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!**


1st Look at Stone Master of Disguise Imperial Golden Stout

stoneWow, this looks interesting! Back in September it was announced that Stone Brewing was releasing an Imperial Golden Stout as part of their Stochasticity Project series. Reading it is one thing but seeing it is another as this brew totally has my attention now. Stone continues to pull out all the stops and entertain us beer fans with their creativity and uniqueness while usually delivering a pretty damn good brew. More from Stone on this brew:

Things aren’t always what they seem, but not all deception is devious. Some illusions and misnomers lead to life’s most delightful surprises. Case in point—this beer, the yang to the yin that is the black India pale ale. Once revolutionary for its onyx appearance, it is now an accepted and beloved member of the India pale ale family tree. Thus we took the spirit of a dark beer—the time-honored stout—and applied a similar science of thought, brewing it to be golden-hued. That is what this experimental series and its latest creation are all about. Cocoa and coffee beans impart roastiness sans darkening to this brew, while flaked oats provide an enveloping mouthfeel. The result is a stout that looks more like a blonde, but is a raven beauty at heart.

Coming in at 8.8% it will be available in 22 oz bombers and will be available next month. The picture is courtesy of Stone’s Facebook page.

Stone Releases Update: Xocoveza Mocha Stout and Hibiscusicity

stoneThe following information comes from 

Stone Xocoveza Mocha Stout

August 25th, 2014

starts shipping to distributors

September 8th, 2014

public national release date

Stats: 8.1% ABV, 50 IBUs

Availability: Limited22-ounce bottles and draft

Hops Bill: English Challenger, English East Kent Goldings

Commercial Description

“This year’s American Homebrewers Association winner, Chris Banker, helped keep us grounded to our homebrewing roots by introducing flavors consistent with our regional palate. His chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, chile pepper and coffee-infused milk stout was built to mimic the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate, a beloved specialty from our neighbors to the south, as our callaborators from Baja California, Cervezeria Insurgente, will attest. Layered with tiers of earthiness, spice and roast, this creamy, semisweet blue-ribbon beer confirms that the spirit of the American homebrewer is not only alive and kicking, but thriving on an all-time high.”

Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico

stone hibiscusSTONE Hibiscusicity

September 1st, 2014

starts shipping to distributors

September 15th, 2014

public national release date

Hops bill: Sterling

Special ingredients: Hibiscus flower and orange peel

Packaging: 22oz Bottles and draft

Stats: 7.5-8% ABV (TBA)

Available in: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, and WA


The Stone Stochasticity Project’s recent creation of an imperial golden stout might lead one to believe this pink-hued brew is aesthetically driven, but its outwardly brilliant color is merely a side effect of our pursuit of intense flavor. It takes an immense dosing of dried hibiscus flowers—a full pound (roughly two kajillion deep crimson plant petals)—to infuse the essence of flor de Jamaica into this Belgian-style ale. Wheat and dried orange peel enhance the inherent flavors of hibiscus while bringing citrus notes and increased drinkability to the beer. One taste is all it takes to clearly see there is so much more to this beer than its looks.

Stone’s Next Project: Enjoy After Series Brett IPA

stoneThe only thing that the article does not talk about is where these beers will be distributed and when. So fellow Iowans, keep our fingers crossed because this sounds amazing and Stone’s marketing and labeling hits another home run. The article is from 

Here’s your breaking beer news of the day…and in a few days you’ll see it elsewhere so check it out here first!  Stone will be launching a new series of beers that are called Enjoy After.  This is the first edition and it will be Enjoy After 10.31.15.  Playing on the success of their Enjoy By series of beers, this series takes the opposite tack and recommends you cellar the IPA until at least the date on the label so it has a chance to develop and mature.  This IPA will be “spiked” at the time of bottling with Brettanomyces wild yeast and the date on the bottle indicates the earliest you should open the beer because that is how long it will take to be fully carbonated.  Stay tuned for release details.

Stone Brewing Update: Unapologetic IPA + Coffee Milk Stout coming

stoneThe following information comes courtesy of More brews from Stone Brewing are on their way and they both sound terrific!

(Escondido, CA) – Some brief news on a pair of upcoming Stone Brewing Co. beer releases…

First, a release date has been set for Beachwood / Heretic / Stone Unapologetic IPA, according to company marketing materials. The beer will ship next week with an intended launch date of June 30th. More on the beer below…

When you get three hopheads together to collaborate on a beer, it’s only natural to expect some hopped up liquid incarnation of their lupulin lust to spring forth from such a session. Maybe it seems passé to some—three masters of hoppy beer once again exploring the familiar territory of the India pale ale. After all, who needs yet another IPA, double or otherwise, right? It’s all been done. To those who feel this way, this trio’s reply is: “So what?” In birthing a double IPA made bitter and fruity care of a mélange of new and experimental hops (Azacca, Belma, and yet-to-be-named varieties from Washington’s Yakima Valley), they aren’t staying in a comfort zone—they’re hitting a sweet spot in the name of all that is good, delicious, hoppy and forward-thinking to create an IPA that’s both like and unlike anything they, or you, have ever tasted. Rife with essence of pine, resin, and fruits both citrus and tropical, there’s no need for apologies with this beer. All that’s necessary is a yearning for hops, a sturdy constitution and an empty glass.

Hops bill: Belma, HBC342, Azzaca, and Steiner 06300
Packaging: 22oz bottles and draft
Stats: 9% ABV / 90-100 IBUs

stone coffee milk stoutAlso coming this summer is Stone Coffee Milk Stout, previously known as Gallagher’s After Dinner Stout at Liberty Station. The beer will replace Stone Saison in the seasonal six-pack rotation on August 4th. Marketing copy below…

Stone Release Updates: RuinTen + Unapologetic IPA , more!

StoneStone will be bringing back RuinTen IPA to our shelves this June and also have set dates for future releases and hopefully we will see some of their 22 oz bomber IPA offerings. Their newest, is Unapologetic IPA brewed in collaboration with Beachwood Brewing Company. Here’s more info on the latest courtesy of

(Escondido, CA) – Details have emerged for the re-release of Stone Brewing Co.’s RuinTen IPA. The beer will first make a soft landing in the company’s Mixed 4 Pack (22oz.) on June 9th. The pack also features Stone IPA, Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA and Stone Ruination IPA. A week later, RuinTen IPA will strike out on its own in single-serve 22 oz. bottles. 

 Stone Brewing Co. is set to release another a limited beer in 22 oz. bottles and guess what style it is?

The company addresses the issue of brewing Double IPA after Double IPA head-on in the label copy for Unapologetic IPA, a collab with Beachwood Brewing and Heretic Brewing.

When you get three hopheads together to collaborate on a beer, it’s only natural to expect some hopped-up liquid incarnation of their lupulin lust to spring forth from such a session. Maybe it seems passe to some- three masters of hoppy beer once again exploring the familiar territory of the India pale ale. After all, who needs yet another IPA, double or otherwise, right? It’s all been done. To those who feel this way, this trio’s reply is: “So what?”

In birthing a double IPA made bitter and fruity care of a melange of new and experimental hops (Azacca and Belma, as well as HBC 342 and Steiner 06300, yet-to-be-named varieties from Washington’s Yakima Valley), they aren’t staying in a comfort zone […]

The company just released Collective Distortion IPA and will release a couple more Double IPAs in the next few weeks. No release date has been announced for Unapologetic IPA. Here are some other upcoming beers (note that this list is subject to change):

Keri Kelli Kyle Hollingsworth Stone Collective Distortion IPA – Just released on 5/19 (Also available on limited tour)
Stone Enjoy By 07.04.14 IPA – 5/30
Stone Stochasticity Project Quadrotriticale – 6/2
Stone RuinTen IPA in Mixed 4-Packs only – 6/9
Stone RuinTen IPA – 6/16
Beachwood Heretic Stone Unapologetic IPA – No ETA announced
Stone 18th Anniversary Ale – 8/18
Stone Smoked Porter Fall Release – 9/29
Double Bastard Ale – 10/31
Lukcy Basartd Ale – 10/31
Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean – 12/1

New Stone Stochasticity Project beer hitting shelves June 2nd

stoneThe following information comes courtesy of

(Escondido, CA) – In hopes that Stone Brewing Co. manages to escape the Cocos Fire unscathed, the company is planning a special release for the first week of June. Stone Stochasticity Project Quadrotriticale slated for a June 2nd release. Below is some marketing copy on the beer.

A lost member of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series:
When testing the inherent makeup of the quadrupel—the warmest and darkest of Trappist monastery beer styles—we added triticale, a hybrid grain combining the pleasant flavor of wheat with the elemental durability of rye. We originally explored this nouveau twist on a traditional style in 2010, when brewing a test batch of a potential beer in our Stone Vertical Epic Ale series. Brewmaster Mitch Steele reached for and subsequently improved on that pilot recipe, bringing it to life as part of the Stone Stochasticity Project. The result is a quad that’s lower in sweetness, but rich with dried fruit and spice nuances.

Stone Smoked Porter w/Chipotle Peppers hits May 5th


stoneThe following comes from

(Escondido, CA) – Stone Brewing Co. has released a new beer just about every week it seems and the first week of May will be no different. Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers arrives in stores the week of May 5th. More below on the beer…

In 2006, Chris Carroll, a longtime member of Team Stone, took that adage literally, proposing that we produce a one-off version of our venerable Stone Smoked Porter made spicy from the addition of chipotle peppers. We gave it a shot and found that those smoked jalapeños melded quite naturally with the smoldery peat-smoked malt that gives the beer its flavor and moniker, creating a deep, roasty quaff with a carefully restrained tingle of tasteful capsaicin heat in the finish.

Hops bill: Columbus & Mt. Hood
Malt Bill: Pale Malt, Crystal 75, Chocolate Malt, Peat-Smoked Malt
Packaging: 22oz Bottles and Draft
Stats: 5.9% ABV / 53 IBUs


Stone Saison coming in Mid-April

stoneTheir first real “seasonal” beer according to is coming this April. More from

Though the company has released beers like Double Bastard Ale on an annual basis, it has been steadfast that those not be considered “seasonals.” That changes with Stone Saison which is branded as a “spring-to-summer” beer according to marketing materials.

As a Saison fan I’m very excited to see what Stone brings to the table with a Saison. Their Matt’s Burning Rosids was very good, very smoky, and pretty heavy on the ABV being in a 22 oz bomber. With the Saison 6-packs I’m hoping for a more moderate 6% ABV and having a few after the first few morel mushroom hunting sessions of the spring. Here’s more from Stone:

In spring 2011, Stone bought the farm, literally, taking over 19 acres of fertile Southern California soil where we now grow pristine fruits, vegetables, herbs and more for our Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens restaurants. A taste of our homespun farm-to-table is provided in this farmhouse ale stoked with lemon zest, lemon thyme and lavender straight from Stone Farms. This spring-to-summer saison is citric and herbal on the palate with a dry, peppery finish. Thanks to the infusion of fresh West Coast ingredients, Stone Saison isn’t your everyday saison. It’s our saison — 100% Stone. Celebrate the sunny season with an authentic taste of our farm and, with it, our commitment to quality.

New to Shelves this Week: Off Color, Stone RIS, Peace Tree

off colorSome brews and breweries hitting shelves and tap lines this week have quite a few people excited. I was lucky enough to be at the Sanctuary in downtown Iowa City last Tuesday and got to try Off Color Brewings Dino’smores! An imperial stout that really gives you the marshmallow/graham cracker/chocolate that I was hoping to taste.  Really, really enjoyed it. It would be the perfect accompaniment to a nice fall evening! I know Off Color has Dino’smores on certain taplines (Reds Alehouse,Sanctuary) but I’m not sure who else has it. Scurry and Troublesome from Off Color are available as well but I can’t tell you exactly who has them, I would contact your liquor store. Here’s more on those 3 Off Color beers, if you see more from them or know who else has their bottles/taps, drop me a line. Thanks!

Off Color Dino’smores: 
Ratebeer: 94/100
Beeradvocate: 91/100
Style: Imperial Stout
From the brewery:
Imperial Marshmallow Stout brewed with graham crackers, cocoa nibs, & vanilla beans

Off Color Scurry:
Ratebeer: 84/100
Beeradvocate: 84/100
Style: Altbier
From the brewery:
Honey beer with molasses and oats 
Don’t let the color scare you. This surprisingly dry beer retains all the aroma and nuance of honey (from bees) and molasses (not from bees) creating the perception of sweetness through cool, controlled fermentation. Because we’re sweet enough dammit. 

Off Color Troublesome:
Ratebeer: 87/100
Beeradvocate: 87/100
Style: Gose
From the brewery:
Most brewers spend a lot of time and effort keeping lactobacillus out of their breweries; it was the first thing we brought in (it still has to stay in the corner though). We blend together two different beers to make Troublesome. The first is a somewhat uninteresting wheat beer and the second is an overly acidic & funky beer fermented solely with lactobacillus. We blend the two beers together with coriander and salt at the tail end of fermentation to create a mild, lemony tartness and a fuller sensation of mouthfeel. And yes, it’s hard to make.

no coastAlso coming this week is Stone Russian Imperial Stout and Peace Tree No Coast. I haven’t had either of these beers yet so I’m really excited to give them a try. The Stone RIS and Peace Tree beers should be available for purchase tomorrow, not sure on when/if we will see them on tap. Here’s more on these two beers.

Stone Russian Imperial Stout:

Ratebeer: 100/100
Beeradvocate: 97/100
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
From the brewery:
“There’s no question that Stone Imperial Stout is revered among enthusiasts,” states Stone CEO Greg Koch. “I know, because I’m one of ’em and I can hardly wait for it to come out each year!” Some may think that a late Spring release for a special brew of this sort is an odd time for it to come out onto the market. Koch justifies this with the rationalization “What better than a warm time of year to come out with a brew that tastes great as it warms up!” That’s because “ice cold” is certainly not the appropriate way to serve the beer. Nearly without exception, the darker, richer and more alcoholic a brew is, the warmer the serving temperature should be. The Stone Imperial Stout label describes the brew as being “intensely aromatic (notes of anise, black currants, coffee, roastiness and alcohol) and heavy on the palate…expect this mysterious brew to pour like used motor oil and taste even heavier! Serve at 55 degrees.”