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Backpocket Brewing



fter turning 21 during the summer, I visited Backpocket Brewing on a mission to explore of the realm of brewpubs. I made my younger brother sober drive to Coralville, Iowa where I learned that there is a lot more to beer and its craft than just picking up a 24-pack of Bud Light from the grocery store. Beer produced at brewpubs has more diverse flavors and is made in different styles. There are light beers, dark beers, beers with a lot of hops and beers with fewer hops. You can’t know what you like until you try them all. Each brewpub is its own entity, has its own style and brews beers that are particular to that place. There is no better way to find out what beer you like to drink than visiting brewpubs, sitting down for a meal and sampling their different craft brews. Backpocket Brewing is in Iowa River Landing, an up-and-coming industrial neighborhood filled with brick buildings and sculpture art. The industrial theme continues inside the building where the all the brewery equipment gleams silver and bright against the wood seating and concrete floors. As I sat down at my table, I could see that my beer was made right there in the towering cauldrons. I could smell the rich scent of hops, mixed with yeast and barley combined with the brewery, which smelled like alcohol and bread. The bitter smell made my taste buds tingle in anticipation. It looked like a lot of thought was put into the interior design, with the repetition of blue in the lamps above the table and the mugs that lined the bar. Because Coralville is just northwest of Iowa City, the college town environment

carries over into the casual nature of the taproom. People came in and seated themselves as popular music plays overhead. Backpocket’s menu includes classic bar foods such as nachos and chili mixed with brick oven options like pizza and flatbreads. These food choices can be paired with a variety of craft beers. I sampled the Classic Selection, which includes the Gold Coin Helles, Penny Whistle, Slingshot, Wooden Nickel and Jack Knife. Personally I enjoyed the lighter beers. The Gold Coin Helles is a blonde, which is a classic light beer. It’s refreshing and very easy to drink. The Penny Whistle is the other light beer. It was light, spicy, flavored with cloves and nutmeg and had a sour finish. It kind of tasted like the holidays. I was hesitant to try the darker beers. I learned that I didn’t really like the taste of too many hops, the flower used to flavor beer, but the Slingshot was pretty good. It had a rounded flavor of bitter roasted nuts. The Wooden Nickel had hints of bitter coffee and a harsh finish so it wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy the combination of espresso and yeast, but I understand that the Wooden Nickel is similar to a stout, which is creamy and dark with notes of coffee. Stouts are a pretty popular choice of beer. The last beer I tried was the Jack Knife, a pale ale filled with hops, so again, it wasn’t for me but the people at the table in front of me seemed to enjoy it. To go with my beers, I ordered the Produce Pie — one of Backpocket’s signature pizzas. It was topped with kalamata olives, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, melted cheese and a


parmesan crumble. The cook made the pizza right in front of me in the brick oven behind the bar. I could see the flames roasting my food. My brother chose to create his own pizza so we watched our pizzas being cooked together. When they got to the table, the cheese was hot and oozing on the surface. It made my mouth water. Halfway through my meal, a crowd of hungry college students came in, wearing Iowa Hawkeye gear. They ordered their beers, chose to create their own pizzas and ordered nachos. Backpocket really caters to the younger crowd. The beer they make is specifically flavored for young taste buds. Backpocket brews according to the Belgium style, which means they throw out the rules and add exotic flavors to their beers so it’s a less traditional experience. The casual set-up of the restaurant and the tours of the brewery they offer are great for the college town. Backpocket also delivers pizza, but they don’t deliver beer. However, they do carry out orders and you can pick up a bottled six-pack with the pizza. The beauty of brewpubs is they are everywhere. It only takes a quick search at the Beer Mapping Project to find one near you. Each place brews according to a different style. Backpocket brews by Belgium style, which means they favor the use of yeast more than the German, British and American styles. Go to brewpubs and microbreweries and find a brewing style that fits your tastes. It’s a rewarding experience to know that the maybe the Belgium style isn’t right for your taste buds and that IPA and pale ales have way too many hops.

winter 2014

13 detours

Profile for Detours Magazine

Detours Winter 2014 Issue  

Detours Magazine Winter 2014 Issue — Read stories about the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre (pg. 26) and see the beauty of Missouri’s murals (pg....

Detours Winter 2014 Issue  

Detours Magazine Winter 2014 Issue — Read stories about the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre (pg. 26) and see the beauty of Missouri’s murals (pg....

Profile for detours