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.
My research partner and I dropped in a sunny Saturday evening, passing through town on our way back to Des Moines. Mason City Brewing is downtown in the Historic District, just blocks from the Music Man Square, a couple Frank Lloyd Wright properties, and other cool Mason City destinations. Approaching the front door, there was the hangout vibe you can only get a quiet summer evening. Opening the door gave us something else entirely: the place was packed, every table filled, a clutter of people gathered around the small bar rail, and Juni West in the front of the building, singing and strumming her guitar, I instantly just knew, this place was cooool.
A quick scan of the board of wares told me I would not be able to choose between beers easily, and we still had a drive ahead of us. Once again I just had to have my arm twisted into the only logical option: order a flight. We ordered, and while waiting for a delivery noticed traffic in and out the back door. Like the Wardrobe Door to Narnia, we had no choice but to go through. Once again, the Spirit of Adventure paid off as we found ourselves on a lovely back patio. We had found the last open table on the property, and sat down to bask in the warm summer night.
Does that not look beautiful?! The Brown Porter (#4) was one of my favorites. Full of flavor and super smooth. The Milk Stout (#8) surprised me, because it was actually a little more bitter than other milk stouts I have had. Still delicious, of course. The Oak-Aged Russian Imperial Stout was the opposite, much smoother than I was expecting for something aged in oak. That one went down the quickest. Sipping our selections of the patio was just what I needed to wrap up a long, chaotic week.
Browsing their calendar and Facebook page, it is clear to see there is always something go on at MCB. Live music on the weekends, Trivia Nights, a Paint-Your-Own Pottery evening and even a fundraiser for the earthquake victims of Nepal. There is seriously always something going on. I also love that their page’s cover photo is an image of their current beers on tap. EVERY BREWERY SHOULD DO THIS! My life would be so much easier!
I was over-the-top impressed with everything about Mason City Brewing, If you’re in the area, get there now, and if you’re not, its 100% worth the drive! I have a feeling I will be dropping in frequently on my trips from Des Moines to good ol’ AV.