Beer Baron’s Top 10 Iowa Beers of 2019!

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Another Top 10 list coming at you as I present to you, dear reader, my top 10 “Iowa Beers” of 2019! Once again, this list is of beers released in 2019, Iowa brewed, and with annual releases (Richard the Whale, GAZPROM!) they aren’t counted unless the brewery releases a beer with that base and a new adjunct to it. I’ve missed out on many beers this year, one being the B.A. Cake Walk from Pulpit which many of you were lucky enough to try. Another great year in Iowa Beer as our breweries keep turning out amazing things!

I’d also love to hear your Top 10 beers of the year, so shoot back on me here or on the Iowa Beer page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter! So, after tedious nights of drinking amazing beer, here’s my top 10 (in no particular order)!

**Big Grove Brewery Richard the Whale Hazelnut + Chocolate -11.5%- this is a beer that was overshadowed by the golden ticket release of Richard Coconut Vanilla, and maybe rightfully so as that beer is amazing, but if you have a bottle of this, drink it! You’d be hard pressed to find a beer with that much hazelnut flavor that is balanced perfect with chocolate. Big Grove continues to shine with their Richard series!

**Confluence Brewing Smoothest Road Hazy Triple IPA- 10% – Confluence teamed up with Weldwerks Brewing to come up with this Triple and they really nailed it. Smoothest in the title and that’s exactly what can be said about a triple that drinks like a regular hazy. Delicious and easy drinking, watch out for that 10% on this baby! Keep this coming Confluence!

**Clock House Brewing Pineapple Witch Slap– 6% – what a great year for Clock House as Todd and crew have been busy cranking out some delicious beers and even a few can/crowler releases. One of the most notable for me was an off shoot of their popular Witch Slap IPA, Pineapple Witch Slap. All the greatness from Witch Slap with some fresh tasting pineapple added to it. What I like the best in adjunct beers is when it doesn’t taste artificial, and this beer was the perfect example. Fresh pineapple, the perfect beer for a warm day or any day for that matter!

**Lion Bridge Brewing Home Baked – 11% – this was the beer that started off my 2019 and to top this beer would be quite an accomplishment! I must be a sucker for hazelnut in my stouts, and add some cinnamon and fudge and you have one of the best beers ever brewed in Iowa!

**Toppling Goliath Double Dry Hopped King Sue-7.8% – I’m not sure when this was actually released so if it was early then 2019, my bad. But, I recently had my first bottle of it and it has to be up there with the best IPAs brewed in the state. Delicious beer!

**Dimensional Brewing Imperial Peanut Butter Cup – 10% – was lucky enough to get this on tap on trip to Dubuque. If you did peanut butter porters/stouts then this is one you need to try. Not overly sweet either, that can be a deal breaker for me. Dimensional continues to do great things after celebrating their 1 year anniversary!

**Big Grove Richard the Whale Vanilla Coconut – 11.5% – one of the best beers of the year no doubt! The “golden ticket” beer has exceeded the hype. The coconut shines, and once again not too sweet. I don’t know how Big Grove can outdo themselves again next year, but I’m sure they will. A beer of the year nominee!

**Pulpit Rock Gravy Boat – 7.1% – I know it’s not the B.A. Cake Walk that would make everyone’s list if you tried it, but Pulpit is continually making great beers of almost every style. Their sours/stouts/pils/pastry stouts/IPAs are all delicious. Gravy Boat is an IPA that I could drink many of, and in fact, many of these pairs well with some Need Pizza!

**Clock House Snozberry Sour – 5% – one of the best kettle sours I’ve ever had as Clock House loaded this baby up with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Sessionable and not overly tart. This would be ideal on a hot summer day!

**Lion Bridge Double Maple GAZPROM! – 12% – barrel aged January was amazing in 2019 and expectations have been set high for 2020! One of the highlights along with Home Baked was Double Maple GAZPROM! They upped the maple dosage and turned this into an even more decadent delight!

Well, there’s this year’s list…..Once again, sooooo many great beers being produced in our lovely state that it is hard to get your hands on all of them! It’s a great problem to have! Cheers to the breweries and the folks in the brewing industry and thanks to all the readers of this blog and my @iabeerbaron twitter handle, as well as the Iowa Beer Facebook members. I would love to hear your top 10 so give me a shout! Cheers!

 

Richard the Whale 2019 Release Review

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Just when you think Big Grove can’t do any better with a big time release, 2019 Richard comes around! From top to bottom, one of, if not the best release I’ve been to!

It would be hard for a brewery to top what Big Grove did in 2018 with Macaroon Richard and Double Barrel Richard but they pulled it off and the star of the show may be my front runner as 2019 Iowa Beer of the Year and that was Coconut Vanilla Richard.

My buddies and I arrived at around 5:30 and the line was probably 50-60 deep by that point with a big congregation of beer lovers circling the fire pits outside and tasting some great beers. The beauty with some of these releases is people sharing some really hard to find beers while waiting in line with complete strangers. All one big beer loving family. The doors opened at 8 and as you walked in with your precious golden ticket you were greeted by the Big Grove family with a fist bump or a high five. We found some seats, ordered ourselves a Coconut Vanilla and were blown away. Liquid almond joy with a kiss of barrel. Outstanding beer!

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The beer wasn’t the only star of the show as a brunch buffet that included fresh shucked oysters, homemade bagels and lox, a Richard donut wall, bacon, potatoes, sausage, etc. is what really puts this release over the edge. Throughout the morning you would see Big Grove brewers and employees talking and interacting with many of their customers.

A four pack, glass, a pour, brunch, golden ticket, and a friendly ambiance and overall wonderful experience are what makes this a can’t miss event every year. Cheers BG crew, can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2020!

 

Your Iowa Beer Guide to Black Friday!

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If you are out and about this coming Black Friday there are quite a few options from the beer community to take advantage of. Can releases, bottle releases, and speciality tappings a plenty!
*If you know of an event that I didn’t post up please drop me a line and I’ll add it to the list! 

**Lion Bridge Brewery – Oakonut Delight release. 1 case per customer per purchase starting at 11 a.m., but if you get back in line you can get more! Imperial stout aged in whiskey barrels with coconut, chocolate, and caramel!  

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**Confluence Brewing – If you are in the Des Moines area Confluence has a stellar Black Friday lineup.
-Letter of Marque Rum Barrel Aged DIPA W/ Coconut
-Kiano’s Cut Rye Barrel Aged Rye DIPA
-Conifer Ginelly Gin Barrel Aged Saison W/ Cranberries & Spruce
Tips
-Ghostly Presents Tequila Barrel Aged W/ Agave & Peppers
Doors open at 11 AM. No bottle limits. Enjoy $2 off pours of everything in our taproom until noon!

 

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**Bricks Bar and Grill – Bourbon County and Black Friday go hand in hand and what better way to take a break from the early morning shopping and stop by Bricks for a 2020 BCS or variant. Here’s what Bricks will have on the lines:

Featuring Five BCBS beers on draft ~ 2018 BCBS Original ~ 2018 BCBS Bramble Rye ~ 2019 BCBS Original ~ 2019 BCBS Cafe De Olla ~ 2019 BCBS Mon Cheri
Blind Auction for 2 2015 BCBS Rare Bottles ~ 4 2012 BCBS Coffee Bottles

~Breakfast Taco Bar~

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**Iowa Brewing Company – a big day of bottles for Iowa Brewing Company as they are set to release Barrel-aged OREOja Baltic Porter that is finished in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels with “America’s Favorite Cookie.” This and the Hurricane Season will be available Friday the 29th @ 11AM only at the Iowa Brewing taproom.

thew**Thew Brewing Company – Thew will be continuing their “Dark Beer” week on Friday with a whole bunch of tappings. Here’s what they have going:

On tap Friday:
– Darkest Corners (barrel-aged imperial stout)
– Double Tappa (imperial brown ale)
– Old Man Strength (barrel-aged old ale)
– Black IPA
– Imperial stout
– Belgian strong

Bottle release deets courtesy of Thew:

We’ve had an old ale aging in a Weller barrel from Buffalo Trace and we’re anxious to share it with you. Old Man Strength will be packaged in 22 oz. bomber bottles and wax sealed.

Thew Crew members will have two bottles each reserved. You may pick your bottles up beginning Wednesday. Member bottles will be held until Friday, December 6th.

For the general public, release will start at noon on Friday. $20/bottle, 4 bottle per person limit.

In addition to Old Man Strength, we’ll have:
– Firkin of Double Tappa with Coconut
– Randall with Helianthus (sunflower saison) infused with fresh cranberries

 

**Quarter Barrel – Darkest Peru Russian Imperial Stout aged 9 months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels with Peruvian Coffee, Peruvian Cacao, and Huacatay (Peruvian Black Mint) will be sold in 4-packs @ The Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery! 

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**Big Grove Brewery and Bootleggin’ Barzini’s have teamed up for an exclusive barrel-aged barleywine release only available at Barzinis on Black Friday. This barley wine is aged in Cedar Ridge single malt whiskey barrels and will come in a 375 mL bottle. Barzinis will also have their Bourbon County release.

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**Marto Brewing Company – Marto will be releasing All the Bean Things which is their
first in house collaboration that was brewed with  Barn Town Brewing!
A  13.1% imperial stout brewed with Ugandan vanilla beans, Caturra Coffee Roasting Co. – A Subsidiary of Coffee King, Inc Mexico Altura coffee beans, & Ghana ABOCFA cacao beans roasted by Just the Nib in Lincoln, NE.
Available on tap & limited crowlers to go. $18 per crowler.

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**Clockhouse Brewing – From Clockhouse:

They say, “We all need a little more fruit in our diet.” So we loaded our kettle sour with Raspberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries. The perfect trifecta for starting your post thanksgiving diet.

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**Need Pizza – Need tapping some heavy hitters on Black Friday!

2018 Bourbon County Bramble Rye
2019 Madhouse El Jefe
Pours and crowlers available while they last!

Big Grove Richard the Whale release set for Dec. 7th, both locations! Tickets on sale October 9th!

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Big news from Solon and Iowa City today as Big Grove has announced the release of their popular Richard the Whale brew! The release date is set for December 7th and the tickets will go on sale the coming Wednesday, October 9th! They will be doing another golden ticket release so look for that as well! Here’s more on this release:

This year, Big Grove Brewpub in Solon joins the fun! Richard the Whale, our bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout returns for its annual party on Saturday, December 7. If you’re solely looking for a four-pack of bottles and collector’s glass, you’re invited to our Solon Brewpub! Tickets on sale Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 8:00am.

This ticket includes a collector’s glass and personal four-pack of Richard the Whale: 2 Richard the Whale, 1 Richard the Whale Coffee, 1 Richard the Whale Chocolate Hazelnut.

This package is $79.00 and can be purchased online here.

Golden Ticket beer, Richard the Whale Vanilla Coconut (500 mL), is exclusively available in Iowa City during the brunch bottle release party from 8:00-11:00am.

Tickets will be available through Eventbrite at this link.

Big Grove Batch #1000 Release Details!

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A big day coming tomorrow (Saturday August 31st) as not only is college football kicking off in our great state but Big Grove Brewery will be releasing their Batch #1000 starting at 10 a.m. at the Solon taproom! Here are the details, hope to see you there!

Details for Saturday’s Release Party: Batch 1000 Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout:
Batch 1000 is our long-boil imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. This brew, our 1,000th batch of beer brewed in Solon, began its journey in February 2018 and we’ve been aging it since. We’re offering the base beer, Batch 1000, alongside two variants: Chocolate Covered Orange and Madagascar Vanilla Coffee.

The trio is available on draft and in 375 mL bottles beginning Saturday at 10:00am in Solon and Iowa City.

375 mL bottles
Batch 1000: $15 each — 13 cases in Solon + IC
Chocolate Covered Orange: $18 each — 13 cases in Solon + IC
Madagascar Vanilla Coffee: $25 each — 9 cases in Solon + IC

Limit one bottle of each, per customer. You’re invited to get back in line as you wish.

30hop IRL Celebrating 5 Years w/ special Big Grove Tappings TONIGHT 8/21!

SPECIAL BEER RELEASE!!! For @30hop IRL’s 5 Year Anniversary party tonight we will be tapping 3 exclusive beers from @biggrovebrewery!!! The “Big Ed”, “2018 Richard the Whale”, and a double barrel aged “Richard the Whale”. Big Ed will be included with happy hour while the “Richard the Whales” will be exclusively priced. 🍻 With rockinfreakapotamus jamming on the#topofthehop for Rhythm and Brews it will be an awesome night!!!!

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Big Grove Releasing “Velvet” vanilla imperial stout +”Lunar Tourist” hazy IPA in bottles/cans July 20th!

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Another can’t miss Big Grove release approaches as they are set to release “Velvet” vanilla imperial stout and “Lunar Tourist” hazy IPA with South African hops on Saturday July 20th! Here’s more!

Saturday, July 20, Big Grove Brewery is releasing two new beers on draft and in bottles + cans.

Velvet | Vanilla Imperial Stout with Madagascar Vanilla
Lunar Tourist | Hazy Double IPA with South African Hops

Arrive early for brunch and stick around for what will be an all-day party. 9:00AM Doors Open. No tickets required. This event will be hosted at both the Iowa City Taproom and Solon Brewpub.

Big Grove + Odell team up for “Buddy Flight” on July 13th!

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A great chance to chat it up some Big Grove’s finest and also talk to some folks from Odell Brewing Company as Big Grove + Odell will host “Buddy Flight” at Big Grove in Iowa City on July 13th! Here’s the lineup:

Calling all beer lovers! Our friends from Colorado are coming to hang with us, and we’ve got all sorts of shenanigans in the works.

BUDDY FLIGHTS | One flight, two breweries, eight beers:

Odell
– Sippin Pretty (Fruited Sour Ale)
– Mountain Standard (IPA)
– 90 Shilling (Amber Ale)
– Colorado Lager

Big Grove
– Summer Jam (Fruited Sour Ale)
– Colorado Smuggler (Hazy IPA)
– 1939 (Amber Ale)
– Iowa City Lager

KILL THE KEG
Odell is bringing two kegs of their Swannay’s Pils to the party, and two lucky customers, the ones who order the pint that blows each keg, will win an Odell-branded river tube!

Doors open at 11AM, but the fun doesn’t stop ’til the beer is gone.

Big Grove Tap Takeover @ Keg Stand Starting @ 3 p.m. today! Morgan Horse and Richard on the lines!

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A big tap takeover is taking place today in Des Moines at the Keg Stand as Big Grove has brought out some big guns for you Des Moines beer lovers! Here’s what you’ll find!

-2018 Richard
-Macaroon Richard
-Coffee Cake Morgan Horse
-Strawberry Rhubarb Gose
-Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout

A great way to spend your Tuesday so get over there for a taste or two! Cheers!

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Shakespeare’s Celebrating 20 years on June 8th w/ Richard Macaroon, Carpe Diem, GAZPROM!, and more being tapped!

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Make your calendar for June 8th folks! Shakespeare’s in Iowa City will be celebrating 20 years with a plethora of wondrous beers being tapped! Check it out!