Iowa Eats: The Red Frog – Cedar Rapids, IA

As the weather warms and the itch of getting outside is finally getting scratched, the streets and sidewalks start to come to life in the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids. There are many locally owned restaurants, breweries, bars, and shops in the few blocks that make up the Czech Village area and this past weekend I was able to pay my first visit to The Red Frog. The Red Frog is owned by Jake Brummer and Amy Winkler, who had opened up the Kingston Pub only for the Derecho to rip its roof off. The Red Frog is located in what used to be Dirty Shirleys, tucked in between Anvil Meat Market and Luckys.

The Red Frog could fit the dive bar definition, which I love and appreciate, but the uniqueness and variety of their food menu is what many restaurants strive to achieve and many miss the boat. Great appetizers, sandwiches, and smoked meats make up the menu the but the Frog also serves breakfast on the weekends.

BEER
10 tap lines filled with a nice mix of styles and many local beers. Tank Puncher, Easy Eddy, Witch Slap, Tip the Cow, and a few more to go along with your typical domestics along with some breakfast cocktails if you choose to go that route. I went with a Witch Slap (a few of them) to go along with my food.

FOOD
Went with my buddy’s recommendations at the started with Sriracha cheese balls. A brilliant call from him on this one, I know I have a lot of Top 5 lists, but these cheese balls definitely hit that list, maybe even to the top. The spice added to the breading from the sriracha and how perfectly cooked and creamy they were make for the perfect start and will wake up your taste buds a bit. Glad I had that cold beer next to me.
Next up, the Reuben Wontons. Take your favorite wonton from your favorite chinese restaurant, and stuff that baby with a reuben mixture of swiss, kraut, and corned beef, add a side of homemade 1,000 island and you have an Irish twist on a delicious dish. So far, 2 for 2 at the Red Frog. Lastly, had to try something from the smoker. Really wanted the ribs but after devouring 2 apps I was getting a bit full, so I went with the smoked wing basket. 6 plump and juicy wings with the perfect amount of smoke, accompanied by one of the best blue cheese dressings I’ve had, raspberry habanero sauce, and regular wing sauce hit the spot. The wings were crispy, filling, and tasty.

OVERALL
There are so many things on their menu that I haven’t tried yet that I would love to get a taste of. Do yourself a favor, head to the Czech Village and check out the many restaurants/bars/stores in that area, and then stop by The Red Frog and get yourself those sriracha cheese balls and a beer and just sit back and enjoy! Check out their menu by clicking HERE or their website by clicking HERE!

Lion Bridge releasing “Corporate Mandate” hazy IPA tomorrow! (6/3)

Lion Bridge

As they open up their taproom to customers tomorrow, Lion Bridge will also be releasing a beauty of a hazy IPA in Corporate Mandate! This beer checks in a 7% ABV and is loaded with El Dorado, Citra, and Azacca hops! Here’s more from Lion Bridge as well as a preorder form! One of the best patios to have a beer so make sure you get down to the Czech Village tomorrow and support them!

Just in time for our reopening this Wednesday, Corporate put the hammer down for us to brew our popular Hazy IPA¬†ūüėČ

Corporate Mandate clocks in at 7%abv and we’re throwing in a ridiculous amount of El Dorado, Citra, and Azacca hops which shine a tropical burst of fruit on these past few tumultuous months.

Pints and 4-packs will be available for on site consumption (at 50% capacity) or for curbside pickup starting Wednesday 6/3!

Preorder online at:
https://www.toasttab.com/lion-bridge-brewing-company-59-16th-ave-sw/v3

Restaurant Review: Sauce Bistro; Cedar Rapids, IA

IMG_2204.JPGcr sauceA Friday night date night with my wife led us to the Czech Village as it does so often. We usually hit Lion Bridge for few tasty beverages and have a few bites to eat but tonight we wanted to hit the new restaurant in town, Sauce. Located ¬†507 C Street SW this building was scheduled to be demolished due to the flood of 2008. Luckily, it was saved, gutted, and turned into a wonderful restaurant. Here’s the statement on Sauce’s website:

Sauce is a finer dining restaurant with a great atmosphere, food, and drinks.

We wanted to give Cedar Rapids something they have not had before and that everyone could enjoy.

Sauce’s menu is entirely seasonal and that will be reflected in¬†the dishes¬†we serve, to the wines and drinks¬†we recommend.

We work with as many local providers as possible to source our menu. We are not looking to cut corners, especially with the quality of our products.

After a pre meal beer at Lion Bridge, (Sorachi Liberaci x 3), we headed up a block or two to Sauce. Upon entering, we noticed the chalkboard that listed all the local farms where the produce, fruit, and meat comes from, and another chalkboard on the opposite wall showcasing the local beers that are on tap. Drink local, eat local always appeals to us so we were excited to see the menu. 

IMG_2205.JPGThe dinner menu is ever-changing, I think the lunch menu IMG_2206.JPGmight have a more set options,actually, here’s a link to the lunch menu: www.crsauce.com/menu.html,¬†¬†but everything sounded tasty. We started with an appetizer of chicken fajitas with a sriracha creme fraiche, paired with Turner Alley Pils and that plate didn’t stand a chance. Main course was a little difficult to choose because all the options sounded great.

My wife decided to go with the special which was a Berkshire pork ragu with mustard greens over top of tortellini I believe. It was excellent, filling, and fresh. I ordered the seared scallops which were served on a bed of buttermilk chive mashed potatoes, and smoked paprika oil DELICIOUS! Paired my scallops with another Sorachi Liberace from Lion Bridge and I was as close to a food/beer coma as you can come.

Overall, the wait staff was very knowledgeable and friendly. The room was a bit dark (sorry about the pictures), but was a perfect setting for a date-night evening. Will I go back? Absolutely, and I can’t wait to see what’s on the menu next time!

Lion Bridge Brewery Updates: Beer Dinner + Patio

lion bridgeI just received the following from Lion Bridge Brewing’s newsletter. A beer dinner is coming up and the menu looks absolutely specular! A lot of great things happening at Lion Bridge and the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, check them out! Here’s more:

Hello from Lion Bridge Brewing Company!


The taproom has been open for about 6 weeks now and we have been overwhelmed by the positive reception, and overwhelmed by the amount of beer we have gone through.

We would like to thank everyone who has been able to come in for a beer and look forward to seeing you again in the future.

Look for a full battery of acoustic panels the next time you come in (should help make our old grocery store a little quieter), a patio will be put in here soon, and we are installing a projector so we can get a movie night up and running in the not-so-distant future.

We will keep you informed as we add new beers to our line up and we are excited to have our first beer dinner coming up.  The dinner includes 5 courses and 5, half-pints of Lion Bridge beer.

Where: Lion Bridge Brewing Company
             59 16th Avenue SW
             Cedar Rapids, IA
             52404
When: Tuesday, May 6th @ 6:30pm
Cost: $50

Contact us at: info@lionbridgebrewing.com or reply to this email if you want to reserve a spot. Please include the number in your party and a contact phone number.  We will call to confirm your spot later this week. 

This is spur of the moment, and we are keeping it small, so please don’t hesitate.

Menu for this dinner is:

-Bar Snack of toasted barley with mixed nuts
(Belgian Amber Ale)

-Homemade Brewer’s Grain Bread with Local Butter and Radish

(ŇĹiv√°¬†Voda: Pilsner)

-Asparagus Soup with Pistachio Cream
(Mad Maximillion: Belgian IPA)

 
-Beer Braised Brisket with Herb Sauce and Baby Potatoes in Browned Butter and Chives
(Sticke Altbier)
 
-Strawberries and Cream with Pretzel Crumble
(Smoked Chocolate Stout)
 

Now that our schedule is stabilizing, look for more email updates (but not too many) about new beers and events for the summer and beyond. 

Thanks for your interest in local beer.

Cheers!
The LBBC