What We're Drinking | June Iowa Brewfest Edition - The Iowa Beer Blog

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

Monday, June 18, 2018

What We're Drinking | June Iowa Brewfest Edition

Another year, another Iowa Craft Brewfestival in the books. The forecast called for a heat advisory so the move to 4th street where we did get some shade was a wise move. As the craft beer business continues to grow in Iowa and across the country, so does the fest. The flitebrite app developed for the day says I tried almost 7% of the beers available. That doesn't seem much but still made for a lazy Sunday.

A beerfest is a lot like life. You are given resources and do your best to make plans. The event then starts to ramp up and those plans go out the window. You end up where the fest takes you. My summary isn't a "best of" by any means as I missed out of some pretty big beers by reputation. There just wasn't enough time, space or ability to process alcohol.

Some of my big misses, well, Toppling Goliath surprised fest-goers with Orange wax Assassin for one. Backpocket brought down their 6th Anniversary RIS. Alluvial popped some bottles of their BA Lahar and others. Also, Iowa Brewing Company had Brunch AF and a few other BA beers.

So, let's focus on that 7% I did get to sample. Despite the heat index creeping towards triple digits and the large crowd combining for all the smells, I did get into a few hefty, chocolate-y/coffee-y brews. My favorite on the day was Vanilla variant of Marto's Brutal. Perhaps, it was the setting as it was poured inside the Iowa Taproom and in a climate controlled relief zone. Marto's four beers, Brutal, Preparation, Hop Trifecta and Albatron were all tasty. And, I may have overheard a plan to be in a space in Sioux City very soon. Like next week soon. Let's hope.

If I had a brown beer runner-up it's Pulpit Rock's Koffee and Donuts. It was a well balanced, sweet, good beer. As was their strawberry shortcake Berliner, Asking 4 A Friend. Pulpit Rock brought beers made just for the fest and they never disappoint.

I stuck mostly to IPAs and the first stop of the day was the Brut Mullet from Lark. I recently wrote about the Brut trend and both Lark and Fat Hill were the two options on the day. Both were really tasty and really different. Lark went with the aromatic and floral Mosaic hops in their dry-hop addition. Fat Hill stuck to the white wine/champagne appeal of the Brut and hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Nelson hops for that white grape-like juice. Fat Hill's brew was much drier you can quickly see the appeal to the Brut as you can easily drink 100 of them.

Iowa breweries have really stepped up their IPA game. The NE Style is not a fad beer and more and more breweries and working hard to develop their best NE IPA. I went mostly for NE beers and didn't find a one I'd kick out of bed. Clock House Witchslap, the 515/Odell/Carroll collab Three the Hard Way. Fat Hill Rongorongo, Big Grove's Turtle Hunter, Confluence's Extinction Event, Contrary's Soursop/Tangerine Milkshake IPA, Lion Bridge's Majestic Beast and Single Speed's collab with LB 3-Eighty North were all really good.

Finally, my favorite beer of the day. And keep in mind, finding a favorite depends on many things already mentioned. As I approached my fourth hour in the hot sun beating on the concrete and my face, Barn Town decided it was the right time to release Hawaiiowan Punch. Now, I have no idea how they brewed this but at the 2017 Fest, Third Base brought a lightly sour Berliner they brewed with Gatorade mix. It was delightful. Perhaps, there's a little Hawaiian Punch powder in this beer and if so, thank you very much. Advertised as a Fruit Punch sour, this beer hit the spot as it cleansed and refreshed a palate already gorged with coffee, chocolate, hops, orange juice, mango, vanilla, etc.

Hawaiiowan Punch may not be the best beer in the world but at that moment, it was like that slight rain shower that opens up on the crowd after a day-long concert event. It's the song that played right as the rain hit that instantly becomes a favorite although the live version and the album version will never be the same. As for the album version, a little rumor says more Punch may be at the Barn Town taproom later the week. Seek it out and drink it on a hot day.

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