New Brewery Review | Brightside Aleworks in Altoona - The Iowa Beer Blog

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Brewery Review | Brightside Aleworks in Altoona

Brightside Aleworks Altoona, Iowa

This was my first visit to the brewery Brightside Aleworks but not the building. The space in Altoona, Iowa, was once home to Wing Nutt Brewery. A short-lived (by that name) brewery that the best I can tell used to be this guy and that guy and now that guy is gone. I think, I only got time for tasting beer and that’s what we did.

The setting is very nice. It's clean and modern brewery, if you know what I mean. There’s a nice open bar in the middle and a color-changing LED backlight that shines above the several taps. The Iowa State Fighting Cyclones took on the Memphis Elvis’ while we were there and while we were not there for the game projected on the wall, we did enjoy the $1 off pints of Double-IPA.

The beers: I sampled a little of the yella (don’t go cheap on me now) and that flight I’ll detail below. I also went from yellow to brown beers drinking a mint stout and coffee porter.

WHEAT (CRAN-ORANGE) Pale Wheat Ale 6.3% ABV

This is an interesting beer and definitely one for the Holiday season. The cranberry is very present. Much more than the orange but it works. I get the reason for the orange and cranberry but question the additives to a wheat ale. 3.5 bottle caps

BUZZ – Double IPA 8.4% ABV

A traditional double IPA, this beer isn’t the “juice bomb” or “haze for daze” but rather a nice hop forward, high ABV IPA. It hides the 8.4% well and has a nice bright orange color. The hops are fresh enough to overpower the malts a bit. 3.75 bottle caps


I always like to start with the pale or session beers and this one did not disappoint. There are no off-flavors and the results are what you expect from a session beer. Nice, light and easy drinking. It’s not overly hoppy, at least if you now consider a “session” IPA Fulton’s Hop Star or something NE Style in appearance. This is a less than 5% IPA. 3.5 bottle caps

HEF-150 – Hefeweizen 5.5% ABV

Like the session IPA, the Hefe is well-made and had no off-flavors. There’s a hint of banana bread but the beer’s not overly bready like traditional German hefes. Again, like the session IPA, Hef-150 is easy drinking and a nice gateway beer for the American macro beer drinkers that may wander into the establishment. 3.5 bottle caps

PERK UP – Coffee Porter 5.7% ABV
This was my winner of the day and I easily swallowed a pint following a flight of yellow beers. It’s locally sourced coffee over a Porter loaded with caoca nibs. The coffee stood up and full disclosure, that’s my jam. I’m the guy that bought all of Founder’s Pale Joe. This one is almost a cold brew coffee with alcohol. I hope to see Nitro in the future too. 4.25 bottle caps

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try Brightside’s NE Style IPA Hop Waka as it was sold out. Bad for me, good for them. I was told more is on the way so I’ll have to keep an eye out. I did get another run on Enlightenmint Stout and didn’t change my opinion on it. It’s not terribly made but just not for me and that’s okay.

Overall, I found flavors not typical of a new brewery but rather a veteran on the scene. Brightside’s Perk Up is on my radar and I will purchase to-go soon. They have a new DIPA, Queen Bee releasing this Friday (January 5th). Hmm, a honey Dipa? It is Hop Slam season.

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