Beer Book

By Wini Moranville

If you’ve ever wanted to meet someone who has held the national title of “Beer Drinker of the Year,” now’s your chance.

Actually, the honor is less dubious than it sounds. J. Wilson snagged the 2012 award in an annual contest held by the Wynkoop Brewing Co. in Denver, Colo., and he says the competition is “less a chugging contest and more a matter of beer knowledge and work within the industry—along with a sprinkling of fun.”

Indeed, as a certified beer judge, award-winning home-brewer and Minister of Iowa Beer (yes, that’s an actual part-time position with the Iowa Brewers Guild), Wilson knows beer. Better yet, he knows Iowa beer—so well, in fact, that he’s written a book on the subject.

“Iowa Pints: A Guide to Iowa Breweries” went on sale June 3 (available through In it, Wilson (who is also the editor of the Adams County Free Press), explores the stories, peopleand brews behind more than 50 Iowa breweries crisscrossing the state—from West Okoboji to Fort Madison, from Decorah to Shenandoah. The book also recounts the history of the Iowa brewing industry.

Wilson will be on hand for a meet-and-greet and book signing at El Bait Shop (200 S.W. Second St.) June 12 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The venue will offer specials on all Iowa-brewed beers. Find out more about J. Wilson on his blog,

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