The Only Brewery We Really Care About

We’re back in Elkader, Iowa, for the third time since we’ve been on the road and for the billionth time before that. Why? Tracy’s best friend since forever lives here with his wife, Deb, pictured below, at her taproom and brewery.

During our visits here, we’ve seen the transformation of Deb’s historic newsprint building: from a homebrew supply store, to a microbrewery where Deb brews award-winning beer and sold kegs to bars in Iowa, now to include a taproom that reflects all the character of Deb and Dave (two colorful characters). They are the sole employees, so anytime you stop in for a flight of Deb’s beer served in her VW Microbus flight boxes, you’re being served by Deb or Dave, for sure.

Last year they were selling cans to go; this year they reopened the taproom, and the customers are pouring in (Deb’s beer is the best), so Deb and Dave are pouring the pints, trying hard to stay healthy.

We thought we’d break our three-year moratorium on not drinking beer inside by slipping in the taproom one afternoon before anyone else arrived so we could sit at Deb’s lovely bar and enjoy Dave’s vinyl records and hang out for a bit, but each time we drove by, by God, there were people at the bar. Who do they think they are?

It took an AC emergency to get us there with no customers, and the solving of the same emergency so we were also there with no cares and could hang with our friends. Above are some pictures of the brewery items since I’ve been there last.

On our way to Elkader, we stopped at Dave’s parents’ house on the Mississippi, in Harpers Ferry, Iowa. I’ve posted before how cool it is (to me) that I lived in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, also on a massive river, the Potomac (and the Shenandoah).

Dave’s parents treated us to lunch almost 100% from their garden and the river and then caught us up with the family. I didn’t realize it at the time, but his dad turned 80 the next day, so Tracy is back up in Harpers today with Dave and a handful of the family celebrating, while I catch my breath at the campground.

We always stay in the Elkader City Park Campground, where Dave is the caretaker. That way he can stop by the trailer while he’s mowing the grass to shoot the shit with us. Seriously, it works out perfectly. He’s so busy with his town work and the brewery that we’ll take a few minutes with him here and there.

While Dave and Deb have been working, we washed the Airstream—get this—for the first time with soap since we were here last summer. This is downright heresy to other Airstream owners, especially considering all the desert driving we did this past winter.

Tracy’s also begun planning our next-summer trip to Alaska (pictured above, while drinking Deb’s beer and eating Dave’s garden salsa). I’ve been planning next week’s visit with Finn.

Iowa’s natural abundance is still going strong, at least in our friends’ gardens and families and brewery.