I used to be a beer blogger with over 120 blogs, all with craft-beer news, updates, and reviews of beer from all over the country, and a few from abroad. I have some experience tasting beer. I was even sponsored for six months by a craft-beer centric pub in Cedar Falls. I'm quite proud of my ability to taste lots of flavor differences and the pub's owners were impressed with my knowledge. I guess you could say, I have some clout in the beer-blogging business and I am glad to have had trust in me for that.

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I haven't been drinking as much beer as I have in the past. In fact, after I had COVID in May of 2020, I slowed WAY down on my intake of beer. No reason other than I just didn't want one. I've been drawn to more sweet drinks, like juice, soda (I know, it's bad for me, yada, yada, yada... Don't judge.) and lighter drinks like unsweetened tea and almond milk. No idea what changed, as I did regain my sense of taste a little over two weeks after I first lost it, while I was in the hospital. I can't really explain it.

However, two nights ago, I was going through my "beer fridge" in the garage, just being curious as to what I had in there. I did want a beer at that point but wanted something on the lighter side, rather than my preference, which is a darker, flavorful, and full-bodied brew.

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I grabbed a Czech-style Pilsner from Lion Bridge Brewing Co. in Cedar Rapids. I have yet to be there and will eventually go, as I'm always up for checking out breweries. I believe I've had a couple of others from there, before but I don't remember what those were.

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Ziva Voda from Lion Bridge Brewing Co. is excellent! It was full of robust pilsner flavor and not as light as I expected. This was a great amber-golden pour that also had a wonderful, old-style nose of malt and bread. It's very crisp and smooth on the tongue with a little spice and honey. Probably single-hopped, but enough to know that there's some drying hop bitterness. It's just one of my favorite beers, now. I WILL have to fill a growler at some point!

Don't forget that there are plenty of breweries here in Eastern Iowa that are doing amazing things with their recipes for craft-beers. Each with its own character. Maybe google the breweries in your chosen area, invite some friends, find a DD to take you all around to some of these places, and make a weekend out of it! Create your own "Beer-trail" to follow and enjoy!

Top 10 Fantastic Breweries in the Cedar Valley & Northeast Iowa - List

It's a quote that rings true, "Local Beer is Better". Why? Because you're supporting your friends and neighbors. Heck, you might even personally know the brewmaster of your favorite local beer. How cool is that? The "dive bar" down on the corner might have it's own place in society, but they're quickly being replaced by local breweries with unique themes and spacious taprooms. On top of that, they take the joy of beer to the next level, with some really good (and sometimes award-winning) beer! Scroll down for our virtual brewery tour.

Check Out These Cheesecakes From the Original Cheesecake Lady of Cedar Rapids

Dawn Knowles Murray is the original Cheesecake Lady