Posted by: marcmwm | December 23, 2008

Beer O’ Clock

Our very knowledgeable poster Tim commented on “cellarable” beers on one of the last Beer O’ Clock posts.

That got me thinking. Why not?

If you’re thinking beer cellar, you must go to this website, This is a fantastically informative site that has everything you need to know about cellaring beer.

Jason, the gentleman who runs the site, writes “Probably best reason is that aging beer can increase the complexity of your beer. Flavors can often be found in an aged beer that weren’t present in the fresh version. You can also commonly find certain flavors that seem to enhance with age, becoming more and more prominent and delicious as the year(s) pass.”

When it comes to beer, I’m not the most patient fella. I buy ’em, damn it, I’m going to drink ’em.

After driving through a blizzard to buy 12 packs of Arrogant Bastard Ale and Ruination at Steve’s in Madison, I needed to make some room in the fridge.

So, following “The Brew Basement” suggestions, I’ve “cellared” Old Rasputin (a Russian imperial stout with a 9 % ABV), Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout (a American double/imperial stout with a 13 % ABV), Capital Brewery’s Autumnal Fire (a doppelbock with 8.5 % ABV) and the 2008 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (an American barleywine with 9.6 % ABV).

The Rasputin has a giant coffee kick to it. Bourbon County is just that, a big, bold schwack of bourbon. Autumnal Fire is bready and sweet but an easy drink with a high ABV. Bigfoot is a hoppy, fruity barleywine.

So, let’s set our watches for six months and see what happens.

BTW, my “cellar” is the cabinet under the sink in the bar. It’s cool in the basement, especially in the winter, and it’s dark there. But no, it’s not a cave.


While at Steve’s, I stumbled across Delirium Tremens, a Belgian strong pale ale from Brouwerij Huyghe in Melle, Belgium.

It gets an A-minus on 812 reviews at BeerAdvocate.

Here’s a “C” review, “Very sour taste. Tasted very similar to green apple peel. I am allergic to apples, so as you can imagine it didnt agree with me.”

Here’s an “A,” “Starts of strong, with an explosion of fruit tastes, with a strong malty sweetness. The swallow brings out the hops, and the aftertaste is like a bite of fresh pear. Absolutly no flavor hint that this is 8.5 ABV.”

The sour apple is a turn off, but I’ll give it a go.


During the UNI liveblog, I talked with MF about compiling a Corridor beer list.

What bars and restaurants in our area have the best beer lists? And what about stores? Where can you get the “exotics”? I know about Benz and John’s and Wilke’s in Mount Vernon. Am I missing someone? (Hy-Vee isn’t too shabby, either.)

A friend sent me the list from the Hopleaf Bar in Chicago. Here’s the link It’s absolutely amazing.

I know we won’t come up with anything like that, but let’s get a list going. I’d also like to hear about brewpubs. Feel free to give me your reviews, too. I might not be able to tend to beer things the next two weeks — darned bowl game — but I’d really like to hear from you guys on this.

Tell me about your favorite beer places.

Have a great Christmas and New Year’s.






  1. That’s a coincidence–I was just talking about Hop Leaf with a friend. I haven’t had a chance to visit myself, but she hopes to check it out on a business trip next week.

    No, nothing quite that good around here, and we certainly could use some more good beer bars. It’d be especially nice if they didn’t focus on shear quantity, like Old Chicago (over 100 beers, and nothing particularly interesting).

    I always like spots that serve locally-made beer, so I tend to stick with Old Capitol Brew Works in IC. I still need to revisit Third Base in CR, which has improved by leaps and bounds lately. For beer bars in Iowa City, The Sanctuary and The Mill are pretty solid. Can’t really think of anything good in Cedar Rapids, although I’ve been told to check out Beckett’s, which supposedly has some interesting tap offerings. Anyone know what’s up with the former Busted Lift in Dubuque? they used to have a good lineup of imports and micros. There’s the downtown Des Moines lineup of beer bars and brewpubs, and I always like the Bier Stube in Davenport.

    Always looking to check out new places, though.

  2. In Iowa City, beer bars start and end with the Sanctuary. The tap selection there offers things you won’t find other places. Although I’ll admit to not being at the Mill for some time

    For package stores, John’s is still the best in the area, if not the state. But, Johncy’s in North Liberty is catching up in the domestic microbrews. He doesn’t offer the Belgian selection of John’s but he has a better liquor selection, IMHO. I believe the’ve opened a store in Solon too but I’ve not been there so I can’t vouch for the selection at that site.

    Finally, for local brews, you have to throw Millstream into the mix. I have to think it’s the largest commercial brewery in Eastern Iowa. I really like their Iowa Pale Ale.

  3. Anyone had this year’s batch of Millstream Shokolade Bock yet? That’s usually rock solid, too. I agree on the Iowa Pale. They’ve done a good job with that. Wish more places would support the locals and put Millstream on tap. Also Hub City up by Oelwein is doing a decent job.

  4. My wife’s mom bought me a sample pack from Brennan’s Market in Madison. One of the eight was the Shokolade Bock. The store’s literature proclaimed it their most sought after seasonal (I think it said seasonal). Can’t wait to try it.

    I confess, Tim. I need to keep a six of something Millstream around. The place is 15 minutes from my house.

    I need to hit Capital Brew Works and the Sanctuary. Also on my list is 3rd Base in Cedar Rapids. I agree, their reputation is growing.

    I’ll look up Johncy’s. I need to do some re-stocking.

  5. The Shokolade Bock is a seasonal brewed only during the winter. However, I’ve always associated bocks with Lent. It must be my Catholic upbringing.

  6. Another Chicago bar that I’ve heard about is the Map Room. From their web site, it certainly has an impressive list.

    One thing to note when going to a bar with an extensive beer selection is what kind of traffic do they see. If it’s a bar with 200 kinds of beer but most people drink Bud Light, it’s most likely those “good” beers you want to try have been sitting on the shelf for some time.

    You can say the same thing about retailers like John’s.

  7. I’m going to take down the Shokolade tonight.

    I’m sorry, MF, I forgot that link to the Map Room. I knew you sent me one but I couldn’t remember it for the life of me last night.

    I’m going to have to restock the gin after I get back. Should it be the Bombay Sapphire? Or should I try something else. I’ve enjoyed Plymouth the last two times, but I want to try something different.

  8. What about old faithful, Beefeaters? It’s a good all-purpose gin. I really like Boodles too but it’s better suited for gin & tonics. Another interesting gin is Tanqueray Ten. I don’t care for the regular Tanqueray but the Ten is quite good.

    In doing a web search for gin, I came across the following:

    WTF? Despite the review, I still want to try it.

    Here’s another source for gin reviews:

    I’ve not tried most of these but Plymouth and Hendrick’s are on my list to try.

  9. Thanks for the links, MF. You might be right. Why overthink it? Why not Beefeaters?

  10. Hey, perhaps try the local, Clearheart Gin. Been meaning to pick up some of that.

    The Map Room is another Chicago spot I haven’t gotten around to. There’s another spot called the Clark Street Ale House, but they never seem to be open when I happen by. Weird.

    My strategy for dealing with the overwhelming number of taps at a place like Falling Rock in Denver or El Bait Shop in DM is to look for a “recent arrivals” listing. You know it’s fresh that way.

  11. Hmm….I had no idea there was a local distillery. Very interesting. Looks like they do a vodka, gin and rum. I can see the vodka and gin a there are local ingredients you can use to make these. But rum is a tropical spirit. Lots of things grow in Iowa, but sugarcane ain’t one of them. Sugarbeats maybe, but not cane.

    I’ll have to look for this stuff.

    You’d think a local sportswriter would have enough cache to get a tasting organized somewhere. I’ll have to e-mail Hlas to see.

  12. Marc: beware before you try the Delirium that the Belgian version of “strong pale ale” will not be what you might expect. I find that Belgian beers–except for the Lambics and fruit-flavored versions–are much more subtle in taste. I’m not a huge Belgian fan, but I’ve learned to appreciate them for what they are. It is kind of like college basketball vs. the NBA–they are different styles of game and if you go to one expecting the other you are sure to be disappointed.

    It helps to have a tulip glass for sampling Belgians, as they are quite foamy. You won’t find hops that hit you over the head, the flavors are more mellow. Best to compare Belgian to Belgian, because if you mix in a big hoppy beer the Belgian will be lost in the background.

    I was in Brussels earlier this year and went to the Delirium Cafe–what a great experience.
    They had about 40 beers on tap, and I had to go back another night to get more sampling in. If you are ever in Belgium, go to this place!

    I have a Delirium Nocturnum (darker) and a Delirium Noel (holiday) in the fridge. The latter has ‘Christmas Day after the kids open their presents’ written all over it.

    See you in Tampa! I’m already looking at beer bars on Beer Advocate. . .

  13. Thanks, Jeff.

    I’ve been reading up on some of the glasses. I think my wife got me a goblet for Xmas. Tulip? I’ll look that one up and grab one.

    I’ve just started dipping my toe in the Belgians. I really like the Chimay Grand Reserve. I whimped out tonight at Benz and bought some gin because I’m out (went with the Bombay Sapphire, MF. They were out of Beefeaters, save the $41 mega jug). I also enjoyed the Hennepin from Ommegang. Benz has several Ommegang beers.

    Haven’t tried a Lambic yet, either.

    I did have a Schokolade from Millstream tonight. It was terrific. A lot like Anchor Porter but not as sweet. An easy-going beer for a winter seasonal.

    The presents are wrapped and I’m having an Arrogant Bastard.

    Maybe I’ll run into you in Tampa, Jeff. Let me know if you find a good beer list. The media hospitality is all Budweiser. I don’t mind it, it’s just not my thing.

  14. I totally glossed over that Hlas crack, MF!!!


    My cache doesn’t extend beyond an arm’s reach. My kids will gladly tell you that as they gut me like a walleye in Wii soccer.

    Hey, I did a story on that Riverside Performance Studio. Pricey, pricey, pricey. But probably worth it, at least the fitting part.

  15. Is that story recent? I’d like to read it. I’m a big proponent of custom club fitting and have gone so far to build some clubs. I’ve always wanted to get a bunch of drivers and shafts and spend a day with a launch monitor to see what really works with my “swing”.

    Speaking of college basketball, you might find the following blog entertaining:

    It’s written by a guy at Ohio State who rides the pine for the basketball team. It’s a very entertaining look at a side of college basketball you don’t see very often.

  16. Ooops. I see that story is in today’s paper. I didn’t look at the paper before I left for work today.

  17. After we carve and eat the roast beast (beef tenderloin), put the kids to bed, and I wrap my wife’s presents, I will be opening a Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve. I may even let the kids put it out for Santa with the cookies. Would that be wrong?

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  18. Jeff — No, that sounds like something Santa would really dig. LOL!

    MF — I’m due for a new driver. I’m on my third or fourth season with the first incarnation of the Sasquatch.

    My parents did their homework and got me some sort of scotch for Xmas. I’ve got to see this. Won’t be able to sample until after the bowl.

    No one got me what I really wanted for Christmas.

  19. No one got me this either:

  20. Jeff – I know it seems like Santa would like the Rogue but you’d be wrong. He’s really a PBR kind of guy.


  21. Saw this the other day. I hit the Sumo2 (not the square one) while on vacation and really liked it. They just didn’t have the right loft for me (they were on closeout).

  22. I set out some Samiclaus for Santa. Not only did that fat elf drain that, he raided my bar and took all my Templeton Rye. I’ll say this, the guy’s got taste. Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus, all.

  23. MF–that is one odd Santa. PBR hits I can maybe understand, but there is Miller Lite and a bottle of Clamato at his feet.

    Am about to crack open this:

    Merry Christmas!

  24. Hey guys. Just an update regarding Old Capitol Brewworks. Paul, the brewer, has moved the brewing operations to Davenport and, hopefully, will be brewing again by Jan. 12th or so. Also, he will begin canning his beer, probably sometime in Feb. and be available locally. Paul had previously canned and it did not diminish the quality of his beer. Meanwhile, Old Capitol still has plenty of kegs in the cooler to get them through the transition period. Remember……the best beer is the freshest beer.

  25. Any idea if Paul from OCBW will open a brew pub in Davenport, or is he just brewing there?

    Also, “The Map Room” in Chicago… Holy smokes. By far our #1 stop when in Chicago and a place you can spend many hours. “Piece Brewery & Pizzeria” also had an amazing selection of their own brews on tap.

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