Brewery Review | Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City - The Iowa Beer Blog

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Brewery Review | Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City

While not my first time to the Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City, I finally got to stick around and enjoy the place for awhile. And I'm happy I did.

I was pretty nervous heading over the day of the state of Iowa's biggest football game. I had visions of enormous crowds and line waits for everything. As it turned out, there was a modest crowd and such a spacious brewery it was really comfortable.

The setting reminds me a little of Stone Brewing Company's giant spread in San Diego at Liberty Station. Perhaps, it's the open garage doors and beautiful beer garden extending out to a green lawn with games for patrons. While the fire pits weren't lit, I suspect they help make the cooler Iowa fall evenings enjoyable.

The bar is large and and wide screens had the day's games. There's event space for parties and long wooden booths for more than a family of four. The place is insanely well designed as they've certainly found a way to accommodate anything. Including the bachelorette party of 20 that strolled up to the bar.

The food is excellent too. You don't order from the bartender but rather place an order at a kiosk and wait for your buzzer to alert you your food is ready. I had the Laotion sausage on a bed of rice with pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and a dab of chili paste. It's from the "Street Food" section of the menu. Perfect for lunch with a couple of brews.

About the beers. I was a week late to the anniversary party that extended at both Big Grove taprooms over Labor Day weekend. There was still a few beers hanging around the menu and I got to sample a few new ones.

Big Ed - NE IPA 7.8% ABV
Big Grove has produced some really solid NE Style beers with Easy Eddy and Turtle Hunter this year. Big Ed might be their best yet. There's a soft pillow mouthfeel to this beer that makes it super easy to drink. It has subtle hints of coconut and pineapple that blend perfectly. This is easily my favorite Big Grove beer to date.

Harvest Ale - 5.6% ABV
One of my favorite things about fall is fresh/wet hop beers. This brew is a throwback to a more traditional ale and far from the popular NE Style IPA of today. It uses locally sourced hops and everything about this was fresh as can be.

Good Day to DIPA - 8.7% ABV
To celebrate their anniversary, BG brewed one of its first recipes. After the soft Big Ed and the bright, hoppy Harvest Ale, this one was all malts to me. It tasted like 2013 and for some that's a good thing. It's very West Coast and traditional and well, I've changed.

There's plenty more on the menu that I didn't get to try. There was still some Stripe Cake available in to-go bottles. I did get a crowler fill of Big Ed but four packs were long gone. I missed on the BA Richard the Whale and variants but that's for another time.

I now know Big Grove is more than just beer. The Iowa City taproom is a short drive from historic Kinnick Stadium if you're in town for a game. The food is good and the space might be the best in the state.

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