Winter doesn’t have to be spent hibernating. Visiting a cozy Iowa brewery is a great way to warm up.
1. Tip the Cow - SingleSpeed Brewing, Cedar Falls
Located in the historic Main Street District of downtown Cedar Falls, SingleSpeed Brewing’s original taproom is just minutes north of the University of Northern Iowa campus, and one block from the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. With a wide selection of award-winning, experimental ales, you’re sure to find one that’s your speed. Tip the Cow is a full-bodied, creamy milk stout that uses a roast from Sidecar Coffee. Its notes of cocoa alongside a velvety sweetness make it a great brew to warm up with.
2. Pumpkin Porter – West Hill Brewing, Indianola
West Hill Brewing, founded by Indianola natives, is located in the historic downtown area. The onsite taproom and brewery provide a relaxing atmosphere and hangout spot to try out West Hill’s tap list, which currently has 14 beers. Aside from their selection of local craft brews, they host a variety of food trucks from around the community that often pair well with the beer you order. To satisfy your seasonal palette, try their Scottish Ale or Pumpkin Cutter Porter.
3. BrrrFest Dark Day: German Chocolate Cake – Backpocket Brewing, Iowa City
Backpocket Brewing, housed in the Iowa River Landing in Coralville, provides everything from seasonal favorites and classic lagers to sours, bretts and saisons. Their winter beer is the delicious BrrrFest Dark Day: German Chocolate Cake, a stout which is aged for over 10 months and has layers of different chocolate and caramel malts, with toasted coconut and roasted pecans. Enjoy it at Brrrfest, or in their taproom paired with a hand-stretched, stone-fired pizza and 18 beers on tap.
4.Coco Stout – West O Beer, Okoboji
West O Beer, located in West Okoboji, is all about the water. They use carbon filtered water and prioritize a clean, high-quality brewery experience. On the front side of their taproom, you can watch as finished beer passes through the wall and out of the faucets into your glass. Their winter lineup includes their Coco Stout – a milk stout with cocoa nibs and bourbon vanilla that creates a creamy and chocolatey brew.
5. Anniversary Imperial Stout – Fenders Brewing, Polk City
Situated just two miles east of the trail’s Polk City access point is Fenders Brewing – an ideal destination for cross-country skiers, hikers, bicyclists and beer lovers alike. The brewery’s bike-themed décor and beer names Roll With It, Whimcycle, Night Tracks and Morning Ride, just to name a few, keep riders coming back for more. Winter beer lovers will enjoy their Anniversary Imperial Stout, Shamalamadingdong, which features a velvety smooth body and nice chocolate, vanilla and maple notes. It's fun to say and fun to drink!
6. Agriculture Rye Porter – NoCoast Beer Co., Oskaloosa
Rooted in Midwestern pride, NoCoast Beer Co., houses brewing, cold brewed coffee and mobile canning operations. They place emphasis on beer that embraces simplicity and approachability. Their Agriculture Rye captivates the senses with a symphonic blend of dark color, earthy aroma and warming rye flavor, making it the perfect beer to enjoy when the temperature takes a frigid turn.
7. Start-Up Stout Coffee Chocolate Stout – Kalona Brewing, Kalona
Kalona Brewing Company in idyllic downtown Kalona produces seven core beers year-round, with a variety of seasonal beers making guest appearances on their menu throughout the year. In the winter, Kalona’s Start-Up Stout Coffee Chocolate Stout, brewed with locally roasted coffee from Cafe Del Sol in Iowa City (just 30 minutes away), is a wonderful choice for dark beer lovers.
8. Runaway Bay Tropical Stout – Peace Tree Brewing Co., Knoxville
Established in 2009, the award-winning Peace Tree Brewing is one of Iowa’s oldest independent craft breweries. Their Runaway Bay tropical stout is a full-bodied, Caribbean-inspired beer that bears a smoothness reminiscent of dark chocolate. It’s a perfect storm of robust, dark grains and sweet, fruity aromas.