Eastern Iowa Beer Tiers

Hoggins

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Dimensional is a tier 1 brewery and my favorite in Eastern Iowa. They’re so good, plus that whole area is full of great bars in 150 year old buildings. Love it.

TG is overrated for me I guess. Textile is a tier 2 that isn’t on the original list
 
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laminak

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I've only been to Lion Bridge in person, so it's #1 for me. :jimlad:

Obviously I like TG beers (and Pulpit) so those are up there. Tier A's.

Tier B would be Big Grove. I like all their beer, but not sure I love them. I am excited for them to come to DSM, though. Backpocket is up here too.

I'd put Millstream at Tier C or D. I've had some okay beers and some no so good ones. Same with Kalona. I really liked their Oktoberfest, but in recent years it has fallen off. Just can's from HyVee, thoughl.

I went to Third Base in Cedar Rapids like 10 or 15 years ago and thought it was awful. Absolutely awful. I was just a burgeoning beer snob in those days but I don't remember liking any of it. Is this the same place people talk about now? Or is this a place with a similar sounding name.

Third Base switched owners a few times, originally being Cedar Brewery. Initially they were good, then got bad, then okay, then good. Their main beers are okay, which put them in the Tier C category, however I placed them in Tier B as their special/seasonal beers are usually great. They produced the best imperial stout I’ve had in the state.

I haven’t been to them post derecho, so don’t know where their current quality is at.
 
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Hoggins

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Third Base switched owners a few times, originally being Cedar Brewery. Initially they were good, then got bad, then okay, then good. Their main beers are okay, which put them in the Tier C category, however I placed them in Tier B as their special/seasonal beers are usually great. They produced the best imperial stout I’ve had in the state.

I haven’t been to them post derecho, so don’t know where their current quality is at.

It’s the exact same post derecho. Third Base is 5 minutes from my office and I go there a lot for a lunch beer, but they’re a tier 3 or 4 brewery. It’s better than nothing
 
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Cyinthenorth

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I live in Dubuque and was really happy when Dimensional opened. I used to frequent 7 Hills a lot, and while their beers never really blew me away, they were decent enough and as several people have already mentioned, do food really really well. I really like 7 Hills Red Ale, their west coast style IPA and their Brown Ale. Aside from their basics though, I really don't enjoy most of their seasonal/experimental stuff. Dimensional does that stuff way better and have a better variety of beers overall. Lived here for 4 years and still haven't tried Jubeck.

Other Eastern Iowa breweries I've stopped at that I haven't seen mentioned so far would be Tellurian in Charles City, Lime Stone in Osage, and Lake Time in Clear Lake. I especially enjoyed Lake Time Brewery in Clear Lake. I don't know what tier any of them would be on, but if I had to put them in order for myself personally, I'd say

1. Lake Time
2. Tellurian
3. Lime Stone
 

Cyinthenorth

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Dimensional is a tier 1 brewery and my favorite in Eastern Iowa. They’re so good, plus that whole area is full of great bars in 150 year old buildings. Love it.

TG is overrated for me I guess. Textile is a tier 2 that isn’t on the original list
I still need to get to Textile. Have heard good things

Also, a buddy and I went to TG a month or so ago for the first time and did a couple flights. I enjoyed it and he did not so much. We decided that our opinions were based on our preferences. He is not an IPA drinker and I am, and that seems to be a really heavy focus of TG
 

Nader_uggghhh

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I live in Dubuque and was really happy when Dimensional opened. I used to frequent 7 Hills a lot, and while their beers never really blew me away, they were decent enough and as several people have already mentioned, do food really really well. I really like 7 Hills Red Ale, their west coast style IPA and their Brown Ale. Aside from their basics though, I really don't enjoy most of their seasonal/experimental stuff. Dimensional does that stuff way better and have a better variety of beers overall. Lived here for 4 years and still haven't tried Jubeck.

Other Eastern Iowa breweries I've stopped at that I haven't seen mentioned so far would be Tellurian in Charles City, Lime Stone in Osage, and Lake Time in Clear Lake. I especially enjoyed Lake Time Brewery in Clear Lake. I don't know what tier any of them would be on, but if I had to put them in order for myself personally, I'd say

1. Lake Time
2. Tellurian
3. Lime Stone

Until recently Jubeck had the most insane hours I've ever seen for a brewery. I think it was like 9am-11am on Friday and Saturday or something. Now they're open 4-10 on Friday, 10-10 on Saturday, and 4-830 Wednesday and Thursday.
 
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C.John

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Has anyone tried out Contrary Brewing down in Muscatine? They look solid but have not had the opportunity yet.
20210709_172206.jpg
Been there a couple of times and we've enjoyed their beers.

I usually go for dark beers at the local breweries and my favorite is the Mintery Knight (mint chocolate stout) at Green Tree Brewery in LeClaire.
 
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baller21

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I live in Dubuque and was really happy when Dimensional opened. I used to frequent 7 Hills a lot, and while their beers never really blew me away, they were decent enough and as several people have already mentioned, do food really really well. I really like 7 Hills Red Ale, their west coast style IPA and their Brown Ale. Aside from their basics though, I really don't enjoy most of their seasonal/experimental stuff. Dimensional does that stuff way better and have a better variety of beers overall. Lived here for 4 years and still haven't tried Jubeck.

Other Eastern Iowa breweries I've stopped at that I haven't seen mentioned so far would be Tellurian in Charles City, Lime Stone in Osage, and Lake Time in Clear Lake. I especially enjoyed Lake Time Brewery in Clear Lake. I don't know what tier any of them would be on, but if I had to put them in order for myself personally, I'd say

1. Lake Time
2. Tellurian
3. Lime Stone

I’ve wanted to stop at Lake Time‘s taproom for several years but the timing just didn’t work out so last May we finally went by at a time when they were open and man what a disappointment. It’s an old house with a small patio out front with no lake view whatsoever. As for their beer I think they have several decent beers but nothing great.
 

CyCloned

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Don't know if I can tier things, but the places I have been to that have a nice selection of good beers:

Iowa Brewing
House Divided
Textile
Lions Bridge
Kalona Brew

Ones that are okay:

Back pocket
30 Hop
Clock Tower

I have never been to Franklin Street in Manchester, but others have said good things about it. Not a fan on Toppling Goliath. Seems like they have 6 beers and 5 are IPAs. Friends tried the place in Central City and said it was not good. They also tried the Allerton in Independence, and were not impressed with their first offers.
 

Cyinthenorth

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I’ve wanted to stop at Lake Time‘s taproom for several years but the timing just didn’t work out so last May we finally went by at a time when they were open and man what a disappointment. It’s an old house with a small patio out front with no lake view whatsoever. As for their beer I think they have several decent beers but nothing great.
I liked their beers a lot, although I think they were lacking in the IPA dept (may have been out of stock iirc). They had several dark beers that I liked, but I'm not typically a dark beer fan, so take that for what it's worth. Peanut butter oreo stout was my fave.

The "lake" house is not ideal for a tap room i agree. Hopefully they can grow enough to secure a better location. Something lake side would be really nice
 

FatNTired

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Jun 3, 2015
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I’ll simply add commentary to those I’ve been to:
  • Lion’s Bridge: great location and patio; beer borders on fine-to-good
  • Pulpit: the most exploratory beers in Iowa and a dive feel — my favorite
  • Iowa Brewing: a place that serves their own beer and is near me
  • TG: love the beer, the new spot is incredible but the former location had a neat sense of intimacy
  • Pivo: it’s a one-off from Pulpit and TG and a great setting; they produce an overwhelming amount of beers and nothing is great; a fun place to meet up with local family
  • Clockhouse: great for the proximity to a fantastic restaurant and a hip crowd
  • Big Grove: Solon has the food, Iowa City has the vibe; the beer is second to Pulpit and the setting the most fun
  • Singles Speed: the best taproom and they don’t try to be too much when experimenting; top-3
 

Rogue52

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Oct 20, 2006
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Starting a thread for the microbreweries on the east side of the state, similar to the DSM tiers. Since we’re more spread-out, will have some TBDs in this:

Tier A
Big Grove (Solon/IC)
Toppling Goliath (Decorah)
Lion Bridge (CR)
Dimensional (Dubuque)

Tier B
Iowa Brewing Co (CR)
Third Base (CR)
Single Speed (Waterloo)
7 Hills (Dubuque)
ReUnion (Coralville)

Tier C
Quarter Barrel (CR)
Clock House (CR)
Backpocket (Coralville)
Kalona (Kalona)

Tier D
Granite City (CR)
Millstream (Amana)

Tier F
Thew Brewing (CR)

TBD (for me):
Franklin Street (Manchester)
Front Street (Davenport)
House Divided (Ely)
Jubeck (Dubuque)
Pulpit Rock (Decorah)

Everyone has their own opinions, but my key takeaways from your list (which I generally agree with):

1. You will need a new tier A+ once Pulpit makes the list.
2. Poor Thew. I think you need to go back. Thew is a small batch operation without all the business of Pulpit. You might feel completely different a second time.
 

scyclonekid

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Feb 13, 2008
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Big grove, pulpit, single speed

TG lion bridge, back pocket.

I haven’t been to all the others mentioned, but can’t wait to!!
 

BACyclone

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Mar 27, 2011
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I drink a lot of sours. I am going to have to give Dimensional another try when I get over that way again.

I am not huge on sours, but I like them as a change of pace to my normal selection of NEIPA and stouts.. plus they are great in the summer. Not sure they still have it, but I was in a couple weeks ago and got some Pink Dragonade Stand. Outstanding. A couple months ago they had one that was strawberry shortcake, delicious.
 

ColoradoClone

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Apr 6, 2006
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Gotta say, I think backpocket is underrated here. They’ve been really impressive with their new brewers and management. Bubba is a hazy that I’d put up against weldwerks, new image, and other greats here in Colorado. Their core beers are solid (dunkel and helles) their sours are fun, and their special releases like their Anniversay stout are always top notch.
 

BACyclone

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Mar 27, 2011
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Reinbeck, IA
I live in Dubuque and was really happy when Dimensional opened. I used to frequent 7 Hills a lot, and while their beers never really blew me away, they were decent enough and as several people have already mentioned, do food really really well. I really like 7 Hills Red Ale, their west coast style IPA and their Brown Ale. Aside from their basics though, I really don't enjoy most of their seasonal/experimental stuff. Dimensional does that stuff way better and have a better variety of beers overall. Lived here for 4 years and still haven't tried Jubeck.

Other Eastern Iowa breweries I've stopped at that I haven't seen mentioned so far would be Tellurian in Charles City, Lime Stone in Osage, and Lake Time in Clear Lake. I especially enjoyed Lake Time Brewery in Clear Lake. I don't know what tier any of them would be on, but if I had to put them in order for myself personally, I'd say

1. Lake Time
2. Tellurian
3. Lime Stone


Lake Time doesn't really do IPAs that well IMO, but I think they do one-off flavored beers well. I think that's their wheelhouse. The best PB beer I've ever had was their Imperial Peanut Butter Porter. Amazing.

Right near there in Mason City I was REALLY impressed with Fat Hill in downtown MC. They were to-go crowlers only of course (last summer/fall), so I took a chance on their milk stout and a NEIPA called Rongorongo and both were absolutely top notch. It's a small family run brewery so selection is pretty limited, but on that one sample I'd rate them a B tier.
 
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NickTheGreat

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Jan 17, 2012
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Lake Time doesn't really do IPAs that well IMO, but I think they do one-off flavored beers well. I think that's their wheelhouse. The best PB beer I've ever had was their Imperial Peanut Butter Porter. Amazing.

Right near there in Mason City I was REALLY impressed with Fat Hill in downtown MC. They were to-go crowlers only of course (last summer/fall), so I took a chance on their milk stout and a NEIPA called Rongorongo and both were absolutely top notch. It's a small family run brewery so selection is pretty limited, but on that one sample I'd rate them a B tier.

I forgot about Fat Hill. I think B tier is fair for them. A lot of good beers, with none being exceptional. With the exception of their Scotch Ale - Wee Heavy. But then again, I really like that style of beer.
 
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