Lion Bridge Brewery Announces Taproom Only Can Release: Majestic Beast IPA + The Spice Must Flow Black Ale

lion bridgeSome big news coming from Lion Bridge this afternoon as they have announced some more cans coming our way next week. In a taproom only release they will be releasing their popular Majestic Beast IPA and The Spice Must Flow Black Ale. The release will be next Wednesday, October 25th. See you there!




Lion Bridge Cucumber Kolsch Returns July 31st

lion bridgeA summer favorite will be making it’s way back to the tap lines as Lion Bridge will be releasing their annual summer crowd pleaser Cucumber Kolsch on July 31st. Here’s more info on the release courtesy of Lion Bridge’s release:

Join us for the release of one of our summer favorites!

Cucumber Kolsch: a light, clean, 4.6% abv and highly drinkable kölsch with a refreshing cucumber twist.

200 pounds of locally sourced Bass Farms L.L.C. cucumbers went into this bright summer beer.

Local gardeners are hard at work growing and providing fresh produce to our community and farmers markets. Some prefer to can and pickle their fresh garden harvests, but here at Lion Bridge we ferment and keg our fresh produce to bring a refreshing summer beer to YOU!

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Lion Bridge Brewery Presents: Dinner w/ Chef Regina Escalante!

lion bridgeA wonderful sounding menu that will no doubt include some wonderful beers, here’s the press release on the latest local beer dinner courtesy of Lion Bridge and Chef Escalante! This sounds like a can’t miss event!

Join us for a unique evening with Chef Regina Escalante from Merida, Mexico on August 6th at Lion Bridge Brewing Company.

Regina studied Culinary School and Restaurant Management at the prestigious Paul Bocuse Institute in France. She has worked at some of the finest restaurants in Paris, Lyon, and Marseille before returning to her hometown in Merida, Yucatan to start her own restaurant, Merci. She worked at Michelin star restaurants such as La Table de Lancaster with Chef Rochetau; the Hotel Crillon, with Chef Christopher Hache in Paris; and at Le Petite Nice, under Chef Gerald Passedat in Marseille.

Regina started her career under the tutelage of Chef Cheryl Lewis in Portland, Maine as well as Chef Roberto Solis from Mexico at the young age of 17. Regina’s mother is American and her father is from Merida, Mexico. The fusion of Mexican, American, and French cultures from her upbringing manifests itself in her dishes and creations.

Regina and her husband Vincent Ros opened the doors of their own restaurant Merci in 2014, where they focus on serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch chef-inspired, locally sourced dishes.

Regina was named one of “Mexico’s Top Chefs” by The Larousse Institute at the young age of 29.

Chef Regina Escalante has worked with The Nature Conservancy on a project to protect the traditional milpa systems of the Mayan and supports urban farming projects to empower her French-style cuisine and invite her consumers to support local products; in this meeting of worlds we are taken deep into the Maya Forest to discover how milpa farming systems continue to evolve to protect seed diversity and stop deforestation.

Regina is also part of the Slow Food Movement.

She will be presenting at Newbo Evolve™ in Cedar Rapids the weekend of August 4-5 and hosting a 4-course dinner at Lion Bridge Brewing Company on August 6. We will have suggested beer pairings with all of her courses.

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Drink This! Lion Bridge Teachable Moment

lion bridgeThese last few days in Iowa have been hotter than…(insert your favorite expression here), and what better way to cool down than with a delicious local brew. With a great week of releases from Big Grove (cans), 3rd Base, and others, I was able to get to Lion Bridge to try their latest release, Teachable Moment, a New-England style IPA. Here are the deets on this brew:

Creamy, soft body, a hazy appearance and a juicy punch from Amarillo, Citra and Simcoe.


It was a sweltering 93 degrees outside when I ordered this brew and it went down quick. The beauty of this beer is not only how deliciously juice it is or how smooth it goes down but it checks in at 5.5% which means a couple of these on a hot day won’t get you too cockeyed! The haze craze continues and this is one that you should get down to the Czech Village to try, pair it with Lion Bridge’s chicken salad sandwich and you’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle the heat! Fill a growler or meowler and watch the kids play in the sprinkler while you sip this; what ever you decide to do you should Drink This! brew!

Drink This! Lion Bridge Tidbits Pale Ale

lion bridgeWarmer days bring out patio drinking beers and Lion Bridge Brewery definitely has one of those on tap right now! Tidbits is the brewery’s version of a pineapple pale ale that is made with simcoe, comet, and eukanot hops and a whole bunch of pineapple.

The nose on this beer is purely tropical. The pineapple shines but there is some grapefruit and other citrus in the nose. Mouth watering to start and then the pineapple really shines on the tongue. Definitely not overly sweet at all, fresh pineapple taste and not candied or “jolly rancher” sweetness that some beers present. This is one that would be perfect on the Lion Bridge patio while enjoying some brisket tacos. Here’s more on this brew from Lion Bridge:

We made a Pale Ale with healthy doses of Comet, Eukanot & Simcoe hops, then added an even healthier dose of unfermented Pineapple! The result is a true tropical treat!



Like I said, this beer sings lawn mower beer/warm weather beer/patio beer/driveway beer/ etc. I’m not sure how long this tropical beauty will be around so make sure you get down to Lion Bridge and have a pint or two! Warm days approach so Drink This! brew!

Best of Iowa Beer (Part 2 of 2)

baron.jpgFinally, after a few weeks I’m finally getting back to finishing the Top Ten list that everyone’s been waiting for….(crickets)…..Anyway, with all the great things happening in the Iowa beer scene, every year making a list becomes that more difficult. There are so many breweries I would like to visit, and some I wish I could spend more time at. New Year’s Resolutions are always fun but sometimes get forgotten. I, however, will make one of my Resolutions happen…I will make it to some more Iowa breweries, I will continue supporting my local breweries, and I will continue supporting the Iowa Beer Community! Onto the final five!

backpocket*Backpocket 5th Anniversary Stout – many are hailing this as their Iowa Beer of the Year and it would be hard to argue. I thought I had missed out on this beer until a lunch trip to Backpocket Pilot Pub in downtown Cedar Rapids and to my astonishment, 5th Anniversary was still on the lines. After a Grinch-like smile, I went ahead and ordered one…..and then another….and then…kidding, only two but it totally lived up to the hype. If you still are sitting on lucky bastard…

The deets:

12.3% ABV

Russian Imperial Stout

third base*Third Base Miserable in Mexico – I had this beer at the 2017 Brrr Fest (missing this year unfortunately) and was blown away. Jim has been making some great beers for a while now and has 3rd Base as an under the radar brewery.  Miserable and Mexico would have been the perfect beer to have these past few weeks in chilly-ass Iowa. Booziness from the bourbon, a bit of heat from the pepper and a ton of chocolate. Boozy Mexican hot chocolate..yes please! Well done Jim and 3rd Base!

The deets:

12.5% ABV

It all started when we put our “Endless Descent Into Ruin” imperial stout in a bourbon barrel and let it rest for 8 months. It emerged as “Miserable.” We then took Miserable and infused it with chocolate and chili peppers. Grown up Mexi Hot (Cold) chocolate

pulpi*Pulpit Rock Rechoncho – Another Brrr Fest 2017 beer and another imperial stout to add to my list. Another brew similar to a Mexico hot chocolate but with some added vanilla to it. Pulpit Rock has become a big time player in the Iowa beer game in a short amount of time and 2018 will be even bigger and better for them.

The deets:

12.2% ABV

Spanish for Pudgy – this decadent stout was brewed with Ancho and Chipotle chile peppers, cocoa, cinnamon, Mexican vanilla beans, & coffee.

barn town*Barn Town Brewery Pulp Non-Fiction – the new kid on the block has taken off pretty damn fast as a must try brewery! I finally got to visit and not only were the beers tasty but the food was excellent as well. Check out my write-up on Barn Town here: I was pleasantly surprised to this brew on tap at 30hop and have since seen some Barn Town pop up at a few other Eastern Iowa locations and hopefully we see them hit even more spots in 2018. A hazy, NE style juice bomb full of the murky, hoppy goodness!

The deets:


A juicy & hazy NEIPA brewed with Simcoe, El Dorado & Citra. Roy-al-ly hopped!

lion bridge*Lion Bridge Majestic Beast – I’ve been a fan of all of Lion Bridge’s IPAs when released but it seems recently they’ve really upped their game. Dangler was delicious, they now have Triple IPA that’s been barrel-aged slightly and one that I hope that they bring back is Majestic Beast. A 7% IPA that is extremely drinkable made with a journey into Lupulin powderes. Lion Bridge continues to impress, in every beer style, in food, in what it means to be a local business. More of this please!

The deets:


First foray into lupulin powders has produced this mirthful beverage. By using a hop with the green plant material removed we are only dry hopping a concentrated version of the aromatic oils found in eukanot and mosaic. Resinous and tropical; potent yet graceful.

There you have it! The list of Best of Iowa beers 2017. Chances are your list looks a bit different but that’s what makes drinking and trying local beer great! It was stressful, I’m sweating and need a beer. I also have to give a shout out to Nick Jubeck for creating the Iowa Beer Baron logo at the top of the post! Thanks man, check out and like his Facebook page by clicking here: Cheers to the breweries who make the beers, the restaurants and bars that serve them and cheers to 2018!

Lion Bridge Barrel Aged January continues with Single Barrel Oud Bruin!

lion bridgeBarrel-aged January at Lion Bridge Brewing company continues this week as they release their single barrel Oud Bruin. That’s not all from Lion Bridge this week as they also have some delicious sounding Coconut Imperial Brown Ale that will be tapped this Friday! I’m hoping to stop by this Sunday, so if you’re there give me a shout! Here’s more from Lion Bridge for this week:

The focus of week 1 was malt. Rich and lip-smacking maltiness. We hope you made it in to try the Mole XXXX. It was a delicious, nutritious?, spicy beer, and it sold out in a few hours. XXXX Mild and Eis Mild are still around if you weren’t able to make it in. Also unique and amazingly malty beers and made in slightly larger quantities.

This week we start off on the other end of the spectrum…acidity. We dabbled in an Oud Bruin (Flemish Style Sour Brown Ale) in 2017 which was really nice, but I dare say that with this 2018 version we are almost near perfection. In September 2016, we managed to score some fruited whiskey barrels from a guy who knows a guy who knows a gal, that already had a plethora of beautiful yeast and bacteria stuck in their tiny wooden pores. We brewed a 20bbl batch of our Oud Bruin base beer, filled these magic barrels, and waited…and waited…and waited. November 2017 we were like, “Hey, let’s see what we got.” And what we got was a “LET’S HI-FIVE THIS IS AMAZING!!” transformation. Cherry pie cherries, chocolate, bright acidity and loveliness just loveliness. We will eventually blend all the barrels together to make a bottled version, but we chose a barrel we especially loved to present it, unblended, as part of Barrel-Aged January 2018. We hope you enjoy Barrel #354.

We will have live music by Justin Goodchild this fine eve from 6-8pm.

Friday, 1/12 – In kind of a last minute epiphany, we decided not to empty every Wild Turkey Barrel of our Gobble Wobble. We saved 2 barrels with the idea that they were destined to become our Coconut Imperial Brown Ale. And guess what…they have become that. Ya, I know…pretty pretty exciting. The beer had a couple more months in the Wild Turkey barrels to smooth a bit more and soak up some booze, and then we blended it with a lot of toasted coconut. The result is a harmonious beverage that melds barrel and beer and coconut and longing for for warmer months and coziness with winter shelter. If acidity and “sour” beers ain’t your thing, don’t stray too far. On Friday, this beer will give you a warm hug.

Sunday 1/14 – We will pour a super limited 5 gallons of a coffee version of the liquid hug described above. We open at 11am!

And, as mentioned in the header…We are now opening for Lunch on Friday (11am), and 11am on Saturday and Sunday as well. You can now stop pacing about and get yourself to Lion Bridge earlier to get your Barrel-Aged January fix.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame! (Craft Beer and Local Food Offerings at Vets Memorial Stadium, Cedar Rapids)

kernels.gifNothing beats a nice summer day sitting in the seats at a baseball game, sipping on a cold brew and scarfing on a hot dog.

Cedar Rapids Kernels baseball has begun another year and I thought it would be nice to look at what they offer besides the fizzy yellow beer and a hot dog (although both tastes pretty damn good at a ballgame!).

I corresponded with Kernels’ Food and Beverage Manager Brett Heikkila and he listed quite a few options for craft beer lovers and also some local restaurants setting up stations at Vets.

lion bridgeCRAFT BEER
**Quite a few excellent craft options at Vets Memorial as they have the “Craft Cabin” which is located behind section 113 and rotates beers in throughout the season.  The “Craft Cabin” is currently serving Cedar Rapid’s own Lion Bridge beer. 

millstream**Behind section 103 you will find the Millstream Brewery Shack.  They feature 4 beers from Millstream Brewery in Amana;

Kernels Bases Loaded Pale Ale

Schild Brau

John’s White Ale

German Pilsner

**Behind section 114 you will find Johnson Brothers Beer Stand which offers beers from 3 different breweries; Bell’s, Deschutes, and Surly. Currently you will find these offerings:

Surly Hell

Surly Furious


Fresh Squeezed

It’s hard for me to pass up stopping at Klement’s Hot Dog stand on the 3rd base line and order my usual dog with grilled onions, sauerkraut, mushrooms and mustard but Vets does offer some fantastic alternatives and local alternatives as well!

In the middle of the concourse, between sections 109 and 112, you will find the local food vendors which, this year, includes Q-Dogs BBQ! Q-Dogs is offering their BBQ Sundae and their pulled pork sandwiches. 

There is also Hacienda and La Cantina (owned by brothers). They share a food stand throughout the season offering nachos, burritos, etc.

Plenty of great eats and drinks at the ballpark in CR this summer. Get out and check out a Kernels game! Non-craft drinkers, don’t worry, still plenty of macro beer too! See you at the ballpark this summer! 

Best “New” Beers of 2016

2016.pngOh yes, another Top 10 list. Everyone loves to read a top 10 list; either to trash it, agree with it, discuss it, or do all of the above. My top 10 list of favorite “new” beers of the year has certain criteria to meet. The beer must:

1: Be a beer I had not tasted previously

2: Must be available for purchase at Eastern Iowa breweries, restaurants, or liquor stores.

That’s it.

This list could easily be 25-50 beers deep, but I finally got it down to 10. Last year my list was a tad excessive so I refocused, recollected, and thought long and hard. This is purely subjective and I know I probably left one off that made your list so feel free to respond with your top 10, top 5, or just your favorite of the year. So, without further ado, in no particular order, the Baron’s Top 10:

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**Prairie Pirate Noir – I just had this beer this past weekend and was absolutely blown away. Part of 4 variants released recently in Eastern Iowa and this one was my favorite of the 4. All very good, but this one stood out. Rum barrels shine a bit more in this beer than in Pirate Bomb! A very viscous stout and perfect for a chilly Iowa day. I would love more of this!

mondos**Reunion Tank Puncher – I hope folks were able to try this beer from Reunion and I hope they decide to make more of it as well. This was my entry into my family beer festival and eventual gold medal winner (back to back for me :). This is the perfect beer for the tropical hop crazed beer lover. Reunion was out the last time I checked, let’s hope they get this one up and rolling again!

lion-bridge**Lion Bridge Gobble Wobble – take a traditional style brown masterfully done by Lion Bridge and age it on Wild Turkey barrels…what do you get? An excellent cold weather brew! The taste from the barrel pairs well perfect with the nuttiness of the brown to give you the a great companion to warm you up this winter.


**Kickshaw Pipo– watermelon shines in this sour/blonde beer from Kickshaw. Stocking up on this one as I’m looking forward to a few glasses of this during the summer months but damn it sure is tasty along side a salad and even better with some fish tacos! Looking forward to more from Bill and Kickshaw!

img_0804**Summit Unchained: Dark Infusion – this beer made my Drink This! write up. You can view that here: Summit gave us one of the best stouts of the year IMO and luckily I’m still able to grab four packs of this from the shelves. Almost chocolate covered caramel with some coffee splashed in. Stout lovers will rejoice for this brew. No need for barrels, this is perfect as is.


Odell Jolly Russian– I must have a thing for rum that was apparent until drinking this and Pirate Noir. So many great barrel aged beers available to us this year and I was happy to get a chance to try this one. The dark roast and coffee flavors blend nicely with the rum barrel. I would love a few more bottles of this!

big grove**Big Grove Brewery Richard and Pralines – keep the barrel-aged year going with a brew from a local brewery. Big Grove has made their mark with some great pales/IPAs and their popular Richard the Whale and variants. This variant adds a bit of sweetness to Richard. If you can still get a pour of this, order yourself an Arms Race as this warms and then you’ll be in for a real treat. With the opening of the new brewery on the horizon it will be interesting to see what Big Grove has in store for us! 

pulpi**Pulpit Rock Loopy Lynn – a relative newcomer to the Iowa beer scene and right across the street from TG, Pulpit Rock has become a big time player making some awesome brews! I had this double IPA at a Pulpit tap takeover at Blackstone Restaurant in Iowa City and was blown away. City shines though on this juicy double. I really want more of this!

**Pulpit Rock For the Joy of Almonds – liquid Almond Joy. Amazing beer on its own or for dessert. Pulpit takes their milk stout and ages it on toasted coconut, cocoa nibs, and almonds to give you silky, smooth, delicious stout. Pulpit brews are starting to pop up more in the Eastern Iowa area. Need Pizzeria in Cedar Rapids has had them on frequently and Reds Alehouse is starting to get some kegs as well. Great things coming out of Decorah.

toppling goliath**Toppling Goliath Double Dry Hopped Sue – How do you make an already impressive and sought after beer more impressive and sought after? Double Dry hop that bad boy and that’s what Toppling Goliath did with PseudoSue. More hops equals more hazy goodness from this beer. Hopefully this makes a return this summer as this would make a fine companion to some grilling in the Iowa heat.

Honorable Mentions:
Odell Elephunk, 3rd Base Friends Forever, Pulpit Rock Mighty Fine, New Holland Dragon’s Milk Coconut Rum Reserve, Lagunitas High Westified, Prairie Apple Brandy Noir, Big Grove Raspberry Que Sera.

There’s the list. There were some beers I wish I could’ve tried but missed out on, there were some that would make many lists and some that made mine but not even scratch the surface of yours. My New Year’s Resolution is keep trying to get to the Iowa breweries. I would love some more Alluvial and 515 in my life. I would love to see what beers made your list. Maybe it’s time for another Best of Iowa poll? Happy New Year!