Big Grove Releasing Root Beer Richard Thursday March 15th

big grove

Big Grove Brewery will be releasing Root Beer Richard the Whale next Thursday upon opening. Sounds like Richard with some sarsaparilla, vanilla, and a couple other spices.  Little details are known right now if it will be available at both locations but stay tuned for more details on this as they come in.



Buster is Coming!

triple ipa.jpgNo, this isn’t a reference to Arrested Development, although Buster was a funny ass character. But, Big Grove is releasing their triple ipa this Friday with a few accounts getting kegs and both Big Grove locations selling 22 oz. bombers of this hoppy greatness. Ok, so the deets on this monster are this:

*11:00 a.m. tapping at both locations and at these locations:

Cedar Rapids/Monticello
*Need Pizza
*Bricks Bar and Grill
*Jitney Wine Bar

Iowa City/Coralville/North Liberty
*The Mill
*Reds Alehouse
*Club 76
*Jitney Wine Bar

Des Moines Area
*El Bait Shop
*Iowa Taproom
*Keg Stand
*Cellar Peanut Pub (Pella)

*22 oz bombers are for sale at both locations

*Distro for bombers hits market. 


Best of Iowa Beer (Part 2 of 2)

baron.jpgFinally, 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*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 lucky bastard…

The deets:

12.3% ABV

Russian Imperial Stout

third base*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!

The deets:

12.5% ABV

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

pulpi*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.

The deets:

12.2% ABV

Spanish for Pudgy – this decadent stout was brewed with Ancho and Chipotle chile peppers, cocoa, cinnamon, Mexican vanilla beans, & coffee.

barn town*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!

The deets:


A juicy & hazy NEIPA brewed with Simcoe, El Dorado & Citra. Roy-al-ly hopped!

lion bridge*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!

The deets:


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!

Best of Iowa Beers (Part 1 of 2)

beerbaronWith another year coming to an end it’s time to get to the “Best of” Iowa beers in 2017. It was a terrific year for our state and this year for my list (and opinions) I’ve done just strictly Iowa brewed beers whereas in the past I did beers that are on Eastern Iowa shelves along with Iowa beers. To get the list down to 10 was difficult and I had to drink many beers to get through such a dilemma.

Now, I must say, I haven’t been able to get to Central and Western Iowa as much as I would have liked so you will see this list filled predominantly with beers brewed in Eastern Iowa. I wish I could get more or any 515, Barn Town, Marto, etc…but it’s not in the cards. Hopefully with the new year we see some more Iowa beers from Central and Western Iowa trickle into our tap lines. So, once again, I just want to note that there are MANY beers I haven’t tried, I don’t want to cause I shit storm (RIP Lahey), but hopefully the new year brings me new beer.

Alright, my criteria:
1. It has to be a beer I haven’t had before.
2. Seasonal and annual releases may fluctuate in ingredients but I do not count them if I have had it the previous year.
3. Iowa brewed only

Without further ado, here is part one of two, in no particular order of the best Iowa beers in 2017 (according to me).

fire skulls**Toppling Goliath – Fire, Skulls, and Money – I was deciding between this and Supa Sumo and the deciding factor was how much of this beer I’ve bought. Price was a little steeper than some TG releases but worth it for this brew. I believe this was their take/rendition of a West Coast style IPA.  I found it to be less bitter than many west coast styles with an excellent citra punch. Could easily have two of this brewin a sitting. I’ve seen some bottles around yet and had one last weekend. Tastes great, go grab some!
The Deets:

7% ABV
Inspired by a trip to the West Coast, designed to capture the wild spirit of adventure and brewed to be enjoyed with friends. This rich IPA is for those with wanderlust in their heart and fire in their eyes. Join our Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Nelson Hops on a journey to the bottom of your glass

coconut.png**SingleSpeed Coconut Migration – My beer of the summer. The first time I had it was sample at Need Pizza, my wife got a whole pint but I was a bit apprehensive, wasn’t sure the pina colada thing would fly in an IPA. Took a sip…was hooked. Sought it out all summer and ended up back and Need and the Map Room quite often hammering a few of these. Give me this poolside or beachside and I’m in heaven. I’m not sure if this is year round or not but I’ve been seeing it a little more often. If you dig Pina Coladas and you’re a hophead, this is the beer for you.
The Deets:

7.4% ABV

75 IBU
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.

richard.jpg**Big Grove Jean Luc Richard – The first time I had this I thought maybe the setting of the event I was at played into how much I loved it, and it may have a bit, but I’ve had since the Kroul Farm’s dinner and it is still a spectacular beer. Like many barrel-aged stouts, the flavor in this one shines as it warms and the creme brulee flavors take shape even more. Is it considered “dick swinging” if I brag about how I’m the number 1 drinker of this brew on untappd, or is that just a pathetic brag? Oh well. Not sure how often Big Grove will be kicking this bad boy out, but if you see, go after it!
The Deets:

10.5% ABV
Barrel aged imperial stout with vanilla beans, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Inspired by crème brûlèe.

dangler.jpg**Lion Bridge Dangler – another awesome Iowa brewed IPA made it’s debut this past summer and was a hit with many. Lower on the ABV than some IPAs, which is not a bad thing, made for an extremely drinkable IPA with all the tropical and citrus flavors you expect from a great IPA. Lion Bridge continues to make excellent beers in many different styles. One of my favorite places to go for a drink and bite to eat in Eastern Iowa. Also, their nachos and fries with the lemon aioli are fantastic.
The Deets:

Pair Mosaic, Simcoe, and Idaho 7 hops with a fruit-forward yeast and a malt profile full of wheat and oats, and the result is a juice bomb full of creamy mango and orange flavors.

kickshaw**Kickshaw Vidi – Even though Bill has moved on to other things (fingers crossed he brews again), this beer blows me away every time I have it. Bottles may not have strayed too far away from Eastern Iowa, I’m happily sitting on a few, but if you come across one, you need to give it a try. Of course, it’s not an IPA or barrel-aged stout, but a wonderful golden ale/saison with greatness from the brett. You like sours and saisons, then you would enjoy this.

Alright, there’s the first five. Five more to come next week. I would love to know your favorites of the year! Cheers to all the Iowa breweries and brewers out there; your hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated!

Saturday Morning Glory @ Big Grove’s Richard the Whale Release

big groveFirst of all, my brother in law thought “Saturday Morning Glory” would be the perfect name for a tailgating beer, so any brewers that want to jump on to that go for it!

Big Grove’s Richard the Whale bottle release was the perfect way to start off your Saturday morning if you’re a beer lover. For this release, if you bought a ticket you received 2 bottles of Richard the Whale, 1 bottle of Richard Coffee, 1 Richard glass, and also the opportunity to drink many fantastic beers on tap. Even if you didn’t get a ticket, the beers on tap were still an option.

photo 1

So, to start off the morning I went with some Coffee Richard on tap, waiting patiently until that 10:00 tapping of Jean Luc Richard. What seemed like a simple bottle release was just a bit more at Big Grove. Along with all the tremendous beer on tap, the real treat was to be able to shoot the shit with the guys and girls who bring us this terrific beer. The opportunity to talk with the folks responsible for putting on an event, knowing there hasn’t been much sleep and some long ass days and they greet, smile and talk to everyone they can; so thanks to Chad, Danny, Rabbit, Doug, Matt, and Chef Smart..a terrific event and I’m looking forward to the next!

So many great conversations with the fellas from 7G, who are great beer conversationalists all the time, so cheers to Collin, Clint and Garrett from 7G! Also, Bob and Dave from Need and as always, the guy who should be in the Dos Equis most interesting man in the world commercials, Jeremy from Club 76.

photo 2.JPG

Richard and the variants tasted amazing, although I didn’t eat the buffet I’m kind of kicking myself as it looked terrific. Bellied up at the bar with a some great stouts I was offered a glass of Big Grove’s Easy Eddy from Mr. Swift. He told me they switched the yeast strain and what he poured came back as a hazy, juicy, hop bomb. It was delicious! Easy Eddy is tasting great right now folks! They also had a double dry hopped IPA on tap that was very tasty.


Overall, the new space in Iowa City was perfect for hosting this event and the folks who run the show really knocked it out of the park. Beer, food, conversation, (not to mention the sweet ass swag BG has going right now), all made for a fantastic event. When Big Grove has their next release, there’s no question I’ll be there and there’s no question they will try to top how great Saturday’s Richard release was! Check out those sweet as Richard labels as well!  Cheers BG!

Big Grove Brewery Richard the Whale Bottle Release set for Saturday, December 2nd!


Huge news from Big Grove Brewery today as they have officially announced the release of Richard the Whale bourbon barrel aged stout bottles. Click HERE to get the presale event website!

Here’s more on this event from Big Grove:


Richard The Whale Release – 2017

On Saturday, December 2nd, 2017, we unleash 2017 Richard the Whale, our imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. Pre-Sale Tickets to this event are $50 (plus taxes and fees).  Please read everything carefully; there will be no exceptions to the rules below.  The event will take place at our Iowa City location.

Pre-Sale Ticket holders will be guaranteed:

-Admission to the event
-TWO 12 oz. bottles of 2017 Richard the Whale
-ONE 12 oz. bottle of 2017 Richard the Coffee Whale with JBC Roasters Karuthi Kenya Coffee (95 points Coffee Review)
-ONE exclusive Richard the Whale glass

In addition, the first forty (40) people through the door will receive a Golden Ticket, which will give them the opportunity to purchase ONE 12 oz. bottle of Richard the Coffee Whale with JBC Roasters Ninety Plus Gesha Estates Limited Batch #227 Coffee (97 points on Coffee Review). JBC’s Panama Geisha coffee is, perhaps, the most sought after in the world.  For this batch, JBC released only 140 four-ounce packages.  This particular batch of Geisha won the 2017 World’s Brewer’s Cup in June 2017 in Budapest.  We were fortunate enough to get our hands on a small amount.  Please be aware that these bottles of Richard the Coffee Whale were extremely expensive to produce. They will be $25 for those with a Golden Ticket.  You do not need to have a regular Pre-Sale Ticket to receive a Golden Ticket; the first forty people through the door are eligible.
More information on Ninety Plus Gesha Estates Limited Batch #227 coffee can be found here:

We will be loading up our Beer Trailer with some of our favorite barrel-aged beers during the event (which we’ve dubbed our “Barrel-Aged Trailer”), including 2017 Richard the Whale, 2017 Richard the Coffee Whale Karuthi Kenya, Jean Luc Richard, Lagunitas High Westified, Sierra Nevada Coconut Cocoa BA Narwhal, and some special surprises.  We will also have a breakfast buffet available for a small additional charge.

7am – Doors open to Big Grove Brewery & Taproom (Iowa City). The first forty people through the door will receive a Golden Ticket to purchase Richard the Coffee Whale with Ninety Plus Gesha Estates Limited Batch #227 for $25. Our main bars and the “Barrel-Aged Trailer” will be open and pouring.  Growlers and crowlers will be available for purchase of to-go beers at the main bars.

8am – Breakfast buffet opens (additional charge).

9am –  Pre-Sale Ticket holders may begin picking up their bottles of 2017 Richard the Whale and Richard the Coffee Whale.  Golden Ticket holders may begin purchasing their bottle of Richard the Coffee Whale with Ninety Plus Gesha Estates Limited Batch #227 for $25.

10am – Each year we do a special Richard the Whale variant.  This year’s–Jean Luc Richard–is Richard the Whale with Vanilla, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg.  Jean Luc Richard will be tapped and available for purchase at 10am.

12pm- Bottle pick up ends. Event continues with barrel-aged beers and cheer.

-The event is open to the public.  We will serve breakfast starting at 8am and our regular menu starting at 11am.
-2017 Richard the Whale and 2017 Richard the Coffee Whale Karuthi Kenya bottles will be available only to Pre-Sale Ticket holders. No additional bottles will be available for public sale during the event.  Pre-Sale Ticket holders may pick up their bottles between 9am and 12pm during the event.  Pre-Sale Ticket holders who fail to pick up their bottles during this time period will forfeit their bottles.  We will not hold bottles past 12pm.
-2017 Richard the Coffee Whale with Ninety Plus Gesha Estates Limited Batch #227 will be available for purchase for $25 to the first forty people through the door (regardless whether they have a Pre-Sale Ticket).  Golden Ticket holders may purchase a bottle of Richard the Coffee Whale with Ninety Plus Gesha Estates Limited Batch #227 for $25 between 9am and 12pm.
-If you plan to come early and wait in line, please clean up after yourselves.  We will provide trash cans.  Please do not bring open bottles into the taproom.

-All ticket buyers must be 21 years of age or older at the time of purchasing the Pre-Aale Ticket.
-Individuals may purchase only one Pre-Sale Ticket. If an individual’s name appears on more than one ticket, all tickets and bottle sales will be null and void.  This is to ensure more people have access to this release.
-NO PROXIES. The individual who purchased the Pre-Sale Ticket must be present with a valid ID and print out or mobile confirmation of his/her Pre-Sale Ticket.
-Pre-Sale Tickets are non-transferrable. You must enter the name of the person attending at the time of purchase.
-We will be monitoring the line to ensure the first forty people receive Golden Tickets.  Please be respectful of all attendees. If different members of your party arrive at different times, please do not invite them to join you at the front of the line.


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!