By Levi Wright
Few things compare with the sweet roasted flavor of a dark malt or the hoppy, crisp taste of a light IPA.
On Friday, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place S.W., Cedar Rapids, will put on the 14th-annual BrewNost, which brings together international and local brewers under the cause of raising funds for the museum and providing people with quality beer.
“BrewNost is such a special event,” said Emily Stochl, the Czech/Slovak Museum director of development. “The atmosphere is that of a huge party, and it’s also unique in the selection of the beers. So, it’s one of the only beer festivals in the area where you get this variety of international beers, and so you get a chance to try beers you never tried before.”
Since the festival’s beginning, John’s Grocery, 401 E. Market St., has picked the lineup of beers. The museum has called store manager Doug Alberhasky an “expert” in beer. He has worked at John’s Grocery since he was 6, and during that time, he has traveled to more than 200 breweries and tried more than 3,000 beers. He also cofounded the Iowa City and Coralville’s BrewFest in addition to BrewNost.
“[BrewNost] is a sense of pride for me and my staff,” Alberhasky said. “It’s a really long day, but it’s something that my staff always take so much pleasure in doing, and even though it is a really long day, we have people fighting over who gets to do it.
By having our best foot forward on this, it shows to a lot of new people every year what John’s Grocery is all about and that we are about quality, we are about selection, and most importantly, we’re about the service that we provide,” he said.
One of the local brewers Alberhasky has brought to BrewNost is Iowa City’s Big Grove Brewery & Taproom, 1225 S. Gilbert St. This year, it will be the featured brewery and will serve beer an hour before the normal tasting in the VIP area. At the taproom, Big Grove has created a beer-focused menu so that when people order food, they can experience the beer in a way that is true to its roots.
“We really focus on quality above everything else, so if something isn’t how we want it to be, we’re not going to serve it,” said Rachel Wobeter, the events director for Big Grove. “We really try to make every beer exceptional — I think people know that. We have the right equipment; we’ve really invested in the whole brewing process to make sure we have really high-quality beer.”
BrewNost gives local brewers a chance to educate people on what makes breweries special and educate people on their beer. People will be given food that was prepared by chefs specifically for the beer they will enjoy.
“[BrewNost] really known in the Corridor as being a good time,” Stochl said. “It’s a good way to get your name out there about your food or beer, and it’s a good way to meet all the friendly faces of the people in the corridor.”