American Craft Beer Week is May 16-22

New Glarus's Riverside Brewery
New Glarus's Riverside Brewery

American Craft Beer Week is May 16-22, 2011.  So this week, when you have a beer, enjoy one from one of America’s craft brewers!

It’s been a heck of a year for craft brewing, and thanks for letting me spend some of that time with you.  Be sure to try some of the beer from breweries we’ve visited in the last year:

… and to some we were close to, but couldn’t get enough time to stop by …

Have a great week!  Cheers!

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken’s Stout

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken's Stout
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken's Stout

Over the holidays, I had the chance to have one of Sierra Nevada’s 30th Anniversary collaboration beers, the Fritz and Ken’s Stout, from the mind of Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing and Fritz Maytag.  Fritz is the great-grandson of the founder of the Maytag Corporation, headquartered in Newton, Iowa (which is also the hometown of Madhouse Brewing).  He essentially saved American craft beer in 1965 when he purchased the Steam Beer Brewing Company in San Francisco, now the maker of Anchor Steam.  The brewery was about to close its doors when Fritz bought the company and saved it, along with craft brewing in the process.

This beer was actually purchased about a year ago, but has been in cellar temperatures (around 50 degrees) since then.

I must say that this beer was worth the wait.  It poured very dark, with a tan head.  It smelled like roasted coffee and chocolate.  When I tasted it, I was very impressed.  It was a very nice, thick stout with a bunch of mouthfeel.  I felt it was almost porter-like because it was very thick, smooth, and chocolatey.

It was a great beer, and I am very disappointed that I didn’t save more.

Did you try the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken’s Stout?  What was your take?

Madhouse Brewing Company – Pastime Pale Ale and American Wheat

Madhouse Brewing American Wheat
Madhouse Brewing American Wheat
Madhouse Brewing Pastime Pale Ale
Madhouse Brewing Pastime Pale Ale

Over the past few weeks, Madhouse Brewing Company has made its way into Iowa City, and I had a chance to sample both beers they make, the American Wheat and the Pastime Pale Ale.

The American Wheat had a slight citrusy scent.  The taste had a bread-like flavor, and was very light and crisp.  It was a great example of an American unfiltered wheat style.

The Pastime Pale Ale had a fragrant citrus scent.  It tasted like a balanced hopped pale ale.  The flavor of the cascade and centennial hops shine through.  It finished clean, and left a nice citrus flavor.

I think Madhouse is on the right track with their first couple of beers, and look forward to next few beers they make.  Word has it they are experimenting with a black IPA, and I hope to see that soon.

Have you tried the Madhouse Brewing company beers?  What did you think?

Festival of Iowa Beers 2010

Joey and I at the Festival
Joey (right) and I (left) at the Festival

This past Sunday, the sixth annual Iowa Festival of Beers was held in Amana, next to Millstream Brewing.

This year was very exciting because of the opening of a few new breweries in the past year, including Peace Tree Brewing and Madhouse Brewing, along with the availability of “high-proof” beers.

In addition to the Iowa breweries, several of the area homebrew clubs, including those from Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, were able to share beers by several of their members.

Some of my favorites included Peace Tree’s Cornucopia, a farmhouse ale (saison), made with sweet corn.

Also, there were several beers from Old Man River Brewery and Restaurant in McGregor, Iowa that were very good, including a dunkel.

The local news was also there, and my friend, Joey, and I ended up in one of the cutaway shots (see the photo).  It was a great day with great beer.

Did you get to the Festival of Iowa Beers 2010?  What was your favorite?

Newton’s New “Madhouse Brewery” and Free Beer

About a month ago, a new Iowa brewery started in Newton: Madhouse Brewing.  The brewery is currently located in the old Maytag factory in Newton, where the Maytag company was housed for over 100 years until 2007.  The initial offerings are Madhouse American Wheat and Pastime American Pale Ale.  The brewery is having an open house this Saturday, April 17, from 12-6, and will be offering free tastings of the beer.  If you get a chance, head on over to Newton, and support the newest Iowa brewery!