MUSCATINE, Iowa–A homebrewer for over 20 years, Mark Mitchell never realized his passion would grow into a business. While at the National Homebrewer’s Conference in 2014, Mitchell learned about nanobreweries. Inspired, he opened Contrary Brewing Company in April of 2015.
Since that time, Mitchell has enjoyed creating craft beers that locals enjoy. “As many know, operating a small business can be difficult, but it is truly a joy to bring, what we believe, is a high quality beverage to town,” he said.
Mitchell also takes pride in the attendees’ choice awards Contrary has won at several beer festivals. As Mitchell explained it, “We have great respect for beer judges and the job they do, but we find it is extra special when we are recognized by the festival attendees for the beers we make.”
When Contrary celebrated its fifth birthday in April, Mitchell had to put planned celebrations on hold as COVID-19 mitigation efforts had closed bars and restaurants across the state. Even so, Mitchell still wanted to mark this important milestone for his business and designed several fifth and a half birthday events that could take place with social distancing measures this September. “So, while we delayed the celebration we had planned in April due to COVID-19, we have now decided to make the best of the current situation by celebrating safely while maintaining our distance,” he elaborated.
The fifth and a half birthday celebration kicks off Sept. 25 with a special tapping of their popular PB&J Porter. Sept. 26, the fun will continue with two events. At noon, Contrary will debut a new specialty beer, Skellring Russian Imperial Stout with Capanna coffee and maple. In the evening, Brand New BBQ will serve pork from a pig raised on spent grain from the brewery by Elyssa McFarland. On Sept. 27, Molly Durnin will perform live music.
To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all, Contrary has several social distancing requirements in place during all of its celebrations. Mitchell detailed, “As always, we follow the State of Iowa guidelines. To that end, Mitchell encourages all customers to wear masks when not seated. Contrary staff have arranged all indoor and outdoor tables at least six feet apart. Those wishing to carry out some of Contrary’s creations for celebration at home can arrange contact free pickup by calling 563-261-7446.
As Mitchell prepares for Contrary’s fifth and a half birthday celebrations, he hopes the community will join him. “Mainly, we encourage people to come, be safe, exercise good judgment and have a good time,” shared Mitchell. “Five years is no small thing for a business and we’d like to thank our customers by providing some good beer, good food, and some excellent live music on Sunday by Molly Durnin.”