Backpocket Brewing

backpocketI first tried some Backpocket Brewing beer, the Slingshot Dunkel, at the Iowa State Fair’s Craft Beer tent in 2011. This was before Backpocket built its fantastic new brewery in Coralville. This new facility supplements the original facility, Old Man River Restaurant & Brewery in McGregor, Iowa. It was welcome news when I heard that Backpocket was coming to Coralville because McGregor is not exactly on the main drag.  bar The new plant is very large by Iowa micro standards, with (reportedly) a 33 barrel capacity which adds up to 25,000 barrels per year. That is a lot of beer. In fact, until Toppling Goliath in Decorah fired up its new brewery a few weeks ago, it was probably the largest in Iowa. Backpocket’s $5-million plus building has 15,000 square feet of space, which is also generous, lending enough space for a lot of tables and chairs, a long bar, a pizza oven, a kitchen and a branded store area. Just the lease alone is nearly a half million dollars per year. ovens The building is very nice inside and has a clean industrial look on the outside. The brewery is in Coralville’s new Iowa River Landing Revitalization area just south of the I-80 Coralville exit. But let’s talk about the beer. flight2 Gold Coin. A lot of craft brewers make an “introductory” beer so that the die-hard Bud/Miller/PBR aficionado can be lured into trying beer with some actual flavor–but not so much flavor that they run cowering in fear. Gold Coin is a German-style Blonde Lager and is Backpocket’s introductory beer.  That does not mean that this beer lacks flavor. It is a solid beer. ABV 5.2%, IBU 15, Color 5 Penny Whistle. This is a classic Bavarian Wheat beer, though I like it better than many Weizens because it lacks the overwhelming banana and sweet flower aroma of some of those classics. ABV 5.5%, IBU 15, Color 10 backpocketbottle Slingshot. This is my favorite Backpocket beer. In fact, it is one of my favorite beers, period. I could drink Slingshot all the time if I were given to that sort of thing.  It is a Dunkel, or German dark lager. Despite its dark color, it is light and flavorful with malt flavor but without the heady hops of an IPA. ABV 5.3%, IBU 20, Color: 22 backpocket glass Wooden Nickel. This is a very unique beer, and the only beer in the Backpocket lineup that violently flouts convention.  Beside the malt and some hops, you are gobsmacked by a smokey peat. It is as though the barley caught on fire. ABV 5.7%, IBU 25, Color 25 Jack Knife. This is Backpocket’s take on the IPA. It should satisfy most hop heads without being ridiculously astringent in its hoppiness. That is not to say that it is not hoppy. According to the website, this is only available on draft. Sources:


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