Iowa brewed beer here, are you drinking it?

We’re talking beer in Iowa this week on The Iowa Journal. We will be looking at the brew process, the growing popularity, the higher alcohol content and other facets of the industry. A preview to the preview was done here this week.

Here’s some of my research notes for tonight.

  • 23 Breweries and brew pubs in Iowa.
  • New law brings in higher-alcohol brews to Iowa. Now beer in Iowa can be up to 12% alcohol content. This levels the playing field with out-of-state breweries.
  • Iowa Brewers Guild is active in building discussion and promotion of the Iowa beer industry
  • Millstream in Amana opened in 1985. At the time, it was one of 4 microbreweries in the U.S. Now 1,500 are in operation. Millstream’s Schild Brau took first place in the Vienna lager style category at the World Beer Cup in Chicago.
  • Craft beer industry defined by 4 markets: brewpubs, microbrews, contract brewing companies and regional craft breweries.
  • In 2009, craft brewers represented 4.3% of volume and 6.9% of retail dollars for the total U.S. beer category. (Brewers Association)

Those are some of the stats we’re working from for the feature about beer in Iowa. Producer Judy Blank took a trip to Olde Main in Ames and Beer Crazy in Urbandale. The piece will set up our roundtable on the issues mentioned above.

See our work Thursday at 8p on Iowa Public Television and Friday at 630p.

Here’s the official release from the IPTV press shop.

The Beer Industry in Iowa
On the Thursday, April 29 edition of The Iowa Journal

(Johnston, Iowa) –Thursday’s episode of The Iowa Journal will look at the growth of the beer industry in Iowa. This program airs Thursday, April 29 at 8 p.m. It will be rebroadcast Friday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. on statewide Iowa Public Television and Saturday, May 1 at 8:30 a.m. on IPTV WORLD. It will also be available online at

Nationally, the number of small, independent microbreweries and brew pubs has grown to more than 1,540. Some of that growth has occurred in Iowa, where craft breweries have popped up in towns of all sizes including Ames, Des Moines, Davenport, Amana, Northwood and Shenandoah. The Iowa Journal visited Olde Main Brewery & Restaurant in Ames. The company boasts it has doubled production every year since opening in 2004 and now distributes beer across the state. The Iowa Journal also visited Beer Crazy, a retail specialty beer and home brew supply store located in Urbandale.

In the studio to discuss what’s brewing in the Iowa beer industry are three guests: Dave Coy, president of the Iowa Brewers Guild and head brewer at Raccoon River Brewing Company in Des Moines; Doug Alberhasky, store manager and bier guy at John’s Grocery in Iowa City; and Tim Hynds, chief photographer and beer writer for the Sioux City Journal.

This episode of The Iowa Journal will also feature an excerpt of a speech by author and film maker Peter Hedges. The West Des Moines native first gained national attention with his book “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” which was later made into a movie.
For more information about The Iowa Journal, visit or call (515) 242-3146. For information on how to watch IPTV WORLD in your area, visit

Here’s a few of the comments generated earlier in the week about folks’ favorite Iowa brew.

Christine ‘Darby’ Weydert Paul – any Millstream beer is great. The brewers/owners are a great assest as well. They work closely with the Thirsty homebrew club in Iowa City. And John’s Grocery can’t be beat for beer selection from around the world! While Old Main here in Ames has a great relationship with our brew club – ABL – their beer just doesn’t compare to Millstreams – pale ale and pilsner.

Sean Smith What about the new law regarding alcohol content that seriously benefits Iowa’s micro-brewers? WIN!

Trent Rice The kids at Olde Main Brewing in Ames do a nice job. Not only do they sell their product in the restaurant, they also have deals worked out with Fareway, Hy Vee, etc.

Robert Lehmann I put in a plug for Millstream ‘Brewing Co, Amana. Schild Brau Amber and Hefeweissen are a couple of theirs.

Randall Schroeder Iowa Pale Ale from Millstream! Anybody passing through Michigan? Bring some. Signed, desperate displaced and thirsty Hawkeye.

From Twitter:
@MarcMorehouse: Millstream, but Peace Tree has a chance to unseat it.

@ryanbrancheau Check with @mikebgp. A local beer enthusiast I used to work with. He would be a good one to talk with.

@MikeBGP there are certainly a number of items worth talking about regarding Iowa’s new laws and brewers.

What’s your input on our program?
Which Iowa brewed beer do you like?


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