Here’s where you can find award-winning beer in Iowa
CocO Stout, brewed by West O Beer in West Okoboji, won the first-ever Des Moines Register Beer Brackets. Take a look inside the brewery's bottling process. Matthew Leimkuehler/The Register
Cheers, Iowa! Your state’s home to award-winning craft beer.
From 1987 to 2017, a number of Iowa-based breweries have brought home medals from the annual Great American Beer Festival, one of the world’s largest brewing competitions.
At last weekend's festival in Denver, 7,923 beers from 2,217 breweries entered at least one of the 98 categories. Iowa beers have earned hardware in each of the last four years.
So, where can beer enthusiasts find these medal-worthy brews? We made a list for that. Outlined below, you’ll find each Great American Beer Festival-winning Iowa beers (that’s still being brewed).
515 Brewing Co.
The beers: This Clive-based brewery is home to two medal-winning beers: The sole 2017 recipient from Iowa, a Belgian quad beer coined #QuadGoals, and Mexican Spring, a lime and agave nectar-brewed 2016 winner in the “fruit wheat beer” category. Brewers at 515 say the latest batch of #Quadgoals sold out following last weekend’s victory, but the beer plans to return in 2018. Don't start crying into your pint, though. Mexican Spring is available at the Clive taproom.
Visit the taproom: 7700 University Ave., Clive. More information at 515brewing.com.
Millstream Brewing Co.
The beers: Iowa’s first modern microbrewery, Millstream has scored a number of Great American Beer Festival wins since first pouring beers in 1985. Most recently claiming hardware in 2011, four winners can be found year-round: the full-bodied Back Road Stout, 1990 winner Windmill Wheat, Belgian style John’s White Ale and seven-time GABF medal-earning brew Schild Brau Amber.
Visit the taproom: 835 48th Ave., Amana. More information at millstreambrewing.com.
Lion Bridge Brewing Co.
The beers: A four-time medalist, two of Lion Bridge’s three award-winning beers can be found all year: the two-time gold medal-earning English mild brew Compensation (also known as Workman’s Compensation) and 2015 gold-winning brown porter coined Disaster at Meux. The bronze-winning seasonal Gazprom, a barrel-aged Russian Imperial stout featuring maple syrup, returns in winter.
Visit the taproom: 59 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids. More information at lionbridgebrewing.com.
West O Beer
The beer: Two times — in 2014 and '15 — West Okoboji's West O Beer brought home gold for CocO Stout, a cream and chocolate stout found on tap and in bottles throughout Iowa. In 2016, CocO Stout brought home top prize in the first fan-voted Des Moines Register Beer Brackets.
Visit the taproom: 503 Terrace Park Blvd, West Okoboji. More information at westobeer.com.
From the vault: Meet CocO Stout, the Register’s Beer Brackets winning brew
Exile Brewing Co.
The beer: Des Moines’ own Exile scored gold in 2015 for GiGi, a dark lager flagship from the central Iowa brewery. Earning top prize in the “European-style dark/Münchner dunkel” category, the year-round beer can be found on tap and in bottles at craft beer halls and grocery stores across the state.
Visit the taproom: 1514 Walnut St., Des Moines. More information at exilebrewing.com.
Rock Bottom Brewing
The beer: This West Des Moines brewpub earned a silver medal in 2004 for Roggenbier, a seasonal dark wheat beer brewed with rye malt. The beer is not on tap at Rock Bottom this fall, but plans to return in early 2018.
Visit the taproom: 4508 University Ave., West Des Moines. More information at rockbottom.com/locations/des-moines.
Iowa Brewing Co.
The beer: Iowa Brewing scored silver in 2016 for its California commons beer, Tragedy of the Commons. Placing in the “American-style amber lager or dark lager” category, this beer can be found at the brewery’s Cedar Rapids taproom all year long.
Visit the taproom: 708 3rd St. SE, Cedar Rapids. More information at iowabrewing.beer.
An Iowa beer long read: How one Iowa city rallied to transform a dormant landmark into a local brewery
Bonus! Peace Tree Brewing Co.
The beer: While absent from the Iowa beers earning Great American Beer Festival medals, this Knoxville-born brewery in 2014 earned a gold medal at bi-annual World Beer Cup, a globally-renowned brewing competition. Taking home top prize in the “Belgian-style blonde ale or pale ale” category, the winning beer, Blonde Fatale, can be found in bottles and on tap.
Visit the taprooms: 107 W. Main St. in Knoxville; 317 E. Court Ave. in Des Moines; 923 Main St. in Grinnell. More information at peacetreebrewing.com.