Red’s.

I feel compelled to write about this before Colleen and I move away from North Liberty. We’ve really enjoyed the two years we have spent here. Looking back, I definitely could’ve done this degree from Cedar Falls and just commuted, stayed at Wells Fargo up there and kept going to The Hub on Wednesday nights for their free keg, grabbing our two free pizzas every September at Old Chicago at the College Square Mall, and playing disc golf at the Valley View Park course. Thankfully, I was told it would be way harder to do class work from so far away so we decided to move to the Iowa City area. We ended up in North Liberty, and I can’t be more happy about it. Coralville seemed pretty sweet, bigger, a bit cheaper, and pretty close to both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. But North Liberty is where we ultimately ended up, and man was it the best decision we could’ve made. It’s a beautiful little town, quiet, young, Colleen works at a school right around the corner from our apartment, and our apartment is equidistant from my work in Cedar Rapids and my classes at the University library. Perfect.

However, the single best part of North Liberty, hands down, is the local restaurant Red’s Alehouse. Yowza. The first time we ate there was the first evening we spent in town. We had spent the entire day moving into our apartment and Jim and Shellie had mentioned some friends of theirs had spoken pretty highly of this local place and we should go try it out. IT WAS AMAZING. We got there at the tail end of happy hour so we split 2 for 1 beers (best deal ever) and I think I got a weird sandwich with this awesome hamburger with like an apple slice on it. Don’t remember exactly, but what I do remember is that I was in heaven for the entire meal. Low lighting, lots of happy people, servers in killer shirt/tie combos, lots of great atmosphere. We have been there probably 10 to 15 times in the last year and a half, and I have never once been disappointed. The most common meal we’ve had is a few happy hours beers along with a flatbread. I’ll get to the beer in a second, but this flatbread. Holy cow. Out of this world. It’s about the size of a small pizza, but squared and cut like a tic-tac-toe board. They have a few different flatbreads, all topped with some outrageously flavorful stuff. Just a few kinds of choose from: margarita, spicy thai chicken, BBQ beef, balsamic chicken. The balsamic chicken is mind-blowing. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So these flatbreads are awesome, but the beer…oh, the beer! No crap on tap. I have had quite a wide variety of their draft beers and I think I have had maybe 2 I wasn’t in love with. They get awesome kegs from all over Iowa and surrounding states. They are huge supporters of local breweries and they are getting ready to add a microbrew to the alehouse itself in the lot right next door. I am eternally sad that the microbrew will be up after we move. Anyway, here are just a few of the beers on tap at the time of this writing:

– Ayinger Brau Weisse, Aying, Germany, 5.1% Hefeweizen/Wheat (light, wheaty, airy. so good)

– Sutliff Cider, Lisbon, IA 6% Hard Cider (this one is so sweet but so delicious)

– Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Kalamazoo, MI 7% IPA (one of the highest rated beers ever)

Those are three. They currently have seventeen on tap, along with all the normal stuff (Bud, Coors, etc.). I have had two of the greatest beers I’ve ever consumed at Red’s. The first was among the first I tried, I can remember very little except it was a Boulevard. It tasted sweet but not overly sweet, really golden and wheat-ey. Every Boulevard I’ve ever tried since has been trying to recapture that same taste of that first one. I have never tasted its Boulevardian equal. The next beer was championed by our server one happy hour. Listen to this name: Gulden Draak. I get shivers just saying it out loud. It was a beer not included in happy hour so I was immediately reluctant, but our guy said it was great and  I cannot stress this enough: the beer is so good. I gave in, and the server brought us just one, but it was in this weirdly shaped glass, looked like a king’s goblet. And it tasted like biting into an apple. With a hint of cinnamon Teddy Grahams. It has so much body and it’s just a kick in the gut with delicious flavor. Such a great beer.

As we prepare to move off to Des Moines, we are very sad to be leaving Red’s behind. If you are in the area and the last place you ate out was a chain, please make it a point to visit Red’s. Grab a beer and an entree. You will leave full and happy.

-Jon

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