Good evening on a mild Sunday from the Cereal City. 2017 is already flying by as are the beers as we tick away the last few days of February. Here at Bricks the year has already been full of all kinds of improvements, seen and unseen by the customer. Most notably, our owner Tim Kindl has reinvested quite a bit of time and money into the bar, starting first and foremost with the draft system. Simply put, everything in the draft system at the main bar is new. Brandon Hahn and the crew from Fleck did an outstanding job getting the pours dialed in over the course of two days. A quick rundown on what was done:
- new couplers (part that attaches keg to jumper)
- new jumpers (a short run of beer line from the coupler to trunk line)
- new trunk lines (beer line from cooler to tower made of antibacterial barrier tubing)
- new towers (stainless steel)
- new faucets (stainless steel)
- new drip trays w/glass rinsers (stainless steel)
- new glycol units (keeps the beer cold all the way from cooler to faucet)
- new regulators (equipment that regulates the pressure of the beer)
I’m probably forgetting something that Brandon could chime in on and explain much better than I but needless to say that this was a very involved process. What it means for someone having a beer at the bar though, is that there is no better place in town to have beer that tastes exactly as the brewer intended it to because of our procedures of cleaning each line every time we rotate (something that the vast majority of bars still don’t do), and keeping a low inventory of beers waiting to get on tap (we average about 3 days from delivery to on-tap which is unheard of for most rotation-heavy bars). The result is that you get a wonderfully fresh beer poured through a clean line. And thats beautiful.
I’ve been involved in or on the edge of several conversations lately that have to do with local beer, and what it’s all about. “Local Beer” can be a touchy subject in our current time with an exploding scene of new breweries with varying levels of head brewer experience. Damned is the person that criticizes a local brewery. We have unfortunately reached a point where “local” is an aspect of a beers perceived quality. The danger in this is that we lose sight of what actual quality beers are, and they get pulled from the market due to lagging sales. Don’t get me wrong, I love supporting local breweries that are putting out great beers, backed up by the fact that you will always be able to find Big Grove Arms Race and Lion Bridge Yard Sale on tap. Two of the best, most consistent beers in the area.
It can be said therefore that it is not our goal to have the most local beers or all of the latest local releases. Our goal is to provide everyone that walks through the front door to be able to find something on tap that they enjoy, and that is also well made and consistent. We have and will continue to support the local breweries that are making great beer, capable of sharing space next to and standing alongside some of the best craft beers made across the country. Every person is in a different part of their beer journey. Here at Bricks, we just want to be along for the ride.
On to the beer!
Beer that I’ve been enjoying lately: Summit True Brit IPA
Generally speaking, I’m more of a fan of American IPAs. I love the citrus and tropical hop flavors that we’ve come to know from our American styles and the general public of the United States is also on board with that sentiment, preferring those flavors in their hoppy beers. Oft forgotten though are English Style Pale Ales and IPAs. Called “English style” because of the hop varieties, Summit True Brit IPA uses Northern Brewer and Target hops and is dry-hopped with East Kent Golding and Fuggle (all hop varieties that originated in the U.K.). True Brit is a revelation in this style, giving off a great herbal and spicy aroma that English hops are known for, backed up by a subtle caramel and pale malt that really lets the hops shine. Nicely crisp and bitter, True Brit is not the hazy, opaque, sweet IPA that is quickly lighting the beer trading world on fire. It’s the IPA that’s always been cool.
Don’t forget our event with Summit Brewing Co. on March 9th, where you’ll be able to try a full lineup of their IPAs. We’re also right around the corner from the Stone Brewing 4.20 party that we throw every year. This year it falls on a Thursday, and we’ll feature 12 fantastic beers from Stone including a few that have likely not been in the state before!
Stay tuned to hear more information about this years Cedar Rapids Beer Week. Now in its third year, this week has gotten better every year with more events and better planning. Every year we look to try and add an aspect and improve on what we’ve done in the past which means this year should be a lot of fun. Building around the great beer festival at Benz in May, Cedar Rapids Beer Week does a little bit of the same thing that CR Restaurant Week does in showcasing our beer scene which is arguably the best in the state.
Beer and Music pairing:
The current political climate in our country evokes quite the range of emotions. Fear, excitement, anger, hopelessness, joy, and apathy fill the gamut of the population in some way or another. For some, its an unnerving unsurety of their safety. For others, worry of the direction we might be headed. Some plead with local legislators, while others cheer on the actions of few. Contentious, surreal, dystopian. The same sentiment is mirrored in Arcade Fire’s – The Suburbs. A haunting piano riff accompanied by strings and acoustic guitar backs up the vocals of Win Butler in this title track from the 2011 Album of the Year Grammy winner. The innocence of youth, forcibly meshed with an era of militarized police and war paints a dark picture; brewing together sweet memories that are perhaps drowned out by the bitterness of some of the current events right in our backyard. That same bitter-sweetness is mirrored in Stone Brewing Co. – Give Me IPA or Give Me Death.
An homage to Patrick Henry famously voicing the resistance against the tyrannical British Empire by saying “Give me liberty or give me death” this beer certainly packs a punch with Virginia blackberries and raspberries to also celebrate Stone’s new Richmond brewery. It pours a deep sanguine color that filters to an orange hue in thinner parts of the glass with a slightly off-white head. Tart sweetness of berries dominate the aroma, backed up by sweet cereal malt. To my fellow Cedar Rapidians, there is a certain Crunch Berry-esque smell about this beer. The flavor is similar to the aroma but that tart sweet flavor is swiftly followed by the bitter truth of this beer. Though it is velvety smooth across the tongue, a drying bitterness sneaks in on the sides of the tongue on the finish, clearing the way for the next sip and an attempt to once again grab that bit of the past.
That’s the news out of Bricks this week. No matter what the circumstances of our country, we’ll always be here to relay fresh beer through clean lines just for you. Whatever your political affiliation, that’s a pretty damn good thing. Clean lines, full pints, can’t lose.