Raccoon River Brewing Company

J. at Raccoon River Brewing Company

photo by Tom Wilson


There’s nothing quite like a conversion, seeing someone move from “light” beer to “dark” beer.


Sorta the opposite of the spiritual idea of moving away from the darkness and toward “the Light” as the positive, forward movement in one’s life. I’ve been preaching Don’t be afraid of the dark for quite some time, and this weekend Raccoon River helped me break down the barrier for yet another—my great-aunt, Suz.


She truly is a great aunt, and now she likes stout. As I eagerly looked down the row of Raccoon River samples the waitress placed on our table, Suz pointed out that the black one would likely be the last she’d choose. I took my nerdy notes, and passed each brew down the table for everyone to check out. After trying the Tallgrass Light, Vanilla Cream Ale, Homestead Red, Bandit IPA, Maibock, Belgian White and South Station Steam, she bellied up to a pint of the “dark stuff,” RRBC’s Stonecutter Stout. I’m not saying it felt as warm and fuzzy as watching your kid learn to ride a bike, but I figured she’d go for the soft and enjoyable Vanilla Cream Ale, which I though was very well done.


Ultimately, I also grooved on the stout: rich, roasty and packed with coffee and chocolate notes. It arrived in a dimpled mug with a persistent off-white head. The menu calls this “the beer you need when you’re feeling the need for restoration.” Indeed. Restoration and enlightenment, perhaps.

In addition to a solid lineup of beers, Raccoon River also puts out house-brewed sodas. My boys enjoyed Alli’s Root Beer and the electric blue Confluence Cream Soda, while I appreciated the three seasonal offerings being poured. On tap were a maibock, Belgian white and steam beer, which I liked in that order. With food orders that ranged from chicken wraps and salads to Cuban meatloaf and hot beef sandwiches, everyone in our party went home with a satisfied appetite.

But my aunt went home converted.


2 Responses to Raccoon River Brewing Company

  1. Bailey says:

    Nice post. This reminds me of when I let my Dad taste my Sam Smith’s Imperial Stout (in the Fitzroy Tavern, London). He’s normally a session bitter type of man — doesn’t like anything too bitter, too dark, too light, etc. — but a sort of light passed over his face: “Hey — that’s lovely, that is! Cor.” He drank three in a row. Now he’s crazy for interesting stouts and porters.

  2. […] Some of you know that I’m a big believer in the local stuff, so that’s been my focus from day one. As I said, I’ll have two taps, and both will be Iowa beers: Millstream Brewing Company’s John’s Generations White Ale (this was the best wit I had last summer, and it took Silver at last year’s Great American Beer Festival) and Raccoon River Brewing Company’s Stonecutter Stout (this was my favorite of their many fine beers). […]

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