My 5 Favorite Iowa Craft Beers

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After my journey with Iowa craft beers for this blog, I have come to truly love some of them. I’ve decided to make a list of my five favorites with the reasons why they are great.

5. Backpocket Brewing Jackknife

The Jackknife from Backpocket Brewing company is an American pale ale. I’m not huge on India pale ales or other really hoppy beers, but I’m a big fan of Jackknife. It is slightly hoppy, but not overbearing. It is refreshing and perfect for sitting down after a day in the hot summer sun.

4. West O Pilsner

West O brewing based in Okoboji has produced an awesome pilsner. While it doesn’t have an extremely distinct flavor, the West O Pils is really easy drinking. Perfect for anybody looking to launch into the artisan beer scene.

3. Toppling Goliath Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget is the only India pale ale that will be on this list. It is a little hoppier than I like, but it has a great mixture of maltiness to balance it and also great hints of citrus, which I really enjoy in a hoppy beer.

2. Backpocket Brewing Gold Coin

The Gold Coin is another easy drinking beer. It is a Helles lager of German style. It’s an every-man’s beer. I enjoy the smoothness and drinkability of this particular beer. It’s a perfect beer for watching the game or hanging with some friends at a barbeque.

1. Exile Brewing Hannah

Hannah has not only become my favorite Iowa craft beer, but my favorite wheat beer as well. It is a Heferwiezen, which is a German wheat beer. It is smooth, light-colored and has flavors of clove and fruits. It surpassed Boulevard Wheat as my favorite wheat beer because it is not quite as bitter. I’m a big fan of Exile and it’s beers, but Hannah has definitely won my heart.

Taps at the University Library Cafe in Des Moines. They are made from an old card catalog cabinet.

Taps at the University Library Cafe in Des Moines. They are made from an old card catalog cabinet.

Iowa may not be one of the most well known areas for craft beer compared to California, Colorado or Texas, but it has an amazing selection of breweries that produce great local beer. Iowa will continue to create great beer in the future and I’m excited to see what they produce.

Badass commemorative from the Little Giant Beer Summit.

Badass commemorative from the Little Giant Beer Summit.

I encourage everyone (who is over the age of 21 of course) to get out and try an Iowa beer. The state has microbrews available all over the place and they all have a great selection for beer lovers. Everyone can find something they’ll love. Brewers also hold great events like the Little Giant Iowa Beer Summit. So I challenge you to find your five favorite Iowa craft beers over the next year!

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Backpocket Brewing Company: Jackknife

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This past weekend I was back at home in southeast Kansas for a friend’s 21st birthday celebration. I decided to take home a taste of Iowa with me and maybe let him have a try. The celebration was fantastic and I got some much needed down time and some of my mother’s cooking.

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Beer Bottle Reindeer

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I decided to do a little special this week. If the thought of the holiday season is welling up inside of you, then I’ve got a great way for you to show it at all of those upcoming holiday parties. Beer bottle reindeer. It’s a great way to spice up your brews and impress everybody (maybe). I created a little how to video below to show you how to turn your favorite Iowa beer into a six pack sleigh of reindeer.

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515 Brewing Company: Undead Red

Undead Red beet ale at 515 Brewing in Des Moines
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Since I collected all of my candy on Beggar’s Night, I decided to head out for a few drinks on Halloween night. I loaded up a friend and drove down to 515 Brewing Company at 7700 University Avenue in Clive. The tiny taproom of the nano-brewery was filled with ghouls, creatures and puns. Everything from the devil to deviled eggs were present. At the back of the room, Guru BBQ was serving tacos and everyone was enjoying a great beer.

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Exile Brewing Company: North by Midwest

North by Midwest at Exile Brewing Company
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My post this week is a little late, but I’ve been traveling this weekend and visiting friends in southeast Iowa. Last week I made my second trip to Exile Brewing Company at 1514 Walnut in Des Moines. Exile has quickly become one of my favorite spots. The food is amazing, I’m always impressed with the staff and I love the dimly lit, almost 1950s feel of their restaurant area.

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New American Brewing Company: 1789 Porter

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I walked down to the University Library Cafe at 35th and University Avenue in Des Moines again this week and after scanning their beer menu, I decided to try another dark beer.

The 1789 Porter, from New American Brewing in Ankeny, pours extremely smooth with a very dark, almost black, color. It also has a thick, cream colored head. The aroma has a roasted, coffee smell and a slightly bitter tinge.

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