Baron’s Guide to Thanksgiving and Beer

turkeyHappy Thanksgiving everyone! I thought it would be fun to breakdown Thanksgiving Day and pair some craft beers with what would be my typical meal. Now, 15 years ago, Busch Light reigned supreme and would flow freely along with some boxed wine and a few bottles of booze. Times change and thankfully so do the drinks. I saw the guys at fullpint.com do this and thought it would be good to see an Eastern Iowa version of what beers to get.

**Early and often Beers**– while watching the football game with fellow family members and waiting for the bird to finish up cooking, it’s good have other options available other than the typical light beer, and Eastern Iowa now has a plethora of excellent, low abv brews.

 

Baron’s recommendation:

*Founders Brewing All Day IPA – 4.7%
*Lion Bridge Workmen’s Compensation – 4.7% (growler only – coffee variation dynamitbig grovee as well)
*Lion Bridge Whirligig – 4.5% (growler only, a Baron Favorite)
*Big Grove Que Sera Berliner Weisse – 4.4% (growler only)
*Destihl Brewing Here Gose Nothin’ – 5% (A little higher ABV and sour but I can down a few)
*Stone Levitation – 4.4% very tasty amber.

**Dinner Beers** – the food has made it’s way to the table and you are looking for a bottle of something to share with some loved ones. I’m in agreement with many beer lovers that the perfect style of beer for Thanksgiving are Saisons. And being a saison lover, there are quite a few to choose from around Eastern Iowa. I also think maltier IPAs go well with the majority of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Baron’s recommendation:

*Saison Dupont – 6.5%
*Boulevard Tank 7 – 8.5%
*Lion Bridge Untitled Saison – 6.5% (growler only)
*Deschutes Zarabanda – 6.3%lion bridge
*Sierra Nevada Celebration – 6.8%
*Bells Two Hearted – 7%

**Time for Dessert** – as with most holidays there is usually a table reserved just for desserts. Now, you should have a cooler reserved for dessert beers.  I would have loved to include New Glarus on this list and they would be at the top but they aren’t distributed anywhere outside of Wisky. So for dessert I would go with:

Baron’s Recommendations:

*Schlafly Pumkin Ale – 8% – a no-brainer here. One of the better pumpkin beers on the market.
*Big Grove Russian Imperial Stout- this beer pairs excellent with dark fruits. Had it at the brewery in Solon with some of their pickled bing cherries and was blown away. (growler only)
*Millstream Raspberry Latte Stout – ? ABV – Millstream’s newest offering has me craving more. A great millstreamcombo of raspberry and stout that’s perfect for dessert.
*Stone Xocoveza – 8.1% – if you’re lucky enough to still have a bottle this would be a perfect way to end the evening. Chocolate, cinnamon, and coffee makes this the perfect beer after a big meal and the heat does a nice job of warming you up for a chilly Iowa November evening.

**As always, I’m sure I missed a bunch of beers. Feel free to send me your list and if you hear of any news, would like a guest review post, or questions drop me a line!**

 

Restaurant Review: Iowa Chop House; Iowa City, IA

iowa chopIt’s always great when a new restaurant or bar with an exciting new concept opens up. I’ve been reading about the Chop House for a few weeks and finally had an opportunity to be around downtown Iowa City and decided to give it a go. It’s located right next to the Englert Theater, can’t miss it. Here’s the Iowa Chop House statement:

At the Iowa Chop House, we believe that great food starts with local, fresh ingredients. That’s why we source only the finest sustainable seasonal ingredients from hard working local farmers. Located in historic downtown Iowa City, we proudly carry on the tradition of culture and quality that is unique to our community.

photo 1The hostess offered us a quick tour before showing us our seats. She pointed out that the tables and part of the bar are from a refurbished barn. The “beer barn” was also made to look like a rustic old barn. More on the beer barn later, a terrific concept.

We were shown to our seats, people were starting to filter in for lunch so I’m glad we got there right at opening. The menu had everything from burgers to steaks with some great sounding apps as well. Here’s a link to the menu:http://theiowachophouse.com/iowachophouse_menu.pdf I thought the prices were very fair and I believe the food is locally sourced and then I was told about “The Beer Barn”! The Beer Barn is such a refreshing idea, especially for a craft beer lover as I am. If you want to order from the Beer Barn wall you are given an electronic wrist band. The wall had about 8 Iowa-only beers on tap, a fephoto 3w of which I’ve never had. The band gives you a max of 28 oz of beer. You have several glass sizes to choose from so you are not stuck with a 12 oz pour of something you didn’t care for. You put your band over the electronic sign for the beer you want, get a blue/green light, and start pouring your beer. You can use the 28 oz on whatever beers are on the wall. A fantastic concept! I got to try Firetrucker brewery (http://www.firetrucker.com/)for the first time, they had Exile beers (http://exilebrewing.com/) as well and finished with a Lion Bridge saison (http://www.lionbridgebrewing.com/) and Big Grove arms race http://www.biggrovebrewery.com/)!

photo 2The good news is if you want more than 28 oz you can get your band reset as well and if you don’t want what’s on the Beer Barn wall they have a huge selection of bottles and more tap lines. The barn was just a great interactive way for people to talk beer and get to try some new brews as well.

Onto the food! The burger was great! One of the more flavorful burgers I’ve had in a while and went well with the Firetrucker porter. I got to talk to the manager for a while and he was very friendly and he did say that they photo 5are pretty much booked up for the next few weekends, so if you want to get there to check it out, head for lunch or make an online reservation. Overall, a place I will be heading to when I find myself downtown and want to escape what can be the madness of college bars and shitty beer or escape the unoriginality of fried chicken fingers and ground beef nachos. Check it out, keep these new places going!