These days, local breweries are not only churning out brews to please a variety of palates, they are also creating special destinations for friends and family to enjoy. From tried and true hop-infused beverages to playful, experimental micro-brews with unique flavors, the beers on local tap are as unique as the breweries crafting them.
Make plans to pop into a local brewery, whether one at a time or on a brew tour. But be sure you pace yourself! There are eight breweries located in and around Cedar Rapids.
1) Lion Bridge Brewing Company is establishing itself as a fixture in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village. A great place for conversation, their artisan, small batch beers—ten to 15 of which are brewing at any time—are crafted to be approachable and delicious. Warm weather days are a prime to visit, so you can enjoy their spacious outdoor beer garden. lionbridgebrewing.com
2) Third Base Brewery has been on the Cedar Rapids beer scene for years, first opening in 1996. Their longevity has locals coming back for their year round brews, including Golden Hawk Wheat, Bees Knees Honey Ale and Black Cobra Oatmeal Stout. With a true sports bar atmosphere, the brewery also offers a full menu, plenty of TVs to watch your favorite game, and pool tables to enjoy as well. www.facebook.com/thirdbasebrewery
3) Clock House Brewing is a small but mighty brewery tucked in the back of a 100-year-old warehouse building in downtown Cedar Rapids. They pack a lot of beer taps into a small space so patrons can enjoy their varied microbrews. And as a bonus, you can order a few tasty menu items, like the duck fat fries, prepared by the neighboring Black Sheep Social Club kitchen to nibble on as you enjoy your craft beers. clockhousebrewing.com
4) The Quarter Barrel is a unique spot in that you can sip on a locally brewed pint while playing your favorite vintage arcade game. Bring plenty of quarters and your best beer tasting game face. They have more than 20 beers on tap, half of which are dedicated to house brews. And there’s delicious pizza to munch on. thequarterbarrel.com
5) Thew Brewing is just across the river from downtown Cedar Rapids. Thew, a Middle English word for strength and vitality, is something the owners take to heart in crafting their ales—try fan favorites Lots of Lonely Nights and I-380PA—and building community. As a community-focused brewery, Thew Brewing hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as taproom yoga or trivia. www.thewbrew.com
6) Iowa Brewing Company gives you a taste of Cedar Rapids by crafting brews that blend traditional and modern approaches and often give a nod to where they are created in their names. Located on the edge of both downtown Cedar Rapids and the New Bo neighborhood, it’s also a prime pit stop for bikers cruising through town on the bike trails. While they don’t serve food, there’s often a food truck pulled up out front for when you need to grab a bite with your pint. iowabrewing.beer
7) House Divided Brewery is one of the newer sipping spots in the area, just outside of town in Ely. The owners took their love for home brewing and decided to jump on the nanobrewery scene, all while paying homage with their name to the great debate: are you a fan of the Iowa State Cyclones or the University of Iowa Hawkeyes? (Hint, they are a house divided.) Grab a beer to show your school pride or try out a seasonal brews. housedividedbrewery.com
8) BIT Brewery in Central City is not to be missed. BIT—which stands for Best in Three—opened just recently, but the owners have been brewing beer for much longer. They set up shop in the oldest building in town and offer their beers and hand-made wood fired pizza, with new flavors each week. www.bitbrew3.com
Pedal for a Pint
The DoubleTree Express is a people-powered pedal bike that holds a total of 14 people (21 and older only please) and can be rented for bachelor and bachelorette parties, wedding parties or team building. Although current Iowa state laws do not allow riders to drink or transport alcohol while on the pedal bike, riders can certainly pedal their way around downtown for a bar crawl. It’s equipped with Bluetooth so you can blast tunes while you ride and there’s motor assist if the pedaling becomes too tough. Ask the Doubletree Hotel for a suggested route or blaze your own trail. Call 319-731-4444.
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