Sneak Peek: Backpocket Brrr Fest Dark Days BA Imperial Chocolate Stout

Brrr Fest is a little less than two weeks away and all that are attending are in for a no doubt feast of wonderfully brewed beers by Iowa’s finest! Along with a stellar beer festival, party goers will have the opportunity to see how great the Iowa River Landing really is and how it’s becoming a destination for food and beer lovers! One of the many places is right across from where Brrr Fest will be taking place and that is Backpocket Brewery. Backpocket has been bringing out the big guns for years now during this festival and this year one of the beers they will be releasing is Dark Day and I just happen to be sipping on a bottle right now!(Thank you Aaron!) Before, I get too far into this brew, here’s the details for the brew:

Boiled for 24hrs, this BA imperial chocolate stout has multiple layers. The dark chocolate, cherry puree, toasted coconut & roasted pecans remind us of a classic german chocolate cake.

Pre-party info for Backpocket includes:

Pre-Party that include a pour of Dark Day, Maple Syrup BA Waffle Stout, an all you can eat breakfast, AND we’ll be releasing a pin variant at 10am!

Alright, let’s tear into this bad boy. As you can see by the picture, I’ve framed it up REAL nice!

– A nice viscous pour, thick with a small tan head. Smell of dark fruit and chocolate on the nose. Took a few sips with the beer being freshly poured and chocolate was dominant and blended very well with the barrel. With a beer like this, it’s best to let it sit or even just drink it room temperature. As the great Travis Lange will advise you, if you order a big stout, order another beer to drink while the stout sits and warms a tad…the fella is not wrong. Flavors pick up and sometimes if feels like you are drinking another tasty brew. When Dark Day warms, the cherries start to flood in and the slightest touch of coconut starts coming through. Chocolate still shines though..description says German Chocolate Cake which I’ve never had, but if it tastes like this, get me a slice soon! Definitely worth seeking, and if you’re heading to Brrr Fest, definitely a reason to stop into the Backpocket taproom! Along with this brew they’ve just released a DDH Galaxy version of Bubba, Tiki Sour is back and if you get there in time to try the Maple Syrup BA Waffle Stout you’ll be having yourself a lovely day.

Untitled Art, Blackstack, Modist, and Fair State beers coming via Pequod!

Hazy IIPA v12 – 8% ABV 
Big juicy double ipa brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Nelson Sauvign, Chinook hops

Sweet & Sour Georgia Peachy O-Rings – Pontoon Brewing Collaboration
Kettle Sour Berliner Weisse style ale with Peach Puree, apple and Pineapple Juice plus Peach Ring candy. 

AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION –  DDH IPA (7.5%)
Things happen fast around these parts. Sometimes you get time to ponder on it. Sometimes you just gotta go for it. Thoughtfully doubled additions of Azacca Cryo, Citra, Cashmere, Idaho 7 & NZ Motueka. Just do what feels right.

Who’s Idea is this? – Hazy Pale ale 4.8% ABV 
Hand selected Mosaic, New Zealand Nelson Sauvin & a dash of Columbus Cryo on a light & crispy Pilsner malt base. 

Local 755 – IPA 6.8% ABV 
Our Foggy Favorite. Azacca, Amarillo & a Gwop of Citra. Soft, Juicy & Hazy like 70’s Home Movies.


Intergalactic Sofa Ghost – DDH New England Hazy IPA

Skafl “snowdrift”- Hazy IPA 
SKAFL means “snowdrift” in Icelandic, and it’s our second iteration of this kinda-sorta winter hazy IPA. SKAFL is a hair more aggressive than your average hazy, leaning into a winter-appropriate blend of dankness and fruit, with a lightly bitter edge. Hazy IPA brewed with spelt, wheat, and oats, fermented cool with our favorite German ale yeast, and hopped intensely with hand selected Sultana, Strata, and Columbus Cryo. SKAFL blends overripe tropical fruit notes with the right amount of dankness.

Tmave Pivo – CZECH-STYLE DARK LAGERFair State makes lots of lagers, we put a fair number of them in cans, but we’ve somehow never married a dark lager and an aluminum tube before. Tmavé Pivo is the sort of beer brewers get excited about. An obscure lager style that kinda only gets made in one place? Sign us up! Tmavé Pivo, essentially “dark beer” in Czech, is the Bohemian cousin to German Schwarzbier. Malty, round, with some dark malt flavor but none of the acrid roast character one might find in a stout, Tmavé Pivo is everything we want dark lager to be.

SingleSpeed “Tip the Cow Day” is this Saturday (1/15), and here’s the lineup!

Courtesy of SingleSpeed’s Facebook page, here’s what the brewery has in store for Saturday’s event!

•𝐒𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐝 – Double Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Milk Stout (11.4% ABV).Twice the barrels, twice the fun. First, 12 months in Cedar Ridge Bourbon Barrels. Second, 3 months in Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon Barrels.
•𝐓𝐰𝐨 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐬 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐 – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Milk Stout (10.9% ABV).Two cows walked into a barrel 12 months ago… and finally, they awakened.
•𝐓𝐢𝐩 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐰 ‘𝐕𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚 𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐧’ – Milk Stout (6.2% ABV).All of the cocoa and espresso goodness you’ve grown to love in Tip the Cow, with an extra layer of decadence
.•𝐓𝐢𝐩 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐥𝐟 – Session Milk Stout (4.5% ABV).2x GABF ‘Session Beer’ medalist… What more do you need to know?

Might want to get to Waterloo this weekend! Cheers!

Beer Baron’s Top 10 of 2021!

Another year in the books, and like every year since I’ve been doing this blog and releasing my Top 10 I was once again blown away by the amazing beers that our Iowa brewers and their staff have made for us this year! Not only that, the resiliency shown by breweries/restaurants/bars during the past few years cannot be overlooked and huge thank you to all service industry workers! Cheers to you! Onto the TOP 10!
LIST CRITERIA
*Beer must have been brewed in Iowa
*Beer must have been released in 2021
*Annual releases not counted unless a new adjunct had been added to that particular beer

Like every list, I know opinions will differ and I’m looking forward to reading what your top 10 list was for this year! Once again, so many beers, so little time, and I know I wasn’t able to even scratch the surface as to the beers I wanted to try!

**Big Grove Richard the Whale Chocolate Coconut Cake– – this year’s “Golden Ticket” beer during the Richard the Whale release, and like every year, it does not disappoint. Chocolate and coconut shine as this is wonderfully balanced, great for any time of the day, another win for Big Grove with this beer!

**Lion Bridge Silvia – Farmhouse ales are a style that goes overlooked and thankfully is making their way back to some breweries, and Lion Bridge not only made a great one, but possibly my favorite beer of the year. It was a perfect accompaniment to the Thanksgiving dinner table..not just one bottle either…If you’re a saison/farmhouse ale fan this is one to definitely try!

**Pulpit Rock Island Life – first enjoyed on a guy’s trip to Decorah and was blown away by the wonderful tropical flavor this beer brought. Maybe the setting had a lot to do with it, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a great beer to drink!

**Gezellig Long Story Short – 4.9%– smoothie sours/seltzers were all the rage in the beer world this past year and Iowa breweries sure made a whole lot of good ones. One of my favorites comes from the lovely folks in Newton, Iowa at Gezellig. Strawberry starbursts and pomegranate helped make this a flavor packed brew!

**Lua Brewing Dawn – 13.5% – part of last year’s “Resolution” I set for myself was trying to make it to Central and Western Iowa more often to taste what the breweries are pushing out there, especially the ones that don’t get much distro to Eastern Iowa..I kind of failed in that endeavor, however, I did get to Des Moines a few times and was able to procure some Lua brews! One that really stood out was this imperial stout. Coffee and a hint of vanilla make this decadent brew stand out, and hides that ABV very well! Looking forward to more from Lua in 2022!

**Clock House Brewing Barrel Aged Peanut Panic Porter – 12% – the base beer was one of my favorites in 2020 and then adding it to barrels and resting it on peanuts, cocoa nibs, and vanilla really added more depth to an already wonderful beer. The misconception from some was that this was a peanut “butter” beer, not the case, straight up peanuts and the balance of the flavors comes through remarkably!

**Adventurous Easy Peel (triple dry hopped Mosaic)- 8.3% – the 2nd Easy Peel I’ve had this year and I think the Mosaic barely beats out the El Dorado for me. Both very good and the combo of the mosaic hops and cryo mosaic hops really stands out. Excellent beer, any of the Easy Peel beers from Adventurous would be a safe bet!

**Lion Bridge Percussive Maintenance Macaroon – 11% – Chocolate and coconut paired with a great barrel is hard to go wrong and Lion Bridge balances this beer perfectly. There are some beers that you’ll always remember opening and pouring and this is definitely one of those for me. One to sip on yourself or share with someone you care about….a moment making beer for sure! One of the best of the year!

**Lua Pushpop: Because My Heart is in Iowa – Lua Pushpops can be hard to come by if you live in Eastern Iowa, luckily they sometimes drop a few beers off at Tin Roost in North Liberty to get us a taste here in Eastern Iowa. Mango and cherry beer, super thick and delicious. Lua dominated the slushie/sour landscape in the beer world! A trip to Des Moines in needed soon!

**Dimensional You Down with OCP – 13.1% – Pastry stouts can be hit and miss with me. Many are too sweet for my liking, and the adjuncts are too dominate over the base beer, but not with this one…Dimensional added 100 lbs each of oatmeal cream pies, oatmeal cookies, and toasted coconut to this big beer and it worked wonderfully. Not too sweet at all, in fact, if the 13.1% wouldn’t drop me I could easily see myself sipping on glass #2 letting the beer warm me up in the Iowa winter!

Big Grove Richard the Whale Dinner: Food and Beer Event of the Year!

Friday night, December 3rd, sitting on a high raise table overlooking some of the best chefs in the state, maybe even the country, put on an absolute clinic on cooking, plating, and presenting some of the most wonderful food I’ve ever had put in front of me, all the while sipping on the yet to be released Richard the Whale Well Baked and Shadeshine IPA….I thought to myself…all food/beer lovers need to experience this one day and how lucky I was at that moment to get to take part in it. Big Grove has been the upper echelon on their releases, especially the Richard the Whale release, and every year they make it even more enjoyable with their food and beer offerings, but the one thing that shines even more than those things is just how amazing their staff is. Friendly, helpful, and just overall looking like they are happy to be there. This setup was a spectacle, setup like an Iron Chef type feel, video displayed on TVs showing the chefs plating, the amount of work and thought put into everything was evident. I won’t be breaking down every dish, I’ll trickle some pictures here and there, take a look and let your mouth water.

Watching the chefs put their talents on display for a 15 course dinner of foods that elegant was the ultimate treat. The care about what they serve, the interaction with the diners, and pure joy and smiles they had throughout the night was reflected in every dish. I do want to implore you, that if the chance to go to a Big Grove beer dinner is ever on the table for you, no matter what..do it…it’s worth it..it will be completely worth it….do not hesitate…this group of people simply do it the best!

Thank you Janelle for having me, thanks to all the chefs especially Ben, Sean, and T.J., thanks do Doug and Matt, thanks to Andy for sampling out some of their amazing beers…now it’s time to make your mouth water with some pictures! Cheers and thank you BG!

Dimensional releasing 2 barrel-aged beers December 12th!

Some beer news out of Dubuque, as Dimensional is getting ready to release two new beers to us in the coming weeks! Here’s what’s on the horizon courtesy of Dimensional’s Facebook page:

We are jolly to say we have TWO barrel aged beers that are ready to come out of their long slumber in barrels. We will be doing this release the similar to way we did Anny/Lampy Rub release. Please read the following details carefully.
*Hank(2021) is a 13.5% imperial stout aged for 14 months in Blaum Brothers Bourbon Barrels and then rested on peanuts, marshmallows and Cacao! Hank is a beautifully blended, rich stout that perfectly balances the adjuncts with the bourbon notes from the barrel. – Tickets for Hank will be sold online via Etix at 7pm on Sunday, December 12th at this link: https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/6555720/ – Hank will be sold in 2, 500ml bottle packages.- The limit is one set per order. – If you score a ticket for Hank, bottle pick up will begin on December 18th at 11am at the taproom. – Proxies are allowed for pick up. They must have a screen shot or printed copy of the buyers ID and Etix ticket to be scanned upon pick up. *Flabongo: Blend One is a 6.9% kettle sour that was aged in a Blaum Brothers Gin barrel and then infused with pineapple, pink guava and orange puree. This tropical cocktail inspired liquid will definitely take you a warm place! – This gin barrel aged smoothie sour will be available in 750ml bottles. – Due to the low bottle count, we will be releasing this beer first come, first served at 11am on December 18th at our taproom. – Limits will be determined upon turnout and final bottle count. – For those of you lining up, we will open the garage up around 9am to keep ya’ll from getting frost bitten. 🙂Facebook event page will be up soon.

Backpocket Brrr Fest Pre-Party Details!

The party before the party! Backpocket Brewing in Coralville will be hosting a pre-party before the big Brfr Fest event on Saturday, January 29th! Some amazing beers and tasty food plus much more, check it out:

Did you get your BrrrFest tickets? Join us at Backpocket for a BrrrFest Pre Party! We will be releasing our 2022 BrrrFest: Dark Day German Chocolate Cake Barrel Aged Imperial Chocolate Stout , and Maple Syrup BA Waffle Stout. We will be serving up ALL YOU CAN EAT breakfast from 9-11AM, and releasing a pin variant at 10 AM.

Tickets are $30 and include…(1) Ticket for all you can eat breakfast. (Breakfast will be served from 9 am to 11 am.)(1) 4.5 oz. pour of 2022 BrrrFest: Dark Day:German Chocolate Cake(1) 4.5 oz. pour of Maple Syrup BA Waffle Stout and early access to purchase (4)12oz bottles of BrrrFest Dark Day: German Chocolate Cake and (4) 12oz bottles of Maple Syrup BA Waffle Stout.
ALL TICKETS MUST BE REDEEMED BEFORE 11 AM TO GUARANTEE AVAILABILITY!-
FAQ-1. What are we having for breakfast? Breakfast will be Ham, Egg Bake, French Toast, Smoked Cheesy Hashbrowns, Yogurt Parfait Bar, Orange Juice and Coffee.
2. How many bottles can I purchase?Limit (4) BrrrFest Dark Day: German Chocolate Cake bottles per person. Limit (4) Imperial Waffle Stout per person. ABOUT THE BEER.BrrrFest Dark Day: German Chocolate CakeBrrrFest: Dark Day BA Imperial Chocolate Stout was Boiled for twenty four hours, this chocolate stout is the longest boil we have ever done. This imperial stout aged for 12 months has layers of different chocolate and caramel malts. With toasted coconut, roasted pecans, and a hint of cherry puree. Believe us when we say this dessert stout is not like the others. Imperial Waffle StoutImperial Stout barrel aged in maple syrup barrels for 12+ months infused with 150lbs of waffles, with maple syrup, and vanilla. TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE! https://www.eventbrite.com/…/brrrfest-pre-party-2022…Tickets are now on sale for our BrrrFest Pre Party!

Lion Bridge releasing 3 new beers this week!

Lion Bridge Brewing is giving all of us an early holiday gift as they prepare to release 3 new beers this week! Here’s what’s coming down the line and all available for pre-order as well:

Just in time for turkey day we have THREE new beers coming your way this week! All three available on tap and in package.Pre-order online at http://www.toasttab.com/lion-bridge-brewing-company-59…


**Raspberry Cheeseshake (Fruited Sour, 5.5%) – A kettle-soured golden ale with copious amounts of Raspberry, a healthy dose of cheesecakey goodness, and a graham cracker finish. Hope you saved room!

**Blueberry Cheeseshake (Fruited Sour, 5.5%) – A kettle-soured golden ale with copious amounts of Blueberry, a healthy dose of cheesecakey goodness, and a graham cracker finish. Hope you saved room!

**Oakonut Delight (Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout with Coconut and Caramel added, 9.5%) – Coconut and chocolate and caramel blend with a carefully selected blend of barrel aged beers from our cellar to produce this liquid treat.

Aslin, Blackstack, Modist, Untitled Art, MORE, and Wild Mind coming from Pequod!

Volcano Sauce Sour
The tectonic plates have shifted, letting forth an eruption of gushing blackberries and blueberries. Each burst filled with milk sugar & vanilla for creamsicle smoothness. A freshly canned sour ale with explosively delicious flavor.

Cherry Lime Freeze Sour
Sour Ale brewed with cherry, lime and vanilla frozen yogurt.

Velocirabbit IPA
Using the same amounts of Mosaic, Simcoe and Chinook as Laser Raptors, this beer has a powerful berry aroma and nice pine note. The oats and wheat maintain the creamy mouthfeel that Laser Raptors is known for, lending the lower ABV the ability to make a crispy break just as the hops surprise your palate.

How Now Brown Cow PB/Chocolate/Coffee Milk Stout
The weathers getting colder. How Now Brown Cow will warm you right up. Drinkable peanut butter cup meets coffee all wrapped up in a Milk Stout. Get ready for rich aromas of peanut butter, light roasted coffee, and a smooth chocolatey finish.

Species x Hyperthermic DIPA
Certain yeast strains of Norwegian origin, known as “kveik”, can ferment at extremely high temperatures with little to no off-flavors. Popular with craft brewers for good reason, we naturally decided to put a lot of these strains in the same beer. On top of this, we scrounged around for some additional strains and species of yeast that also perform well at kveik-like temperatures. The result is a big-bodied juice chimera for the ages. 

Drippin’ on the Cheap DIPA
Drippin’ On The Cheap DIPA drinks like absolute silk!! Smooth, Mosaic’s berries & dankness stealing the show upfront, with Citra’s stone fruit and candied clementine to balance it all out.

TDH Sponge Bath DIPA
Our constant pursuit of pillowy hop perfection leads us down many paths, but some combinations lather better than others. Triple helpings of our hand selected Citra Cryo, Mosaic, Cashmere Cryo & Strata. Soothing and refreshing, just like a sponge bath at Burning Man. Relax, Rinse & Repeat.

Pyramid Scheme TIPA
Our hand selected strata and simcoe with some preposterously stinky new zealand motueka & nelson sauvin on a spelt heavy base. Believe us, you’re gonna want to get in on the ground floor of this one. 

Local 755 IPA
Our Foggy Favorite. Azacca, Amarillo & a Gwop of Citra. Soft, Juicy & Hazy like 70’s Home Movies. 

Fugazi Italian Style Pils
Italian-Style Pils dry-hopped adoringly with Czech Kazbek. It’s the Real Deal.

Hex Code
Quantum Mirror x REM5 VR Lab x Modist
Lager brewed with Premium Pilsner malt, milk sugar, marshmallows, pineapple, toasted coconut and Madagascar vanilla beans 

Knees in the Breeze 
There’s not much better than the open road, driving up the west coast, Knees in the Breeze and not a care in the world. Now imagine, after a long day of cruising, cracking open a balanced West Coast IPA.
Introducing Knees in the Breeze, our West Coast IPA w/ pale ale malts, wheat malt, hopped & dry hopped w/ Simcoe, Citra & Cryo El Dorado.

Cinnamon Roll – Gold Stout
Bakery in a glass! This gold stout is a liquid cinnamon roll in a glass. Perfectly balancing the Cinnamon which can be overdone, and landing in at only 8% ABV. I mean, who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls?!
**Lactose Free**

Non-alcoholic Smores Dark Brew
Think of the regular Untitled Art S’mores stout, but now in a non-alcoholic form! This beer will have you warmed up and feeling like you’re sitting by the fire roasting marshmallows. If you’re looking for a N/A option for Thanksgiving, the Smores Dark Brew is the way to go! 

Huntley Helles 
The perfect lounging lager is back and crisper than ever! Whether it’s to beat the end of Summer heat, or embrace the coming of the Fall season, 𝗛𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘆 𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝘀 has you covered and coming back for more. (4.5% ABV)


Arga Strawberry/Kiwi Seltzer
MADE WITH REAL FRUIT.
AGRA Strawberry Kiwi is a delicious blend of ripe juicy strawberry and fresh kiwi nectar.

Amplify The Absurdity Sour
This smoothie style sour ale with raspberry, banana, vanilla and marshmallow comes together for a decadent treat in liquor form! We took our base sour ale recipe and amplified it with some of the most delicious flavor combos we could think of along with a healthy dose of milk sugar.