Local brewers set for biggest Iowa Craft Brew Fest yet

Iowa Beer
VIP passes to the Iowa Craft Brew Festival have sold out, but regular admission tickets are still available. photo by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr Creative Commons

Iowa Craft Brew Festival

Court Avenue Bridge in Downtown Des Moines — Saturday, June 20 from 2-5 p.m.

Des Moines’ fifth annual Iowa Craft Brew Festival (ICBF) is going to be bigger and better than ever this year, according to J. Wilson, the Iowa Brewers Guild’s Minister of Iowa Beer. He points out that the festival, much like the state’s burgeoning brewing industry, has grown in size and scope over the years.

At the time of the inaugural ICBF in 2010, Iowa was home to about 20 breweries and roughly a dozen attended the festival. Today the state has 55 breweries, 39 of which will serve beer at the ICBF — the most ever. In total, there will be 60 breweries at the festival, with 250 different beers available for tasting.

In addition to offering more beer than in the past, four educational seminars and tastings are scheduled throughout the day.

C.J. Bienert of The Cheese Shop (based in Des Moines) will host a beer and cheese pairing session with locally made cheeses and craft beer; brewers from Millstream, West O and Backpocket brewing companies will discuss lager brewing; a tasting of four different batches of Peace Tree Brewing’s No Coast IPA, each brewed at different times, will highlight the importance of fresh beer and bottling/best-by dates; and Cedar Ridge Distillery will offer a tasting of its experimental dry-hopped whiskey, called “hopskey.”

Pleasant Hill-based Over the Top Ice Cream, one of the event’s food vendors, will offer scoops of its homemade ice cream, including a flavor made with Illuminator Doppelbock, the beer Wilson drank for sustenance during a Lenten fast in 2011. Throughout the day, local bands Maids, Dylan Boyle, Aaron Hefley, Dang Felton and Dan Tedesco will perform acoustic sets.

The ICBF doubles as the finale for the second annual Des Moines Beer Week (June 14–20), a week-long celebration of the area’s growing craft beer scene that includes bike rides, tap takeovers, beer dinners and brewer meet-and-greets. On Friday, June 19, at 8 p.m., Confluence Brewing Company (1235 Thomas Beck Rd., Des Moines) is hosting a public ICBF “Warm-Up Party,” where a number of the festival’s participating brewers will be in attendance.

Though VIP tickets have sold out, general admission tickets are still available. They can be purchased online for $30 or at the gate, if available, for $40. General admission begins at 2 p.m.

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