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Peace Tree Brewing Company: A Piece of Perfection

Peace Tree Beer Connoisseur

Knoxville, Iowa native Peace Tree Brewing Company was founded in 2009, in what used to be a Nash Rambler car dealership in the heart of town. Six years later, the pistons are firing nicely with experienced head brewmaster Joe Kesteloot behind the wheel, helping to churn out handcrafted brews of distinction. 

Kesteloot had already homebrewed for years before studying at the American Brewer's Guild, apprenticing at Big Horn Brewing in Illinois and then spending nearly five years at Minnesota’s Cold Spring Brewing Company. 

“I had a pretty good position at Cold Spring,” Kesteloot said in an interview with Edible Iowa River Valley, “but it’s every brewer’s dream to get into a brewery at startup and watch it grow.”

The operation has grown organically from its original 20-Bbl brewhouse which opened in March of 2010, adding six more 40-Bbl fermenters to its arsenal of two 20-Bbl and two 40-Bbl tanks, and expanding its distribution to neighboring Nebraska. Still, there are only seven full-time employees – everyone stays busy.

The beers are inspired by local sights and memories from days past. For instance, the flagship Red Rambler Ale, a versatile red balanced with three hop varietals pays homage to the brewery's past life as a car dealership, while proceeds from the hop-forward Sound Check Session IPA go towards the local music scene.

Others, such as the seasonal Cornucopia farmhouse ale brewed with local Iowa sweet corn, help to round out the taproom's 10 lines, which boast craft root beers, sodas and other special draft-only releases. With seats for sixty, and a family-friendly environment – activities include yoga, live music and even knitting, this small-town brewery maintains the delicate balancing act of bringing modern beer culture to middle-America with ease. Events like its annual Brews and Muse festival in September, help to spread the word. 

Check it out in the warmer months for optimal use of the outdoor beer garden, and get the story behind the name from a local –

According to Peace Tree:

"Our name, serves as a reminder of our past – where different cultures met to discuss, trade and come to agreements. The Peace Tree is a historic grand sycamore that was located near the town of Red Rock, under what is Lake Red Rock today. Supposedly, the old sycamore -which was estimated to be the 2nd largest in North America – was a place where Native Americans met for generations, then became a meeting place for fur traders. Indian treaties were negotiated here and there is some speculation that it marks the Red Rock Line.'

'When Red Rock Dam was built in the late 1960s to create a reservoir for the Des Moines River, the Peace Tree – as much as 500 years old by this time – was left standing and has been rising out of the waters nobly for years since.'

'Brewing great beer is our passion, but we are also passionate about where we have come from and where we are going.'"

If you're looking for a classic slice of brewing paradise in the American heartland, look no further than Peace Tree.