West O flight

A flight from West O Beer of West Okoboji.

I love craft beer, especially dark and heavy stouts, which is pretty atypical of the average amateur connoisseur

So it’s been a real pleasure for me to watch as the craft beer bubbles continues to make its way up to this part of the state and the surrounding region.

The Iowa Great Lakes has long been home to two breweries; Sioux City now has three, Take 16 in nearby Luverne, MN, is a treat and Drink Me Brewing Co. in Sibley is almost open!

Additionally, breweries are in the works for Rock Rapids, LeMars and Worthington, MN.

While I long to try the creations those future spots will offer, I’ve also happily taken advantage of the crafty concoctions currently available to me. Trust me, there are a lot of them and I've probably barely scratched the surface when you take rare and seasonal releases into account.

However, I've managed to sample a few. So, in no particular order, here are five of my favorite craft beers produced by local breweries that are within an hour drive of Sheldon:

Divination by Drink Me Brewing Co. of Sibley

Divination

Divination by Drink Me Brewing Co. of Sibley.

This is brew is considered a Belgian Dubbel, which are rich, malty beers with a hint of spice. If you like strong, dark beer — as I do — this is the must-have. I typically purchase three or four when it is on sale.

Belgian Tripel (Aged) by Drink Me Brewing Co. of Sibley

Belgian Tripel

Belgian Triple by Drink Me Brewing Co. of Sibley.

Yes, another Sibley beer post in a row, but have tried their stuff? This couple knows how to make beer! So technically, I have only purchased the regular Belgian Tripel (as shown in the photo) but during their last beer sale, the Berrys allowed me to taste a sample of the aged version and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. They plan on offering it during the grand opening, which is still to be determined.

Raspberry Shandy by West O in West Okoboji

West O Raspberry Shandy

Raspberry Shandy by West O Beer in West Okoboji.

While I prefer dark beers — and West O Cocoa Stout is one of my go-to brews — the Raspberry Shandy is undeniable. I tried the Raspberry Shandy, which is a rare offering at West O, before I tried the regular version and the difference was startling.

The Raspberry Shandy gives your palette the same pleasure that is derived from the first two minutes of chewing a piece of Fruit Stripe gum whereas the regular Shandy is like the gum once the flavor evaporates.

Peanut Buddha Stout by Brioux City Brewing Co. of Sioux City

Peanut Buddha Stout

Peanut Budda Stout by Brioux City Brewing Co. of Sioux City

The article has been amended to remove a trademarked phrase.

My job is undeniably pro-pun, so it should come as no surprise that I favor this beer which even features on a wonderfully chubby Buddha on the label. Good peanut butter beers are hard to come by and Peanut Buddha Stout is the best one I’ve had.

Salted Caramel Stout Latte by Jackson Street Brewing of Sioux City

Salted Caramel Stout Latte.jpg

Salted Caramel Stout Latte by Jackson Street Brewing of Sioux City.

I would never order this as a coffee beverage but best believe I’ll happily order this beer again.