Rumor: Old Man River Brewing Coming to Iowa City

posted on February 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm by Ken Valley in Craft Beer

Old Man River Brewing

Old Man River Brewing

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting the local brewpub in McGregor, Iowa: Old Man River Brewing Company. Over the course of the meal, we got the scoop of several expansions the brewery was planning:

  1. There are plans in the works to possibly expand to a location in Dubuque, Iowa, including the restaurant and brewery
  2. Also, and more exciting for us personally, there is a rumor that the brewery is looking into expanding to Iowa City and create a production brewery. This will allow them to distribute the beers created at the brewpub, including a dunkel and a helles (also which happen to be the beers I had while at the restaurant – both were great). Hopefully a tasting room is in the plans.

This wasn’t the first time I had heard the rumor of the brewery coming to Iowa City, but I was glad to have it confirmed by another source who worked there.

What do you think? Have you heard about either one of these rumors?

Big Sky Brewing Cowboy Coffee Porter

posted on February 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm by Ken Valley in Beer Reviews,Craft Beer

Big Sky Brewing Cowboy Coffee Porter

Big Sky Brewing Cowboy Coffee Porter

Over the weekend, I had a chance to try a Big Sky Brewing Cowboy Coffee Porter.

It started out with a roasted scent, but even though it has coffee as an ingredient, it was difficult to pick it out.

With the taste, it had a medium to light body, and tasted like chocolate with a hint of coffee.  As a side note, the coffee was very very light, and, just like the aroma, the coffee was difficult to sense.

Overall, it was a nice medium-bodied limited-edition porter.  Have you had the Cowboy Coffee Porter?  What was your take?

Goose Island Pepe Nero

posted on February 16, 2011 at 11:44 am by Ken Valley in Beer Reviews,Craft Beer

Goose Island Pepe Nero

Goose Island Pepe Nero

The other day, I had the chance to try the new Vintage Ale from Goose Island, Pepe Nero.

It is considered a farmhouse ale, but is much darker than any I have seen of this style.  When I first poured the beer, it was a dark brown-red color.  It had a very strong scent to it, with a large burnt caramel aroma with a bit of Belgian-style sour scents mixed in.

The flavor was very interesting.  It had a strong roasted chestnut flavor with just a hint of Belgian funkiness on the finish.  It had a slight bit of tartness, but not too much to be overwhelming.  The final impression reminded me of a lighter Belgian dubbel .

Did you try Pepe Nero?  What was your impression of this new ale?

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

posted on February 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm by Ken Valley in Beer Reviews,Craft Beer

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

While in New Jersey, I had a chance to try one of the best beers in a can, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.  The beer, an Imperial Stout, gets its name from the 10.5% ABV of the beer.

I didn’t quite know what I had in these little cans.  When I cracked it open and poured it into a glass, it was so thick and rich, it looked like used motor oil.

It had a very strong chocolate scent.  With the first taste, it had a great, thick chocolate flavor.  Even though I could feel how thick this beer was, I was surprised how remarkably balanced it was.  Even with the big mouthfeel, I found myself having a couple of these before I was done.

I was very impressed by this great beer, and it takes a place as one of my favorite stouts.

Have you had Ten Fidy?  What did you think?

Owning a Piece of Iowa City History

posted on February 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm by Ken Valley in Craft Beer

The Taps from Jake's, Downtown Iowa City

The Taps from Jake's, Downtown Iowa City

In the past year, Iowa City has been going through a transition.  All bars (any location that has more than half its revenue come from alcohol and cover charges) in the downtown area have changed from 19 to 21 only after 10 PM.  This has gone from a city ordinance to a public vote in last year’s November elections.

Because business models had to change to accommodate this law change, several of the local “college bars” have since closed their doors.

Last Wednesday, items from one of the bars that closed, One Eyed Jake’s (also called Jake’s) were up for auction.  Many of the items were your standard food/bar items, such as coolers, sinks, chairs, and bar stools, but the items I had my eye on were the beer-barrel 6-tap setups that were mounted at the bar.

We waited around the auction, and waited for the bidding to begin on the taps.  Once the bidding began, other than myself, there was one other person bidding.  I knew what they were worth, and I knew what my max was.  At the end of the bidding, I had bought one for $120.  The auctioneer asked if I wanted the other one for the same price.  I glanced at my wife, and she gave me the nod.

So, I was the proud owner of two beer-barrel taps, with 6 faucets each for the low price of $240 (about 10% of retail price).  These taps have been in Jake’s for at least 10 years of their 20 year existence.

What to do with the taps is the next question.  Start a brewery, or just stick to having twelve different homebrews on tap.  What do you think?