Barn Town Brewing: Go there TODAY!
It’s very important that you all go to “Barn Town Brewing” immediately. As a neighborhood, we must support this local business. I’m going to list several reasons why you should strap the kids into a car seat or hop on a bike and drive 1.6 miles east down University Avenue.
Have you ever drunk a truly fresh beer?
You probably know that beer is being brewed on an amateur level less than 100 yards from your house. My basement also serves as an aging cellar and storage locker, my kitchen a brewery. I make my own beer, but don’t sell it. If you ask, I’ll probably give you some. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal. And there is no chance of explosion. Well… no chance of injuries from beer explosions. There is a slight chance of a beer explosion making a cartoon-worthy foaming mess. I document all my brewing adventures on a blog. You should check it out. It’s an awesome hobby.
If you’ve had one of my beers, you’ll remember it’s a tad stronger than professionally-brewed beer. That’s because I love beer, especially strong beer. It’s not bad! The more I brew, the more I make mistakes, the faster I learn. They are getting better all the time. What’s different about a fresh beer?
There are a few things that can really mess up a good beer. Sunlight can ruin beer in less than 10 seconds. After 10 good seconds exposed to direct sunlight, beer will start to take on a cardboard and copper-taste. That’s why good beer is stored in brown bottles or cans. Shaking or up-ending beer bottles or cans can flatten it out or give it too much contact with a metal cap. That can distort taste as well. Sitting on a shelf at room temperature or being chilled too cold can also ruin beer.
But fresh beer, that’s been brewed on site and protected from all these flavor-killing obstacles, is just plain awesome. You can get this fresh beer from me, or from a professional brewer less than 2 miles away. (Their beer is better than mine, by the way)
Today I took Ada, my 3-year old girl to Barn Town. It’s got a very 50-ish farm look to it. My burger had a flat-grill Culver’s shape to it, topped with a fried egg and a slab of bacon. Not a slice of bacon… a fucking 1950’s style SLAB of bacon. There was melty cheese and a fresh-baked bun. Everything made there at Barn Town is made fresh on site. It was an extremely messy affair and I loved it! I ate the whole thing minus one of the patties (I’m on a diet) with a knife and fork. Ada ate her burger too. This is big praise because normally Ada only eats PB&J with some crackers and chocolate milk. I’m totally serious. Sometimes Ada turns her nose up to pizza and hot dogs. But she ate a Barn Town Burger.
The fries were farm-cut (tips have skin) and crispy, thin, not too salty. The price was a tad steep at 11$ a burger. Mine had two patties, fried egg and slab of bacon, which isn’t a bad price compared to say Applebees, Chilli’s or even the “Royale with Cheese” at Django downtown.
Ada’s “Kids’s meal” was 6$. It had a single adult-sized hamburger and a ridiculously-awesome amount of fries, a tiny cup of grapes, a few pickle slices and a chocolate milk. Next time, I may get the Kid’s meal, which is really in adult portions for half the price. It’s a new restaurant, they’ll work out the kinks like this soon enough.
Eleven Beers brewed on site
There are eleven different beers brewed on site. I tried the brown-ale and found it to be flawless. I would have had another, but I was driving, so I ordered my second from the guest beer menu.
Four of the eleven beers were IPA’s, which I think is excessive. However, IPA’s seem to be the gateway beer for more people to start enjoying the craft beer industry. Even though these breweries are popping up all over, craft beer still only makes up 10% of the total beer market in the US. This is increasing every year, and that’s fantastic. Soon, maybe we’ll replace this awful InBev conglomerate with locally-produced taverns and micro-breweries. How cool would it be to go back to a time when beer was made and distributed locally? Sure, we should keep those giant breweries like Anheuser-Busch around… but we should also bring back local brew pubs where you can get a burger and a locally-brewed beer at the same place and price.
At any rate, there were a lot of IPA’s, and only two of the eleven beers went over 20 SRM (Standard Reference Model: the higher the number, the darker the beer. Only two beers were darker than say, a “normal” beer.) Most of the beers they had on tap were IPA’s, pale ales, blondes, wheats, etc. There was a Brown Ale and one Oatmeal Stout. I’m sure they will broaden their menu after a while and throw some ambers and lagers in there. Here it is now…
My second beer of the day came from the “Iowa-Only” Guest Beer list. I had an ‘English Mild’ called “Workman’s Comp” from Lion’s Bridge Brewery in Cedar Rapids. An English Mild is starting to become one of my favorite styles. This week, I brewed my second batch of Offa of Mercia. It’s dark, toasty, chocolaty, biscuit-y and low in alcohol. Workman’s Comp is 5.2%, which is not typical, but nonetheless, it was fantastic. Milds were originally made in England for working-class gents after a day’s end of hard work. They have the malt tones of a porter or stout, without the high alcohol content and “thickness” of a typical dark beer. There were several other beers on the guest beer menu from all over the state. In fact, they have this cool mural on the wall made of beer cans with the shape of Iowa in darker-colored cans. It’s pretty cool!
There were no beers from outside Iowa anywhere on the menu.
It’s only 1.6 miles away from Woodcreek. That’s 1.9 miles from my doorstep. You could ride a bike there in no time. Hell, I’ll go with you. It was totally cool. They have a few things to do to improve, but they’ll get it soon enough. The joint has only been open a month or so.
This is OUR neighborhood brew pub. Let’s not let it go to waste. Keep these guys in business by going down there today and getting a burger and a few great locally-brewed beers.
My suggestions for BTB…
I’m not an expert in any way, and I loved this place… but here’s where I think they can really knock it out of the park:
- Great job! Keep it up with the wait staff, atmosphere, Iowa Beers, burger menu, bacon, fresh potato chips, selling growlers, use of tulip glasses, French fries, cleanliness, social-media presence, kid-friendly, and definitely the music choice. (While there I heard, CCR, Skynard, Bowie, Zeppelin and BTO. It doesn’t get much better.)
- Instead of having 4 IPAs, work on perfecting ONE IPA, then diversify the beer menu. Throw in some ambers and lagers.
- Kid meals should be smaller. Otherwise adults will order from it to get smaller portions at a lower price. Better yet, make a few diet-portion items and call them something not so wimpy. How about: “Ironman” portions or “High Speed, Low Drag” menu.
- Get some bike racks.
- Get some “Nonic” Imperial Pint glasses and Weissbier Vases to compliment your American shakers. You could sell those suckers too. I’d buy some glasses with my local brew pub’s logo on it. For your Brown Ale and Stout, serve it in the Nonic glass, your Weissbier and Wheat in the Vases, all others in the shakers. (Good job selecting the tulip glass for your Witbier and your Fruit beer.)
- If you sell really messy burgers, you’ll need more napkins available than just in the flatware rolls. Get some dispensers.
Mike’s Basement Brewery Rating: “Get up and Get Down”, Brown Ale from Barn Town Brewery
6 out of 7 chucks.
I need some more of this shit.
- Malt: malty and delicious.
- Hops: They really tie it together.
- Carbonation: Smooth calm head for darker beers.
- ABV: Good without tasting like booze.
- Price: 3$. that’s pretty reasonable for a local brew in a 12-oz glass.
- Flaws: None.
- Farts and other cool side-effects: None yet. No points awarded.