Iowa City and Cedar Rapids

Spent the weekend in Iowa for a wedding which was absolutely beautiful, but I also had some time for a tiny bit of sight seeing and brewery visits. I hadn’t spent a lot of time in this part of Iowa before and was fun to be on a college campus with the energy of fall, even if this was an away weekend for the football team.

The first time I visited Iowa City was April of 2001. I was touring the campus and it was in the middle of this tour that I decided I was going to attend Northern Michigan University. We were 3/4 of the way through the tour and my mom asked what I thought, and I responded “I think I am going to go to NMU”. We left the tour a little early, drove back home, and I sent in the paperwork to make it official. 

Coming back all these years later, I am reminded how beautiful this campus is and how NMU was the right choice for me then. The Old State Capital was absolutely gorgeous. I briefly walked around it with my infrared camera and got a few shots.

The other tourist spot I visited on the campus of the University of Iowa was the recently reopened Stanley Museum of Art. After a decade plus closure due to a flood, the museum is back and I was very impressed with its holdings. I only had about 45min, so I had to move quickly to see everything and wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with many pieces, but it was time enough to walk the entire museum.

I had seen Mural while it was on tour at both MFA Boston and the National Gallery of Art, but it exciting to see it while at “home” in Iowa City.


I was able to drink at three breweries. All three are ones I had been able to taste before, but it was my first time visiting each of them.

Big Grove was our first stop. They might be the biggest brewery in Iowa. I’ve seen Easy Eddy all over the state. Overall, it was good but not great. The Crispy Cauliflower tossed in Korean BBQ was the highlight as far as food went. The Devout Trout and Farmhouse Funhouse beers didn’t deliver the funk I was hoping for, but I wouldn’t object to drinking here again.

Backpocket Brewing had some incredible beers. I was impressed with everything I tried, but Tipsy in Tijuana stands out as a great Mexican lager. I grabbed two cans of the Tequila Barrel Aged Tipsy and Tijuana and my biggest regret is I only grabbed two cans. This is a place I would like to return to.

Lion Bridge has a beautiful view of Mount Trashmore (yes, that’s it’s name) and a wide selection of delicious beers. I liked that they had a variety from ranged from ultra the traditional with an English Mild and Porter on tap along with newer favorites like a Barrel Aged Marzen and a Cinnamon Roll Stout (It looks like it could kill you, but is a cinnamon roll).

Artistic Interpretation of a infrared photograph with 5 beer tasters. Much of it is sepia toned and the non beer pieces have some digital texture added
Started life as an infrared photo, with hand coloring and digital textures added

This was a short trip but overall I found that it was worth 4 hours on a bus each way. I think I will absolutely be back to the Cedar Valley in Eastern Iowa once again for more beer and art.


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