RAGBRAI has a reputation for being awash in light beer from corporate breweries. Yet more craft brewers are training palates at the state’s biggest rolling party.
This year, bikers could find three local breweries near the route: West O in Okoboji, Lake Time Brewing in Clear Lake, and Mason City Brewing.
Every day along the route, the Iowa Craft Beer Garden featured the state’s finest, including offerings from Millstream Brewing in Amana, Lion Bridge Brewing in Cedar Rapids and Confluence Brewing in Des Moines. Backpocket Brewing in Coralville set up “beer for breakfast” stops in the first pass-through town each day. Judging from the lines, the stops were popular.
Team Good Beer returned to RAGBRAI for the ninth year. The team, made up from riders from Texas, Iowa and elsewhere, provided a guide to bars serving craft beers on the route.
The team’s bus carried kegs from 20 breweries, both Iowa-made brews as well as those not typically found here, including some from NOLA Brewing in New Orleans, COOP Ale Works in Oklahoma City and Santa Fe Brewing. The team also featured a representative from Schafly Beer, a St. Louis brewer that entered the Des Moines market last month.
Steve Slach of Bettendorf founded the team in frustration, after seeing plenty of Bud and Miller Lite on RAGBRAI and wanting to emphasize the quality, not quantity, of beer.
– Lynn Hicks, Des Moines Register business editor
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