A 19th Century 'Beer Cave' Was Unearthed In Iowa

The next time you're heading to a field, brush up on your beer knowledge; you never know when it may come in handy. Lately, beer caves have been emerging from the woodwork or ... uh electrical work. Electricians in Winterset, Iowa — a town southwest of Des Moines headed to a field surrounded by tractors to do some work, but surprisingly unearthed a covered beer cave from the 1800s (via KCCI). The cave had been hidden for years on a property that now houses a farm equipment supplier.

This isn't the first time such a cave has been discovered. In 2018, Terry Briggs began excavating a beer cave in Easton, Pennsylvania, according to Lehigh Valley Live. Briggs owns the land that once housed Kuebler Brewery, which shuttered in 1953. 

Clearly, unearthing old beer cellars isn't a one-off, so finding your next favorite brewery may require more than a quick Google search. If you're in Winterset, it may even call for an excavation.

Madison County's inaugural brewery has been hiding underground for years

Whether you prefer to grab a beer from the cellar or straight from your fridge, you can't deny the historical significance of discovering old drinking grounds. The Winterset beer cave was found near Madison County's first-ever brewery. To connect the cave with the previous facility, the town consulted old, local maps and newspaper clippings, including a business directory from 1869. The directory showed the brewery in operation at the time (per KCCI).

Given the time lapsed, the beer cave remains in excellent condition. Chuck Johnson, the electric superintendent on-site, told KCCI that the ceiling looks relatively intact."We were boring in these power lines underground, and they just ran into some rock," Johnson said. "They started digging it up and figured they hit a rock shelf."

Yet water has filled the cave, so as the town waits for the liquid to drain, the cave's future remains uncertain. Jared McDonald, manager and curator at the Madison County Historical Society, told KCCI that he's unsure whether the cave should be exhumed and opened for tours. It will be marked, however, with a plaque. Perhaps the town should get together over a beer to determine the best strategy for preserving the begotten brewery.