Modern Woodmen Park
Affiliate: Houston Astros (Single A)
Ballpark Basics: A park surrounded by a scenic backdrop, mighty river and multiple cities worth of a friendly fan base.
One more interesting aspect worth noting is the corn field down the left field line, which was planted in 2008. When the corn reaches its full height in summer, the Quad Cities players are announced as they walk out of the corn field as a nod to Field of Dreams. Only in Iowa!
We were excited to catch a game here. After seeing pictures online we knew it had one of the best backdrops in the minors. The ballpark did not disappoint and is even more gorgeous in person. Partner that with the fact that is placed in the middle of downtown Davenport and walking distance to one of our favorite new breweries and it turned out to be a great night. If you are in the area we definitely recommend taking in a game. It will be well worth your time.
Great River Brewing
Visited: April 2012
Rating: Grand Slam!
Brew Basics: When the bridge opens, run for the brewery!
As mentioned, the Quad Cities area Great River Brewery calls home are divided between Iowa and Illinois (while the area is part of four counties, there are actually five cities in the Quad Cities – Davenport and Bettendorf are on the Iowa side, while Rock Island, Moline and East Moline are within Illinois state lines). Great River itself if located on the Iowa side right by a large bridge that spans the Mississippi River; important to note because when the bridge opens to allow large ships to pass, all beers are half priced. This is an awesome deal that is quite a draw for the locals. We even talked to two residents who grab their dog* and start running every time they hear the alarm signifying the bridge opening so they don’t miss a second of the special. It helps that they live just up the hill.
*Sidenote: dogs are welcome inside and out of Great River; it’s just that kind of easy going place. It was fun having them around…although that did make us feel a bit guilty that our dog was several hundred miles away in a kennel.
Founded in 2004 in an Iowa City brew pub, today their wares are available for purchase in at least seven states. The current Davenport location opened in 2008 and boasts a large porch area with picnic tables and umbrellas which would be a great space to hang out on a nice summer day. Unfortunately for us, it was a chilly, rainy spring evening when we visited – so we headed inside. Upon entering you are greeted with just a couple tables to the right, doors and windows exposing the brew works dead ahead, and an L shaped bar to the left.
Two chalkboards behind the bar let you know what’s available and the typical merchandise (growlers, t-shirts, coozies and glasses) line the bar area. They also started canning in 2010, so there are all kinds, chilled and ready to take to-go. The bartender Kat was also highly knowledgeable and willing to find out the answers to any questions we asked. In fact, everyone we encountered was friendly (which is good, seeing as Great River doesn’t have any tv’s to promote conversation) and welcoming with lots of suggestions as to what we should try and which was actually the best beer Great River had to offer. They seemed divided on that though, which we understood as soon as we dived into the flight.
A fairly diverse beer menu, with a lot of options for dark beer fans. On the day we visited they had kicked two of their standards, but instead of leaving empty spots in our flight like some bars do, the spots were filled with special batches for us to try. Jim was terribly excited to discover that out of the 7 beers on tap, 5 were of the dark variety. Each was different and interesting, including the one non-alcoholic pour that comes with each flight – the River Rat Root Beer. Definitely the first time beer of the root variety was ever part of our tasting menu; we’ll start there:
River Rat Root Beer (N/A ABV and IBU) – The proceeds from this one go to Living Lands and Waters, a group that works on all things environmental, with a specific focus on river clean up. And it is the founder of the organization, Chad Pregracke, for whom the beer is named. The River Rat uses only cane sugar in the recipe instead of the more common corn sweeteners. It was just as dark in color as one of the stouts, had a great tangy root beer aroma and was smooth going down. Not being professional root beer drinkers ourselves, we can only suggest you go out, buy yourself a couple of cans, all while contributing to help save the earth. Not bad for a thirst quencher.
Saison Farmhouse Ale (4.5 ABV) Always a popular warm weather option, this saison does not disappoint. It has a coppery peach color, smells wheaty and tastes a bit dry. As a saison, there is a slightly sweet palate but it is more honeyed than the banana notes of many unfiltered beers. Great River has added an atypical ingredient to this one – ground black pepper. This combines with the traditional saison sweetness for dry, slightly tangy flavor, but the pepper is actually most notable in the finish which leaves a dry sparkle on your tongue.
483 Pale Ale (5.4 ABV 48 IBU) – As your momma always said, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” The 483 is an American style pale ale (APA) that smells dry and of the hops and rye grain, which give it an unexpectedly sour smell for a beer that one could assume would have a floral or fruity aroma based on the beer style and color; which is a more golden hued peach than that of the saison above. The sour smell does not carry over into the taste, which is actually quite mild and not very carbonated.
Roller Dam Red (5.3 ABV 30.6 IBU) Roller Dam is a typical Irish Red Ale. The aroma is not as pronounced as that of the first two, but what is there is somewhat spicy with a hint of something sweet like molasses (which does not carry over to the flavor). The red copper color of this one
is also a bit more diluted – not as saturated than the first two as well. On your tongue, the Roller Dam starts mild and builds to a spicy punch that peaks and then subsides in the swallow.
Organic Farmer Brown (6.2 ABV, 22 IBU) This nut brown has such a deep chocolate color that you have to be careful not to set it down next to one of the stouts as you may have trouble differentiating which is which based on sight alone. Although it does not appear terribly carbonated, it is surprisingly tingly as you take a drink. The robust flavor begins with a sweet brown sugar takes a slow slide down the throat, giving way t a true roasted nut taste.
Straight Pipe Stout (6.0 ABV, 36 IBU) – Another beer with a decent coffee punch, but this one comes with a drier, peppery taste. Thick and full bodied, it has the added creaminess and rich mouth feel of a good milk stout (which is exactly what this is!). The taste is smooth and delicious on its own, but could be even more amazing if the coffee notes were more pronounced, which brings us to the…
Espresso Stout (6.0 ABV, 36 IBU) Great River starts with cold pressed Redband coffee and infuse it into their Straight Pipe recipe. It actually smells exactly like freshly used coffee grounds, not the usual coffee aroma characteristic of certain types of roasted malts. Continuing with the theme, the dark color is the shade of a full pot of coffee, and the taste is reminiscent of coffee liquor. All around delicious, it’ll make you remember why you’re a coffee lover.
Vanilla Bean Barrel Aged Brewers Reserve Series – This is one of their limited reserve series, so we were lucky to grab a glass. Dark brown color with a hint of head, it gives off a good homemade smell, like that of vanilla extract and sugar and maybe a hint of rye toward the end of the smell. Likewise, most of the flavor is in the aftertaste, or at least toward the end of the sip. Sweet then rye palate that would probably be fairly amazing paired with some vanilla ice cream, Root Beer Float style. Dangerous when you combine the high drinkability with the high gravity.
332 East 2nd Street
Davenport, IA 52801