Celebrating Five Years of the QC Ale Trail

QC Craft Beer Week returns on May 10-17, marking a milestone anniversary of the QC Ale Trail.  

Established in 2019 through a partnership between Visit Quad Cities and regional craft breweries, the QC Ale Trail is an immersive self-guided tour spanning both sides of the Mississippi River that showcases the vibrant craft brewery scene. 

Participants can check in at participating breweries with a QC Ale Trail passport to receive free prizes from Visit Quad Cities while enjoying local brews and meeting fellow craft beer fans. 

QC Craft Beer Week never disappoints and is a great reminder of how fortunate we are in the Quad Cities region to have such a thriving craft beer community,” said Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities. “We are thrilled to commemorate five incredible years of the QC Ale Trail. Our QC Ale Trail continues to promote and bind together the Quad Cities craft beer scene which adds value to tourism products, visitor experience and resident pride.” 

During the first five years of the Ale Trail, participating locations have expanded from 12 to 16 and attracted nearly 500 craft beer enthusiasts from 25 states who have visited four or more locations or completed the trail. 

Throughout the week, organizers encourage visitors and Quad Citizens to support breweries across the Quad Cities. Follow Visit Quad Cities on social media and join the QC Ale Trail Facebook group to stay updated on QC Craft Beer Week specials, giveaways, tappings and events.

QC Craft Beer Week’s participating breweries include: 5 Cities Brewing, Bent River Brewery, Crawford Brew Works, Midwest Ale Works, Radical Effect Brewerks, Rebels & Lions Brewing, Stompbox Brewing, Twin Span Brewing and Wake Brewing (watch social media for more locations are added). 

The local events will include: 

  • Friday, May 10, 4-7 p.m.: QC Ale Trail Five-Year Anniversary Pop-Up Party at Front Street Taproom, Davenport. Free trivia begins at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 11, 12:30-3 p.m.: Quad Cities Beer Battle on the Belle Cruise (Celebration Belle departs Moline dock promptly at 12:30 p.m..)
  • Friday, May 17 (Time to be determined): Mugz Homebrew Collaboration Tapping at Endless Brews, Davenport.
  • Saturday, May 18, (Time TBD): Mugz Homebrew Collaboration Tapping at Sallie’s in Rock Island.
  • Saturday, May 18, 2-5 p.m.: Shops with Hops in downtown LeClaire.

QC Craft Beer Week was created in 2011 by Mugz, a local home brewing club. Bryan Schmid, president of Mugz, says the annual event is a great opportunity for homebrewers and professional brewers to bounce ideas off each other and try something outside their comfort zone. “It’s exciting to see the variety that everyone comes up with and have all those ideas on tap at once,” he said.  

Notable brew collaborations for 2024 include a rice lager by longtime Mugz member Rich Toohill and Stompbox Brewing’s Matt Erikson, as well as a black IPA by former presidents of Mugz, Nate VanWert and Justen Parris of Wake Brewing. 

The Quad Cities traces its brewing history back to 1847 with Rock Island’s Littig and Co., followed by two others. By 1893, they merged into The Rock Island Brewing Co. In 1850, Davenport saw its first brewery, The City Brewery, followed by The Davenport Malting Co. in 1894 through a merger. Prohibition hit Iowa in 1916 and Rock Island in 1918, halting brewing until 1933. After nearly 40 years, Front Street Brewery revived the scene in 1992, paving the way for more local craft breweries.

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