7 Hills Brewing Company, Dubuque

My friend Amy has what I once considered a dream job–and still do: She’s the Adult Services Librarian for the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque, Iowa. She’s surrounded by books in a stately building in a leafy corner of a river town, and just up the hill from a great local brewpub, 7 Hills Brewing Company. We stopped by to catch up with her on our way to Iowa City from Oshkosh in July 2018, and after the lights dimmed for the day at the library, we rolled down to 7 Hills to continue our conversation over their brews.

The name “7 Hills” plays on a nickname for Dubuque, alluding to the seven hills of Rome. The 7 Hills Brewing Company’s mission rests upon service–and the production of fantastic beer. I chose a tasting flight reflecting a balance of their current beers and longtime favorites.

From the original seven beers on their menu, I chose the Hop Spatter Double IPA (an intense hoppy beer, nearly at the bitter limit but just barely reined in, 9% abv) and the Muddy Tugger (an oatmeal-brewed brown ale with a honeyed touch, 6% abv).

For a taste of the season, I complemented those two with 3 Men & A Beerby (a session IPA, light and friendly at 4.8% abv), and my favorite of the bunch, It Gosé Lick, Swallow, Suck (a margarita-inspired gosé with salty, limey accents, at  3.5% abv).

We rounded out our evening with burgers and my throwback splurge, the taco salad. For those who think a taco salad might in any way resemble Mexican cuisine, let me nip that idea in the bud: It is an entirely Midwestern creation, bringing together a mildly spiced loose hamburger meat with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, Colby cheese, black olives, salsa, and sour cream and served in a crisp corn shell. It was just what I needed.

The family-style long tables, and down-by-the-docks warehouse setting fit the brewery perfectly, and if I were staying in Dubuque, I’d likely become a regular. Cheers to you, 7 Hills!