Beer / Iowa / Local / Photography

In heaven there is no beer: An ode to Iowa

DSC_0612-2“The lunch and dinner I enjoyed on a recent day in Iowa didn’t belong on the same planet, let alone in the same state. ”

Seth Kugel, of the NYT Frugal Traveler fame, writes a sentiment that couldn’t be more apt for a state caught between a transition and tradition. In his article, “Eating in Iowa: Farm-fresh, Fried, and Frugal“, he discovers culinary feasts for cheap and other delights that shouldn’t be consumed ever-so-frequently, i.e. that which comes fried, frugal, and plate-width.

If you ask any Iowan, however, they’ll tell you: he forgot to mention a lot. Farm-fresh and local is sprouting up all over the state. And the movement isn’t just about food either. In fact, it’s changing in the form of small batch whiskey distilleries, backyard vineyards, and craft beer, too.


With that, it gives me great pleasure to post about a local enterprise that is in the midst of transforming the very community (or rather, county) where I grew up. In a town of 1,400, where little industry persists (apart from farming), my cousin and her husband have opened a local brewery! On a recent private tour that they gave me, I tasted a little of what they’ve been brewing. Do I need to say it? Yes, yes, it was really good. In fact, I came home with a growler (or a one half galloon jug) of delicious beer.



As my cousin Nicole Eilers, co-owner of Brick Street Brewery, said, “Unlike people our parents’ age, we didn’t want to look back and say, ‘I wish I had…'”.

If you’re local, stop in! Currently, they’re offering their very own Pumpkin Spice Ale (cleverly named, You Don’t Know Jack), and a Porter (my favorite) with the sweet, subtle taste of chocolate and just a hint of coffee.

In the familiar chant of Iowans, from the University of Iowa (my alma mater), it’s only fitting to say: In heaven there is no beer, that’s why we drink it here! 


Don’t forget to check out Brick Street Brewery’s Facebook page! Disclaimer: You may see a few of the following photos up there soon!

Oh, and as always–wherever you are–support local, craft beer!

Do you like craft beer? If so, what’s your favorite? If I’m honest, drinking good, experimental craft beer is one of my favorite things about returning home to America! There’s so much more than America’s greatest beer export, Budweiser! Plus, after almost two years in Spain, I can say, the country’s dependence on lager isn’t exactly inspiring. Luckily though, experimentation is coming, and beer culture in Iberia is slowly changing! If you’re from elsewhere, what’s the beer culture like in your country?



8 thoughts on “In heaven there is no beer: An ode to Iowa

  1. Love this! I love that they opened in such a small town. Iowa reminds me of my home state, Indiana—people think it’s all cornfields and hicks, but there are a lot of good things brewing (pun intended)! My university town is a haven for arts, culture, international festivals, food, beer, wine … you get the picture!

    I am excited to see Spain’s beer scene change. Supposedly my favorite Spanish craft brew was one of the first here in Spain (Domus, from Toledo).

    • Definitely! The Midwest in general gets a bad rep from the rest of the nation, but it’s interesting because when you live abroad you only get glimpses of the change. From my perspective, it seems to be heading in a good direction!

      As for Spain, it’s focus on craft beer is only getting better! I can’t wait to see how many craft breweries Madrid has in the next 5 years. I will visit!

  2. Ahh I miss craft beers, delicious beers, dark beers, seasonal beers… those that don’t live well without good beer should reconsider any impending moves to South Korea.

    • No American expat has come to fill the market yet?! It seemed like everywhere I traveled in Europe, if I found a craft brewery, there was at least one American expat behind it. When I was living in China, that demand was also filled by an American expat, but only in Beijing and Shanghai (that I know of). In Zhengzhou, where I was, good beer was nearly impossible to find. I’m very familiar with that beer drought!

      • Maybe in Seoul, but not everyone gets to live in Seoul. Korean beer is to die for, as in I’d rather die than have to drink it forever. So. Terrible. 0.0

    • Nick, this sounds like heaven! I didn’t realize you were in Bend! Isn’t that the mountain biking capital, or something?

      If I’m in America in August, I’ll be heading out West for my cousin’s wedding at the Grand Tetons. Meet up?

  3. Pingback: Be3er Nation! | Sunset Daily

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