Posts Tagged ‘high proof beer’

The Taps Runneth

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I am tasting my first sips of freedom.


Today, at 12:00 AM, John’s Grocery officially began selling high-proof beers from Bell’s Brewery, including Two Hearted, Expedition Stout, and their Old Ale. This is the first strong beer I am aware of sold in Iowa.

The night perhaps had an atmosphere similar to an evening 77 years earlier.


They also got a number of kegs, including Hopslam that will be on tap at the Hideaway and Red’s in North Liberty, as well as a few from Peace Tree Brewing from Knoxville, Iowa.

I’ve had Two Hearted before, but never has it tasted this good.

Ein Prosit!

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Raise a glass today to brewer’s freedom! Finally the state of Iowa has normalized our Prohibition-era alcohol control laws. (Well not entirely.)

As part of an administrative reorganization bill the Alcoholic Beverages Division has lost control of high-proof beers. Interesting to note that this was a cost-cutting bill, since one of the arguments for maintaining the status quo has always been the vast sums of money the state made by having its fingers in the beer trade.

I still can’t figure out the exact nature of the change. An article from Cedar Rapids’ KCRG might indicate that the beer will still be considered liquor, and one from the Daily Iowan is not very clear. Following their recent history of stellar reporting, the Des Moines Register announces the change by reprinting a press release from Olde Main Brewing Co. in Ames.

If you feel up to it check out the text of Senate File 2088 here. The relevant section is “Division IX – Alcoholic Beverages Division – Reorganization”, however I can’t see exactly where the important change lies. Any lawyers feel free to enlighten me. Otherwise I’ll get back to you when I figure it out.

But regardless of the details, the end result is that Iowa brewers will now be able to competitively make and sell the full gamut of beer styles. And that is most definitely a good thing. Look forward to daring new offerings in the coming months from Iowa’s craft brewers.


High-Gravity Beer

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Once again the issue of high-gravity beer has been raised, now in a story for Radio Iowa by Pat Curtis. He covers most of the major points of the issue while staying neutral.

But nothing can hide the confusion of Lynn Walding (head of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division). “I think it’s a little disingenuous and misleading to call them beer… they’re aging and finishing like a scotch whiskey.” Let’s ignore for a moment that it’s not the place of the state to define a well-defined term (like pi?). We can’t ignore the fact that these beers age and finish like (and are almost exclusively in the alcohol range of) fine wine, not spirits. And in Iowa, native wines are legislatively encouraged for their economic development effects. Wineries are invited to the ABD for feedback. Where are our native breweries? Why were they not invited? All brewers want is equality.

This might also be a good time to point out that the numbers for 2009 high-proof beer sales have been released. Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo, Bigfoot, and Celebration once again make every other brand feel impotent. Together they are 72,840 bottles of beer that could have been made by an Iowan if the legislature modernized our ancient alcohol laws.

Edit: The story is also available in audio format from Iowa Public Radio (stream or download).