Chameleon’s Pub in Mount Vernon Hosting Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Tapping January 30th!


It’s always great to see a small town bar, especially my favorite watering hole, get their hands on some brews that most small town bars aren’t able to land. Chameleon’s Pub and Grub here in Mt. Vernon will have their own barrel-aged tap takeover that will feature this year’s Goose Island Bourbon County stout and also feature 3 Iowa brewed barrel aged beers. The event is next Thursday January 30th, stop on in if you’re around the Mt. Vernon area! Here are more deets on these tappings:

Winter is in full swing in Iowa and what could be better than belling up to the bar with a barrel aged brew to warm your insides. We will be tapping four beautifully crafted barrel aged brews featuring the nationally renown Bourbon County from Chicago’s Goose Island Barrel House along side three local brews. We will be offering specially priced flights on the night of the event so you can try all four! These beers are very limited and will go fast so be sure to stop before they go.

This year’s Bourbon County Stout, aged in a mix of Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey barrels, yields a rich, complex mouthfeel. Flavors of cocoa, fudge, vanilla, caramel, almond, plus leather and tobacco, permeate this beer and deepen with each sip. At 14.7 ABV it won’t take long to forget the cold and to feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Our local options are as followed;

2019 Jesus on a Forklift a barrel-aged imperial rye stout from Exile Brewing Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. This heavy hitter was aged for 9 months in first use Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels and gives of flavors and aromas of rich chocolate, with bourbon and the rye lending some spiciness.

Back Road coconut porter aged in Jim Beam barrels from Millstream Brewing Co. out of Amana Iowa. Black malt and roasted barley give the beer its color, and coffee-like flavors.

Wake the F Up Iowa Imperial Coffee stout from Backpocket Brewing out of Coralville, Iowa. This beer features coffee from our fellow Mount Vernon business owners and friends at Wake Up Iowa Coffee and is barrel aged it in Cedar Ridge and Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels to make Wake The F Up Iowa – an imperial coffee stout that’s plenty boozy, plenty smooth.

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:

America’s River Festival BrewFest set for Saturday June 13th in Dubuque, IA

2015_ARF-Brewfest-HeaderThe early planning stages are being worked on but right now I can confirm that Dubuque will be holding a BrewFest on Saturday, June 13th in the Port of Dubuque. This festival will pair local breweries to go along with some great music. More details on the brewfest can be found here:

Gates open at noon for VIP ticket holders ($40) and 1:00 p.m. for general admission ticket holders ($30). Here’s the list as of now of the breweries who will be pouring their delicious brew:

*Another Road
*Deb’s Brewtopia
*Green Flash
*Goose Island
*Great River
*Franklin Street
*Lion Bridge
*Old Man River
*Third Base
*Bent River

I’ll keep you posted if more breweries are added.

**I will be attending and I hope to see you there! Cheers!

Release Updates: Millstream, Surly, Prairie, Boulevard

A few updates on some beers and breweries hitting Eastern Iowa shelves:

millstream*Millstream* – following up their successful release of Raspberry Latte Stout Millstream is going to try their hand on a double IPA. From my

Here’s a new bottle coming from Millstream Brewing in Amana, IA.  This is Bitter End and it is a Double IPA.  This beer will be packaged in 12oz bottles.

Haven’t read on the exact date of release so if you hear any info on that please pass it my way.

surly*Surly Brewing* – from various people in the industry that I’ve talked to, we can expect their full slate of releases to enter the state in February. I’m hoping we get to see a little Abrasive hit the state as that is an early 2015 release.
prairie artisan ales*Prairie Artisan Ales*- will be releasing Limo Tint. This milk stout, aged on chocolate, will be released in late January so keep your eyes peeled for this one. I believe it’s only a 4% stout, so very sessionable compared to what we are usually used to from Prairie.

coffee*Boulevard Brewing* – coming in February will be a Coffee Imperial stout. Boulevard has a bunch of new beers added to their 2015 schedule which I will post very soon. They will still have their regular imperial stout, but the Coffee Imp comes soon!

Iowa Breweries Gift Giving Guide 2014

santaDid everyone survive Bourbon County day?! We can now get back to a little normalcy in the beer world. Hope Thanksgiving went well and everyone drank some tasty brews but now it’s on to Christmas! And what better way to show someone you love them than with some great Iowa beer and apparel! (I was going to use the word swag but I think I’m too old). Below is a list I’ve compiled with the help of some great Iowa breweries of items that they have for sale. I’m a sucker for glassware and shirts from breweries so this stuff is right up my alley. The links that follow should take you to each breweries store, please let me know if a link is not working.

millstreamMillstream Brewing Company – Amana, IA:
*Clothing – shirts and hats ranging anywhere from $10-$50
*Glassware – pint glasses to growlers from $4.25 – $35.
*Miscellaneous – signs, koozies, coasters and more!
Baron’s pick: The new Millstream tshirts are pretty sweet and a good price at $17.50, but I think their old school metal sign is the way to go especially if you have a nice little Beer Cave to hang it in. Sign clocks in at $15.70.

firetruckerFiretrucker Brewery – Ankeny, IA: 

*Clothing – this upstart brewery has 2 t-shirts, a sweatshirt and kick-ass looking biking t-shirt to choose from ranging from $25-$135.
*Glassware – a 16 oz pint glass with their sweet looking logo at $12.
*Miscellaneous – stickers and coasters from $2-$5.
Baron’s pick: Going with the sweatshirt for $55 and the pint glass for $12. Love the logo on both, especially with a nice stout poured behind it.

singlespeedSinglespeed Brewery – Cedar Falls, IA:Shamefully I haven’t been to Singlespeed yet, but I’ve heard great things are happening in Cedar Falls. My New Year’s Resolution is to drink more at all Iowa Breweries! 🙂
*Clothing – t-shirts, hoodies, and brewers shirts ranging from $20-$50.
*Glassware – pub glasses, flasks, growlers ranging from $6-$60.
*Miscellaneous – gifts cards and bottle openers.
Baron’s pick: The beer glasses. Gift cards are available in any amount as well.

lion bridgeLion Bridge Brewery – Cedar Rapids, IA: A spot you can probably find me at on any given weekend. So thankful that they have opened up so close to home. Along with great beer the food is damn good as well (pork nachos anyone?).
*Clothing – t-shirts ranging in color. Nothing on the website yet but they do have a little shop setup in the brewery. I believe I got the last powder blue and red!
*Glassware – If you are a beer glass junkie like myself Lion Bridge can set you up. Taster glasses, pint glasses, snifters, etc. All there, all for sale…I believe. Along with growlers and meowlers.
*Miscellaneous – CSA. Their community sponsored ales program. A one time fee gets you discounts, a t-shirt, growler, 1st growler fill, and growler fills on speciality beers all for $80 I believe.
Baron’s Pick: Well, I’ve already picked up a shirt, glasses, and the CSA will be joined soon. So I guess I’ll recommend all three!

515515 Brewing – Clive, IA – Anytime I’m in the Des Moines area I make a stop at 515. Love the people here, love the atmosphere and love the beer! No online shop as of now but stop in and have a pint and grab something to take home with you.
*Clothing – last time I was there they had 3 different t-shirts to choose from. I got a sweet looking gray with the logo on it.
*Glassware – I vaguely remember a few different glasses to choose from. I bought a nice snifter, perfect for a nice stout or porter!
Baron’s Pick: – Love the t-shirt I own and my snifter, I highly recommend!

toppling goliath Toppling Goliath – Decorah, IA – Arguably the most recognized Iowa brewery has some really cool gear to pick up. I recently picked up a King Sue Teku glass (now kicking myself in the ass for not getting an Assassin Teku as well).
*Clothing – t-shirts, sweatshirts, a nice little pseudosue pack consisting of a hat, shirt, and two coasters.
*Glassware – well, the King Sue and Assassin Tekus rock the shit. Got one, want more. They also have pint glasses, chalices, snifters, with not just the TG logo, but their specific beer logos.
*Miscellaneous – openers, stickers, and coasters.
Baron’s Choice – The Teku is the obvious choice for me. These are awesome!

confluenceConfluence Brewing – Des Moines, IA – Confluence keeps rolling out some excellent brews. Really enjoyed Ayana’s Rhino Rye and hope to see it again in the future!
*Clothing -They have sweatshirts, bike jerseys, T’s and other apparel.
*Glassware – 64 oz and 32 oz growlers.
*Baron’s Choice – pick up a t-shirt. I’m not sure what color scheme they have as they don’t currently have an online store, but give them a call or drop them an email.

peace treePeace Tree Brewing – Knoxville, IA – Another brewery making big splashes is Peace Tree. Located in Knoxville, this brewery has some really sweet looking apparel and other offerings.
*Clothing – t-shirts and bicycle shirts ranging from $15-$75.
*Glassware – awesome looking glassware and even a cool pint glass and opener set.
*Miscellaneous – bottle caps, openers, patches, labels and more.
*Baron’s Choice – I love the Peace Tree Beanie found here: Added to my wishlist!

big groveBig Grove Brewery – Solon, IA – nothing has been hotter than Big Grove in Solon. With the amount of attention and recognition they get you’d think they would have been open for years, but it’s only been one! So much good things being created here both beer and food wise, makes this another frequent destination of the Baron.
*Clothing – upon walking in on my last visit I saw the wall to my left had new Big Grove t-shirts made by Tailgate Clothing company! Wonderfully comfortable shirts that always look great. I will be adding all three to my collection.
*Glassware – growlers and the last I was there they still had a few 1 year anniversary tulip glasses for sale. Awesome glasses, highly recommended!
Baron’s Choice – I must own the shirts! They are awesome! You will not be disappointed! Check them out on your next visit. I have 1 year anniversary glass that I great like it’s one of my own children and a growler that I fill frequently! All great stuff!


**This holiday, support your local brewery. The above are a few of the wonderful places we are lucky enough to have in our state. I assume most places have gift cards available as well. Below is a link to the complete list of Iowa breweries, find one near you, go there, drink beer, and buy some shit!**

Baron’s Guide to Thanksgiving and Beer

turkeyHappy Thanksgiving everyone! I thought it would be fun to breakdown Thanksgiving Day and pair some craft beers with what would be my typical meal. Now, 15 years ago, Busch Light reigned supreme and would flow freely along with some boxed wine and a few bottles of booze. Times change and thankfully so do the drinks. I saw the guys at do this and thought it would be good to see an Eastern Iowa version of what beers to get.

**Early and often Beers**– while watching the football game with fellow family members and waiting for the bird to finish up cooking, it’s good have other options available other than the typical light beer, and Eastern Iowa now has a plethora of excellent, low abv brews.


Baron’s recommendation:

*Founders Brewing All Day IPA – 4.7%
*Lion Bridge Workmen’s Compensation – 4.7% (growler only – coffee variation dynamitbig grovee as well)
*Lion Bridge Whirligig – 4.5% (growler only, a Baron Favorite)
*Big Grove Que Sera Berliner Weisse – 4.4% (growler only)
*Destihl Brewing Here Gose Nothin’ – 5% (A little higher ABV and sour but I can down a few)
*Stone Levitation – 4.4% very tasty amber.

**Dinner Beers** – the food has made it’s way to the table and you are looking for a bottle of something to share with some loved ones. I’m in agreement with many beer lovers that the perfect style of beer for Thanksgiving are Saisons. And being a saison lover, there are quite a few to choose from around Eastern Iowa. I also think maltier IPAs go well with the majority of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Baron’s recommendation:

*Saison Dupont – 6.5%
*Boulevard Tank 7 – 8.5%
*Lion Bridge Untitled Saison – 6.5% (growler only)
*Deschutes Zarabanda – 6.3%lion bridge
*Sierra Nevada Celebration – 6.8%
*Bells Two Hearted – 7%

**Time for Dessert** – as with most holidays there is usually a table reserved just for desserts. Now, you should have a cooler reserved for dessert beers.  I would have loved to include New Glarus on this list and they would be at the top but they aren’t distributed anywhere outside of Wisky. So for dessert I would go with:

Baron’s Recommendations:

*Schlafly Pumkin Ale – 8% – a no-brainer here. One of the better pumpkin beers on the market.
*Big Grove Russian Imperial Stout- this beer pairs excellent with dark fruits. Had it at the brewery in Solon with some of their pickled bing cherries and was blown away. (growler only)
*Millstream Raspberry Latte Stout – ? ABV – Millstream’s newest offering has me craving more. A great millstreamcombo of raspberry and stout that’s perfect for dessert.
*Stone Xocoveza – 8.1% – if you’re lucky enough to still have a bottle this would be a perfect way to end the evening. Chocolate, cinnamon, and coffee makes this the perfect beer after a big meal and the heat does a nice job of warming you up for a chilly Iowa November evening.

**As always, I’m sure I missed a bunch of beers. Feel free to send me your list and if you hear of any news, would like a guest review post, or questions drop me a line!**


Coming Soon to Shelves?! Abrasive, Sucks, The Abyss, Millstream Raspberry Latte Stout

surlySome things that may or may not be heading to Iowa in the upcoming weeks/months. There are a few that haven’t been confirmed for Iowa but we have seen in the past. So here are a few things that we will hopefully see soon.

*Millstream Raspberry Latte Stout – per a twitter conversation with @millstreambrew this will hit with distributors on December 6th. A great sounding stout for the winter months from an Iowa brewery.

*Surly Abrasive – a few reports/posts from message boards saying we can expect this when Surly rolls into Iowa full force come February. Hope to see a little trickle of it before then since it’s brewed in November, I believe.

Lagunitas Sucks – the 32 oz are supposedly suppose to hit our shelves in the next coming weeks. Haven’t heard about sixers of it but I would assume they would be as well. Anyone else have info on that to share it would be greatly appreciated.

Deschutes The Abyss- release at the brewhouse first and then to distro markets early November. Haven’t heard if we will be getting this one but I’m assuming so since we had last years.

**If you have any beer news or work in the beer industry and want something reviewed or a press release to give, contact me on twitter @iabeerbaron or

Millstream releasing barrel-aged Schild Brau + Backroad Stout

millstreamThe following comes from a Millstream Brewing Facebook post:

We’ve been aging our Schild Brau Amber & Back Road Stout in Cedar Ridge Whiskey barrels for the last 9 months! Now at long last we are bottling them in 22 oz bombers. Look for these very limited batch of barrel aged beers in Cedar Rapids & Iowa City next Friday for a special release.


Southern Tier Update, Millstream’s newest Xtreme Release

southern tierI just received word from a very reliable source that Southern Tier Brewing coming to Iowa has been put on the backburner until at the earliest 2015. A lot can change between now and then but that is the latest word on their distribution to Iowa. Still waiting on more for news on Oskar Blues, Lagunitas, Alaskan, and a few others. Hope to see a few new brews on the shelves this summer, if not, Eastern Iowa shelves have a abundance of terrific brews on the shelves.


dogs on skisOne brewery we can always rely on is Millstream. They will be releasing their newest Xtreme Series brew soon and it is going to be a Black IPA called Dogs on Skis. Here’s more about this beer from

This beer takes on the characteristics of both a very hoppy IPA and a Stout all in one beer. It showcases the malty, coffee, roasted notes as well as the bitterness that continues to play in an IPA.   We also partnered up with one of our local favorite bands, Dogs on Skis, to come up with this special beer!        

8% ABV     87 IBU     20 OG         5.5 FG
Malts:  2 Row, Munich 20L,  ESM         Hops:  Millennium, Cascade,
Chocolate, Black Wheat, Roasted                 Willamette, Mt Hood

                                               Available June – August

iabeerbaron’s 10 Beers for Summer

The weather is getting warmer, the grass has just been mowed, and there are various meats sizzling on the grill. You’re conflicted as you reach into your beer fridge and try to decide what beer to go with. Do you go with a lighter pils, a higher ABV IPA, or a dark, thick, stout? The answer? All three are perfect for summer weather! Now I know that most people like to have sessionable beers for summer, but don’t think that a stout doesn’t go down smooth and refreshing on a nice summer evening, or that a big IPA can’t be enjoyed on your deck as you watch your kids play. I could go the route of listing a bunch of sessionable beers but let’s make it fun throw everyone in the pool. All styles are fair game this time of year, and here is my breakdown of what to enjoy this summer. (All available in Eastern Iowa).  Sidenote: I know that I most likely left out some beers unintentionally so feel free to add your favorites.

madhouse10. Madhouse Hopburst
Brewery: Madhouse Brewing
       City: Newton, IA
       Style: American IPA
       ABV: 7.2%
A wonderful American IPA brewed right here, in the great state of Iowa. A great balance of malt and hops make this an easy pick for a very enjoyable summer beer. Enjoy this beer with a bratwurst loaded with sauerkraut, spicy mustard, and onions or a thick ribeye cooked medium rare. Perfect!

big honey9. Millstream Big Honey Hefeweisen 
Brewery: Millstream Brewing
     City: Amana, IA
     Style: Weizen Bock
     ABV: 9.2%

Another Iowa brewed beer making the list and this is a big boy! A huge aroma and flavor of bananas, rounded out by cloves and tons of honey make this a fantastic beer for a crisp fall day/evening, but also makes for the perfect ending to a warm summer day as well. Enjoy this beer with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream to end the evening. 


bells8. Bells Oberon
Brewery: Bells Brewery
    City: Kalamazoo, MI
    Style: Wheat Ale
    ABV: 5.8%
Moving onto a more “sessionable” and distinct beer for the summer. Bells Oberon ale is usually on everyones’ summer list when it’s time to talk summer beers, and rightfully so. Citrus and spice flavor make this a very refreshing summer beer pick. Pair this with some grilled fish and a tomato avocado salad and all will be well with your day. 


tangerine7. Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat
Brewery: Lost Coast Brewery
    City: Eureka, CA
    Style: Fruit Beer
    ABV: 5%

Summer can’t be complete without a trip out west to California. A staple in my fridge throughout the summer months is Lost Coast’s Tangerine Wheat. Not only do I enjoy one or two of these but it is the perfect beer to have on hand for the BMC drinkers to enjoy as well. It seems that most BMC loyalists will always welcome a fruit beer, not sure why, but anyway, this brew has a low ABV and a refreshing tangerine presence. Tough to pair fruit beers but a light salad with a tangerine wheat vinaigrette would do nicely or some shrimp tacos with spicy salsa.

saison dupont6. Saison Dupont Farmhouse Ale
  Brewery: Brasserie Dupont
     City: Tourpes-Leuze, Belgium
     Style Farmhouse/Saison
     ABV: 6.5%
I have really taking a liking to saison styles in the last 6-7 months and it’s all thanks to this beer. Saison Dupont has everything you need in a saison: barnyard qualities, grassiness, banana, black pepper spice, and citrus. Amazing beer for a summer day. This beer would go perfect with a herb seasoned beer can chicken stuffed with lemons and onions!


all day ipa5. Founders All Day IPA
Brewery: Founders Brewing
    City: Grand Rapids, MI
    Style: IPA
    ABV: 4.7%

Association sessionable to IPA isn’t usually ones’ first thought. But Founders Brewing has created a beer that will appease both hopheads and also people who want to sit around at a camp out and drink a six-pack or two of really good beer. Take it on a picnic with a bucket of fried chicken and coleslaw!

summit4. Summit Oatmeal Stout
   Brewery: Summit Brewing
     City: St. Paul, MN
     Style: Sweet Stout
     ABV: 4.7%
     Website: www. 

A popular summer destination for my family is supper at The General Store Pub in Stone City, IA. Why? Good bar food, a great locale, and Summit Brewing Oatmeal Stout on tap! A wonderfully, creamy stout, easy to drink and hard to put down your glass. Goes well with some fried foods or just on its own.

tank 73. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
  Brewery: Boulevard Brewing
     City: Kansas City, MO
     Style: Farmhouse
     ABV: 8.5%

A beer that is moving up my “favorites” list is Boulevard’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. Boulevard hits an absolute home run with this brew, and coming in a 8.5%, a bomber of this,  an all-beef hot dog with sauerkraut, jalapeños  spicy, mustard, dill pickle relish, and an L.A. Dodger game will do just fine.


green flash2. Green Flash Imperial IPA
 Brewery: Green Flash Brewery
     City: San Diego, CA
     Style: Imperial IPA
     ABV: 9.4%

Man do I love this beer. The description of this beer says, “It’s all about the hops!” and there’s no doubt about it. An in-your-face Double IPA with amazing citrus flavor that is slightly balance by malts. My favorite Green Flash beer so far. Smokey, sticky, mouth-watering BBQ ribs and a bomber of this Imperial IPA make for quite an evening.


pseudo sue1. Toppling Goliath pseudoSue
Brewery: Toppling Goliath Brewery
    City: Decorah, IA
    Style: American Pale Ale
    ABV: 5.8%

Described as an American Pale Ale this beer has more hop presence than some IPAs on the market. If you are craft beer lover from Iowa I’m guessing you’ve had this beer, if not, you must try! All craft beer lovers for that matter! Toppling Goliath is starting to put their name on the craft beer map nationally and this is one of the beers responsible for that. Hard to come by in bottles for the time being but hopefully soon they will be cranking them out quick enough to meet or come close to the demand. Second to none and goes great with some spicy chicken wings, a medium cooked hamburger with grilled mushrooms and swish or  just enjoy this work of art by itself.

**Once again, a fun list to come up with, a fun list to drink, but I know I left some beers out. Feel free to add comments and let me know what your favorite beers of summer are. Cheers! **