RateBeer Releases Best of 2017 Iowa Beer, Brewpub and Brewery Taproom Awards - The Iowa Beer Blog

A blog about the beer produced, distributed and consumed in the great state of Iowa.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

RateBeer Releases Best of 2017 Iowa Beer, Brewpub and Brewery Taproom Awards

The annual RateBeer Best is rolling out and we have some awards for Subregion naming the best brewpub, brewery taproom, bottle shop, beer bar and best beer in the state of Iowa. Here at IBB, we released a Top 10 Porter/Stouts, IPAs and breweries in December. Let's compare.

RateBeer's top honor for best brewpub in Iowa goes to Exile Brewing Company. A brewpub, of course, is great beer usually served with a menu of great food too. Exile's brewpub in downtown Des Moines covers those bases. My rankings had Exile right behind Big Grove in pub rankings, so we're close. Look out for Barn Town though in 2018 as they are quickly clicking at the heals of both.

The top award for "Brewery Tap Room" goes to Confluence Brewing in Des Moines. Confluence is absent from my list of Top 10 including "others receiving votes." It's important to note that an exclusion from my list doesn't insinuate bad or a bad opinion of their beer. They do have the best taproom in Des Moines and it includes a massive patio area directly off the Gray's Lake bike path just a mile from Downtown Des Moines. Their beers are perfect for a day on the bike trail too and perhaps I need to get out and ride more.

The best restaurant/beer award goes to the Sanctuary Pub in Iowa City. It's their third or fourth of these (their website lists 2013 and 14 and is also something straight out of the late 1990s). I've never been so I can't comment on the food and beer menu. I took a quick look at the beer menu and scratched my chin a little. I didn't, nor will I rank restaurants as there are so many but Centro in Des Moines and Tin Roost in North Liberty come to mind.

The best bottle shop goes to John's Grocery in Iowa City. Central Iowa and perhaps, most of the state is dominated by one grocer and their wine and spirits section. So, it's nice to see John's on the list. In Des Moines, BeerCrazy and Wine Styles are other options but the market for independent bottle shops is scarce. Let's hope that changes soon.

The best beer bar goes to el Bait Shop in Des Moines for like every year these things have existed. I don't think you'll find a lot of arguments with this. What's important is that there are more options besides el Bait Shop and that list is growing along with the beer options at our many favorite restaurants and dive bars. You can't call yourself a beer city, or even state, when there's only one place to get craft beer.

Finally, the top beer is the same that took home #1 in my Porter/Stout category. Toppling Goliath's Kentucky Brunch is hands down the best beer to come from the state of Iowa and is considered one of the best in the world. While new, up-and-coming breweries may be catching TG in the IPA category, they're still miles ahead at barrel aging delicious stouts.

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