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Friday, September 20, 2019


Venerable Catfish Charlie's Brew Pub sits on Hamm Island in the middle of the Mississippi River between Wisconsin and Iowa.  Plenty of craft beer, catfish and river views to go around.
GUEST BLOG / By Kevin Revolinski, Writer, you leave Wisconsin, the beer-focused route is going to hop back and forth between these two states. Past Potosi, breweries along the Great River Road continue on U.S. 61 and it crosses to Iowa at Dubuque, home of the National Mississippi River Museum. Halfway across the river is Hamm Island where you can stop in at Catfish Charlie’s Brew Pub for Catfish Creek beers off their two-barrel system. The restaurant is known for its southern-style seafood. The river is right outside.

Among Dubuque's top three breweries
7 Hills Brewery is located in an old warehouse in the historic mill district. Beers range from pilsner and session pale ales to something a bit less common such as sours and a smoked stout. The food menu includes burgers, pizzas and other pub fares. Throw Dimensional Brewing and the highly regarded Jubeck New World Brewing in there, and Dubuque becomes a great stop for the night.

Located inland a few miles from the Great River in Illinois, this hard working town was where Civil War hero and President Uly S. Grant was born.  In Galena, it's "Uly" among his friends.  Galena Brewing Company doesn't disappoint.
At this point along the Great River Road, you need to choose a side of the river. That is unless you decide to backtrack and hit everything all the way down to the Gulf. Here, you can cross into Illinois, and Galena is the first beer town and is a tourist attraction in itself; the city has an impressive collection of preserved 19th-century buildings amid picturesque rolling hills. From Dubuque take U.S. 20 into Illinois and its 14 miles to Galena Brewing Co. You could cut back to the Iowa side at the Quad Cities.

Back on the Iowa side of the Mississippi you can sip excellent craft beer and wave to the Illini across the way.
Continuing south, find Bellevue with the family-run nanobrewery, River Ridge Brewing then Le Claire, home of Green Tree Brewery and the Mississippi Valley Welcome Center.

Davenport and Bettendorf in southeastern Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline and East Moline make up the Quad Cities. Yes, we realize that is actually five. Davenport features Front Street Brewery. It was founded in 1992 and now occupies two locations four blocks apart on Front Street: the brewery and taproom and the brewpub with a full food menu. They tap weekly firkins. 

On the Illinois side, Bent River Brewing has brewpub locations in both Rock Island and Moline. Continuing south on the Great River Road on the Iowa side, it’s a 40-minute drive to Muscatine and Contrary Brewing where you can find 20 small-batch beers on tap, with the menu constantly changing. Drive another hour to Burlington for Parkside Brewing and yet another Bent River location if you missed the other two.

Fort Madison is another 20 minutes south, with Lost Duck Brewery, housed in a couple 1864 brick buildings right on the river. Last call in Iowa is another half-hour south in Keokuk at V’s Restaurant and Brewpub. The beer list balances between lighter, easy-drinking brews and bolder styles. Try the spicy fried pickles as an appetizer. From Keokuk cross the Des Moines River and enter Missouri south of town.

SOURCE: is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.


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