On the Iowa Beer Trail

The other day I went to the liquor store to pick up some beer for my father.  Like my sister-in-law, he insists on drinking insipid macro-brew.  His vice is Coors Light.  Since I rarely go to the liquor store–brewing beer has its benefits–I spent a few minutes perusing the coolers full of beer.

An interesting bottle caught my eye because it was a flip-top quart.  It’s rare to see flip-top bottles outside of Grolsch.  The bottles were from the Angry Cedar Brewing Company.  Located in Waverly, Iowa the company was founded in 2008 following the catastrophic flood of the Cedar River.  Hence the tagline “When life gives you water, make beer.”

At the store I picked up Wheat Wave and Angry Amber Ale.  Let’s deal with Wheat Wave first:

The color in the picture is a little washed out, but this beer is very light.  In every sense of the word.  Wheat beers are supposed to be light.  Lawnmower or sunshine beers, if you will.  However, this beer is light to the point of missing any sense of itself.  It’s a very forgettable beer.

Angry Amber Ale?  Well:

There is more to Angry Amber Ale versus Wheat Wave, but it strikes me as a half-hearted effort or a first time homebrew recipe.

If this sounds harsh, I do not mean it to come across that way.  One of the benefits of the great fracturing of beer in the United States away from the giant macro-brewers is that individuals are able to go out and make beers that could not be commercially viable at large scale.

On one end of the spectrum you have the brewers in the Pacific Northwest pursuing the absolute limits of hoppiness or the guys out at Dogfish just pushing the limits.  Regional styles are returning and regions are building reputations as brewers strike it out on their own from other successful ventures.

Iowa truly lacks this kind of dynamic environment.  The laws until recently were particularly onerous and stunted the growth of the industry until recently leaving budding breweries in the lurch.  Hopefully, as some new breweries open up and brewers start to push the limits everyone will be forced to step up their game.

I look forward to seeing the evolution of the beers from the Angry Cedar Brewing Company.  Right now?  Meh.




One response to “On the Iowa Beer Trail

  1. NIce entry. Usually there is nothing better than a good local craft brewery. Sorry the ones from Angry Cedar weren’t up to snuff – maybe they will learn and get better. The worst local beer is still better… more interesting anyway… than the best Coors Light.

    Thanks for sharing.

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