Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Cellar Peanut Pub | Oskaloosa, Iowa

I hail from the small town of Oskaloosa, Iowa. In recent years, cool new businesses have been popping up all over Osky. From a cool coffee house to antique stores to a bookstore housed it what was one of Osky's first banks. And now, Marty and Betsy Duffy have added a pub to that roster.

The Cellar Peanut Pub is set apart from Osky's handful of small town bars by its renovated, historical building and amazing beer selection. Last winter when a hometown friend told me that Osky had a bar with  "like a hundred" beers, I doubted them. At the time, I was just getting into the brews. And there wasn't even anywhere in Ames with that much beer. So while I kinda laughed it off, the idea of that many beers and a cool bar in Osky sat at the back of my mind.

A couple months ago, Greg and I paid a visit to Oskaloo' and made a stop at the Cellar Peanut Pub. We were beyond impressed. So when I started this blog to review beers, breweries, and pubs, I knew that we'd have to return soonly so that this Oskaloosa gem could be one of the first features.

Before I go too much further into our visit, I want to talk about one of the things that really makes this pub different: the rich history ofs its building. The edifice is a historical Rock Island Depot, one of the few train stations in Oskaloosa that provided transportation out-of-town and brought immigrants into the county. It was a bustling place back in 1910, though it fell into disrepair in later decades. It sat abandoned and derelict in 1999. In 2008, it was converted to a restaurant called the Rock Island Pub & Grill, but eventually closed down. And then this past December 2012, it reopened as the Cellar Peanut Pub.

The way the interior has been restored, renovated, and decorated is spot on. It's a perfect atmosphere for a depot pub: eclectic meets vintage, rustic meets urban, small town feel meets big city brew selection. The wood floors and trim in the place are a mix of the beautifully worn and the polished. I spend a lot of my time there staring at the ceiling with its reclaimed wooden boards in an array of gorgeous colors. 

Pssst! See larger photos of The Cellar Peanut Pub on Yeast Love & Hoppiness' Facebook page and on Yeast Love & Hoppiness' Pinterest board.

New and vintage beer signs, wall decor, and memorabilia fill the space, blending with the rustic wood grain and exposed brick. There's a lot to look at and I've noticed something new on each visit. I particularly love the vintage beer cans lined along the wall and all the colorful beer advertisement posters. 

The stairs lead up to a loft that overlooks the bar below and offers a great view of the building's stunning ceiling and upstairs windows. There's a second bar up there, too. We've only visited on lazy Saturday afternoons, but I can imagine that the loft fills up with patrons on busy weekend nights. 

I love to picture the train passengers that once came in and out of this building. I'm a big history buff and lover of restoring and renovating rather than demolishing. It warms my heart to see a piece of Oskaloosa's history preserved, especially when its the last standing train station in the town. Beyond that, I'm pleased that it was preserved into something that people use. Not just a lonely museum or landmark with a plaque out front. The Cellar Peanut Pub has breathed new life into the old Rock Island Depot. And that's something to be proud of.

Oh! And between gaping at the eclectic decor, gorgeous wood surfaces, brickwork, and stained glass windows... we did accomplish our main mission of drinking some brews. Greg started out with Big Sky IPA, me with a Stone RuinTen. He followed up with a Nadia from Exile Brewing in Des Moines, me with a Green Flash Saison Diego. (Reviews will be coming soonly.)

Pssst! See larger photos of The Cellar Peanut Pub on Yeast Love & Hoppiness' Facebook page and on Yeast Love & Hoppiness' Pinterest board.

The Cellar Peanut Pub has a phenomenal beer selection. Beyond the historical preservation and cool vibes, the beer selection rivals the pubs I've visited in the larger towns I've lived in. In all that I can recall, only El Bait Shop in Des Moines outnumbers the Cellar Peanut Pub's selection. This pub has pages of bottled beers that are available: everyday domestics, lots of imports, and a fantastic variety of craft beers from Iowa and around the country. 

Plus, you can munch on strategically placed baskets of peanuts. And while I still have trouble with this concept of throwing food crumbs on the floor, you're actually supposed to throw the peanut shells on the floor. (I wonder if it soaks up any beer drippings/moisture?)

Since visiting, the Cellar Peanut Pub has risen to to become of one my favorite pubs. Besides my family, the coffee house, antique stores, and the book shop... I now have one more thing to look forward to when I visit my hometown. Small but spacious, cozy and inviting, oozing with historical character, and boasting a grand selection of brews, I really wish that I had something like this nearer by. The Cellar Peanut Pub is a one-of-a-kind place that brings outstanding beer to Oskaloosa. Marty and Betsy should be so proud of what they've created! I can't wait to see what's to come in the future for the Cellar Peanut Pub... and for our next visit!

You can visit the Cellar Peanut Pub at 206 Rock Island Avenue in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Follow the Cellar Peanut Pub on Twitter and like the Cellar Peanut Pub on Facebook to keep up with their inventory updates, special events, and news.

Stay tuned for a post about the Cellar Peanut Pub from Greg, including the beers we tried! :)

Pssst! See larger photos of The Cellar Peanut Pub on Yeast Love & Hoppiness' Facebook page and on Yeast Love & Hoppiness' Pinterest board.

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