Lua releasing 3 new beers this Friday (9/16)!

Lua Brewing will be the place to be as they are welcoming 3 new beers to their portfolio this coming Friday September 16th! A collab with Pulpit Rock and another with Horus Aged Ales out of California! Here’s the latest from the folks at Lua:

Two and a half years ago, we spent some time with our friends from @prbrewing and designed a stout recipe destined for barrels. Our friendship with the team at Pulpit is a special one, having such admiration for their beer long before Lua materialized. We look to the team there to inspire us, and push us to constantly improve our craft. We also have immense respect for them personally, and admire their integrity and care for their customers and community.

The beer we came up with was straightforward, a double mash, long boil stout that rested for well over 2 years in bourbon barrels. Two of these barrels were exemplary in our eyes, and worthy of showcasing on their own, unblended. The beer became Wistful, an homage to the time it was brewed, before the residual sugar arms race really reared its head.

WISTFUL BARREL #1 (14.9%) Imperial stout aged in a single Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel. Limit is one (1) 375mL bottle per person.

WISTFUL BARREL #2 (14.9%) Imperial stout aged in a single Blanton’s bourbon barrel. Limit is one (1) 375mL bottle per person.

GRACKLE (15%) Kyle from @horusagedales came over to the Hawkeye state a few months ago and helped us brew this big ol’ stout. Imperial stout conditioned on a whole buncha macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, & cacao nibs. Limit is two (2) 750mL bottles per person.

TWO WAYS to order:

– The good old fashioned line! Grab your favorite lawn chair and camp out. You’ll be handed a ticket for your bottles in line, and doors open at 11AM for purchases. Cutoff for tickets will be 10:30AM. Stay, have some pours, & hang 🍺.

– Online ordering through TOAST! Bottles go live at 10:45AM CST. Proxies are allowed (just make sure your proxy has your order number and name ready at pickup). All bottles MUST be picked up at the Lua Taproom by end of service (11pm) on 9/16.

See you all this Friday. Who’s ready for a #PatioStout?!

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!

Reds Alehouse w/ Pulpit Rock cans available for purchase! + more from Reds!

Reds Alehouse has just gotten in a shipment of some tasty brews from the folks at Pulpit Rock. Limited quantities available so get there ASAP to get a couple cans for yourself! Here’s what is available:

**Easy Lover – session IPA
**Saftig – New England IPA
**Never Again – pastry stout w/ peanuts, maraschino cherries, sugar cookies and cocoa nibs
**Show and Tell – blackberry infused kettle sour
**Island Life – pastry sour infused strawberry, mango, and lemonade mix
**What Would You Like for Breakfast? – blackberry pastry kettle sour with maple extract and fresh baked muffins
**Prances with Wolves – pastry sour packed with peaches, graham crackers, and cinnamon
**Scone On – Pastry sour with blueberry and fresh blueberry scones

Thew + Pulpit Rock collab “Together 4ever” Peach Milkshake IPA releases this Friday! (2/12)

Thew Brewing and Pulpit Rock Brewing are once again coming together for a collab release of “Together 4ever”! This release will take place this Friday, February 12, @4:00 p.m. Here are the details on this beer:

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Together 4ever is back! We brew this milkshake IPA with peach, vanilla, and lactose every year with our pals at Pulpit Rock. Come get this sweet treat! Available on tap and in crowlers.

Along with the collab release, Thew will have the following beers available:

We will have cans of Pulpit Rock beers to enjoy in our taproom or to go:
Island Life – pastry sour with strawberry, mango, and lemonade (contains lactose)
Blemon – pastry sour with blueberries, white cake, and lemon zest (contains lactose)
Show and Tell – blackberry kettle sour (contains lactose)
Never Again – pastry stout with peanuts, maraschino cherries, sugar cookies, and cocoa nibs (contains lactose & nuts)
Koffee and Biscotti – coffee porter with almond biscotti
Chuggernaut – hazy pale aleWe will also have cans of UNIFY, a hazy IPA brewed for the Iowa Brewers Guild, to enjoy in our taproom or to go!

Beer Baron’s Top 10 Iowa Beers of 2020!

What a year it has been! With all that is going on our local breweries still put out a ton of amazing beers and this was the toughest “Top 10” I’ve had to come up with. As the year winds down, a heartfelt thank you to all the brewery/restaurant workers out there working their butts off to get us excellent beers and delicious food while trying to keep their businesses afloat. Keep supporting local people!

List criteria:
*Beer must have been released in 2020
*Iowa brewed only
*Annual releases not counted unless a new adjunct was added to the beer

I know that I’ve missed many, my goal in 2020 was to get to as many Iowa breweries as possible and I was able to get to many that I hadn’t been before and hopefully that trend continues in 2021. After you read my list I would love to hear what your Top 10 is this year! Follow me on twitter @iabeerbaron or join the Iowa Beer page on Facebook. Cheers to you all!

*Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee – 12.5% – the last few years of the Richard release, the golden ticket addition has added excitement but also even more creativity from the BG brewers and crew to up the ante every year to produce an amazing beer and this year was no different. The balance between the coffee and coconut blends perfectly with barrel and the vanilla rounds it out perfectly. A truly decadent and delicious beer. To quote Virginia Madsen from “Sideways”, “You know, the day you open a Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee….that’s the special occasion”.

Big Grove Richard the Whale Vietnamese Coconut Coffee

*Lion Bridge Off Grid – 6.6% – there may not be a better beer to showcase the trying year many people have faced in 2020. Off Grid was brewed after the derecho storm left many in the Cedar Rapids area without power, shelter, etc. Brewing with generator power, not only did Lion Bridge get beer to us, they gave us one of the best IPAs brewed in Iowa in 2020 and I hope we get a taste of it again in 2021….minus the derecho.

Lion Bridge Off Grid

*Barn Town Nelson Sauvin Neon – 6.5% – as Barn Town’s Neon is becoming more available in Eastern Iowa, it has certainly taken its place amongst my ever revolving beer fridge as a staple. However, Barn Town decided to showcase different hops in their popular IPA and after tasting Nelson Sauvin Neon, dare I say I want more of this version? I love Nelson hops and the addition of this adds a nice peppery finish to an already delicious citrus IPA.

*Lua Algorithm – 4% ABV – trips to Des Moines in the last year certainly have been more common to get some to go beers from many of the breweries in that area and one certain stop has been Lua. Lua’s lineup of beers range from wonderful pilsners, hoppy IPAs, BA stouts, and one their extremely popular Pushpop lineup of brews! There were many that I really enjoyed but Algorithm was the one that stood out to me most. The combo of orange, mango and peaches can be enjoyed any time of the day! Lua is currently doing curbside only for the foreseeable future so make sure you place an order with them and pick up some amazing beer and food!

*Clock House Peanut Panic Porter – 5.5% – Clock House has had an amazing year with their beer releases and with the addition of a canning line they can get us our favorites more efficiently and timely. Of all the beers I’ve had of theirs this year, (I think I’ve had them all), their Peanut Panic Porter stood out. I’m a huge porter fan, Founders Porter is still one of my all-time favorite beers, and when Clock House added peanuts to this beer I was sold. Now, this isn’t a overly sweet “peanut butter” beer, this is boiled raw peanuts and some added cocoa nibs making this one of the best porters I’ve had and definitely the best peanut porter I’ve ever had. Still on tap I believe, give it a shot!

*Big Grove HDTV – 9.2% – galaxy hops gone mad! Big Grove took their popular Color TV and added a bunch more galaxy hops to it to give us this baby! A wonderful welcome addition to Richard the Whale day, HDTV is not only delicious, but it’s deceptively drinkable coming in at 9.2%. You still may be able to find cans of this in the wild or certain bars (Club 76 has it on tap).

Big Grove HDTV

*Single Speed Barrel-Aged Double Donuts – 10% – aged in Cedar Ridge single malt whiskey barrels? Yes please! Single Speed took inspiration from their popular Zach’s Mexican Donuts, threw it in some amazing whiskey barrels and barrel-aged Double Donuts was born! Luckily I have a few cans left of this and I have every intention to sit by the fireplace and watch the snowstorm blow in tomorrow night and sip and enjoy this wonderful brew!

*Pulpit Rock Double Dave-O – 7.6% – I remember having this beer way back in January at Marquee Pizza in Coralville during their anniversary celebration. Marquee always did a great job getting Pulpit Rock on tap (Thanks Sam!) when many places couldn’t and I remember thinking that it’s going to be nice being able to visit here, have some great food and sip on some Pulpit beers…..things have changed a bit because of the pandemic but Pulpit sure has adapted to the changing times and have done an amazing job getting their cans available in certain locations around Eastern Iowa (Need Pizza + Reds Alehouse). Double Dave-O stood out because of the hop profile. Citra and mosaic, two of my favorites made this a quenching IPA leaving me wanting another one!

Pulpit Rock Double Dave-O

*Dimensional Imperial Cinna-Man Bun – 11.7% – there are some beers that you can be a little hesitant to order because you’ve already played it out in your head how it was going to taste. With this particular beer, I thought for sure it would be way too sweet for me with over the top cinnamon, admittedly I was completely wrong. Dimensional brought balance to a beer that could have gone the complete opposite direction, especially for a pastry stout. Another great fall/winter beer to sip on, wish I had some more of it!

Dimensional Imperial Cinna-Man Bun

*Clock House Sweet Innocence – 5.2% – 42 lbs of black cherries added to this kettle sour which made for a truly refreshing beer to sip on on hot ass August night in Iowa. This is a beer that I hope to see again during the warmer months and if you haven’t tried it, if Clock House does release it again, it’s worth the trip to Cedar Rapids!

Clock House Sweet Innocence

There is the list! It’s always fun to compile but never easy to narrow down! With such a trying year in the beer/restaurant industry it is amazing on how these breweries have adapted to keep their businesses alive and to also keep us stocked with beer. A huge cheers to all of them and I hope you continue to support your local brewery and businesses. I know I probably missed your favorite of the year so please let me know what your list looks like! Cheers!

Pulpit Rock cans available at Need Pizza!!

Need Pizza is carrying 8 different Pulpit Rock brewery cans available for purchase! Beers available:

Pillow Talk-raspberry kettle sour
Blustery-pastry kettle sour w/blueberries, marshmallows, and vanilla sandwich cookies
Cabana Wear-pastry sour w/blueberry and lemonade mix
Donut Go Breakin’ My Heart-pastry kettle sour w/raspberries, cake donuts and powdered sugar
Pour Over Porter (Ethiopian)-robust coffee porter with Ethiopian Chelchele Kochere beans
Strata-G-Double IPA
Alma Mater-IPA
Some IPA-IPA

Tin Roost offering beer delivery on Black Wednesday! Featuring brews from Adventurous, Barn Town, Big Grove, Lua, and Pulpit Rock!

Tin Roost saves Thanksgiving!! An awesome idea from the North Liberty restaurant as they will be delivering beers directly to your doorstep on Wednesday, November 25th. Preorder will start Tuesday night. Here’s more from Tin Roost:

Alright, we’re just going to drop this little teaser right here! Mark your calendars because you are not going to want to miss this one. Our online store is going live Tuesday, November 24th @ 11am. We collaborated with 5 of our best buds in the Iowa Brewing scene to put together one KILLER Thanksgiving Beer Pack. The BEST part? We’re going to drop it like it’s hot directly on YOUR doorstep on Black Wednesday (contactless delivery, of course). Adventurous Brewing LLC. Barn Town Brewing. Big Grove Brewery. Lua Brewing. Pulpit Rock Brewing Company. More details with how to order and beer included coming soon. See you on Wednesday, November 25th with the fresh pack that’s gonna make your untappd buddies soooooooooooo jelly.

Weekend Releases: Big Grove + Pulpit Rock – Sours, IPAs, Stouts, + more

The Beer Gods continue to smile upon us even in this trying time as our wonderful brewers, brewery employees continue to get us great beer every damn week! Big Grove has been releasing 4 beers, many of them new, every week for the past how many weeks for their drive thru weekend operation and Pulpit has been pushing at least two releases every Friday! So, what do these breweries have for us this weekend?

PULPIT ROCK

JACUZZI MOVES

This beer has the moves, dancing with 600lbs of fresh strawberries and lemonade mix to give it that refreshing summer taste. Jacuzzi Moves – a strawberry and lemonade mix kettle pastry sour, $6.50/16oz. can, no limits

BLUSTERY

Blueberries, marshmallows, golden sandwich cookies oh my! Who could ask for a better combination? This blueberry sour will blow you away. Blustery is available this Friday. $6.50/16oz.can, no limits

Big Grove

BIG GROVE

TAILWIND

 The official beer of RAGBRAI is back! This light and crisp golden ale rolls into town with a hot, new look and four new pals.⁣

PEACH MOSH PIT

Gose featuring peaches, apricots, and plums. Sweet, tart, and the perfect patio beer.⁣

ALL NEW EVERYTHING

Hazy double IPA delivers bright, juicy, and fruity greatness by way of the all-new experimental cryo hop blend and pilsner malt. Get ready… this one shines!⁣

BOSTON CREAM PIE

Is a pie that’s actually a cake that’s actually a beer! Chocolate, vanilla, and lactose come together for decadent dessert in a can.⁣

TROPICAL FREAK OUT

Is our latest Gusher. Highlighted by a Snowbird sour ale base, we added heaps of pineapple and tangerine to take you straight to the tropical paradise of your dreams.

If you have a release coming up and would like me to post just shoot me an email! Cheers everyone!

Beer Baron’s Top 10 Iowa Beers of 2019!

top10.png

Another Top 10 list coming at you as I present to you, dear reader, my top 10 “Iowa Beers” of 2019! Once again, this list is of beers released in 2019, Iowa brewed, and with annual releases (Richard the Whale, GAZPROM!) they aren’t counted unless the brewery releases a beer with that base and a new adjunct to it. I’ve missed out on many beers this year, one being the B.A. Cake Walk from Pulpit which many of you were lucky enough to try. Another great year in Iowa Beer as our breweries keep turning out amazing things!

I’d also love to hear your Top 10 beers of the year, so shoot back on me here or on the Iowa Beer page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter! So, after tedious nights of drinking amazing beer, here’s my top 10 (in no particular order)!

**Big Grove Brewery Richard the Whale Hazelnut + Chocolate -11.5%- this is a beer that was overshadowed by the golden ticket release of Richard Coconut Vanilla, and maybe rightfully so as that beer is amazing, but if you have a bottle of this, drink it! You’d be hard pressed to find a beer with that much hazelnut flavor that is balanced perfect with chocolate. Big Grove continues to shine with their Richard series!

**Confluence Brewing Smoothest Road Hazy Triple IPA- 10% – Confluence teamed up with Weldwerks Brewing to come up with this Triple and they really nailed it. Smoothest in the title and that’s exactly what can be said about a triple that drinks like a regular hazy. Delicious and easy drinking, watch out for that 10% on this baby! Keep this coming Confluence!

**Clock House Brewing Pineapple Witch Slap– 6% – what a great year for Clock House as Todd and crew have been busy cranking out some delicious beers and even a few can/crowler releases. One of the most notable for me was an off shoot of their popular Witch Slap IPA, Pineapple Witch Slap. All the greatness from Witch Slap with some fresh tasting pineapple added to it. What I like the best in adjunct beers is when it doesn’t taste artificial, and this beer was the perfect example. Fresh pineapple, the perfect beer for a warm day or any day for that matter!

**Lion Bridge Brewing Home Baked – 11% – this was the beer that started off my 2019 and to top this beer would be quite an accomplishment! I must be a sucker for hazelnut in my stouts, and add some cinnamon and fudge and you have one of the best beers ever brewed in Iowa!

**Toppling Goliath Double Dry Hopped King Sue-7.8% – I’m not sure when this was actually released so if it was early then 2019, my bad. But, I recently had my first bottle of it and it has to be up there with the best IPAs brewed in the state. Delicious beer!

**Dimensional Brewing Imperial Peanut Butter Cup – 10% – was lucky enough to get this on tap on trip to Dubuque. If you did peanut butter porters/stouts then this is one you need to try. Not overly sweet either, that can be a deal breaker for me. Dimensional continues to do great things after celebrating their 1 year anniversary!

**Big Grove Richard the Whale Vanilla Coconut – 11.5% – one of the best beers of the year no doubt! The “golden ticket” beer has exceeded the hype. The coconut shines, and once again not too sweet. I don’t know how Big Grove can outdo themselves again next year, but I’m sure they will. A beer of the year nominee!

**Pulpit Rock Gravy Boat – 7.1% – I know it’s not the B.A. Cake Walk that would make everyone’s list if you tried it, but Pulpit is continually making great beers of almost every style. Their sours/stouts/pils/pastry stouts/IPAs are all delicious. Gravy Boat is an IPA that I could drink many of, and in fact, many of these pairs well with some Need Pizza!

**Clock House Snozberry Sour – 5% – one of the best kettle sours I’ve ever had as Clock House loaded this baby up with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Sessionable and not overly tart. This would be ideal on a hot summer day!

**Lion Bridge Double Maple GAZPROM! – 12% – barrel aged January was amazing in 2019 and expectations have been set high for 2020! One of the highlights along with Home Baked was Double Maple GAZPROM! They upped the maple dosage and turned this into an even more decadent delight!

Well, there’s this year’s list…..Once again, sooooo many great beers being produced in our lovely state that it is hard to get your hands on all of them! It’s a great problem to have! Cheers to the breweries and the folks in the brewing industry and thanks to all the readers of this blog and my @iabeerbaron twitter handle, as well as the Iowa Beer Facebook members. I would love to hear your top 10 so give me a shout! Cheers!

 

Iowa Eats Destination: Luna Valley Farm; Decorah, IA

luna valley.jpg

Sitting on a beautiful farmstead somewhere on the outskirts of Decorah, Iowa is one of the best hidden food destinations Iowa has to offer. Luna Valley Farm and their brick oven pizza coupled with the setting that they offer make this an Iowa eats destination for sure.

Most of my blog visitors have more than likely been to Decorah as it has two of Iowa’s most popular breweries in Toppling Goliath and Pulpit Rock. Both places are well worth the drive there as well and I’m also a big fan of Mabe’s pizza…BUT…..if you are there on a Friday night, no dinner plans, get google maps up and get to Luna Valley. Not only can you eat there, drink some great local brews, but you can also go glamping in one of their cabin/tents! Also, they are only open from 4-8 and ONLY on Fridays! Get there early, grab a seat in the barn, and enjoy.

Seeing how many people made it there on this particular Friday night makes me want to rethink calling it a “hidden” food destination. It’s a popular spot, very popular. Once the dough is out, that’s all she wrote. Luckily, we got there in time and got our orders in. The first thing I noticed when ordering was the excellent beer selection! Pulpit Rock, TG, PIVO and a few others on tap. I ordered a Saftig, and that beer and that setting is about as good as it gets!

 

The pizza was wonderful. Chewy crust, fresh toppings, and a great sauce. We went with the Iowaiian – bacon, pineapple, and jalapeno and the margherita and friends got the Pepperoncini pizza. All 3 were fantastic! Even with how busy they were the staff was extremely friendly, helpful and added to what was a memorable evening! Check it out the next time you hit Decorah on Friday night, you won’t be disappointed in this Iowa Eats Destination!