Big Grove Brewery is nearly ready to open its newest brewery and taproom in Cedar Rapids, Iowa — an opening we previewed in this Cheers to 10 Years feature. Big Grove will highlight Czech and Bohemian brewing heritage at this location and pair it with a carefully curated food menu.
“It’s a rare 15-barrel lager house-style brewing setup and very accessible to view from the taproom,” says Big Grove Director of Brewing Andy Joynt said about the brewery operations. Capable of old-world-style brewing, the brewery will feature open fermentation, which is unique to the industry. The beer is finished in horizontal lager vessels. “They’re something we’ve absolutely fallen in love with,” said Joynt.
The public opening is planned for 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 14 — and the first 200 guests will receive a commemorative and complimentary beer stein.
The opening day lineup will feature a Czech Dark Lager, Czech Pilsner, Bavarian Hefeweizen, and Vienna Lager plus staples such as Easy Eddy Hazy IPA and Citrus Surfer Fruited Wheat, among others.
Big Grove Chefs developed unique offerings ranging from scratch-made bread and bar snacks to traditional and approachable dishes, including “savory fusion-style creations like Reuben bao buns and smoked pork burrito bowls,” said Big Grove Chef de Cuisine and Cedar Rapids native Chris Vurciaga.
The lager house-style brewery and taproom marks a significant milestone for the Kingston Yard entertainment and mixed-use development project at First and First West. “The goal is to celebrate Cedar Rapids,” said Nate Kaeding of Build to Suit and co-developer of Kingston Yard. Kaeding views Big Grove’s opening as added inertia, helping a quality-of-life amenity take shape before the end of the year. “We want this to be a community ‘living room’ that’s easy to get to, centrally located off Interstate 380,” said Kaeding.
The Cedar Rapids taproom features 20 taps at both the main and the event room bars. Soaring wood-paneled ceilings, industrial furnishings, and mural artwork by artist Jamie Boling all highlight pop-culture curiosities while celebrating the depth of history and innovation in Cedar Rapids. A combined 21,050 square feet comprises the taproom, featuring an 11,300 square-foot interior and 9,750 square-foot exterior.
The brewery plans for 225 seats indoors, including an event space with a capacity for 120 guests and an option to add patio space.
“We want this to be comfortable for large and small groups,” said Big Grove Chief Growth Officer, Dave Moore. The wood ceilings and industrial design are an intentional nod to the history of manufacturing in Cedar Rapids. Other unique taproom elements include reclaimed bricks from Cedar Rapids streets that make up the patio floor and furnishings that tie into the Kingston Yard communal space.
“Downtown continues to see upward momentum and the addition of Big Grove Brewery is a huge piece of that equation,” said Nikki Wilcox, Director of Strategic Development for the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “Adding another fantastic, locally owned restaurant will help to increase the number of visitors to the downtown district, which is a big strategic goal for years to come.”
Big Grove intends for the taproom to serve as a community hub where businesses, friends, and families can bring their friends as a destination location. The aim is to be a “draw to the area, a city stop for downtown shoppers and tourists,” said Moore. “We are honored to be part of Cedar Rapids community and look forward to serving the community, seeing guests and visitors making memories here for years to come,” said Moore.