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Belle Isle Brewery – Oklahoma City Brewpub

As our Craft Beer Tour 2016 continued west on I-44 from Missouri we entered Oklahoma, which presented its own set of issues; not the least of which was availability.

When we left Missouri I had been informed about a bottle release that was happening at a brewery in Tulsa. Unfortunately, the brewery did not have food and they would have closed within an hour or two of our arrival. While I did not really care about food, Tanya did so we would wait until we could find a brewpub. Tulsa was having its own social issues so we decided to continue west to Oklahoma City where we found Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewery. When I say we “found” Belle Isle, do not take that too lightly as it does seem rather hidden since most of the signage was blocked by trees; at least from the street view. It probably helps to know it is there. Continue reading

Missouri Craft Beer on I-44

This portion of our Craft Beer Tour 2016 will be eastbound; beginning in Missouri and ending in Arizona. All of the Missouri portion can be found along I-44.

While it has been five years since the last time I drove along I-44, I seem to have driven this route more than anyone I know. The only reason I mention this is because I have driven through St. James, Missouri many times; so much so that I am readily familiar with some of the billboards you will see along the way. One of those billboards is for St. James Winery; so imagine my surprise when I saw an attachment to the winery’s billboard that suggested there might be a brewery now associated with the winery. Our first stop in Missouri would be Public House Brewing Company, which is located right next door to St. James Winery. Continue reading

Indiana Craft Beer: From North to South

If you have been following along you will recall that Craft Beer Tour 2016 technically began after visiting my buddy George in Reno, Nevada. It was there that I asked Tanya if she wanted to visit her family in Indiana; if she had not been up for it, my backup plan was to head to the Portland, Oregon area. When she said she wanted to go to Indiana, the only brewery that was a planned destination was Three Floyds Brewing in Munster. We have both been there numerous times; and while the rest of the trip would concentrate on visiting places I never heard of, there was no way I was going to northwest Indiana without another stop at Three Floyds.

I remember it was around 2:00 PM on Sunday afternoon at Big Grove Brewery when I told Big Grove managing partner Doug Goettsch and Tanya that we would be having dinner at Three Floyds Brewpub that evening. Goettsch reminded me that it was still another three or four hours to Munster; but as they would be open until 11:15 PM this would not be a problem; or so I thought. Continue reading

Iowa Craft Beer: Granite City and Big Grove Brewery

After having lunch in Lincoln, Nebraska we found our way back to I-80 and set our sights on Des Moines, Iowa.

I am not entirely sure how Granite City Food & Brewery got the nod for our final destination of the evening as in retrospect there seems to be a lot happening there; I suspect because it was the closest brewpub to the interstate, it was getting late and Tanya was hungry. Whatever the reason, it was a good stop.

The Granite City Food & Brewery location we stopped at was in the Clive section of Des Moines; I am still not exactly sure what that means, but if you are in Des Moines asking for directions, I am sure that will help out. Continue reading

North Platte Rail Days and Nebraska Craft Beer

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times; timing is everything. It was Friday morning; day six of Craft Beer Tour 2016, day eight on the road and Tanya wanted Cracker Barrel. The closest one was pretty far out of the way and backtracking from whence we came; but it was what she wanted. The point being that we got a pretty late start out of Denver; and we were starting off deeper than when we had ended the prior day.

We took I-76 eastbound which landed us about 100 miles into Nebraska when it connected to I-80; Tanya was not having much luck finding anything around us on her iPhone, so I asked her to text a friend of mine that lives in northern Nebraska for some assistance. Cliff suggested we continue east to North Platte, where we would turn off and go down the road to Loop Brewing Company. Cliff knew nothing of the brewery, but it was the closest thing happening; so we headed that way. Continue reading

Visits to Fort Collins Brewery, Colorado Plus and Baere Brewing

When we left Laramie on Thursday morning we cut across the bottom eastern half of Wyoming to get to I-25 southbound towards Denver. Denver has plenty of craft beer and if I was not careful I could end up there for a few days; however, the real reason I even drove down there was to see family that live in the Denver area.

Since food was a pretty important concern, and it was already after noon, we set the GPS for Fort Collins Brewery & Tavern, a massive brewpub located in Fort Collins.

When I say it was massive, I mean it was probably bigger than anything we have in the South Bay area. When we were there they had 12 brews on tap; each of them pretty solid for their style for the most part. I don’t recall thinking the Apricot Sour Ale was very sour; while I did enjoy the Far Away IPA. Oh yeah; their Oktoberfest was pretty dead on.

As we were going to meet my brother and his wife in a few hours for dinner, we had their Grilled Indian Fry Bread as an appetizer to hold us over; it was pretty tasty. Continue reading

A Craft Beer Tour of Southern Wyoming

I have ridden along I-80 many times on my way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; so when we left Salt Lake City I already knew that we would spend the night in Evanston, Wyoming. I have stayed there many times in the past and was confident that with the craft beer explosion, Evanston had to have at least one brewery.

I was right, they had one; Suds Brothers Brewery which is a brewpub that has been open about seven years. Suds Brothers had seven brews on tap while we were there; with our favorites again leaning towards the lighter, more refreshing varieties like the Orange Honey Wheat, Kolsch and Misty Mountain IPA. The staff was quite friendly and the fried ravioli was pretty good; I wish there had been a meat filled version instead of just cheese, but Tanya really liked them.

Suds Brothers Brewery is located at 1012 Main Street in Evanston, Wyoming. Continue reading

Red Rock Brewing Company – Salt Lake City

Tuesday morning we left Elko, Nevada and continued east on I-80 through the remaining Nevada desert into the Utah desert. If you think Nevada is flat and arid, the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah makes it look like an oasis. The fact of the matter is that until you hit Salt Lake City there is not much to speak of beer-wise between Elko and Salt Lake.

Tanya was seeking food and found Red Rock Brewing Company; a brewpub in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately for us, Red Rock Brewing has two locations; the brewery and tasting room; and a few blocks away, the brewpub. She had set the GPS for the brewery, which may have had snacks but they did not have the food she sought. The Red Rock Brewing Company brewery is located at 443 North 400 West in Salt Lake City and this is their production brewery where you can find the higher ABV brews. Utah has some of the weirder beer laws that we came across. Oh, Mountain West Cider is right next door; we did not make it back there but if you are in the neighborhood you might as well stop in. Continue reading

A Tour of Reno & Elko Nevada Craft Beer

When I last posted here, I was at the California Craft Beer Summit in Sacramento (thanks again to HopSaint Brewing Company for the support); I was in need of a road trip so I figured since I was already there, I should make the two hour drive to Reno, Nevada to visit George, a friend of mine that is stuck at the VA hospital there because of all the Agent Orange he was doused with in Viet Nam. We have known each other since 1972 but I have not seen him in close to 10 years; I wanted to see him before it was too late.

After we signed George out of the VA and he wanted to go to lunch at a steakhouse in one of the big casinos; when we arrived we found out the steakhouse did not open for several more hours. George had another place he enjoyed, so we drove over there.

When we pulled up I was more concerned with finding a shady spot to park (for the dogs) than what the name of the place was, and I was really there to visit with my friend; I was not very concerned with where his appetite had brought us. Continue reading

Beachwood Brewing & Noble Ale Works Celebrate World Domination

Sometimes it comes down to timing; Wednesday evening is a perfect example of that. Tanya did not feel like cooking and I had just been paid, so she suggested we go to dinner. On the short list of brewpubs and gastropubs was one that we have not visited as much as we would like was Beachwood Brewing & BBQ in Long Beach. Truth be told, because it was the beginning of the rush hour traffic we were hesitant to head there when there were so many other great options that were a lot closer; but we both had a hankering for some barbecue and whatever was new at Beachwood, so we took our chances and headed to Long Beach.

One of the first things I noticed when we arrived at Beachwood was a sign that said something about a shuttle going between the Long Beach and Seal Beach locations. When I asked the hostess about it, I was informed that I got there just in time for Beachwood’s celebration with Noble Ale Works of their victories at the recent World Beer Cup where, among other awards, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing won World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the large brewpubs category and Noble Ale Works won World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the Small Brewing Company category. Beachwood was providing shuttle rides between their two locations in order that you might be able to try all the beers that Noble Ale Works brought with them. Continue reading

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