Friday, October 22, 2010

Brewery Review: Great River - Davenport, IA

It has been over 20 posts since my last one so I was thinking I'd do a real special review. QC local, Great River Brewery has remained one of my favorite brewery's I've encountered (Next to Bristol in Colorado Springs). They hold tapping festivals whenever a new beer is prepared for release, and I just so happened to attend one last night in celebration of their Pumpkin Ale. We had finished practice at 6:00 p.m. and Josh Schipp, Eric Erspamer, Thomas Christian and I rode bikes over for some tasting. It was a great time, I had the opportunity to finally meet Paul Krutzfeldt and Scott Lehnert, the brewers, as well as Karen from MUGZ, and several other figures on the Quad-city beer scene. I was surprised there weren't any Augustana Faculty there (maybe week 9 has something to do with it), but perhaps next time. I've taken notes in my log several times (8/27, 9/25, 10/22) so they are always subjected to frequent change. Here is what I have right now:

La Jefa - Pale hazed yellow. No head. Citrus and lager aroma. Taste is unique with a bittered lemon zest at the finish. Some pungency for the lager.
483 Pale Ale - Golden amber. clear with alpha acid grass aroma. Mellow caramel malt sweetness with a touch of warm biscuits. Finishing with a wealthy cascade profile that is up there in the pale ale category. Very drinkable and refreshing. Changes from time to time, but some of those times it is outstanding!
Roller Dam Red - Rubied red. Sweet mellow aroma. Little carbonation with a rich malt sweetness and toasty undertones. Crispy, refreshing finish.
Farmer Brown -  Dark, black/brown appearance with limited transparency. A great complementary lightly roasted coffee taste but more so in the smell. Fully sweet and well balanced
Straight Pipe Stout - Darker than Farmer, with a tan frothy ring around the glass. Lactose-like sweetness with notes of burnt toast. Mouthfeel is creamy. One of the most flavorful stouts out there!
Redband Stout - High bitterness from roasted coffee/black Patton malt contributing to coffee like tannins. Burnt flavors even more pronounced. Malt sweetness hold the mocha backbone. Beats bents espresso by far.
Weissbier - Cloudy yellow with bubbly head. Lemon zestiness with hints of yeast. Straw tannin taste and yeast aroma dominate this citrus ale.
Oktoberfest (September/October) - Dark Amber. Dry roasted fruit similar to raisins and dates. Caramel overtones equally parallel a floral finish. Slight booziness, but full of complexity and balance
Pumpkin Ale (October/November) - Rubied bronze. No head, spicy flavored finish reminiscent of nutmeg and cardamon? Earthly sweet with mellow ginger flavors. Far better than pretty much all the pumpkins. It really takes on the natural flavors of pumpkin without too much attempt to replicate the overspiced pie dessert.
Barrel Aged Farmer Brown - Wasn't impressed. Texture and taste took on a watery profile that left little to interpret aside from very light qualities of the normal farmer.
7 Reverende abbey ale (Christmas) - Malty with some alcohol at the finish. More prominently is a mix of strong spices that overtake much of the malt profile. Hops near nonexistent.
Dirty Blonde Chocolate Ale (January/February) - Golden yellow, hazy some days, clear the next. Refreshing and sweet with an after bittersweetness and Chocolate! hops make  a perfect complimentary impression. Sweet and delectable, but only good for a seasonal.
Barrel Aged Vanilla Porter - Sweet and malty with a dry texture but mellow. I don't remember too much about this, but it was well balanced and very complex with a touch of nuttiness and wood tannin to finish.
Firkin Vanilla bean Stout - Dark, rich and full bodied. Lightly sweet with little residual bitterness. The texture is extremely smooth and soft. Vanilla bean and chocolate/roasted malt are nicely incorporated. Too bad it was only a 5 gallon firkin!
Hop*A*potamus - dark brown with even a red hue when held to the light. a nice frothy beige head. Aroma is boozy, but balanced with spice and toffee/caramel malt. Flavor is just that. Rich malt complexity with a hop profile to encourage an underlying rye spicing. Absolutely fantastic and one of their best!
Dos Pistolas - Dark with poor head retention. Nevertheless I find this both in aroma and flavor to be a great local replica of Negra Modelo, exhibiting a rich chocolaty malt bill and a light lagered taste. Very drinkable and deceivingly refreshing
Saison - Ambered bronze with a higher carbonation than many of their beers. Has a funk to the aroma and the taste. Basic sweet malt but a soured tartness at the finish. Some peppery character and coriander at the finish. Unfiltered and full of healthy yeast. Definitely something I'd drink after a long run.
Great River's location is situated within a previously used car repair garage. The Brewery is primarily production, with a recently developed and successful canning operation of the 483 Pale and Roller Dam Red, (which are distributed as far as Clinton IA and Iowa City). In fact they even have a extension brewpub in Iowa City (the remnants of Bristol Brewing Co.). Nevertheless attached is a small tasting lounge, which takes on the atmosphere of a coffee house complemented with a 10 + stool bar and a booth. It's outdoor patio incorporates a few outdoor tables, great for Sunday afternoons with friends and a growler or two. In fact, one afternoon this summer I remember we had a group of 10 people-- as myself and a few others ran and the rest biked there for their Sunday special ($6.50 growler refills). Their beer is always tasty with a wide range of styles and flavors to accommodate the hop-head to the stout enthusiast, and seasonal snob. Time and again, my experiences here are consistently enjoyed. Though small, they intend to stay local with minor expansions while keeping the community knowledgeable and appreciative of craft beer. Best thing for the first timer is to ask for their sampler, where $5 goes a ways to get you a generous portion of all their available ales. Oh, and when the bridge opens....$2 pints!
Check them out:

Brewery Rating: 46/50

1 comment:

  1. Is this your favorite in town? Can you link us up to their website on this post and maybe link the beers you've reviewed in the past too?