Turner Alley adds to the Cedar Rapids beer scene

Back in 2005, Travis Scheidecker went from bartender to head brewer in the course of a staff meeting debriefing about the freshly departed brewer at Third Base Brewery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Scheidecker had lot to learn. He’d never brewed an ounce of beer in his life, and it turned out that the brewhouse wasn’t in top shape. After a great deal of cleaning, mentoring from fellow commercial brewers, and nurturing from local homebrewers desperate for the brewery to survive in their neighborhood, Sheidecker acquired the knowledge and skill necessary to produce a lineup of solid beers. In addition to the help of those brewing comrades, Scheidecker credits copious reading and listening to Jamil Zainasheff podcasts to his education.

Earlier this year, Scheidecker transitioned to the new Cedar Rapids production brewery, Turner Alley Brewing Company, and over the weekend, I conjured an excuse to stop by and visit him in his new playground. Draught only and without a taproom, it’s not really a place that folks are going to be seeking out just yet, but tours are planned down the road.

Presently, the brewery is a fairly wide open space where Scheidecker toils in solitude on his 15-barrel brewhouse. Lucky for me, Scheidecker had a few beers available for scrutiny, and I seized the opportunity to try his Czech Village Pilsner, Mays Island IPA, Wood’s Wheat, and Roosevelt Imperial Red. I see in Scheidecker a guy that tends to offer up a fairly rounded malt presence in his hop forward beers, and this was evident in both his IPA and Impy Red. The latter clocked in at 8% ABV, but the alcohol was well-concealed and it drank much smoother. I thoroughly enjoyed the Pilsner, and when the canning line shows up—as is the plan somewhere in the future—I can’t wait to have this beer available for all my camping and grilling purposes.

But for now, TA is draught only primarily in the Cedar Rapids area. If you see it, check it out; Scheidecker is putting out an array of tasty beers—with more on the way…

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