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Craft Beer

I did six consecutive RAGBRAIs until 2012. The entire ride was a light beer nightmare from start to finish each of those years. I’m coming back to do the ride this year. Can someone reassure me that the craft beer renaissance that has overtaken the country the past few years has infiltrated the Iowa borders? Will I have more to choose from than five different light beers? Any tips on the host towns will be appreciated.

11 Replies

flymoore6149, March 21, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Craft beer abounds on the modern RAGBRAI, do not fear badjuggler.
I don’t have much to offer on host towns though – my wife grew up in Postville, Deborah is a wonderful town, but I’ve never camped there on a bike ride!


515rider, March 21, 2017 at 11:05 pm

The Iowa Craft Beer Tent has two stops per day along the route with a dozen or so Iowa beers on tap with maybe twice that number in the rotation. It’s gotten to be a very popular stop in the last 2 or 3 years. The only town on the route with a brewery is the pass-thru town of Decorah with Toppling Goliath Brewery. Look for the Team Good Beer Guide to be posted in the forum this summer. It will list all the bars on the route that sell craft beer. Here’s last year’s:


515rider, March 21, 2017 at 11:20 pm

Oops! Forgot Lake Time Brewery in the overnight town of Clear Lake. Need to improve on my research!


badjuggler, March 22, 2017 at 8:57 am

Thanks! I’m sleeping better already…


Ken Reed, March 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Breweries aside, there are tons of craft beer options. The Iowa Craft Beer tent is one, Team Good Beer, and Backpocket. Usually, Backpocket and Mr. Porkchop are together on the ride. Craft beer is everywhere on RAGBRAI.


Groeny82, March 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Two stops per day on the route with the Iowa Craft Beer Tent. The beer garden in the pass through towns and overnight towns will be mostly the run of the mill beers I would say. I didn’t go to a lot of the beer gardens, but in the towns I did I noticed that there was brands other than the typical Budweiser, Coors, Michelob, etc. And a couple stops with some local craft beers as well. In other words, if you don’t want Bud Light or Coors Light, you should be able to find something in just about every town. I don’t recall drinking a generic light beer all week last year.


Ken Reed, March 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm

In Decorah, there are actually two top-notch breweries: Toppling Goliath and Pulpit Rock. If I remember correctly, they are across the street from one another.


Gypsy Rose, March 22, 2017 at 3:44 pm

I’ve really enjoyed seeing the rise in popularity of the craft beer stops over the past few years. The stops have become regroup areas for those I ride with if we separate during the day.

One disappointment, however, was the refusal of staff serving the beer to refill the insulated stainless steel tumbler I carry, citing health regulations. I’m not sure what the basis is for what I was told. Most of us have refilled our glasses at cold beverage dispensing machines in a restaurant setting, or brought a refillable coffee mug into a coffee shop (both practices allowed by the FDA).

Unfortunately, I found myself picking up a brew in a plastic glass, decanting it into my insulated mug, then leaving the plastic glass on the table to be sent to the landfill after only seconds of use.

~ Kevin


igor, March 23, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I always look forward to the second Iowa Craft Beer Trailer stop daily. I usually have a beer or two and a brat. I generally meet up with some people from my group then head into town. I really liked the Confluence Blue Corn Lager and I also liked last year the Singlespeed/Confluence Long Ride Pale Ale.


Cheeses my butt hurts, March 23, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Wow, you are in for a treat! Backpocket Brewery sets up two locations per each days ride & it is TAAASSSSTY!! I recommend the Porter with a fine piece of Iowa Blueberry Pie!


badjuggler, March 23, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Thanks for all of the input. I’m feeling much better. I got a refund at a beer tent on my last RAGBRAI because all they had was multiple brands of light beer. Times are definitely changing for the better.


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