Pours at 4:00, Rock River Brewing Company

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:13 PM CDT
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ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa (Dakota News Now) - For roughly three years, Rock River Brewing Company has been a gathering place for residents in northwest Iowa and visitors passing through. Owner Dan Vanderzee says that is what helps make the brewery what it is. “Rock Rapids is a really tight-knit community,” he said. “We really watch out for each other and try to keep our dollars local because we know that’s going to come back ten-fold.” One example of that is the brewery offers snacks but not meals, so visitors are encouraged to bring food from the restaurants just steps away.

Vanderzee also finds ways to incorporate local ingredients when he is brewing, and even that has become mutually beneficial. The coffee from Rosie’s Boutique comes from Haiti and goes into a coffee stout and all of the profits from the boutique and coffee shop go back into the non-profit Touch of Hope Haiti. Owner Kayla Raymond says it is so beneficial and why returning to Rock Rapids after spending time in Haiti has been so great. “It’s just been another fun way to get our word out about the work we’re doing and drink some beer in the process too,” Raymond said. “I’m not much of a dark beer drinker, but it was good. The coffee is definitely high-quality specialty coffee,” she added. “It’s raised at a 1,500 elevation in the mountains of Haiti, so it’s a very good smooth coffee. I think we gave Dan some good ingredients to work with.”

Vanderzee also stumbled upon some ingredients from another nearby source thanks to friends at Roach Family Farms. Joe Roach and his wife have their own bee farm and harvest honey outside of town and asked Vanderzee if he would consider incorporating the ingredients. Shortly after, The Bee’s Knees came into existence. Roach does not explore craft beers often but says The Bee’s Knees is one of his favorites. “Dan puts his heart and soul into it knowing you could have a nice cold beer that’s made with love,” Roach said.