Visit to Peace Tree Brewing

Outside of Peace Tree Brewing
Outside of Peace Tree Brewing

Over the weekend, I was driving through south central Iowa, and decided to stop and visit Peace Tree Brewing in Knoxville, Iowa. Peace Tree burst into the Iowa beer scene last year and have made a splash. They have made several beers that fall outside the standard guidelines, and I applaud them for taking that initiative.

While at the brewery, I had a chance to sample the Black River Gumbo Stout from a tap using nitrogen. It was super smooth and had a great flavor. I also had a chance to try the beer that may make it onto shelves soon: the Blonde Fatale Golden Belgian Ale.

After we had a chance to sample some of the beer, my friends and I were taken back to the brewery. It was smaller than I thought considering how many locations the beers are, but I was glad to visit the brewery, and it made me appreciate more of what these brewers in Knoxville are doing.

Have you been to Peace Tree Brewing? What did you think?

SF 2088 – One Year Later

A Couple of the Stronger Millstream Brews
A Couple of the Stronger Millstream Brews

Well, it’s been one year since the March 10, 2010 signing of SF 2088, which included a resolution to allow higher alcohol beers to be brewed by Iowa brewers.

So what’s changed?  In addition to brewers outside Iowa being able to more easily sell their high-gravity beers in the state, it has become much easier for the breweries in Iowa to brew these stronger beers, such as Double IPA‘s and the majority of Belgian-style beers.  This has allowed Iowa breweries to compete with those in other states, and will give Iowa breweries the chance to make almost any beer style they want without the state coming down on them for having stronger beers.

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are several of the beers in the higher-proof category that came out in the past year (this doesn’t include all the beers local breweries and brewpubs created, such as Third Base Brewery and Rock Bottom Brewing):

Millstream Brewing:

  1. Doppelbock
  2. Weizenbock
  3. Triple Raspberry
  4. Hop 2 Double IPA

Peace Tree Brewing:

  1. Double IPA
  2. Imperial Stout

So, in the past year, the beer landscape in Iowa has become more diverse and flavorful.  Even the local Iowa City paper recently wrote about the changes in the state after the law was passed.

Now is a great time to be a beer lover in Iowa, and it will only get better from here.  Have you enjoyed the change in the beer scene in Iowa?  What other changes would you like to see?

Peace Tree Black River Gumbo Stout

Peace Tree Black River Gumbo Stout
Peace Tree Black River Gumbo Stout

Over the past week, I’ve enjoyed a six-pack of Peace Tree‘s new offering: Black River Gumbo Stout.  It happens to be one of those ‘I can have a few of these’ stouts.

What makes this stout unique is the use of a Belgian yeast.  So far, there are only a few Belgian-style stouts on the market (e.g. Boulevard‘s Dark Truth Stout), but the Black River Gumbo Stout is the most drinkable due to its lighter body.

To start with, the beer had a coffee and roasted scent to it.  There was a lot of roasted and chocolate flavors present, but there was a hint of a unique flavor, similar to a cola, that isn’t in many beers.  It had medium body, and finished fairly clean, leaving a slightly bitter, roasted, and smoky aftertaste.

Overall, I enjoyed the Black River Gumbo Stout quite a bit.  I’ve heard that Peace Tree serves this on a Nitro tap at their Knoxville tap room, so if you’re in the area, check it out!

Have you had the Black River Gumbo Stout?  What did you think?

Peace Tree Cornucopia

Peace Tree Cornucopia
Peace Tree Cornucopia

I recently had the chance to try Peace Tree Brewing’s Cornucopia.  It is a saison with sweet corn and corn stalks.

Being a fan of saisons, I was excited to sample Peace Tree’s interpretation. It had a slightly spicy aroma.  The first taste was a bit sweeter than other saisons I’ve had, and had a hint of corn flavor.  The finish was clean, but it left an “interesting” aftertaste.

I held back on my original (not as favorable) review of this, and I’m glad I did.  Here’s why: I found several things that made drinking this beer a better experience.

  1. It was better fresh.  The bottles I had at the beginning of the season and at the beginning of six-packs were much better than those during the fall and at the end of the pack (unless I drank all of them in a few days time).
  2. It was much better with the yeast mixed in, so pour it into a glass, swirl around what’s left in the bottle, and pour the sediment into the glass.

Overall, it was a good saison, but it’s still not my favorite Peace Tree offering.

Have you had Cornucopia?  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?