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The Iowa caucuses are not first because they're important, they're important because they're first. Former Des Moines Register opinion editor Kathie Obradovich gives a brief history lesson on the Iowa caucus. Kelsey Kremer, kkremer@dmreg.com

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If you think Iowa's only first-in-the-nation caucuses are Feb. 3, you have a fun and beer-ific surprise coming.

The Des Moines Register Beer Caucus will be 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at The Hall, 111 S. 11th St., West Des Moines.

The Beer Caucus is designed to encourage Iowans to participate in the Democratic or Republican party caucuses on Feb. 3. Attendees will learn how each party's caucus works by casting votes to elect one of their favorite Iowa craft beers as president of the Beer Caucus.

The caucus will include brews from Big Grove in Iowa City, Confluence in Des Moines, Exile in Des Moines, Peace Tree inKnoxville and SingleSpeed in Waterloo.

“The Des Moines Register is excited to host the beer caucus,” said Carol Hunter, executive editor of the Register. “We want to encourage all Iowans, whatever their political leanings, to participate in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. The Des Moines Register Beer Caucus is intended to help voters learn more about the real caucus process and have some fun doing it.”

Courtney Crowder, the Des Moines Register’s Iowa columnist, will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event. Representatives from the Polk County Republican and Democratic parties will conduct their party's beer caucus.

Craft brew representatives also will be on hand to speak about their beers' outstanding qualities and electability.

Election officials will be there to register voters for the actual caucuses, Hunter said.

Hunter especially encouraged attendance by those who have never attended a caucus and are unfamiliar with how each party's caucuses work.

Attendees will receive snacks and free tasting samples of each beer. The Hall’s cash bar and full menu are available for additional food and drink purchases.

The event begins with beer tasting from 7-7:45 p.m. Attendees are urged to arrive no later than 7 p.m. to be sure they have enough time to sample all the beer candidates. The Republican caucus will start immediately after the beer tasting, and the Democratic caucus will follow. Results of both caucuses will be announced at the end of the evening, at about 9 p.m.

The event is free, but advance registration is required at DesMoinesRegister.com/BeerCaucus. Beer Caucus participants must be 21 years of age or older.

Questions can be directed to events@dmreg.com or 515-619-6548.

Teresa Kay Albertson is Weeklies Editor for the Register. Reach her at talbertson@registermedia.com or 515-284-8561.

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