Saturday, March 14, 2015

Iowa Beer

 With new breweries popping up all the time, Iowa is quickly becoming a beer powerhouse state.  There are so many great options available it's hard to know where to start.  Toppling Goliath in Decorah has already made a name for themselves in the national beer industry.  Golden Nugget is a prime example of why.

Sure they make other great beers like Pseudo Sue that get more attention, and their barrel aged beers are really what has gained them national attention.  But when I'm looking for a great IPA, Golden Nugget is at the top of my list.  Now that this beer is readily available, I think it gets overlooked, but it's solid from start to finish.  Fresh hop aroma hits you right way, good solid malt backbone to compliment the loads of fresh nugget hops that go into this IPA.  Yet it's still incredibly smooth, and no too bitter.  Seriously in my top 3 best IPA's I've ever had.  Cheers to Clark and the gang at TG!
 I've heard a lot about this brewery online lately, but they don't sell in my neck of the woods.  Luckily, my amazing wife, Tonya, picked up this beauty on her latest business trip to Des Moines.

It's easy to see why this is a gold medal beer from the 2014 Great American beer Festival, especially as it warms to room temperature and breathes a bit.  Wow, there is a lot going on in this beer, from the chocolate to vanilla, great malt flavor, and again, it's extremely smooth and very drinkable.

Great work by the guys at West O Beer, I'm looking forward to trying more of their brews, and even have a Smoked Red Ale waiting in my fridge.  If you're in central or western Iowa, you need to seek their out their brews.
Okay, so Bell's isn't an Iowan brewery, but the are a Midwestern powerhouse.  This Michigan based brewery has been producing amazing beers for a while now, and it's great to see their expansion into Iowa.

Michigan is well known for their cherries, so it only makes since to make some beer with them.  Bell's produces another solid brew with their Cherry Stout, and they do a good job balancing the cherry flavor with their malt.

Bell's is one of those breweries that at any given time, you will find some in my collection, they just make good beer.  Period.

It seems spring has come early in Iowa this year.  The sun is out, the snow is mostly gone, and even the birds are chirping.  Spring is an interesting time of year, because you want to start drinking the lighter beers like IPA's and Wheats, but I know I still have some great Stouts in my collection that I can't let go to waste.  Either way, I know it's time to fire up the grill, and of course enjoy some great craft beer while doing so!

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Also, check out my fellow small town Iowan, Ronnie at
Remember, life is to short to drink bad beer.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Land of Cheese and Beer

 In my last blog, I said how New Glarus was one of my Top 3 favorite (non-Iowan) breweries and Enigma is a huge reason for that.
This is a Sour Brown Ale (see link below,) aged with cherries in oak barrels.  If you're not familiar with sour beers, this will be a beer experience like none other.  It's sweet, sour, smooth, yet complex, and always leaves you wanting more.  The first time I had one, I was bewildered by such a brew, and about half way through the glass, I decided it to be one of the beers beers I've ever had.  That still hold true today.  This is a limited release, and only sold in Wisconsin, so hurry to the land of cheese and beer before it's gone!

Pictured below is their Belgian Red with loads of cherries.  It makes the perfect desert beer, it's very sweet, so you might want to share the bottle with someone.
Desert in a glass
Several weeks ago I brewed a Porter with my fater in-law Larry.  Two weeks ago, I kegged the beer along with a very strong pot of dark roast coffee, and what you see below is the end result.  This young beer already had a thick foamy layer, leading to a smooth, and thick body for a very tasty beer.  This one needs to age a bit, and maybe a touch more carbonation, but it is a winner.  Thanks Larry for the help brewing, now you need to come over and help drink the "Old Man's Coffee Porter."

I'm going to keep this entry short, and in turn, will be adding another very soon.  A few Iowa beers will be highlighted next time.