Chameleon’s Pub in Mount Vernon Hosting Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Tapping January 30th!

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It’s always great to see a small town bar, especially my favorite watering hole, get their hands on some brews that most small town bars aren’t able to land. Chameleon’s Pub and Grub here in Mt. Vernon will have their own barrel-aged tap takeover that will feature this year’s Goose Island Bourbon County stout and also feature 3 Iowa brewed barrel aged beers. The event is next Thursday January 30th, stop on in if you’re around the Mt. Vernon area! Here are more deets on these tappings:

Winter is in full swing in Iowa and what could be better than belling up to the bar with a barrel aged brew to warm your insides. We will be tapping four beautifully crafted barrel aged brews featuring the nationally renown Bourbon County from Chicago’s Goose Island Barrel House along side three local brews. We will be offering specially priced flights on the night of the event so you can try all four! These beers are very limited and will go fast so be sure to stop before they go.

This year’s Bourbon County Stout, aged in a mix of Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey barrels, yields a rich, complex mouthfeel. Flavors of cocoa, fudge, vanilla, caramel, almond, plus leather and tobacco, permeate this beer and deepen with each sip. At 14.7 ABV it won’t take long to forget the cold and to feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Our local options are as followed;

2019 Jesus on a Forklift a barrel-aged imperial rye stout from Exile Brewing Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. This heavy hitter was aged for 9 months in first use Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels and gives of flavors and aromas of rich chocolate, with bourbon and the rye lending some spiciness.

Back Road coconut porter aged in Jim Beam barrels from Millstream Brewing Co. out of Amana Iowa. Black malt and roasted barley give the beer its color, and coffee-like flavors.

Wake the F Up Iowa Imperial Coffee stout from Backpocket Brewing out of Coralville, Iowa. This beer features coffee from our fellow Mount Vernon business owners and friends at Wake Up Iowa Coffee and is barrel aged it in Cedar Ridge and Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels to make Wake The F Up Iowa – an imperial coffee stout that’s plenty boozy, plenty smooth.

Exile partners with Susan G. Komen Great Iowa to Help Fight Breast Cancer

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Courtesy of Exile Brewing press release:

Exile Brewing Partners with Susan G Komen Greater Iowa to Help Fight Breast Cancer

Exile Brewing Company (Des Moines, IA) grows its partnership with Susan G Komen Greater Iowa in its second year of their Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. Exile uses Ruthie, their most popular year-round beer, as a platform to educate people about breast cancer and how Komen Greater Iowa can help.

Exile has created a custom pink Ruthie bottle label and 6-pack carrier to support breast cancer awareness and prevention efforts.  $1.00 per case will be donated to Komen Greater Iowa throughout the entire month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year’s proceeds equaled over $1,000 and Exile plans to exceed that number this year with their new pink Ruthie packaging and increased distribution. Exile also plans to sell pink Ruthie shirts at their brewpub with a portion of proceeds going to Komen Greater Iowa.

“Exile Builds, the philanthropic arm of Exile has been a great addition to our company’s structure. By working with organizations like Komen Greater Iowa we are able to build a highway between our culture and our community. Our goal at the end of the day is to bring people together, spread awareness, and enjoy craft beer.” said Erin Muir, Marketing Associate at Exile Brewing Company.

Komen Greater Iowa is dedicated to supporting the fight against breast cancer through education, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship care throughout their service area.  Their Affiliate is financially supported by funds raised through the Komen Greater Iowa Race for the Cure series, which hosts events in Des Moines, Sioux City, Ottumwa and Moline.

“We often speak with women who are without insurance or who can’t pay their insurance deductibles.  When faced with the decision to pay for food and other bills or have a yearly screening, they often choose not to have the mammogram.  Every dollar raised through this generous awareness campaign, helps us serve more Individuals in our community.” – Mission Director, Jessica Nelsen

Starting October 1st, you’ll find this unique Ruthie 6-pack at your favorite grocery or liquor stores across Iowa.

Exile + Uinta team up for Brut IPA Collab! Backcountry Brut set for June 7th release!

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Here is some big news out of Des Moines as Exile and Uinta Brewing have teamed up to brew “Backcountry Brut”, a Brut IPA. Here’s more on this release courtesy of Exile!

Exile Brewing and Uinta Brewing brew collaboration Brut IPA

Exile Brewing (Des Moines, IA) and Uinta Brewing (Salt Lake City, UT) announce Backcountry Brut, a collaboration double brut IPA brewed at Exile for Des Moines Beer Week.

“Collaboration beers represent what we love about craft brewing – community, experimentation, and great beer.  We are big fans of Uinta and are excited to have them at our place to brew, share stories, and enjoy a few beers.” Said Joey Hansen, head brewer at Exile.  After deliberation, brewers at each respective brewery settled on a double brut IPA. “It would be perfect in a dry, sunny climate like Utah or a humid Iowa summer,” says Hansen.

“We love the spirit of collaboration beers and see it as a way to connect with beer enthusiasts in markets we don’t get a chance to spend much time in” said Jeremy Worrell, Director of Marketing at Uinta Brewing. “Believe it or not, there is an abundance of Iowa natives now living in Utah and we consider this their chance to tip the ‘ol cap to those back home” said Worrell. “The team at Exile have been incredibly welcoming through this whole process and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

Backcountry Brut will be packaged in limited quantities of 6-pack bottles and kegs which will only be available for purchase in Iowa.  Release date is set for June 7th, 2019 and will be available on tap and in bottles during Des Moines Beer Week.

Baron’s Best of 2015 Part 1

best of.pngI always enjoy looking back on a year of great beer drinking and this year was probably the best. So many great beers to choose from and what makes it even better is that there are so many great beers brewed here in Iowa that will makes this list. Don’t get me wrong, tons of good stuff on the shelves, but bringing home a growler of fresh Arms Race or Workman’s Compensation makes it that much more special to live in Eastern Iowa and have the opportunity to support our local breweries.

This year’s list will be dominated by Iowa breweries, these are all beers that were/are available for purchase in Iowa that I had for the FIRST TIME EVER in 2015. You won’t see the Bourbon county’s or the KBS, I know that they change year by year but I’m going to leave them off this list. I haven’t visited a few newer breweries in Iowa which I know I need to. Everyone has their favorites, let me know what I need to try! 30 beers on the list this year and it was difficult coming to just 30. This is Part 1 of 5, let’s roll!

lion bridge*Lion Bridge Brewery GAZPROM! – a russian imperial stout aged in rye and brandy barrels that Lion Bridge gets to us in the months Iowans need to be warmed up! January and February in Iowa suck, but Lion Bridge’s release of GAZPROM! makes them a little more tolerable. Plus, the tshirt released was badass too!

big grove*Big Grove Brewery Buster – let’s keep the Iowa breweries rolling with a triple IPA that was released last Spring. Big Grove had a dominant year with their IPA releases and their Richard the Whale releases. This triple was juicy as hell and scary drinkable. Coming in at 11.3%, this bad boy could lead to a good night’s sleep.

pulpi.jpeg*Pulpit Rock Mr. Hoppy Pants – one of the newer breweries in Iowa is located across the street from Toppling Goliath in Decorah. I was lucky enough to stop in and have a pint and loved what those breweries are brewing up. Mr. Hoppy Pants is a double IPA brewed on a rotating hop schedule so this brew might change from time to time. Not sure of the hops in the draw I had but I loved it. Aromatic and crushable, visit Pulpit Rock, they are an up and comer to keep an eye on.

razz*Exile Raspberry Bohemian – this one might keep some talk stirred as I picked this over their Cherry Bohemian and I think many folks enjoyed the cherry more..not me. I think I just enjoy raspberry in my beer more than cherry flavor, just a personal preference and that’s why Raspberry gets my nod over Cherry. Either way, both beers were great and I would venture to say that Exile nailed it with both of them.

turner alley*Turner Alley Czech Village Pilsner – a style that’s not as “sexy” as the imperial IPAs or the barrel-aged beers of the world, but a style that seems lost in the mix is pilsners. Travis at Turner Alley has taken what some would consider a boring style and made a crisp, refreshing, balanced pilsner that I would put up against most out there. Looking forward to see what Turner Alley has in store for 2016.

firetrucker*Firetrucker Black Walnut Alcova Brown Ale – another “basic” style that seems like it got lost in the shuffle of beer styles, gets amped up with the addition of 100 black walnuts. This is a beer I can drink anytime of the year and that nutty aftertastes shines through making this beer a perfect example on how to make a great brown.

**Part 2 coming soon! Iowa brewery dominant so far. Let me know your thoughts!

Pullman Bar and Diner Celebrating Local Craft Beer Week

pullmanPullman Bar and Diner in downtown Iowa City will be celebrating drinking local this upcoming week. Each day they will be adding two Iowa craft beers on tap as well as having representatives from each brewery talking about their beer. Here’s the official announcement from Pullman along with the beer lineup:

Just a little FYI for next week. Pullman along with some other fine establishments will be doing a local craft beer week. We will be doing a progressive tap takeover starting Monday at 3 pm. Each day we will add two new local craft beers. Matt O’Neil (local mason/artist and super talented) will be painting each brewery on our vestibule leading into the restaurant. Also, each day at 3-5 pm we will have representatives from each of these breweries here to talk about their beers. So, if you want some insight and meet the people behind the beer, here’s your chance! All of these beers will be discounted during our happy hour from 3-6 pm. Here are the beers along with schedule of who’s going to be here and when. Cheers!

Monday: Wilson’s Orchard – Hard Cider, Hoppy Hard Cider
Tuesday: Exile Brewery – Gigi (Gold Medal), Raspberry Bohemian
Wednesday: Turner Alley – Czech Pilsener, Woods Wheat
Thursday: Lion Bridge – Work Comp (Gold Medal),Sorachi Liberace (New saison)
Friday: Big Grove Brewery – Desperate Measures, and the coffee version of Richard the Whale.

Northside Oktoberfest: A Fall Spectacle

northside octoberfestShamed to say that this year was my first Northside Oktoberfest, but after yesterday, I can safely say that it won’t be my last. The folks at John’s Grocery, the City of Iowa City, all of the brewers and vendors really pulled out all the stops and made yesterday’s event one to remember.

I was lucky enough to get a Brewmaster’sphoto 1 ticket enabling me to take part in the “Real Ale” contest. The setup to get in was wonderfully done as lines were moving at a great pace and no one had to wait too long to get in. Once you get in, the Ale tasting began! 11 breweries were a part of this contest. After tasting each beer, the ticketholders were given a wooden token to put into the basket of whom they considered having the best real ale. Some excellent submissions in this contest as folks from Kalona, Big Grove, Tallgrass, Peace Tree, Confluence and more had beers for this contest. In the end, the winner with their double dry citra-hopped Arms Race Pale Ale was Big Grove Brewery in Solon!

photo 2After the real ale contest you then get to walk up and down the streets trying and tasting tons of beer, wine, soda, ciders, etc. I was very impressed with the amount of room given to this festival and to top it off, in the middle of the festival was a huge seating area, similar to a German Beer Hall, where there was a big screen showing the Iowa v. Wisconsin game! That really helped cap a beautiful Iowa day, as being able to sit, eat, and when you wanted a brew you simply got up and hit whatever tent was calling your name. Watching the Hawks beat Wisconsin was the cherry on the top.

I can’t comment much on the food as I prepared photo (2)myself for lunch at Brix Wine and Cheese Shop but it seems that most of the food that I saw looked delicious. Burgers, brats, pizza, steak sandwiches, it looked like a little bit of everything. Brix was tremendous. Some charcuterie and cheese to pair with Exile’s Raspberry Bohemian beer sure hit the spot.

photo 3So many great brews, so little time! Luckily I found a bunch that kept calling my name throughout the day. Call me a snob, put for a beer festival, I usually avoid hitting the lines where they are pouring out of cans or bottles, unless it’s something very rare to get. I usually stick with who brought some kegs in. The beers that really stood out to me were:

*Big Grove Brewery Que Sera w/ raspberries and honey. This was a blow away beer. The raspberry addition added that perfect amount of fresh fruit flavor and the honey added that sweetness to set off the tartness of this berliner weisse. I kept going back for this one and was very happy I got to try it!

*Lion Bridge Brewery Sorachi LIberace – a heavily hopped Saison using Sorachi Ace hops photo 4and once I had my nose in the glass I got a whiff of juicy fruit bubble gum and the same on the tongue followed by the dry grassiness that a saison gives. This will not be available at the brewery for another week I believe, so to be able to try it was a real treat. Another winner from the 2-time gold medalists at GABF.

*515 Brewing Reaper in the Rye – I could easily put their OJ IPA on here as well but
I’ve had that one before and wish I could have it whenever I wanted but I’ll go with their newer release. This heavily hopped cascadian dark/Black IPA was so good I had to go back for 2nds and then 3rds. The amarillo hops shine and pair nicely with the photo 5 (1)spiciness that the rye brings to the table. An excellent brew!

*Exile Raspberry Bohemian – I missed this at their tent but was informed it was on tap at Brix Wine and Cheese Shop. Luckily, I planned on getting a bite to eat at Brix so that confirmed my decision. A bit sour and tangy with the perfect amount of raspberry. This is a beer that I would love to keep stocked in my fridge. Refreshing and delicious!

*Peace Tree Sour Mash Saison – wasn’t sure what I would think of this one but I really enjoyed it. Very sour and tart but also refreshing and extremely drinkable. Between this and the No Coast citra-hopped Peace Tree really had a great day!

*Firetrucker Resuscitator Doppelbock – goes to show that almost every style of beer was well represented at this beer festival. Firetrucker showcasing a style that I usually don’t go out of my way for but after tasting theirs, I would be more than happy having this in my beer fridge arsenal on a constant basis. Excellent body, malty aroma, and the caramel and nuttiness on the flavor makes this the perfect beer for fall. Give me a slice of pumpkin pie to pair with this beer and I’m in heaven!

Lots of great bottled stuff like Goose Island Bourbon County, some great offerings from Founders, 30th Anniversary by Bells, Silva Stout from Green Flash, and quite a few things from Abu Nawas. A great event that I can’t recommend enough! Looking forward to next years already and I hope to see you there!

Exile Brewing Raspberry Bohemian Release Set for Sept. 25th!

Following their very popular Cherry Bohemian release, Exile Brewing Company out of Des Moines will be releasing Raspberry Bohemian. Here’s the information on this release courtesy of Exile’s Facebook page:

The Raspberry Bohemian release is set for Friday, September 25th, at the brewery!! This is the first official release of our Bohemian Fruit Revue, a series of off-beat sours with enlightened fruit. The Raspberry Bohemian release will coincide with our 3-year anniversary, and to celebrate the occasion, we will offer our Anniversary package, consisting of:

• One 4-pack of The Raspberry Bohemian
• One limited edition Anniversary tulip glass
• One free beer during pickup

Pickup will be Friday, Sep. 25th, between 3:30 and 5:30 pm, you must arrive during this time period. Cost of the Anniversary package is $20 and is available for pre-purchase at the brewery starting today. There are limited amounts of this Anniversary package available. Pre-purchase is available on a first come, first serve basis. The next release in The Bohemian Fruit Revue will be The Cherry Bohemian, scheduled for December 2015.

‪#‎enjoyyourexile‬

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Rock Bottom Brewer headed to Exile; Update on Need Pizzeria in Cedar Rapids

exileA few bits of news this morning.

It looks like Eric Sorensen, brewer at Rock Bottom, is moving on to brew at Exile Brewery in Des Moines. Huge news as Eric has a fantastic reputation as a terrific brewer as Exile has just gained someone with a great following and knowledge. Congrats to Eric and to Exile! Looking forward to seeing what he can dish out at Exile.

The Second bit of news this morning deals with a new pizza place opening up in downtownNeed Cedar Rapids at 207 2nd Ave. I had some correspondence with Bob Wagner just to get a feel for what they will be offering beer related and also what style of pizza we will be getting. A shuffleboard will be there which sells me already? I challenge any takers to a game! Thanks to Bob for taking the time to get back to me and here’s what he had to say:

Thanks for reaching out! We will have 30 lines going. We would like to have some local stuff on, like Crimson Sunset Peach and Hopped Cider, Lion Bridge, Turner Alley, Backpocket, Big Grove. We plan to do most all of our tap beer as craft and then some cans and bottles of other product as well. It will be a full bar to back up the craft focus. Pizza will be New Haven Style hand crafted thin crust. We will have Ping Pong Tables and shuffle board. Bar area, dining area, private and large party area. Kid friendly and friendly to kid inside the grown up.

Cheers!

Bob Wagner