RAGBRAI 2015 Pass through BEER!
On my first RAGBRAI, I felt lost. I am used to having access to literally hundreds of Craft BEER options in Seattle. That is not the case in Iowa. Though their Craft Brew industry may still be small, that does not mean that you cannot find fine Craft BEER. You just have to look for them.
Last time, I covered the craft breweries located in overnight towns. However there are a couple spots to wet your whistle in pass through towns. The list is short, but that is okay. Drinking too much while on the bike can lead to trouble, even on RAGBRAI! The first opportunity comes on Day three… If you consider it a Craft Beer opportunity.
Day Three… A close Pass?!
Thank goodness for the Iowa Craft Beer Tent because there is not a craft Brewery to be found early in RAGBRAI! Even a close pass to a brewery in the RAGBRAI route is noteworthy. Well there is a ‘close’ pass on day three. It is a Granite City Brewing located 24 miles south of Webster City. Granite City is the Midwestern version of Rock Bottom Brewery in Seattle. There are Granite City breweries all over the Midwest. I am sure they make lovely beer and have good food, but I tent to steer towards smaller breweries rather than chains if given the option. Call me a beer snob, but I will not be riding the extra 48 miles to visit Granite City. The next pass through craft beer opportunities don’t occur until day six.
Day Six! Danger! Danger!
Day six presents 2 pass through beer options without even having to leave the RAGBRAI route! These opportunities come in short succession towards the end of the day’s ride. Be sure to take it easy and make sure to reach your final destination.
Sutliff Cider Company, 382 Sutliff Road, Lisbon, IA 52253 (319) 455 4093. How about a cider for a change of pace?! Just south of Mount Vernon, between Bud Road and Light Road (You can’t make this stuff up) sits Sutliff Cider Company. It is right on the RAGBRAI route and is well worth a stop. They carry three ciders the Hard Cider is a medium dry cider. The soft cider is non-alcoholic and the Pure Cider is a seasonal which will likely not be available during RAGBRAI. The tasting room is in a 120 year old barn and should be worth a look.
Big Grove Brewing – 101 West Main St. Salon, IA 52333 (319) 624 2337. Located in the heart of Salon, IA, you can expect this pass through town brewery to be busy. You will be lucky to get a brew, but Big Grove also has a full food menu. It would appear that Big Grove is home to some hop lovers with two IPA’s and their Arms Race Pale which is dry hopped. I was surprised that the do not offer a porter or stout. However, since it is likely to be hot, I am sure their pale will hit the spot.
There you have it, it is a short list, but you shouldn’t pass by any craft BEER opportunities on RAGBRAI. Next up for RAGBRAI, my latest packing guide. Stay tuned!