Friday, May 4, 2018


 By now everyone's heard of Toppling Goliath and Pulpit Rock breweries in Decorah, IA, but less than 15 minutes south of them in the little town of Calmar, IA there's a new brewery in town called Pivo.

I recently sat down with Craig, the owner of Pivo Brewery to record a podcast (more on that later) and share a few beers.  The first thing I noticed was the warmth in the huge beer hall.  It was very open and inviting.  I immediately wanted to grab a beer and sit in the courtyard (coming soon) in the sun with friends to relax.  After talking with Craig, this seems to  be exactly the kind of feel he was shooting for.  A gathering place for the town and travelers to come and enjoy each others company while also enjoying a beer from his gigantic tap list.  Craig currently has nearly 30 Pivo beers and ciders on tap with another 9 guest beers and even a rootbeer on tap.  I've been to a lot of breweries over the years, and this may be one of the largest tap lists I've ever seen.
 During my tour I quickly noticed the planning and attention to detail that went into opening Pivo.  Little things like saving old church pews for 10 years, or patches, bottle openers, stickers and other knick knacks that became the bar top under a hefty layer of lacquer.  To larger things like space for 6 more tanks (already plumbed) to go into the brewhouse, and even room for an event center.

Then of course, there is the beer.  Even with the large tap list, Craig wants his beer to be approachable by all.  Styles ranging from Czech Pilsner, to Saison, IPA to Milk Stout.  How about a Chipotle Pumpkin Saison (great chile flavor with a good amount of heat, but not so much that you don't want to keep drinking to,) or a Cucumber Pale Ale?  This may have been my favorite of the afternoon.  A nice solid Pale Ale with loads of fresh cucumber flavor and aroma.  I could see enjoying a few pints of this in their courtyard, or even getting a growler or crowler (yes they do have both if you would like some beer to go) fill to enjoy in my own backyard.
 Craig hasn't gone through the process of starting a brewery on his own, his wife and business partner Sara has been with him the whole time, while creating a business of her own to complement Craig's in the same building.  Sara is an artist that uses ceramic tiles to display her talent as well as creating incredible Baltic Eggs.  She also do several art classes in her art studio located in the second floor (I'm told there's a free beer for every class.)  You can check out more of Craig's and Sara's creations on their website  Or just stop in for a beer and check out their gift shop.
The giant homemade bar with 40 taps behind it
As always you can find my podcast on your favorite carrier, iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, and Patreon, just search "Crinkletalk" and enjoy Episode 4, recorded with Craig from Pivo Brewery.

Don't forget to check out the great designs from my good buddy Dan on
He'll have new inventory up soon!  Dan has been designing since before I knew him (and that's over 20 years now!) I encourage everyone to check out his website.  You can take a look at some of his awesome designs on Instagram "unclemedardoutdoor."  He even created my awesome new podcast logo.
This is going to be a big year for the Crinkletalk podcast.  I have some exciting guests line up and some things in the works to make the podcast bigger and better than ever.  Thanks to all that have given me their support and help along the way.   I hope you enjoy listening to the podcast as much as I enjoy creating it.  Cheers!

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