I'm an admitted beer snob. I love craft beer over the mass-produced everyday beers you find anywhere. I like flavor and I'm not ever going to drink the beers I do, to get hammered. In fact, I'm VERY conscious of my alcohol intake. I like to be in control of myself and all my senses so drinking past the point of a nice buzz isn't my thing.
Craft Beer is not cheap, but then cheap beer is crap.
That being said, craft beers don't tend to be "light" or "Lite" beers. There's no cutting calories or needing a "less filling" brew. Craft beer can be pretty much anything the brewer imagines. That's why it's more exciting for me to enjoy these different styles and flavors.
In the Cedar Valley, you can get craft beers nearly everywhere that sells it. Straight from the brewery itself, from a liquor store that carries a ton of different ones, or even bars or taps that offer it from the keg.
Singlespeed not only has a Cedar Falls location but a Waterloo one as well! They are one of the better-known breweries in the Cedar Valley and has 5 beers in the Top 100 Beers in Iowa according to my Beer-Bible, beeradvocate.com. For me, #80 is just amazing! Zach's Mexican Donuts is a really nice oatmeal stout that is a tasty and easy drinker!
I raise a toast to the brilliant one who named this place! Its name comes from the corner the brewery is on - 2nd Street and State Street in Cedar Falls! Second State Brewing is one of the other spots in Cedar Falls, alone, where you can enjoy a craft beer made on the premises! The beer menu is vast and has plenty of variety, as does the food menu! Some great beers and awesome vittles can be had here and it's two of the reasons why I love it here... The third is the Maibock. Bocks are always a win with me but one that can push the ABV up to a little over 7% has my vote!
Lark Brewing has been playing "Catch Us If You Can" for a few years but they've finally found a home in College Square Mall. It's in the space Old Chicago used to be and I'm glad of it! I tried several times to like OC but always walked out disappointed. Hard to walk out of Lark that way! Besides having a varied list of beers brewed in-house at the Waterloo location (on University, across from the former Perkins), the food created here is top-notch! Top-shelf? Tops? Well, it's off the charts, good! The Imperial Cream ale, Masharona, is so scrumdiliocious.... Yeah, the spell-check fought me on that one!
The owners, Walter and James have put together a neighborhood place where you can find over 150 craft beers from all over the world! Specials nearly every day, Happy Hour discounts, and amazing food that you'll be talking about, well after you've gone home. Everyone working there is a beer expert and can answer questions or help turn you on to a new brew. One of the best things about The Brass Tap is that they order small batches of the draught beers. That means, when one tap runs out, it gets replaced with something completely different, that was just waiting in the wings for its chance to pour. If you went once a week, each visit would offer something that wasn't there the last time you came in! I'd give you a list of my faves but either they aren't there anymore or they probably won't be by the time you read this. I love this place!
Other fun spots to wet your whistle and try new stuff:
Happy's Wine & Spirits - Yes, they also have several on tap you can taste and fill a growler!