the details. They won’t have the 2016 release since that doesn’t drop until Friday but they are hoping to have some vintages and other cellared Goose Island brews available. All the information will be out in the next day or two! They will also be opening their doors Thanksgiving morning from 8-9 a.m. to do growler fills! 

sanctuarySanctuary Pub
The Sanctuary Pub in Iowa City will be tapping the Boulevard/Firestone Walker Collaboration on Black Friday. Here’s more on that brew:

Collaboration No. 6 will be composed of the following beers:

Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad – 45%
Based loosely on the Smokestack Series’ The Sixth Glass, this abbey-style quadrupel is separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels where it ages for varying lengths of time, some for up to three years. Cherries are added to make up for the “angel’s share” of beer lost during barrel aging. Selected barrels are then blended for optimum flavor. The resulting beer retains only very subtle cherry characteristics, with toffee and vanilla notes coming to the fore.
ABV – 11.8, IBU – 19

Firestone Walker Stickee Monkee – 35%
Brewed with Belgian candi sugar and aged in a selection of fine bourbon barrels, Stickee Monkee trailblazes its own category as a “Central Coast Quad.” The name Stickee Monkee is a nod to the Central Coast’s native Sticky Monkey flower, as well as a shout­‐out to the Belgian monks who pioneered the Quad style. The Belgian candi sugar imparts a signature molasses sweetness to the beer. Meanwhile, maturation in bourbon casks brings ample barrel expression with notes of toasted oak, coconut, leather and cigar tobacco.
ABV – 13, IBU – 45

Imperial Stout X – Tart Cherry (Whiskey Barrel-aged) – 10%
Our special treat for lovers of big, complex stouts, the Imperial Stout “X” series offers a year-long roster of limited releases, each with a significant variation. This riff spotlights the addition of tart cherries to fermentation as well as a lactic souring on the brewhouse. The result is a perfect marriage of robust, smoky maltiness and bracing tartness. Unlike the release version of Imperial Stout X – Tart Cherry, this portion was briefly aged in previously used whiskey barrels.
ABV – 11, IBU – 64

Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin – 10%
Velvet Merkin is the beer that almost wasn’t…Indeed, this vintage oatmeal stout’s comical (or is it scandalous?) name went off the grid for several years, but now it’s back due to popular demand. Velvet Merkin is aged for a full year in retired spirits barrels from Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve and others, yet manages to offer mind-­boggling balance and restraint. You will wig out when you taste Velvet Merkin’s rich milk chocolate, bourbon and espresso flavors, preceded by aromas of vanilla, coconut, toasted oak and mocha.
ABV – 8.5, IBU – 33

Collaboration No. 6 – Barrel-Aged Blend will be released starting in the Greater Kansas City Area on November 7th (draft) and November 8th (750 mL bottles) and will be sold through Boulevard’s distribution network. Areas that normally see Smokestack Series limited release beers like Saison-Brett or Rye-on-Rye should expect to see Collaboration No. 6 in the coming weeks.

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Drink This: Crooked Stave L’Brett d’or

l'brett d'or.jpgThank the Beer Gods for Abu Nawas! They are responsible for getting Iowans a chance to try Crooked Stave whose beers always challenge and satisfy the palate.  Crooked Stave specializes in barrel aged sours, wild ales, and saisons. When there’s a Crooked Stave delivery day, I’m usually in line to pick up a few bottles and I just so happened to be at Winestyles at the Iowa River Landing in Coralville doing a little beer shopping when I came upon their L’Brett d’or. Dry hopped sour aged in oak barrels? Yes please! Here’s more on this beer:

A dry hopped surreal golden sour ale aged in oak barrels that comes in at 7% ABV.

There have been a few variants released of L’Brett d’Or, none I’ve seen in Eastern Iowa but this dry hopped is excellent in many ways.

#1: This is the perfect gateway beer for those who are not 100% into sours/wild ales yet. It’s not too tart, don’t get me wrong, tartness is there, but an acidic vinegar bomb it is not. It’s sweet enough for fruit fans to get on board with and the Brett is very present but doesn’t dominate the flavor.
#2: For Brett fans, once you open up that bottle and get the aroma of Brett and oak you will be ready to dig into this beer. The sweetness of peaches and apricots mesh perfectly the with oak and you get a little bit of an herbal taste that I’m guessing comes from the hops.

#3: The complexity of flavors: As this beer warms a bit it brings out the peaches and apricots as I said above but there is some green apple and faint balsamic vinegar.

Would I buy again? Absolutely! I was happy to share this with some people but regret that I didn’t buy another bottle to selfishly drink by myself. I really want more of this and it would pair perfectly with a warm Iowa 4th of July weekend.

I’m not sure if Winestyles still has it in stock but check out Benz in CR as well, they carry quite a few Crooked Stave beers. If you find some, let me know where it’s at because I need more! If you are not satisfied with it and purchased multiples, get a hold of me and I’ll buy the rest from you. Get out there and Drink This!

Benz Beverage Depot Beer Festival Sneak Peek: Third Base Brewery

benz.pngOne day away! Very excited about Big Grove’s new double IPA being tapped tomorrow as well as their Que Sera pin. To add to that, Jim Johnston, brewer at 3rd Base Brewery in Cedar Rapids will be bringing some new beers as well as Shame! If you haven’t been to 3rd Base, you need to get there to try Shame on tap (if it’s still there). It’s been one of my favorites of the year so far and I can’t wait to drink some more tomorrow.

Anyway, here’s a peek as to what 3rd Base will be bringing tomorrow:

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Benz Beverage Depot Beer Festival Sneak Peek: Big Grove Brewery

big groveWhat beers will be getting tapped this Saturday at Benz Beverage Depot? There will no doubt be some tremendous beers available but today we have a sneak peek into what Big Grove Brewery will be bringing to the event. Two new beers, two fantastic sounding beers, two beers that you will probably love! Here’s what’s tapping for Big Grove on Saturday:

*Cronos DIPA – 8.7% double IPA with sweet malt body that is balanced with Green Bullet with additions of Simcoe and Mosaic in the dry hop. Flavors and aromas of dried apricot, pine, and citrus rind.

*Que Sera Pin w/cucumber and mint – berliner-weisse that gives the tart and sour with the additions of cucumber and mint. Be prepared to become addicted to this.

Hope to see you there on Saturday!! Should be a great day!

Beer Review #123: Blackberry Farm Classic Saison

blackberry farmNot as mainstream sexy as barrel-aged anything, sours, or double IPAs, but I sure do love a great Saison. With Lion Bridge having had 2 excellent saison releases and Big Grove releasing their own Saison, I’ve been spoiled recently and I know found a bottle to join my Tank 7 and Saison-Brett fix.

Knowing I was going to have a group of friends visiting this past weeekend I knew a beer tasting would be inevitable. I really wanted to find something that they would all enjoy and I know we’ve all loved tasting different Saisons in the past. So, with that thought, I headed over to Benz Beverage Depot asked the staff what they recommend and Blackberry Farm was the winner. I recently only heard of Blackberry Farm from some Twitter posts and was liking what I was reading but I didn’t know that they were distributed to Iowa, so it was definitely a pleasant surprise to see them offered at Benz as I haven’t seem them at the Hy-Vees I visit. Another fantastic offering brought to us from the folks at Abu Nawas distributing!

Ok, the tasting was terrific and this beer shined. Citrus on the nose, with earthy hop aroma. Hazy golden pour with a nice thick white head. Lemon zest and apricots dominate the flavor profile with some wheat and earthiness on the finish. With a relatively mild Iowa fall day, this beer really hit the spot and I wish I would have made some shrimp to seafood to pair with it. More on this beer from the brewery:

Saison “Classic Saison” This is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale. The aroma is dominated by fruity esters reminiscent of citrus fruits along with a moderate earthy and floral hop aroma from the use of Noble-type hops in the brewing process. Has a deep gold, hue that is often hazy, and a voluminous head on pouring as a result of the bottle-conditioning and high natural carbonation. The beer is medium-bodied and has a very refreshing effervescence which, along with a fairly low alcohol content of 6% by volume, makes this a beer to be enjoyed on a warm day by itself or with a wide range of foods, whether casual or fine dining. Complex flavors and aromas in this beer are a result of the special yeast used in fermentation combined with the additional complexity added by bottle-conditioning in large bottles for at least six weeks before being released.

I was very impressed with this beer. If you enjoy Tank 7, enjoy Lion Bridge’s Cucumber Saison or their new Sorachi Liberace Saison, Hennepin, and other offerings we can get here than this is a beer for you to try. $14.99 price tag for a 750 corked and caged bottle was well worth and a beer I will definitely revisit. Researching Blackberry Farm has given me a reason to possibly take a visit to Tennessee as they do many special releases as well. Check them out folks, keep their beers coming! 

STYLE: Saison
ABV: 6%
PURCHASED AT: Benz beverage depot
POUR: straw gold with a massive head
AROMA: lemon zest, citrus, wheat
TASTE:  lots of lemon zest, apricots, wheat/earthiness 
RATEBEER.COM RATING: 95/100
BEERADVOCATE RATING: 89/100
OVERALL: A-

My recommendation: If you’re not a Saison fan, you probably don’t want to drop $15 on a 750 ml of this. However, if you dig saisons the $15 is well-worth the price in my opinion. Every trip I make to Benz will consist of a purchase of some Blackberry Farm beer from now on.