Drink This! Lion Bridge King Cake…Happy 5 year LB!

IMG_1259.JPG

It really can’t be a surprise that this beer is my latest Drink This! addition. The winter months have been draining and soul sucking at times, but Lion Bridge has been able to lift us by the chin and say, “drink our beer, everything will be ok”. Not sure they would actually say that but Quinton does kind of look like the next coming of Jesus and actually, if he would run for President, I would vote for him or maybe Ana would be a better fit..??? any hoo…it’s no secret the demand that this beer has received, and that’s not why it’s my Drink This! choice. Publicity plays a big role into a sale, and this beer has been pubbed by many (yours truly included), but when your background has delivered and delivered on numerous occasions you can understand why at a 3:00 release on Tuesday afternoon, on your 5th Anniversary party you have line snaking almost outside your door, you have now hit that upper echelon of expectation.

lion bridge

Expectation has always been there for Lion Bridge for every beer they’ve made. They expect quality, always have, and their gold medals show that. Now, however, they’ve hit the ever demanding beer lover, beer trader, beer connoisseur level of the craft market. When you’re a brewery that makes a wonderful pils (ziva voda returns soon), a terrific IPA (yard sale), a gold medal English Mild, and a hazy IPA that I can’t wait to see again (Majestic Beast), and now pair that with their Barrel-Aged January greatness that included the January mainstay Gazprom! and it’s variants along with my beer of the year nominee Home Baked, you’ve set yourself up to be an in demand brewery. Which leads us to….

**King Cake** – 5th Anniversary beer, brilliantly released on Fat Tuesday and a beer that dominates your tastebuds. It’s so easy to critique the things you don’t care for in a beer sometimes, but it sure is nice to appreciate the beauty of an amazing beer and taste what the brewers intended for you to taste. Decadence is the word used by Lion Bridge and that is spot on. That’s the perfect word to describe this beer, a caramel, chocolate, toffee, masterpiece really. So, for those who got it, sit back, sip on it, maybe share a taste with a buddy or loved one and just appreciate it.

McClain family…what a joy these last 5 years have been. Your class and focus on local has been such a welcome addition to the community and I’m very thankful I’ve had the opportunity to converse with you both. I would be remiss not to involve Alec Travis in this post…hard working, talented, class act who has been at Lion Bridge since the beginning…..such a great crew, with great leaders. Happy 5 Lion Bridge, King Cake was the perfect beer for this anniversary so it’s time to Drink This! beer!

Lion Bridge Coconut Disaster and Majestic Beast Hitting Distro 11/19!

lionbridge.jpg

Lion Bridge twitter handle has announced that their NEIPA Majestic Beast and their yet to be released Coconut Disaster will hitting Eastern Iowa distribution on Monday November 19th! Today!! You can get the cans  if you visit the taproom as Majestic Beast is available now and Coconut Disaster will be coming to the taproom in cans on the 24th or hit your local beer store to grab them both now! Here’s more on these beers:

Majestic Beast: 6.2%

This mirthful beverage was dry-hopped with Mosaic Lupulin Powder, as well as a bit of Simcoe and Eukanot. By using hop powder with the green plant material removed, we are dry-hopping a concentrated version of the aromatic oils found in the hops. Resinous and tropical; potent yet graceful. It may just bring a tear to your eye.

Coconut Disaster: 5.8%

Toasted Coconut is added to our award winning brown porter

Lion Bridge Announces Week 1 of Barrel Aged January 2019!

lion bridge.jpg

What has become one of my favorite events of the year is starting to take shape. Lion Bridge Brewing has started to announce their lineup for the 2019 barrel-aged January releases. What is usually an awful month in Iowa has become much more tolerable thanks to the fine ales that Lion Bridge gives us every week!

WEEK 1: Big Smoosh

Here is Barrel-Aged January Week 1!!

Dr. Z’s Experiment brings the funk and is going to pair beautifully with the intense and robust flavor of Big Smoosh, our take on an almost forgotten about style of strong ale from long time ago Germany, the Adambier.

Big Smoosh is named after Brewer Robert’s mysterious and charismatic feline friend. This 9% strong dark ale was aged in whiskey and port barrels for 5 months with sour cherries. The result is a little smokey, a little tart, and a lot of awesome. Very excited about this new addition to the January line-up.

More ongoings at Lion Bridge:

Food Special for the week is Cherry BBQ Short Rib tacos with house Slaw.

Friday is our First Firkin Friday and we take Big Smoosh and add graham cracker and even more cherry to make a slightly more confectionary version of the original.

Sunday will be a teaser for our next Barrel-Aged January Beer, Home-Baked. Get a taste of the one-off before the full release the following Wednesday! This one is going to be a beaut.

Stay-tuned as we release the rest of the month during the course of next week!

 

Coming to Shelves: Left Hand, Sixpoint, Deschutes, New Holland, Central Waters, Avery, 515, Lion Bridge and much more!

A lot of updates of possible beers hitting Eastern Iowa shelves in the next few months on the day where Dogfish Head brewery made its way back to our shelves as well. We also got word the Central Waters was releasing a barrel-aged coconut porter. I’ve reached out to a few places but no one has gotten word on if Iowa will get any of that brew. Onto the update:

sixpoint.gif**Sixpoint Brewery**
-V Righteous Barrel-Aged w/vanilla – not sure if we will see this one or not but this comes courtesy of Sixpoint’s website:

Fire up your Sixpoint app and get ready for release news in the future on this beer.  This is V Righteous from Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, NY.  This beer is a barrel-aged rye ale brewed with vanilla and it will be packaged in 12oz cans.  This beer will hit 10.7%-AbV and remember “hoods make not monks.”  Stay tuned here for on your Sixpoint app for release details coming soon.

Power Ballad (New England Style IPA) – another one I’m not quite sure if we will get a sniff or not is their New England Style DIPA. This brew will come in at 8%, stay tuned for more on both of these releases from Sixpoint.

deschutes**Deschutes Brewery**
A ton of info on Deschutes releases for the next 3-4 months from Deschutes’ website:

SOUR SERIES
Pear Bergamot Sour
When:  Year Round 2018
What:  Sour Series (draft only)
The Deschutes Sour Series is a new offering from Deschutes Brewery. An innovative and creative series of stainless, lacto soured beers that vary in the use of fruit, hops, spices and specialty ingredients, all maintain a harmonious and clean acidity ranging from mild to medium. This series combines two trends among craft beer consumers: an emerging interest in kettle sours and a movement toward fruit-flavored beers. This series delivers both in a distinctly Deschutes way that is culinary-inspired and truly unique. Pear Bergamot Sour Ale tasting notes include pear and citrus with a floral aroma. Next up this spring, Black Raspberry Sour.
Beer Geek Information:  4.3% ABV  |  18 IBUs
Where: Available everywhere Deschutes is sold on draft.

RESERVE SERIES
The Ages
When: April 2018
What: Reserve Series (500ml-bottles)
A gueuze-inspired, multi-year blending shapes a wild brew brimming with fruity, spicy esters and savory, tangy pear and white pepper flavors. Deschutes’ first release in a 500ml bottle, this is a beer for the ages.
Beer Geek Information:  7.5% ABV | 15 IBUs
Where: Available everywhere Deschutes is sold.

BOND STREET SERIES
Swivelhead Red
When: February – May 2018
What:  Bond Street Series (12-ounce bottles and draft)
Perfect for that St. Patrick’s Day celebration! This twist on a traditional red ale gets its herbal hop character from European varietals added in American quantities, with a light melon accent from Australian hops, all resulting in a malty brew without the roast that’s sure to turn heads wherever it’s shared. The quirky artwork on the label tells a story and represents all the characters that contributed to this brew.
The Stats:  6.5% ABV | 70 IBUs
Where: Available everywhere where Deschutes is sold.Deschutes Announces Early 2018 Releases

COLLABORATIONS
Fresh Chair Northwest Pale Ale
When: March 2018
What: 30th Anniversary Collaboration with Crux Fermentation Project (draft only)
In celebration of Deschutes Brewery’s 30th birthday, they’ve partnered with several Deschutes Brewery alumni to collaborate on seven exciting brews. The first debut includes former brew masters Larry Sidor and Cam O’Connor now of Crux Fermentation Project, in the creation of a perfect blend of award winning Fresh Squeezed IPA and Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale. Encompassing the popular hop varieties Citra, Mosaic and Centennial, a bright and bold hop aroma compliments a drinkable malt body. All proceeds from this beer will benefit restoration of streamflow and improved water quality in the Deschutes River Basin.
Beer Geek Information:  6.5% ABV | 35 IBU
Where: Limited release in Oregon and Washington.Deschutes Announces Early 2018 Releases

Humm Zinger
When: May 2018
What: Humm Kombucha Collaboration
A collaboration with Humm Kombucha, a fellow Bend, Oregon, craft pioneer, this unique kombucha radler combines Humm’s tangy grapefruit with the iconic Cascade hops and Pilsner malt that Deschutes Brewery uses in many of its beers. The finished brew is a crisp and invigorating fresh twist on a radler.
The Stats: 4.3% ABV | 12 IBUs
Where: Limited release in Oregon and Washington.

SEASONAL
Twilight Summer Ale
When: April – August 2018
What:  Seasonal (12-ounce bottles and draft)
Back by unrelenting customer demand, Twilight Summer Ale hits the shelves just in time for summer this year! Originally introduced in 2004, this clever golden-hued ale pours remarkably crisp and clean. A distinctive malt body complements a refreshing hop profile led by a healthy dose of bold Amarillo hops. It’s going to be a great summer.
The Stats:  5.0% ABV  |  38 IBUs
Where: Available everywhere Deschutes is sold.

apost4lab1

Here’s the full fact sheet:

Beer news: CANS! (March); Pear Bergamot Sour (January); Swivelhead Red (February); Fresh Chair Northwest Pale Ale (March); The Ages, Twilight (April)

BEERS

Cans!

When: March

What: Fresh Squeezed IPA, Mirror Pond Pale Ale & Pacific Wonderland Lager (12oz, 6pack cans)

The weight is over! Three brands of Deschutes Brewery beer are now available in lighter, convenient packaging, more easily transported to any occasion. Fresh Squeezed IPA, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Pacific Wonderland Lager will soon ship to distributors and land on retail shelves in 12-ounce cans. Up next,19.2-ounce single serve cans of Fresh Squeezed IPA will follow. Adventure awaits. Go-CAN-do!

Where:Available everywhere Deschutes is sold.

Introducing the Deschutes Brewery SOUR SERIES

Currently pouring: Pear Bergamot Sour

When: All year

What: Sour Series (draft only)

The Deschutes Sour Series is a new offering from Deschutes Brewery. An innovative and creative series of stainless, lacto soured beers that vary in the use of fruit, hops, spices and specialty ingredients, all maintain a harmonious and clean acidity ranging from mild to medium. This series combines two trends among craft beer consumers: an emerging interest in kettle sours and a movement toward fruit-flavored beers. This series delivers both in a distinctly Deschutes way that is culinary-inspired and truly unique. Pear Bergamot Sour Ale tasting notes include pear and citrus with a floral aroma. Next up this spring, Black Raspberry Sour.

Beer Geek Information:  4.3% ABV  |  18 IBUs

Where: Available everywhere Deschutes is sold on draft.

RESERVE SERIES

The Ages

When: April Release
What: Reserve Series (500ml-bottles)

A gueuze-inspired, multi-year blending shapes a wild brew brimming with fruity, spicy esters and savory, tangy pear and white pepper flavors. Deschutes’ first release in a 500ml bottle, this is a beer for the ages.

Beer Geek Information:  7.5% ABV | 15 IBUs

Where: Available everywhere Deschutes is sold.

BOND STREET SERIES

Swivelhead Red

When: February – May
What: Bond Street Series (12-ounce bottles and draft)

Perfect for that St. Patrick’s Day celebration! This twist on a traditional red ale gets its herbal hop character from European varietals added in American quantities, with a light melon accent from Australian hops, all resulting in a malty brew without the roast that’s sure to turn heads wherever it’s shared. The quirky artwork on the label tells a story and represents all the characters that contributed to this brew.

The Stats:  6.5% ABV | 70 IBUs

Where: Available everywhere where Deschutes is sold

COLLABORATIONS

Fresh Chair Northwest Pale Ale

When: March
What: 30th Anniversary Collaboration with Crux Fermentation Project (draft only)

In celebration of Deschutes Brewery’s 30th birthday, they’ve partnered with several Deschutes Brewery alumni to collaborate on seven exciting brews. The first debut includes former brew masters Larry Sidor and Cam O’Connor now of Crux Fermentation Project, in the creation of a perfect blend of award winning Fresh Squeezed IPA and Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale. Encompassing the popular hop varieties Citra, Mosaic and Centennial, a bright and bold hop aroma compliments a drinkable malt body. All proceeds from this beer will benefit restoration of streamflow and improved water quality in the Deschutes River Basin.

Beer Geek Information:  6.5% ABV | 35 IBU

Where: Limited release in Oregon and Washington

Humm Zinger

When: May

What: Humm Kombucha Collaboration

A collaboration with Humm Kombucha, a fellow Bend, Oregon, craft pioneer, this unique kombucha radler combines Humm’s tangy grapefruit with the iconic Cascade hops and Pilsner malt that Deschutes Brewery uses in many of its beers. The finished brew is a crisp and invigorating fresh twist on a radler.

The Stats: 4.3% ABV | 12 IBUs

Where: Limited release in Oregon and Washington

SEASONAL

Twilight Summer Ale

When: April – August

What: Seasonal (12-ounce bottles and draft)

Back by unrelenting customer demand, Twilight Summer Ale hits the shelves just in time for summer this year! Originally introduced in 2004, this clever golden-hued ale pours remarkably crisp and clean. A distinctive malt body complements a refreshing hop profile led by a healthy dose of bold Amarillo hops. It’s going to be a great summer.

The Stats:  5.0% ABV  |  38 IBUs

Where: Available everywhere Deschutes is sold

boulevard**Boulevard Brewing + Zipline Brewing Collab**

-Linkin’ Up Hot Dust IPA – here’s info on this brew courtesy of mybeerbuzz.com:

Today we get to see a new collaboration beer coming from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, MO.  This is Linkin’ Up and it is a collaboration with Zipline Brewing in Lincoln, NE.  The beer is a hop dust IPA that will hit 6.2%-AbV & 47 IBU and the beer will be packaged in 12oz bottles at Boulevard.  Stay tuned for release info.  We also have the Zipline Brewing double-version below called Getting’ Down hop dust DIPA (8.5%-AbV, 750ml bottles).

left hand**Left Hand Brewing**

-Peach Beerllini Radler – a refreshing sounding brew coming soon from Left Hand. Coming in at 4.1%, this brew does not have a release date quite yet but one could expect to see it before the warmer months hit!

-Belgian Style Dubbel Nitro Cans – courtesy of mybeerbuzz.com:
This morning we have another new nitro can coming from Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, CO.  This is Belgian-Style Dubbel Nitro and yep…it’s a Belgian-style Dubbel ale charged with nitrogen.  The beer hits 7.9%-AbV & 30 IBU and this is the 13.675oz Ball cans.  According to the Left Hand Release Calendar, this beer is a seasonal release coming in March/April.

Limerence.png**Odell Brewing**

-Limerence Meyer Lemon Blonde Ale – not much is known on this brew yet but it will be part of Odells Exclusive Release Series. Other than label, nothing much else is known, stay tuned for on this tasty sounding brew.

515**515 Brewing**

-Castaway Porter – 515 released this brew last Thursday. If you dig a good coconut porter then this is one you’ll want to seek out.

 

Dinner Sauce.jpg

**Lion Bridge Brewing**

-Dinner Sauce IPA – here’s what the brewery had to say about this brew

We’ve got a brand new brew for you this week! Friday we’re tapping Dinner Sauce IPA, a true everything beer. Lemony and herbal with some tropical fruit character and just enough wheat creaminess to balance out the dryness. Go ahead, have seconds, you deserve it!

-Olde No. 17 – 

The official beer of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society and brewed to commemorate its 40th anniversary. This is the classic pub stout you know and love with a twist; 100 lbs of organic mashed potatoes were added during the brew to increase the dryness and slightly boost the alcohol. Roasty, with hints of dark chocolate, nuttiness and rich creamy mouthfeel. Slainte!

aloha.jpg**Ballast Point**

-Aloha Sculpin

With Aloha Sculpin, we used Brux Trois yeast to turn our award-winning IPA into a tropical oasis, with bright and refreshing notes of mango, pineapple and guava, along with a slight haze and smooth mouthfeel

Cedar Rapids Ale Trail Spotlight: Breweries

ale.jpgThe Cedar Rapids Ale Trail is a terrific way to venture out and try some the best food and beer in the area and save money while doing so!

Over $500 in discounts and perks at more than 25 of the best breweries and restaurants in the Cedar Rapids area. Available on your phone for only $30 per year.

The best way to experience Cedar Rapids’ national award-winning craft beer & culinary scene.

Let’s go ahead and focus on some of the perks that having the CR Ale Trail app can get you by looking at what our local breweries/beer stores are offering when purchasing. Here we go:

another road**Another Road Brewing** 
1. Buy one pint get the second pint half off. Put the bag in the hole with one shot on table bags, get free bottle opener.
2. $5 off $25
3. Buy one pint and get 2nd pint 1/2 off

benz**Benz Beverage Depot**
1. 15% off 2 mix and match 6 packs.
2. 10% off 1 mix and match 6 pack
iowa-brewing**Iowa Brewing Company**
1. $10 off $25
2. $5 off a growler fill – limit two per day

lion bridge**Lion Bridge Brewing Company**
1. Free 8 oz beer with purchase of taster tra
2. 1/2 price nacho platter with purchase of taster tray

millstream**Millstream Brewing Company**
1. $10 off $25
2. Buy one beer and get the 2nd for $1

quarter barrel**The Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery**
1. Two free beer flights with purchase of any pizza
2. 1 liter glass stein of any house brew for price of a pint

third base**Third Base Brewery**
1. Receive a 25 oz mug for the price of a pint: $4.50

 

That’s just the breweries! Stay tuned for deals at Hy-Vees and restaurants! For more information visit the Cedar Rapids Ale Trail Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/crAleTrail/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

3 Iowa Beers to Drink Now!

beerbaronI couldn’t do just 1 Drink This! edition this time around as the state of Iowa is sending out so much great beer I had to do three! As we approach the 2017 Coralville Brrr Fest and with the program released this past week anticipation is mounting for ticket holders to get a taste of Iowa’s finest breweries and beers. Within the last 5 days I’ve had the opportunity to try 3 amazing beers from 3 amazing Iowa breweries. So here are three beers the you have to DRINK NOW!

img_0990**Big Grove Brewery – Buster Triple IPA** – Buster released this past Tuesday and I knew for sure I had to hit Big Grove and try this baby fresh. Mosaic hops shine with flavors of juicy fruit gum, tropical fruits, and some grassiness. A wonderful dank ass triple IPA. There is one thing that can be bad about this brew…it’s scary drinkable. An 11.4% ABV triple IPA can definitely put you on your ass if you don’t pay attention! This might arguably be the best or one of the best double/triple IPAs in the state. Follow this link to see my post on where it will be available and they also just hit the Cellar Peanut Pub in Pella with a hell of a lineup! So good, can’t wait for another glass! Cheers Big Grove!

 

IMG_0992.JPG**Lion Bridge Brewery – GAZPROM 2017** – I’ve been waiting for this release since last year. Lion Bridge takes the shitty, dark, long ass month of January and makes pretty damn enjoyable with their Barrel-Aged January releases. A new release, every week, for the month of January and all barrel-aged beers. I’ve loved the Winter Warmer and the Royal Wee but the big dog for me is GAZPROM!. The sweetness from the syrup is the perfect balance to booziness from the barrels. I say this a lot but this is a top-tier beer for me….maybe top 10? Top 5? Either way, I can’t wait to have more of this and thank you Quinton and Alec and Lion Bridge for making January tolerable!

 

img_0994**Madhouse Brewery – VIP Barrel Aged Vanilla Porter** – was happy my Mt. Vernon Road Hy-Vee had a few bottles of this, wasn’t sure if we would see it all. I had been hearing good things coming from the fine beer folks in Des Moines and was hoping to land one of these. I’ve been hit and miss with vanilla added to my beers. Sometimes I dig it when it’s not over they type vanilla extract and with Madhouse VIP I’m really digging it. The slight sweetness from the vanilla pairs with the barrel and just a faint hint of cigar smoke on the aftertaste. Viscous, tasty, and warming. An excellent companion to a chilly January evening.

There you go Iowa. Three newer beers for you to try. Hopefully all 3 make it somewhere close to your area and you get a taste, and hopefully you enjoyed them as much as I did/do! Cheers!

Drink This! Lion Bridge Brewing Gobble Wobble

lion bridge.jpgThanksgiving Day is right around the corner and with these cooling temps, fall is definitely in the air and winter is right around the corner here in Iowa. What better way to get in the holiday spirit than hitting up your local and gold medal winning brewery and enjoy their latest barrel-aged creation!

Lion Bridge Brewery introduced the world to Gobble Wobble last weekend and I was lucky enough to hit up the brewery and taste not only Gobble Wobble but their Smores Gobble Wobble which was on cask. In fact, I wish I had a pint to sip on right now. Even if you missed out on the cask of Smores Gobble Wobble, you still have some time left to get down there and try Gobble Wobble which is a brown ale aged in Wild Turkey barrels. It might not last much longer folks, and after some weekend shopping with your significant other in Cedar Rapids, the perfect warmer would be a nice glass of barrel-aged deliciousness from Lion Bridge!

lion bridgeYou definitely get a nose full of barrel with this brew. Malty sweetness really mellows the barrel but you still get some great nuttiness from the brown ale as well. Perfect balance, and not to sound too much like a holiday homer, but this would pair perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner or grab a some sausages at the Sausage Foundry and have a fall grilling party while sipping on some Lion Bridge Gobble Wobble to warm you up. It’s limited folks, get there and grab a glass because you must drink this! Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

Lion Bridge Brewery Announces Barrel-Aged January Lineup

lion bridgeThe following comes from Lion Bridge Brewing’s Facebook page. Very excited for this to take place again!

Barrel-Aged January 2016 Line Up

You have all patiently waited for the past year. We have been carefully filling barrels and planning how best to dominate the frigid month of January. Last year, we filled 10 whiskey barrels worth of beer. Roughly 500 gallons of beer. 4 different flavors, 4 weeks in the month. Seemed to make sense. We underestimated the popularity of the beers and we ran out way too quick.

This year, we have filled over 30 whiskey and wine barrels worth of beer. We aren’t really even sure how to release all these beers in one month…but we will sure try. We have 9, maybe 10 beers, to release throughout the month of January!

See the release dates below…

Tues 1/5 – CSA member private event – Oktobot 3000 pre-release party (This event is for members only. If you aren’t a member of the our Community Supported Ales Program, be sure to get one for you or as a gift for your loved ones for the holiday. It’s the gift that keeps on giving)

Weds 1/6 – Oktobot 3000 public release, Barrel-Aged January glassware release and festive polka from Czech Plus.

Fri 1/8 – Oktobot 5000 release! This is our Imperial Barrel-Aged Oktoberfest, Oktobot 3000, aged in Cedar Ridge Bourbon Reserve Barrels.

Saturday 1/9 – Englert Theater Collabeeration release. Local Talent Robust Porter. Not a barrel-aged beer but a great day to come out and enjoy some live music and a delicious new beer from Lion Bridge.

Weds 1/13 – The Royal Wee (Wee Heavy aka Strong Scotch Ale) release. Aged in Cedar Ridge Peated Whiskey, Apple Brandy and Dark Rum Barrels. Music TBD

Sat 1/16 – Cherry Wood Stave Royal Wee release. A portion of the Royal Wee batch aged in Cedar Ridge Cherry Stave Whiskey Barrels.

Weds 1/20 – Red Wine Barrel-Aged Saison. Not yet named, but we took a batch of our Untitled Saison and aged it in single-use Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from Piña Napa Valley. Music TBD

Sat 1/23 – Maple Disaster – Our GABF Gold Disaster at Meux re-fermented with copious amount of Great River Maple dark syrup and barrel aged.

Weds 1/27 – GAZPROM! release. Our Russian Imperial Stout aged in Cedar Ridge Single Malt Whiskey barrels with a re-fermenation from a lot of maple syrup. Music TBD

Thoughts from the Brrr Fest

brrrAnother successful Coralville Brrr Fest is in the books and it’s amazing how much better the beers and breweries are now then when this started 4? years ago. So many excellent breweries bringing their best beers and adding the Mellow Mushrooms pizza was a nice touch as well. Pizza and beer, tough to beat. I tried many outstanding beers on Saturday but here are the ones that stuck out for me: **515 Brewing – OJ IPA and Mediocre Pale Ale – I’ve had OJ a few times and enjoy it every time. Dave from 515 mentioned something about this batch being messed up but I thought it tasted excellent as always. The mediocre was an excellent surprise. Mosaic hop was showcased making this an awesome pale ale. **Big Grove Brewing – Progeny and Mellow Drama – I’ve had progeny before but for some reason it was tasting extra good on Saturday. I was getting ton of peach flavor and had to go back for seconds. The Mellow Drama is a collab beer with other Iowa breweries. Very smooth and delicious. **Exile Brewing – Beaknik Sour – tons of cherry in this beer and with Exile bottles hitting Eastern Iowa I would love to see a bomber of this brew show up on our shelves. Excellent stuff. **Galena Brewing – Brett Michels Saison – despite the name I really enjoyed this saison. Tons of spice on this saison making it wonderfully refreshing and flavorful. Would love to see this in bottles! **Lion Bridge Brewing – GAZPROM! and Maple Disaster – GAZPROM! is a barrel aged russian imperial stout with maple syrup added. A very smooth RIS and the syrup adds just the perfect amount of sweetness. Would love more of this! The maple disaster is a barrel aged brown porter with maple syrup. This beer was so good I had to the brewery the day after just to get some more. Great things happening at this brewery! **Madhouse Brewing – VIP – although it wasn’t on tap I still need a pour of this brew. My favorite Madhouse offering and thankfully I have a few bottles in the cellar yet. **Third Base Brewing – Another Passe IPA- glad to see this on the tap lines as I had it at the brewery a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Third Base flies under the radar a bit but I find myself taking the whole family for some good food and tasty brews. **West O Brewing – Coco Stout – the gold medal winner lived up to that honor pouring a wonderful thick stout that was full of flavor. An excellent stout. **Overall, another terrific experience. The breweries were all very friendly and engaging. This event keeps getting bigger and better so make sure you secure a ticket next year, because if this year is any indication, there will more and more excellent brews to try.

Top 15 Iowa Beers of 2014: Part 3

The final installment has finally arrived. Looks like it’s going to be a rough week weather-wise in Eastern Iowa so I hope everyone has a fridge stocked full of their favorite brews. This was such a hard list to come up with and I think my 2015 version will be even more challenging as the breweries keep making terrific beer. We are a few weeks away from Coralville Brrr Fest so if you haven’t gotten your ticket yet head over to http://www.coralville.org/index.aspx?nid=604 and do so! I hope to see many of you there! Onto part 3:

lion bridge**Lion Bridge Brewing Whirligig** a griesette (sp?) style beer that has the aroma and flavor of bazooka bubble gum, grass, and pepper. If this beer was canned or bottled it would be a perfect tailgating beer for Iowa football Saturdays. This beer goes to show that not everything has to be imperial or barrel-aged to have great flavor. Very similar to Saison style beers with the difference being the low ABV and a more distinct hope profile? Not 100% on that stat, either way a terrific brew.

**Toppling Goliath David** – I was lucky enough to get a bottle of this from fellow toppling goliathcraft beer lover @storminspank. This double IPA was brewed in collaboration with Treehouse Brewing out of Massachusetts. Citra and mosaic hops shine in this beer making it very refreshing and drinkable. Another example of TG’s dominance in the IPA category.

big grove**Big Grove Arms Race Pale Ale** – a staple for me with continuous growler fills. The good news is a bar in my town of Mt. Vernon actually has it on tap, so thanks to Bill and Nick at Chameleon’s Pub and Grub for having this as a choice. Big Grove just turned 1 and already made a mark, the sky’s the limit for the folks in Solon; both beer and food.

**Lion Bridge Untitled Saison** I’m a sucker for great saisons and Quinton at Lion lion bridgeBridge nailed it with this brew. So quenching and refreshing, I long for them to have this on tap again. I almost put their Pink Peppercorn Saison on here but it was pretty limited, but damn, that was an awesome brew as well.

toppling goliath**Toppling Goliath King Sue** – there isn’t much left to be said about the year TG has had. High demand nationwide, full flavored, refreshing beers, and King Sue might be close to being the best of the best. I hope to see this beer produced again sooner than later.

Some great beers on my list. What does your Top 15 look like? If the year 2014 gives us any indication at the direction of Iowa Craft Breweries, in 2015 we will be in for a real treat. Cheers!