Sampling Local Beers on Craft Beer Week (Part Two)
It's now come time for part two of my special Craft Beer Week piece. Earlier this week, I tried three different local beers, two from Iowa, one from Wisconsin. Now, I've successfully finished off the custom six pack I purchase in honor of this glorious week.
After trying a Mexican lager, a wheat ale, and a stout, I now dive into three equally different styles: a German doppelbock, a golden ale, and an IPA! Without further adieu, let's give these brews a fair shake.
Reunion Brewery: Garret's Got a Gun (German Doppelbock) - Iowa City, IA:
I confess that I haven't had many doppelbocks in my day. It's not a style that loans itself to sessioning, for one, and if I'm going for a robust beverage, I generally opt for a stout. Yet I recalled a conversation with a waiter at a local restaurant a few weeks back who sung the praises of Reunion Brewery. That's how I ended up with a can of Garret's Got a Goat in my six-pack holder.
This beer gets its name from the brewers' good friend Garret, who apparently has a goat named Garth. Party on, Garth!
Upon pouring, the head of this beer dissipates quickly, almost like a soda. Again, I'm not too familiar with the make-up of bock beer; I'm not sure if this is a commonality amongst them.
I'll admit, however, that this is a delicious beverage. It smells of dried fruits and has a strong malt flavor. I vastly prefer the taste of malt as opposed to hops. It just hits my palette better. Garret's Got a Goat is dynamic in that it also finishes with a slight cocoa aftertaste as well. It's got the consistency of an amber ale, minus the sometimes cloying hop bite.
This is an absolutely tasty beverage. Now I want a flannel and a bonfire.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Potosi Brewing: Good Old Potosi (Golden Ale) - Potosi, WI:
I confess that I never tried Potosi until today. Even back home, close to Chicago, you can find it at several different bars and liquor stores alike. I've always liked their slogan: "brewed in beer's hometown." This is a beverage that's engrained itself in its community, not only for its history, but for its taste.
Good Old Potosi didn't disappoint at all. You could probably pass it off as Hamm's (a reference to the glass out of which I was drinking it) due to its color, although its haziness might lead someone to call its bluff. As much as I love the beer brewed in the land of sky blue waters, Potosi's golden ale is a much more dynamic beverage. It's crisp and refreshing. Light, but not flavorless. You get a blast of sweet grains and a dry, slightly bitter finish. It also possesses an earthy quality that's difficult to pull off while still being so drinkable.
Long live Potosi. I'm picking up a six pack of this next time I go shopping.
Rating: 4/5 stars.
Big Grove Brewery: Easy Eddy (India Pale Ale): Iowa City, IA:
There's a reason I saved Easy Eddy IPA for last, and it's no shot at Big Grove Brewery. It's simply my dislike for IPAs. The only IPAs I've been able to embrace over the years are milkshake IPAs: the creamy, nitro-esque texture irons out that rigid hop bitterness I've grown to loathe. IPAs are somebody's beverage. They're not mine.
Some of my fears were offset when I realized that Easy Eddy was indeed a hazy IPA. It pours cloudy with a pineapple color. It smells of ripe mangos, and the hops are present but not overbearing to the nose.
Upon drinking it, I noticed quickly the hop bitterness doesn't linger compared to other, perhaps more traditional IPAs. Easy Eddy packs a quick bite but fades smoothly, making it an easy beverage to drink. You definitely taste the mango and pineapple, following the smell nicely. I also noticed that my can was packaged at the end of March, meaning it's still within that 90-day drinking window; craft beer enthusiasts regard that as the time period when the beer tastes its best.
Overall, however, I still couldn't see myself pouring this one regularly. Blame my undistinguished palette if you must. I'm more of a golden and wheat ale guy at the end of the day. All that aside, Easy Eddy is one of the better IPAs I've had.
Rating: 3/5 stars.
Time to rank this six pack:
1. Tipsy in Tijuana (Mexican Lager)
2. Good Old Potosi (Golden Ale; I could really consider this 1b)
3. Garret's Got a Goat (German doppelbock)
4. Thirsty Miner Chocolate Stout (Stout)
5. Easy Eddy (India Pale Ale)
6. Tico Time (Wheat ale)
Mixing a six-pack is always inherently risky. While you get a sampling of a variety of styles, you do risk duds. Thankfully, I'd only consider one beer in this lot mediocre. Five of the six all had their positives. I added both Tipsy in Tijuana and Potosi Golden Ale to my weekend shopping list.
I could also see doing something like this again. Maybe bar-hopping to different Dubuque breweries and trying some of the Key City's brews? Time will tell.
Again, in case you missed it, here's part one of this Craft Beer Week tasting and here's a look at some of the highest rated beers across Iowa.
Below you'll find a gallery of images from my tasting!