100-Year Old Beer Cave Discovered In Iowa

, 100-Year Old Beer Cave Discovered In Iowa

(Obviously not the Iowa beer cave, but whatever)

Iowa Main Street Investments, acquired an old brewery in the small town of Cascade two years ago. And while renovating the building, learned that it sat upon a “beer cave” that has hidden away for more than a century.

Underground beer caves were common at breweries before the advent of refrigeration and Iowa has no shortage of local breweries, many of which would have grown out of these 19th Century operations.

“We were given some historical information that potentially there was a beer cave underneath this building somewhere,  Brian Bock told KCRG but nothing ever brought us any indication that there was actually a beer cave here.” “No one has set foot in it for 100 years, and for it to be preserved as well as it has been. It’s a pretty unique find, and obviously one that I never would have dreamt of.”

“Iowa City boasts an intricate network of 19th-century subterranean passages, historically employed for beer fermentation and transportation,” reports The Mirror. “Beer enthusiast and owner of John’s Grocery, Doug Alberhasky, who conducts guided tours of beer caves in the city, explained how significant these subterranean spaces were in maintaining the ideal beer temperature during brewing…

“The beer needed to be served cold and stored cold for the entire month that it was being brewed. So, they had to have caves underground that they could put ice in to keep the beer at a happy 33 and a half degrees or so…

When they built them, there was no hydraulics, there were no pneumatics. It was all done with horsepower and human power, Alberhasky added. “And the fact that they were able to do all of this, to this extent is pretty amazing.”

, 100-Year Old Beer Cave Discovered In Iowa

(James River Steam Brewery: Courtesy the Virginia Department of Historic Resources)

But the Eastern Iowa beer cave is hardly an outlier…

In 2019, a  nonprofit group that hosts beer tours in Virginia, succeeded in getting a historical marker for the 19th-century James River Steam Brewery and the remains of its beer caves.

The James River Steam Brewery was founded by the son of D.G. Yuengling, who started the legendary Pennsylvania brewery. Built in 1866 by David G. Yuengling Jr, Richmond’s first large-scale brewery towered five stories above the James River and ran on steam generated by the water (which clearly explains its name).

The James River Steam Brewery went down in flames in 1891. But the caves below the brewery, which could store and ferment up to 6,000 barrels of beer, survived the fire and can still be seen near the banks of river in southeastern Richmond.

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