College classics reimagined: beer

Here in Iowa, we love our comfort food. How ‘bout a comfort brew? Think of craft beer as the mac n’ cheese of beer: filling, savory and open to interpretation.

Craft breweries have busted into the beer market in recent decades and are growing by double-digits each year. According to the Brewers’ Association, it’s the best time to be a beer love in United States history.

Craft breweries are characterized as small, independent breweries that brew beers with traditional or innovative flavors and fermentation. Each craft brewery has their own twist on beer and what it should taste like. But one thing’s for sure with every brewery: it’s all about the hops.

Common hop varieties can put an earthy, floral, grapefruit, pine or other flavor to a brew, creating a different experience and taste for each beer.

With more than 2,800 breweries in America, there’s one brewery within every ten miles of every American. Not only does this mean that Americans can enjoy a nice craft brew occasionally, they can also support their local brewery instead of giving money to a multi-national beer corporation.

So what are you waiting for? Toss that Natty Light and grab a cold, flavorful craft brew.


We’ve compiled some of our favorite Iowan craft breweries.

Exile Brewing Company

1514 Walnut Street, Des Moines

Just down the street in downtown Des Moines, you can tour Exile Brewing Company (which includes a tasting of four beers of your choice) on Saturdays for only $5. Their “Gigi” beer won gold in the European-Style Dark category at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival.

Lion Bridge Brewing Company

59 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids

Lion Bridge took home the gold medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival for their “Disaster at Meux” beer in the best brown porter category. In 2014, in the first year they were open, they won gold for their “Workman’s Compensation” beer in the English Mild Ale.

West O Beer

503 Terrace Park Blvd, West Okoboji

What’s better than chocolate? How about chocolate beer? West O is known for their “CoCo Chocolate Stout,” which has won the gold medal in the Great American Beer Festival Sweet or Cream Stout Category for 2014 and 2015.

Peace Tree Brewing Company

107 W Main Street, Knoxville

Peace Tree’s flagship beer, the “Red Rambler,” was named because Peace Tree resides in what once was Nash Rambler car dealership. Their “Blonde Fatale” was awarded a gold medal in the Belgian-style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale category at the 2014 World Beer Cup Award Ceremony.

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

310 College Drive, Decorah

Known as one of the best brewing companies in the world—yes, you read that right—their beers also hold the first seventeen spots on BeerAdvocate’s top rated beers in Iowa list and their “Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout” holds the number two spot in the world.

By Ashley Smith


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