A friend of mine recently shared an article, “The 10 Best Craft Breweries in Iowa.” I was proud to see I had been to most of them and agreed with their choices. I will admit though, I was a little surprised to see Mason City Brewing on the list. I knew there was a brewery in town, but I had never been to it. I grew up 40 miles east of Mason City and growing up, we made trips there for various reasons a couple times a month. From what I was certain I knew of Mason, the town was too slow, too old-fashioned for a hip, new brewery. Keeping in mind how incredibly hard it is for me to ever even whisper these words, let alone publish them on public record: I was wrong. Continue reading
Few things beat one of those first sunny afternoons of spring in Iowa when the weather is finally warm. Especially when you spend one hanging out at Peace Tree Brewing Company in Knoxville. Which is exactly what I did the Saturday before Easter. Its only a short drive from Des Moines and one that’s worth it if you’re not a local. This was my second trip there, but I’m sure there will be many to follow. They just recently celebrated their 5th Year Anniversary, and I won’t be surprised if I make it to their 50th.
Don’t you just love those first warm, sunny Sundays of Spring? Where the temperature pushes 70 degrees and the breeze is just right and its absolutely gorgeous out and you remember why you suffer through Iowa winters? I do. And that’s exactly what I got last week, a work-free, homework-free, gorgeous Sunday with nothing planned. It was just too good not to get the road bikes out and take that first long ride of the season. So we hopped on the trail and rode 7.2 miles worth of trails from West Des Moines to 515 Brewing. Breweries on bike trails are the best breweries, and when we arrived we discovered several others agreed with us. Great minds think alike.
When we walked in, the place was packed I could tell everyone else was in that same happy, Spring Fever mood. Seriously the best. In the name of research, we order a couple flights so we could try all 8 of 515’s current offerings. Continue reading
For this week’s installment of Brewery of the Week, I road tripped to Cedar Rapids in the name of research. Actually, I should say I went to Marion. Marion folk feel the way about saying they’re “from Cedar Rapids” the way Ankeny folk feel about saying they’re “from Des Moines.” You just don’t do that. After arriving to the destination address, I discovered you have to enter Another Road Brewing through the Progress Point Business Center. You then follow the stairs down, journey through a long winding hallway, and arrive at a tiny bar tucked away in the back room of a basement. It felt exactly like a Speakeasy. So of course, I loved it.
It is finally time to pay homage to the first brewery I ever visited: Exile Brewing Company in downtown Des Moines. My other half took me there for our first Valentine’s Day a couple years ago. Clearly this was the way to my heart. And I have loved the place since!
On my most recent trip, I had just come off a long, hectic Friday. I had travelled from Cedar Falls, to Ankeny, to the Des Moines airprot, then West Des Moines, followed by Perry, Woodward, Perry again, Ames, and back to Des Moines. By 5 pm. I was MORE than ready to a beverage to decompress. I joined the rest of the Friday After Work Crowd who was pouring in the door. As usual, Exile didn’t disappoint. My first beer that night was the Praha Dark Czech lager. This beer is almost inky black in color but soooo insanely smooth. I absolutely loved it. With dinner I ordered a Night Fall Porter. The description promised vanilla and velvety chocolate, and “the perfect pairing for the final stretch of winter.” It was also good, but not as good as the Czech.
I am hoping that if I promise to give you TWO Brewery of the Week posts this week, you will all forgive me for shorting you last week. I will try not to let you down again. I will spare you the list of excuses, but in truth this post was incredibly hard to write. I have been torn up about how to best approach this subject. I would never want to paint an Iowa brewery in bad light because I seriously believe in the greatness of all the options we have here and the potential we have to be a hotspot in the brewing world. However, I am also an overly honest person by nature and could never lie to my readers. Continue reading
I have been told to go to Broad Street Brewing in Reinbeck for years. Literally, years. I’ve always meant to. Reinbeck is only 20 miles down the road. The population is only 1600, and I’m no stranger to a small town. I grew up in a patch of 240 people contently nestled in the middle of a cornfield, tens of miles from the nearest stoplight. I have driven hours one way and back in a single day just to visit a brewery. So I do not honestly know what took me so dang long to get over there. Continue reading
I’m not going to lie, before my first trip to Firetrucker, I was a little skeptic. I have this inherent fear of theme restaurants, as most of them spend so much time investing in their “theme” and not nearly enough time investing in their menus and service. So while I can always appreciate something that pays homage to our brave firefighters, I was a little leery that this would be all firetrucks and dalmatians and no good beer. I could not have been more wrong. Continue reading
It’s only natural that I start my Brewery of the Week posts off with my favorite one, Singlespeed Brewing. Yes, I understand that living in Cedar Falls, I am limited on my options. But as someone who spends an awful lot of time in the Des Moines area and the breweries there, I would still take this one, hands down, any day of the week. For those of you who haven’t been there, you are seriously missing out. Nestled nicely on a bustling corner on Main Street, Singlespeed opened in December of 2012. Aside from the incredible ambience, cool community seating, and awesome bike décor all over the walls, what I love most about this brewery is their beers! And isn’t that the way it should be? Continue reading