Friday, November 14, 2014

Jessica's 5 Favorite Iowa Breweries

So last week you got a peek at Greg's top five favorite Iowa breweries. Now it's my turn. It was reeeeally hard to narrow it down. For one, some of our favorites overlap (namely, Big Grove, Kalona, and Broad Street). Second, there are a lot of breweries with beer I really love but that we haven't gotten around to physically visiting yet – like Peace Tree.

But anywho, without further ado... here are five of my favorite breweries. (Though these be numbered, they are in no particular order.) :)

1. Olde Main Brewing Co. | Ames, Iowa

This Ames brewery/restaurant is where I first really discovered my love for craft beer. One sip of their OffKilter Scottish Ale and I was wondering what I'd been missing out on all those times I claimed to "not like beer that much." It's must-visit whenever I'm in the Ames area and brings back so many memories of good times with friends while sitting at the bar. It was also sorta a first date spot for Greg and I. ;)

Tip: If you're lucky enough to live near this brewery, hit them up on Wednesday nights. Pints of their tasty brews go for just $1.

Try: During the holiday season, try the Reindeer Fuel. Rich chocolate and roasty malts make this a wonderful winter beer.

I couldn't find my photos of our Confluence visit :( so this is borrowed from their Facebook page until I do. 
2. Confluence Brewing Company | Des Moines, Iowa

While we had sampled their brews at beer fests, I became more familiar with Confluence while working at the NewBo City Market bar. They had me at South Side Citra Blonde. I'm not a big fan of lagers, but I love the Capitol Gold. Gray's Lake Nessie Scottish Ale, Farmer John's Brown, Wee Lassie, Camp Fire, and now the Milk Man – my list of beloved Confluence beers just keeps getting longer. Early last spring, we were finally able to make a quick stop in Des Moines to visit and spent a cozy couple hours sipping brews, playing cribbage, and enjoying the lakeside sunset.

Try: Everything. But really... lovers of citra hops (like myself) must try the South Side Citra. I cannot get enough of the stuff. 

3. Millstream Brewing Co. | Amana, Iowa

Good beer and good memories make this one of my favorites. The Amanas are a perfect halfway point for Greg and I, so Millstream makes a perfect little escape from the hustle and bustle of our weekends to just sit back with a beer. We love that there's always something going on here, from the brat festival (gotta love those flavored mini brats!) to live music. It's the best place to sit outside in the late summer, surrounded by blossoming hops. 

Try: I really like the Back Road Stout on chilly nights and the Schild Brau Amber with practically anything. But my absolute favorite is the Schokolade Bock. 

Tip: Schokolade is German for chocolate. ;)

4. Lion Bridge Brewing Company | Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Great location, great beers, and great people – Greg and I make it in almost every weekend. And as much as we're there, I'm completely ashamed that I haven't gotten around to posting a full write-up on this brewery. Rest assured, it will be coming soon! It's in one of my favorite little neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids: the Czech Village. Plus, it's housed in a renovated grocery store – and I'm a sucker for renovated buildings. The flagship beers are solid and Quinton's been cranking out some tasty, experimental brews lately, too. I'm partial to the Workman's Compensation. It reminds me a bit of my beloved OffKilter, but smoother and more drinkable – plus, since it's a session I can drink more of it. :) 

Tip: Order the munchies while you're there. The muffaletta fingers are mouthwateringly good.

Try: Whatever's on nitro. Lion Bridge has a rotating nitro tap. The smoked chocolate stout and workmans' comp are sinfully delicious on nitro.

5. SingleSpeed Brewing | Cedar Falls, Iowa

Greg and I visited this brewery quite recently and I can't wait to go back. It's in an adorable downtown Cedar Falls location. The interior design is killer – industrial stools, cool fans, and pendant lights made out of growlers. The bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable. It was a wonderful place to kill a couple hours sipping on their Roasted coffee stout. Yum.

Try: Their beer cocktails. It appeared that they're always experimenting and coming up with a new one. I really enjoyed the Roasted Russian Greg tried. Oh-so-very tasty.

Get in touch if you'd like to meet 'n' drink or write a guest post!

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