Iowa Brewing Company

The new brew in town, Iowa Brewing Company

Iowa Brewing Company

When I moved to Cedar Rapids there was one brewery in town and one about 40 minutes out of town. A lot has changed in a short time and now there are five breweries in town and at least one more in the works, possibly two. Last weekend we were on the way to a cooking class and I purposely drove by a brewery that has been in the planning stage for around two years and was excited to see lots of people inside. I didn’t even think about it, we were going there after our sushi class. Honestly, what’s better than beer? Probably only free beer. Turns out we walked into Iowa Brewing Company’s soft opening. The beer community being the beer community, we were told to come on in for some samples and friendly conversation. Funny enough this isn’t the first time this has happened. We got a chance to speak with a couple investors and it always brings me pleasure to hear the passion and enthusiasm. One of the majority owners had a hand in Great Divide Brewing Co in Denver so things seemed pretty well planned out with 1,000 kegs in cold storage ready to roll out the back door. We sampled everything they had that night, got a few glasses and a crowler of IPA to go and went home. The official opening is this week and we will definitely stop by, I urge anyone else in town to do the same.

Iowa Brewing Company

On Wednesday I finally opened up the crowler. I do love IPA’s but am very picky about them. I prefer them to be around 50 IBU’s and the hops absolutely must be balanced with the malts. Once the beer warmed up a little it was a nice balanced, citrusy beer with a finish a bit on the sweeter side. If you don’t go for the IPA they have a few other beers and more planned. I look forward to seeing what they produce in the future.

Iowa Brewing Company

You can find Iowa Brewing Company at 708 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

The website doesn’t have much info currently but check back, I’m sure more info is on the way soon!

Iowa Brewing Company

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Beer review: Saison

I’m sitting outside (finally) drinking a petite saison that I kegged just under two weeks ago that has barely matured to the point of being decent and wondering what we should post for WFF. How about a saison. One of my favorite saisons came from Bent River Brewery near my home town in Moline, IL. They didn’t have much on the website and I couldn’t find any public domain images to post so a general post on saison beers will do.

Saisons are sturdy farmhouse ales that were traditionally brewed in the winter, to be consumed throughout the summer months. Not so long ago it was close to being an endangered style, but over recent years there’s been a massive revival; especially in the US. It is a very complex style; many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor. Look for earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Lots of spice and with a medium bitterness. They tend to be semi-dry with many only having touch of sweetness.

Like I mentioned Bent River makes a good saison (if you can find them in the grocery check out the Jalapeño Pepper Ale and Uncommon Stout to, damn good) but there are a ton of good saisons. Some of the more commercially available ones are from Ommegang, Bells and Hoegaarden. Or if you can find a saison with Brett, it adds a subtle sour and is probably one of my top three beers right now.

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project review

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

Crooked Stave

I have been on a huge sour beer kick lately. I guess it’s not just me, it’s the entire U.S. at the moment. Right now sour beers are the current trend in craft brew and if you haven’t ventured past your comfort zone I highly recommend you seek some out. Some common types of sours are Berlinerweiss, Oud Bruin and Lambics.Sour beer are… well sour for one and fermented with certain yeast strains that give them their characters. Lactobacillus and Pediococcus are some of the typical strains that can be found in a sour a beer. All beers that come out of Crooked Stave are fermented with Brettanomyces and aged in oak tanks, some for a year or more.

I stumbled upon these beers somewhat by accident. Our local grocery store has beer and liquor tastings every Friday and a few months back were giving out samples of Colorado Wild Sage and Surette Provision Saison. I was immediately hooked and went to find a couple bottles to take home. Not only am I on a sour kick at the moment I’m also on a Saison kick so the Surette Provision I found extra tasty. It is a golden colored beer with a bit haze and a strong smell of Brett. Sour up front, almost a lemon sour kick to the face. It may have just been my bottle or the batch but it was a bit low on carbonation. These beers are bottle conditioned so that could be the reason for low levels of CO2. The Colorado Wild Sage was just as good with a strong aroma and taste of sage that I would also highly recommend.

If you happen to live in the Denver area, be sure to visit this place and support it. Otherwise be sure to look for these in your grocery store, you won’t regret it. The Crooked Stave website is a bit lacking but check back for updates on new releases and event.s

Crooked Stave

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Bell’s Oberon review

Bell’s Oberon

Bell's Oberon

This household thoroughly enjoys whiskey, we indulge at least once a week. I was gifted my first bottle of Crown Royal shortly after my 21st birthday on Christmas and haven’t stopped drinking Crown and Coke ever since. Irish, Canadian, Kentucky, Iowan, everything but Jack. Okay I’ll take Honey Jack but would take Canadian Club over regular Jack. But I’m also a home brewer and have been a beer drinker since my dad gave me an Old Style at an early age. Great beer BTW. This leads us to our first beer review, Bell’s Oberon. I hate to admit but I was oblivious to Oberon before I met Tiffany. Being a Michigander she grew up with this bliss on every corner and thankfully bought some our first spring together.

Bell’s Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer. Brewed with Hersbrucker hops for bittering and Saaz for aroma and flavor, if I’m not careful I can drink Oberon like a session beer. I look forward to brewing a clone recipe next weekend and hope it is semi close to the original. If you are in the Midwest, you must find this beer. Bell’s has a lot of good beer, for more variety and availably check out the website.

 

Bell's Oberon
Bell's Oberon

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Templeton Rye review

Templeton Rye review

Templeton Rye review

If you had too much Irish whiskey last night and need a bit of “hair of the dog” go see if you local liquor store has a bottle of Templeton Rye whiskey and sip on some while reading our review.

Templeton Rye refers to rye whiskey originally made in Templeton, Iowa during the prohibition era as a way for farmers in the Carroll County area to supplement their income. Made of 95 percent rye and amber in color, it was considered to be of particularly high quality and was popular in Chicago, Omaha, and Kansas City speakeasies. It was said to be the Al Capone’s drink of choice. There is a lot of history behind the prohibition era whiskey, if you want to know more check out the Templeton Rye website for info and recipes. In the recent past there was a bit of controversy about the origination of the whiskey… Iowa or Indiana. In the end, who cares, they make a damn fine sipping whiskey and that is all Ansel and Opie needs.

Nose: Dry, grassy, natural spice

Taste: Hint of caramel, butterscotch, toffee and allspice.

Finish: Balanced, clean and silky smooth.

 

Traditional Old Fashioned

Templeton Rye review

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 OZ.TEMPLETON RYE
  • 2 DASHES ANGOSTURA AROMATIC BITTERS
  • 1 TSP.DEMERARA SUGAR
  • SIMPLE SYRUP
  • ORANGE AND CHERRY MASH

INSTRUCTIONS

Dissolve demerara sugar in hot water. Add Templeton Rye, bitters and ice. Stir until properly chilled and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a couple of ice cubes. Garnish with a large orange disc or twist.

The Capone

Templeton Rye review

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 OZ.TEMPLETON RYE
  • 3/4 OZ.GRAND MARNIER
  • 1 OZ.CHAMPAGNE
  • DASHOF BITTERS

INSTRUCTIONS

Place Templeton Rye, Grand Marnier and bitters into a cocktail shaker. Vigorously shake to combine the mixture. Strain into a martini glass and then add champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Templeton Rye review

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Cody Road Bourbon review

Cody Road Bourbon review

Cody Road Bourbon review

Whenever I travel I make it a point to shop, eat and drink local. Well, that’s no different when I am home, skip the chains and support your hometown business. That said Mississippi River Distilling is at the top of my list for favorite bourbons. Truth be told their gin is my all time favorite that I highly recommend but we’ll save that for another time and stick with whiskies for a bit. The distillery, and its location in LeClaire Iowa, have an interesting history and story. Cody Road, named after the road the distillery is on (which is named after Buffalo Bill Cody). If you’re traveling East on Interstate 80 I recommend a quick stop just before crossing into Illinois. LeClaire is a quaint town with a lot to offer.

Cody Road Bourbon review

Cody Road bourbon is made form a mash of 70% corn from LeClaire, 20% wheat and 10% unmalted barley from Reynolds, IL. In fact everything they put in a bottle is locally grown. Aged for two years in newly charred 30 gallon oak barrels (not quite locally made but floated down the Mississippi) and hand bottled. A detail you only get with a small craft distillery are the batch and bottle number hand written on the label which you can look up on the MRDC website and read the batch notes.

Cody Road Bourbon is a flavor and aroma experience unlike any other. Sweetness of corn, light fruit from wheat and a grassy, nutty finish from the unmalted barley. Vanilla and caramel from the oak dance around the sweet grain. Bottled at 90 proof, this bourbon has enough kick to know it’s bourbon, but a beautifully smooth finish. It is a grain forward whiskey and remarkably unique.

Best enjoyed neat.

 

Visit the website to see all the spirits they offer and buy some swag.

Cody Road Bourbon review

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