RAGBRAI 2015… What you need to know.

By | February 24, 2015

RAGBRAI 2015…  What you need to know.

Anyone who talks to me about cycling knows that I love RAGBRAI.  Going halfway across the country to ride my bike across Iowa is a great escape.  It is a giant rolling party.  RABGRAI has also been great for CYCLEBUTTCRACK.  CYCLEBUTTCRACK participated in its first bike expo at RAGBRAI and previous blog posts about the ride have been wildly popular.  I am very excited about the route this year.  While I am thinking that the expo does not look financially feasible, I still hope that I can participate in the ride.

West O BEER's tap handle selection

West O BEER’s tap handle selection

As a lover of craft BEER, I am sad to say that Iowa is a bit of a wasteland.  At RAGBRAI 2013, in Harlan, IA, my first overnight town, I to tried to order a tasty local craft BEER.  I was horrified, when the bartender told me, ‘We don’t have any of that.  Our biggest sellers are Bud and Coors Light.’  What?!  Oh the horror!!  Last year, in Forest City, IA I asked a local pizza shop owner where I could find a tasty local craft BEER.  His response, ‘Oh you mean snob BEER?’  What?!  I am sorry that I prefer my BEER to have flavor.  Grrr!  That is not to say that Iowa has no craft beer options.  In 2013 I visited and enjoyed Confleunce Brewing and Peace Tree Brewing’s  tasty offerings.  Last year West O’Beer made a great impression!  Finding tasty craft breweries like these on RAGBRAI is possible, but is going to take some planning.

Overnight in Mason City.  Too many cell phones, forget about making calls.

Overnight in Mason City. Too many cell phones, forget about making calls.

You should assume you will not have cell phone service on RAGBRAI.  All those people are more than enough to overwhelm the local cell phone infrastructure.  I have gone days on RAGBRAI without being able to make a call.  If you want to visit the craft breweries on the 2015 RAGBRAI route, you better have done your research in advance.  I have done most of research for you, covering ride specifics, interesting overnight town information and most importantly where you can get a tasty craft BEER.  No need to thank me.  Just buy me a BEER if we happen to meet on the ride.

This year’s RAGBRAI will begin in Sioux City, IA and end in Davenport.  The route will cover 462.2 miles and features 15,948 feet of elevation gain to break up the flats.  As a rule the overnight towns on this year’s RABGRAI will be larger than last year.  This should mean more plentiful craft beer opportunities, but there will still be some dry spots along the way.  Don’t worry, the Iowa Craft BEER tent has your back.

Iowa Craft BEER Tent

Iowa Craft BEER Tent

Iowa’s craft BEER industry is small, but it is growing and it is well organized.  The Iowa Craft BEER tent is their way of spreading the wonderful word of craft brewing.  Last year they made a appearances at six of the seven days of RAGBRAI.  Typically they hosted ‘BEER for Breakfast’ near the beginning of the day’s ride and a BEER Garden a few miles from overnight town.  To be honest, I am a bit of a wimp, I usually skip ‘BEER for Breakfast,’ but the afternoon’s BEER garden is not to be missed.  The site of the Iowa Craft BEER tent trailer’s long line of tap handles is enough to make me believe there is a bright future for Iowa craft BEER!  Thanks to the Craft BEER tent, I have already tasted most of the craft BEERS along this year’s RAGBRAI route and I won’t have to resort to flavor free swill. 🙂  In the next article, we will discuss those breweries and overnight towns in depth.



Confluence Brewing

Peace Tree Brewing


Iowa Craft BEER Tent

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