Iowa River Brewing Company now bottling products

Beers pay tribute to local and family history

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ Roger Brown, owner of Iowa River Brewing Company in Marshalltown, has recently started offering five of his brews in bottled form. He will hold a free beer tasting of these products on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 12-5 p.m.

It’s been a long, yet rewarding journey for entrepreneur Roger Brown.

As the owner and founder of Iowa River Brewing Company, located at 107 N. 1st Street, he has seen his company evolve, grow and became a popular hangout in town. The most recent manifestation of this success is the rolling out of five bottled beers.

“We were always making craft beer, but bottling it is new,” he said. “We’ve made close to 500 beers in five years, so it comes out to 100 batches a year. Something that is worth noting is we do not filter the beer.”

Brown first opened the doors in 2013. A native of Conrad, he employs a staff of four, including Robert Fisher, who assists in the brewing process, which is conducted on-site. A few years ago, Brown decided to quit his job in the healthcare profession to run the place full-time.

“I started brewing beer at home first and got the bug for it, and the opportunity came up to open my own business,” Brown explained.

The five brews are available in 22-ounce bottles, as well as on tap: “The Stack” is an oatmeal stout; “Company F Caramel” is a Pale Ale; “Iowa Class” amber is a light beer with “more of a hop note”; “Envy of ‘Em All” black ale is described as “smooth and a little ‘roasty’ and ‘chocolately'”; and last, but not least, the “George Hopper” named in honor of Brown’s grandfather, is an India Pale Ale (IPA) that tastes “earthy and bitter.”

While taste and consistency are key elements in the branding of his products, says Roger, the design of the bottles and the telling the story behind the flavors’ inspiration was equally essential. For example, “Company F Caramel” was inspired by Marshalltown veteran Wayne Brown, who served his country in the Battle of Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge.

“We used a picture of his helmet on the bottle,” Brown said. “You can see where the bullets went in.”

But perhaps the brew closest to Brown’s heart is the one dedicated to his grandfather, George Hopper.

“When we started the brewery, I knew I wanted to do a beer using his military photo,” he said. “I wanted to create a bottle that was eye-catching — that has some history to it. It’s interesting to have a product that represents more than the beer.”

Hopper’s story is briefly described on the bottle’s label: “This beer is a tribute to my grandfather George Hopper who fought in World War II Battle of Verdun, Riaville and Marcheville En Woevre in France. Although we never met, I’ve imagined my grandpa sharing stories of war over a glass of IPA. Join me in toasting those that fought for us. Grandpa, I raise this to you.”

The public is invited to sample these brews in a free beer tasting on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 12-5 p.m. Food will also be available.

Looking to the future, Brown would like to eventually offer a regular food menu. He would also like to get his brews into local eateries.

Iowa River Brewing Company is open Tuesdays from 5-9 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-9 p.m., Fridays from 3-10 p.m., Saturdays from 12-10 p.m. and Sundays from 2-6 p.m.

For more information, Brown may be reached at: 641-751-2848.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or