Iowa Beer Baron’s Top 10 Iowa Beers of 2018!

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This is always a fun but difficult list to compile. Looking back at 2018 Iowa breweries all over the state have made some fantastic beers this year and continue to do so, as we as consumers are very lucky to have such excellent brewers in our state.

Living in Eastern Iowa it has been great to be able to get Big Grove, Lion Bridge, SingleSpeed, and Reunion in cans to go along with the great beers that are already available. I’m sure 2019 will be just as, if not better than 2018 in the year of Iowa beer.

For my list, these are beers that had to have been released in 2018. There are many that I didn’t try, so if your favorite didn’t make the list, my bad, chances are I didn’t get around to trying it. I would love to hear your favorites of 2018. All 10 of these have the chance to be awarded the most prestigious award a brewery can get: The Iowa Beer of the Year Award. GABF, eat your heart out. Beer of the Year will be awarded in my next post! Here we go:

**Big Grove Big Ed  7.8%– this one was a no doubter for me. I was stoked when they released and I’ll be stoked every time they re-release. A case or two every time for me please Big Grove. This juicy double IPA is one of Iowa’s best and is worth seeking out and is a challenger for Iowa Beer of the Year!

**Toppling Goliath Term Oil Maple Cakes – a quick trip to Decorah (which is never a bad thing) and my first trip to TG’s new spot allowed me a pour of this delicious beer. A bourbon barrel aged stout with maple. Absolutely delicious and a perfect breakfast beer!

**Pulpit Rock Seriously Bro’?6.1% – Marquee Pizza celebrated their 1 year anniversary with a terrific taplist that included two beers brewed by Pulpit Rock especially for this anniversary; one of which was Seriously Bro? a milkshake IPA. While, I’m a little behind on the milkshake IPA craze, this one was packed with orange zest and a hint of vanilla. Delicious!

**Lion Bridge Brewing Tidbits 6.7%– this beer was my summer staple. A delicious pale ale brewed with unfermented pineapple led to a tropical and refreshing beer to enjoy in the midwest heat all summer long. I hope to see this one again this summer!

**Barn Town Pink Guava Massacre4.6% ABV -between this and Little Drippy from Dimensional for my favorite two Iowa sours of the year. Guava in a beer just works so damn good and with this sour it was spot on. Luckily, a few places in Eastern Iowa got some bottles of this so I was able to indulge. Well done Barn Town, keep this one coming!

**Lion Bridge Spice Must Flow 8% ABV – this is the perfect beer for me in the fall and winter months in Iowa. Maple Syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg added to a black ale screams cold weather drinking! Lion Bridge added this in cans which made for an easy taste by walking my ass to the fridge.

**Pulpit Rock Koffee and Doughnuts 6.8% ABV – breakfast in glass is served. Pulpit took their Pour Over porter and added a shit load of donuts to it and you have a Koffee and Doughnuts. Hope this one pops back up again as this was delicious.

**Big Grove Richard the Whale Macaroon 10% ABV – their Richard base with the addition of toasted coconut and almonds…this beer blew me away and I couldn’t wait to get another glass. Big Grove has had an amazing year and their beers have been fantastic. This one might have topped them all though!

**Dimensional A Little Drippy – 5.5% ABV – the new kid on the block came out with a bang and has made some terrific beers and these guys are just going to keep getting better. I enjoyed every beer I had at Dimensional but A Little Drippy just hit on all cylinders. Once again guava got the taste buds and the addition of passion fruit and mango make this one damn fine sour!

**Big Grove Color TV – 7.8% ABV – a double dry hopped hazy IPA that lets the galaxy hop shine. Another winner by Big Grove and hopefully another beer that they will make again….and again. Looking forward to what these guys have in store for 2019!

Iowa Brewing Releasing Barrel Aged Oja and German Chocolate Cake Oja 12/22!

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Some exciting news from Iowa Brewing Company today as they’ve announced the release of Barrel-Aged Oja and German Chocolate Cake Oja. The release will be on December 22nd and the doors will open at 11:00 a.m. Here’s more from the brewery:

For the last year and half our Baltic Porter has been aging in a few Templeton Rye whiskey barrels. In two of the barrels we’ve added cocoa nibs, pecans, coconut and lactose for a German Chocolate Cake Oja! (I know, and yes, it is as amazing as it sounds).

To say that we’ve left the remaining barrel “plain” just doesn’t at all give credit to how deliciously rich and smooth Rye Barrel Aged Oja is.

Bottles of these two Oja variations will only be available in our taproom.

They go on sale Saturday the 22nd and we open at 11:00.

Quantities will be very limited. Get here early.

Dimensional Brewing Ready to Roll!

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I was lucky enough to get to Dubuque and visit Dimensional Brewing on a soft-opening night for the brewery and I came away completely impressed! Located at 67 Main St. in downtown Dubuque, pretty much right by Lot 1 and First and Main, Dimensional has all the makings to be one of the best breweries in the state, from the facility to the beer, these guys are good!

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Upon walking in the place was shoulder to shoulder, the excitement was very evident. I had a seat next to my brother and brother-in-law at the bar and just dove right into a flight of beers. They had 10-12 beers on tap and I was impressed with the array of styles; from kolsch to stouts to sours to IPAs to Hefes, they pretty much had something for every beer drinker on the lines. Here’s what I had:

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Beer #1: Claw Machine – New England IPA – 6% ABV – this NE IPA was creamy and had a wonderful nose of pineapple. Flavor was pineapple and oranges and it shone from first sip to last drink. Well done beer, would drink this every day.

Beer #2: Bill Brewski – New England IPA w/mosaic, simcoe, and citra – 7.9% ABV – the nose was citra dominant but the flavor was creamy melon. This drank so easy that the 7.9 abv is well hidden, a deliciously dangerous brew.

Beer #3: Coffee Milk Stout – lactose and Jumble coffee- 5% ABV – lots of coffee on the nose and in the flavor. They also had a hazelnut stout that my drinking companions really enjoyed. Nicely done stout!

Beer #4: A Little Drippy – kettle sour w/pink guava, passionfruit, and mango – 5.5% ABV – I was really impressed with this one and my mouth is watering thinking of it. Fruit galore and just enough of that sour pucker that sour fans love. If this is what they will giving us with sours, we are in for a treat!

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Beyond impressed with this place. Not that Dubuque isn’t a town worth visiting but Dimensional has now put them on the Beer Lover’s list of destinations to hit up! They will be opening their doors to the public this coming Wednesday, Nov. 21st at 11 a.m. No food yet, but food trucks will be popping up. They are not filling growlers or crowlers at this time but they may change in the future. Check them out folks, you won’t be sorry! Cheers!