Firetrucker Tropical Burn coming to cans April 4th!

tropical burn.jpg

Firetrucker will be releasing their popular mango double IPA in cans on Thursday April 4th, starting at 4:00 p.m. at the brewery in Ankeny. Here’s more info on this release courtesy of Firetrucker’s Facebook page:

☀️We think you’ve waited long enough…

😎Kick off patio season with a Tropical Burn in your hand! This DIPA with a one-two punch of mango is the perfect beer to take anywhere you go!

🔥Release is set for April 4th! Grab all the 4-packs you can carry starting next Thursday before they are available anywhere else. This 16oz can is full of 8.5% ABV goodness, so drink responsibly!

Reds Alehouse Meet the Brewer: Firetrucker and New Belgium Wednesday Sept. 19th!

redsReds Alehouse will once again be playing host to meet the brewer night this coming Wednesday, September 19th. This time around they will have Scott from Firetrucker and Melissa from New Belgium will be there answering questions and chatting about their beers. Here’s the lineup:

New Belgium
-Fat Tire – Amber Ale – 5.2% ABV
-Voodoo Ranger – Juicy Haze IPA – 7.5% ABV
-Clutch – Dark Sour Ale – 8.5% ABV
Hydrant – American Pale Ale – 4.9% ABV
Uptown IPA – American IPA – 5.8% ABV
Tropical Burn – DIPA w/ Mango – 8.5% ABV
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Review: Firetrucker Mole Grail

IMG_0069.JPGThanks to sLim for hooking me up with a growler of this brew. One of Firetrucker’s latest releases is going to come at the cinnamon and spice beer lovers out there. If you dig Stone’s Xocoveza then this is a beer you can get behind.

Firetrucker’s Mole Grail is an imperial stout that is brewed with cocoa, cinnamon, and ancho and pasilia peppers. Perfect for a chilly Iowa evening and coming in at 8% it can warm you up quick.

Firetrucker Molé Grail.jpg

A bit thin on the body and the chiles are extremely subtle compared to some beers of this style, so if you’re hoping for a lot of spice, probably won’t get it here but the flavor the cocoa and cinnamon is spot on. Firetrucker has a good one here. Expect to see it on tap in the next few weeks or sooner at the Tin Roost in North Liberty, Need Pizza in Cedar Rapids, and Short’s Burger and Shine in downtown Iowa City.



Firetrucker Brewery Rolling Out Cans!

News out of Ankeny this morning as Firetrucker Brewery has announced that they will be canning their Burnout Brown. The release date will be September 27 with a pre-release party held on September 21st (Thanks Neil!). Here’s the info courtesy of their Twitter handle:

Get Ready for Firetrucker in Cans. Soon you will be able to have Burnout Brown at your events outdoors & in!


Eastern Iowa Tropical Burn sightings courtesy of Slim

Short’s Burger and Shine-Iowa City

shortsAs you may have already seen, the Mango DIPA is tapped and flowing at Short’s Burger and Shine in Downtown Iowa City. If you’ve never been, you need to change that soon! As if this wasn’t already one of the prime dining locales, you can add one more reason to the laundry list of great things that this restaurant offers; TROPICAL BURN! A limited brew by Firetrucker Brewery, Tropical Burn is a Mango double IPA that comes in at 9.1%. It features 4 types of hops including the Australian Galaxy and Citra. What results is a hazy, orange pour that reminds you of fruit juice. There’s loads of mango in the nose as well as the taste which goes down smooth and carries a mild, lingering bitterness.

It was tapped this past Monday and it’s really tough to think of a better venue to enjoy one of these at than Short’s. It’s the diverse and interesting combinations of the burgers and chicken sandwiches that make this place great. The names are catchy by themselves and then you read what makes up each burger and it’s on. My personal favorite is the Tingley, with Green chili, pepper jack, avocado mayonnaise. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Especially once it’s served to you; you know you’re in for a tremendous dining/brew experience.

Brr Fest-Marriott Coralville

It’s been confirmed that Tropical Burn will be available at Brr Fest. One of the premier tasting events in the state of Iowa, Brr Fest is Saturday, January 30, at the Coralville Marriott Convention Center. There’ll be nearly 100 breweries this year! Look for the logo and enjoy some delicious Mango along with some of our other beers!

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!

What’s New, Notable, and Local?

big groveSo many good beers are on our shelves right now it makes for a wonderful problem to have! One thing is for sure though, you never have to worry about the freshness of beer when you are buying local from our breweries in the area! Talk about good problems to have, we are pretty spoiled in having such great quality, great tasting, wonderfully brewed beer just miles away from our doorsteps. So what’s new from our local breweries? Here’s a start! (if I missed something let me know! Try to post on any Iowa breweries so feel free to contact me: 

*Big Grove Brewery – the constantly rotating lineup of beers makes for a weekly must stop for the Baron and this week the announcement that Que Amarillo is back and Que Ondo Retaca is on the line made my week! But what’s new? :

**Love Potion – a rye beer that checks in at 6.5%

Maybe the most exciting news for Big Grove right now is what we can’t drink yet! Bill, Rabbit, and Tee have been busy with some big time brews. A Lambic, more Richard, a Brett Double IPA, and Mellow Drama will be hitting lines in the future. Damn, thirsty after typing that out.  Here’s the updates from Big Grove’s Facebook page:

From 11/6/15: Today we’re brewing the next batch of lambic using a traditional TURBID MASH. We’ve done the coolship thing on the last batch, and we’ve always used stale Iowa grown hops, and we’re fermenting a bunch in oak, but this giant pain in the ass mashing technique is, I believe, the next step in making real lambic. We’re also going to a 40% raw wheat grist instead of flaked wheat to try and build a more complex protein matrix.

Here’s the deal: we’re going to step the mash through a few rests, starting with the peptonisation rest at 113F, then a quick bump to 136F to extract more protein from the grain. After the first bump, we will start pulling turbid runnings off of the thing into the kettle for heating. We will hold the runnings at 176F or so to stop enzymatic conversion and leave a bunch of starches and dextrin in the liquid.

After that, it’s a sacchrification rest at 149F, more runnings to the kettle, a rest at 162F for more long chain sugars, then a mash out at 176F when we put the turbid runnings back into the mash tun.

Two hours of boiling, ambient cooling, and a pitch of some hot bugs should round things out nicely. This first batch will go into some new Opus One barrels we recently procured.

This is going to be a long damn day for two wine barrels worth of lambic somewhere down the road.

FROM: 11/5/15

Welcome, Tree Chuggers, to the great month of November! It’s a month with lots of ups and downs. I mean, we get to brew tons of Richard, Lambic, Englert Brett DIPA, and Mellow Drama Maple Imperial Porter, but you don’t get to drink those beers for quite some time. Sorry.

In the mean time, satiate your thirst with some 2015 Richard, Que Amarillo (it hit the lines last night), and Love Potion (obviously I didn’t name that one).

lion bridge*Lion Bridge Brewery – I wasn’t able to get to the cask-conditioned Disaster at the Meaux w/ maple syrup tapping and I’m kicking myself for it, but more good news from Quinton and Alec at Lion Bridge is the re-release of Yard Sale! Loved this beer the first time and I’m guessing I’ll love it again. With that being said it’s hard to walk out of Lion Bridge without a coffee comp, a disaster, and one of my personal favorites a Sorachi Liberace. Here’s more on Yard Sale:

**Yard Sale – American IPA coming in at 6.4% – a must try for hopheads! Wonderfully balanced and delicious! 
turner alley**Turner Alley Brewing in Cedar Rapids continues to pump out some great beers. Travis has a new brew in the works and it’s going to be Foreign Extra Stout and we should be seeing kegs of this popping up soon. Make sure to check out Turner Alleys’ other offerings, I’m digging their pils and the newly renamed Wood’s Pale Ale.

**Firetrucker Brewery – a couple of newer releases from the fine folks at Firetrucker in Ankeny. Make sure to check them out, a very cool place to visit and have a brew or 10.

Smoking_Pumpkin*Smoking Pumpkin Porter –
ABV = 6.1%
IBU – 24
“Light up the bonfire, call your friends and enjoy this smoked pumpkin brown porter! Notes of allspice and nutmeg mingle with pecan smoke on the nose. Flavors of pumpkin and spices linger with a smokey finish. The porter base provides roasted malt flavors that tie it all together. This limited, seasonal beer is the perfect companion for a chilly fall day!”

Acova Black Walnut Ale Card
*Acova Black Walnut Ale
– their winter seasonal, Acova Black Walnut Ale is now out and is a smooth easy drinking brown ale made with local (fresh) black walnuts. This brew checks in at 6.8%.
third base
**Third Base Brewery**- Brewer Jim Johnston has some new beers up his sleeve to be released before the end of the year at Third Base in Cedar Rapids. Here’s what he said is coming down the line soon:
I have an IPA with Citra and Mosaic coming up shortly. It currently doesn’t have a name. Our Imperial Stout this year is called “Endless Decent Into Ruin”. It is big (12%) but really smooth. To be brewed we have Coffee Cobra and an Imperial Porter. That should get us through the year.
An IPA with citra and mosaic? Yes please! And a big stout to warm us up for these chilly months!

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!

Guest Beer Review by sLim: Firetrucker Under Lager: Search and Rescue IPL

Thanks to sLim for taking the time out for a review. If you’re in Des Moines you might find him slinging some suds at El Bait Shop! Always good to have sLim keep us posted with Central Iowa happenings in the beer world.

aviary_1422738811110A new beer from a new central Iowa brewery is Firetrucker’s Under Lager: Search and Rescue IPL. Once again, Firetrucker takes on a style that is hard to find on shelves and in drinking establishments. They’ve previously brewed a California Common, a smoked sour porter (collab with C.I.B), and a hard ginger beer. The hops that were used during the boil were magnum and cascade. It was dry hopped with cascade and northern brewer.The india pale lager is a style that is best described as a hybrid type of brew.TIt was dry hopped with cascade and northern brewer. Per Greg Kitsock from Washington Post,  It’s brewed at colder temperatures like any lager would be; but then is hopped much past the point that a typical lager would be. One has to be careful during that process as a lager cannot withstand too aggressive of hopping.

Here’s more on this beer from the brewery: “Our India Pale Lager has a complex flavor profile with sweet grapefruit and citrus up front that leads into a lingering minty bitterness”

My personal opinion…I get more of the citrus flavor than anything else. It’s a balanced, hoppy front but the back end is where this beer shines. It has a lasting, floral taste that creates a merge between a fine pilsner and a flavorful, sessionable ale. I applaud Firetrucker’s efforts to think outside the box and release a beer that no other local breweries have tried their hand at. This beer is a hit and I look forward to seeing them try their hand at various other styles…sour, imperial stout perhaps? We can only hope but the word on the street is the next seasonal to be released is a double-mango IPA; which I’m extremely excited for. Des Moines already had some breweries come out with great double IPA’s like Confluence’s Rock Dodger and 515’s Hopititus C. It’ll be interesting to see how Firetrucker’s take on this highly popular style goes over.

STYLE: India Pale Lager (IPL)

ABV: 4.9%

PURCHASED AT: Firetrucker Brewery, 716 Southwest 3rd Street in Ankeny

POUR: Dark gold with a thin, white head.

AROMA: hoppy with a touch of grapefruit.

TASTE: definitely hoppy up front but with a thicker, malty finish that more resembles a lager than an ale

Untappd rating: 3.4/5

My rating: 3.75/4

My recommendation: I enjoy this unique style. At 4.9% ABV it’s sessionable and delivers plenty of hoppy, ale flavor.