Aren’t you just loving this weather?! Ok, not this weather, but the weather before Monday. And *hopefully* this weekend. I DEFINITELY am. For me, gorgeous weather = biking. I put my bike away for the winter the first week of December and had it back out my the first week of March. That’s a long enough hiatus. If you’re a biker, you know the excitement of a new bike jersey. It’s another way for us to express ourselves within our bike cult. So it should come as no surprise that my first jersey was one from a brewery: Exile Brewing in Des Moines. We stopped in for dinner one night and saw them on display and just had to have them. This year, the Easter Bunny left a pretty new one from SingleSpeed in my Easter basket. Good bunny. Continue reading
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
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’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
What goes hand-in-hand with Iowa breweries? State-wide treasure and national claim to fame: RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI is this thing that I love that I never had any intention to. I never in a million years thought I would EVER want to be that person that rides 40-80 miles per day for seven days in a row. I didn’t even think I still wanted to ride a bike on a regular basis. I mean, I have a car! But when my other half wooed me into bike rides in the Des Moines area with promises of cool bars and breweries along the bike trail, I decided to give it a go. And then the rides got further and further.And the 2014 route was announced and it was going through northern Iowa and was practically in my back yard. The next thing I knew, I was committed to training for RAGBRAI.
Photo courtesy of Bike Tech, Cedar Falls
As it turns out, I did not realize until I was already to the point of no return that biking is a cult. Continue reading
There are few things I love more about the great state of Iowa than our explosion of local breweries. In 2012, the Brewer’s Association listed 33 breweries in Iowa. Today, there are 57 and two more opening soon (according to Iowa Craft Beer Tent’s ongoing list).
I discovered my love for craft beer shortly after I moved to Iowa City in the fall of 2006. At that time, the only brewery I knew how to find was the one with a catchy song about the Colorado Rockies. But there is something in the air in that city. The longer you breathe it, the more you transform into a hipster. Naturally, I was a typical 19 year-old girl who hated beer, unless it was all I could get my underage hands on. All I really wanted was a Malibu and pineapple. And then I discovered Blue Moon. And it was freakin’ delicious.
Fast forward a few years later, I had a thirst for soaking up beer knowledge and trying new beers, an Old Chicago tour under my belt, and I considered myself an aficionado–or at least a wannabe one. However, I still hadn’t actually made it to a brewery. But as soon as I went to my first one–Exile in Des Moines in February of 2013–I was hooked! We are truly blessed in Iowa to have all these fantastic brew halls-long-establish and springing up–at our disposal. And we’re Iowans! When we’re not busy tipping cows and partying in corn fields, clearly we have nothing better to do, right?
So when my digital advertising professor challenged my class with the assignment of writing a blog about something that we not only enjoy, but is related to our future career goals, Iowa craft beer and breweries are the first thing that came to mind. And then I wondered, WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD DID I NOT START DOING THIS SOONER? I love my go-to breweries where I’m a regular, and I am ALWAYS down for a road trip to visit a new one.
So: stay tuned for the featured Brewery of the Week, Iowa Breweries in the News, and my own personal ramblings about the beers I’m drinking and the breweries I’m adventuring to. I am always open to comments and suggestions, and if you know an awesome place, TELL ME! I will probably come visit. And I’ll probably even buy you a beer.