Millstream Iowa Pale Ale

Millstream Iowa Pale Ale

This is a continuation of my interest in reviewing “home grown” products, be it food, local restaurants, beer or even spirits. Our local producers, brewers, distillers, restaurateurs, and chefs do not always get the sort of publicity that they deserve.

Just judging by the label, which features artwork in the style of Grant Wood with hops instead of trees on a rolling Iowa landscape, I can tell that Millstream is positioning this beer as a hops-heavy Iowa alternative to India Pale Ales. The Millstream Iowa Pale Ale beer has actually been made by Millstream since 2003, so I would not say that they are “following” the recent upsurge in hops-heavy beers. Millstream has in fact been a long-time leader on the micro brewery stage and even as a micro brewery Millstream is by far the largest beer brewery in Iowa. I did not know until I looked into the history of the brewery that it was one of only four microbreweries when it opened in 1985. It was about that time that I first saw the place on the east end of Amana and I just assumed that it had been there forever. Now there are 1,500 or more microbreweries in the U.S. Source.

How does it taste? Its a great beer with no faults that I could find. It had a nice head, good malt and hops aroma, with a nice hops flavor and a somewhat bitter aftertaste common and expected with hops. The recipe on the website indicates that a number of malts are used in making the Iowa Pale Ale and I found the result to be very smooth and tasty. For hops, they use US Magnum, Cascade, Amarillo, and Mt. Hood hops. If you are looking for a super hoppy beer, then this is not it. Sometimes I think that consumers tend to think that more of something must be better. I’m thinking 19″ rims on cars or Charlie Sheen’s drug, booze and whore habit as clear examples of excess. More is not always better. Sometimes balance and finesse (with some extra hops thrown in) is what counts. If that is what you are looking for then check out this beer.

29 IBU
5.7% alcohol by volume


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