NEW! Exclusive V.I.P. Craft Brew Zone Pass

Craft Brew Zone patrons have an additional option for this year’s Independence BrewBQ. We have added a V.I.P. tasting pass option for the Craft Brew Zone! This pass will allow a limited number of brew enthusiasts early entry into the Craft Brew Zone. You will have an additional hour to taste some exclusive V.I.P. items as well as a first crack at the full line-up! Patrons will also receive a commemorative tasting glass and some good one-on-one time with the brewers. The V.I.P. hour will begin at 3:00 p.m. with the full Craft Brew Zone open at 4:00 p.m. through 7:00 p.m.

The V.I.P. passes are first-come and there are a limited number. Make sure to purchase your pass online today!

Eventbrite - Independence BrewBQ

Indee Native Set to Headline 12th Annual Independence BrewBQ

Who says you can’t go home? Certainly not Brock Cole, a 1996 Independence graduate and front man for the band PHILO. The group is set to headline this year’s 12th Annual Independence BrewBQ on Saturday, August 26 at Riverwalk Parks.

Hailing from many parts of the U.S., members of PHILO came together in 2010 to form a high-energy rock, pop and R&B cover band in Mobile, AL. “We are thrilled to be this year’s headliner,” said Brock.” I’m really looking forward to bringing the band to my hometown and enjoying some fantastic craft brews!”

PHILO performs a variety of songs from all of your favorite bands of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s as well as a great selection of current music. “Our guests are going to love PHILO! We want to extend a huge thank you to our entertainment sponsor, Ohl Iowa Realty agent Kathy Cole. Without her, we would not have been able to offer this type of performance to our guests,” stated Jenny Yoder, Independence BrewBQ board member.

Click on the following button to purchase Craft Brew Zone tickets and also register for the Bike Ride Too!
Eventbrite - Independence BrewBQ

Craft Brew Zone Pass Information (Will Call and Purchase)

Thank you for your interest the 11th Annual Independence BrewBQ.  In an effort to make the event more enjoyable by reducing wait time at the Craft Brew Zone (CBZ) entrance, we have made a change to the pass purchase and will call location.  Details are listed below:

CBZ Pass Purchase

To purchase a CBZ pass on the day of the event (sales open at 12pm), proceed to the ticket pavilion in the park.  Any of the lines selling tickets for beverages, will also be able to sell a CBZ Pass.  After ID check and purchase of your pass, you will receive your CBZ wristband and 2016 tasting glass.  Any time after the CBZ is open (3pm-7pm), you only need to show your CBZ wristband to gain entry.

CBZ Will Call (Including bike ride participants)

To check in for CBZ Will Call, proceed to the ticket pavilion in the park.  There will be a line marked with a sign for “CBZ Will Call”.  Tell the volunteer your name and they will check the list and your ID, then mark you off.  Then you will get your CBZ wristband and 2016 tasting glass.  Any time after the CBZ is open (3pm-7pm), you only need to show your CBZ wristband to gain entry.

NOTE:  For those that purchased multiple passes, each person will need to go to the CBZ Will Call line, give the name of the purchaser, have their ID checked, and get their CBZ wristband and 2016 tasting glass.  We cannot hand out wristbands and glasses to one person for a group.

If you have any questions about the process, send an email to, or speak to one of the committee members at the event (they will be wearing the green BrewBQ shirts).

Meet our 2016 “Chopped” Contestants

Brian and Maegan Sonksen

IMG_4519_zpsc1ab6ee1Brian and Maegan Sonksen are two time “Chopped” winners.

Brian is from Waterloo and studied Studio Art at UNI.  In high school he worked at Bonanza and found he enjoyed cooking.  He and Maegen feel that food is art which makes them unique competitors in our Chopped contest.  Brian has spent many years as an Executive Chef for Barmuda restaurants and was also the Executive Chef at Prairie Hills here in Independence.  Brian and Maegen live in Independence with their daughter Emelia and a new baby coming in about a month…hopefully not during BrewBQ!

Tad Bartels and Lewis Meyermann

Tad is currently a cook at Rastrelli’s Restaurant in Clinton, IA and a sales associate at Clinton ACE Hardware. In the fall he will be attending Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids to major in Culinary Arts.  Tad has had plenty of experience cooking on and selling Traeger grills while working at ACE Hardware, and even owns one himself. He was introduced to the world of BBQ at a young age by his uncle. With Tad’s learned skills and creativity when it comes to food, he has turned himself into a pitmaster at the young age of 19.  Someday, he would like to start a catering business based around BBQ.

Lewis Meyermann is a cook at McKinley Street Taverne in Clinton, IA.   Lewis and Tad have been friends since early childhood and have taken culinary classes together.  Lewis has helped Tad in BBQ contests in the past and is a great assistant doing the sidekick jobs.  Lewis is learning as he goes and both will bring youthful energy to the competition.

Roger Barloon and Ron Coenen

Roger and Ron took the trophy in 2015 and are ready to go for a second win.  Ron and Roger were college roommates shared their common interest in cooking and have been cooking together for 30 years.  Roger is the high school vocal director at Independence Junior Senior High School  and Ron is an IT guy in Waterloo.

Dan Ankrum and WG

Chef Dan was born and raised here in Iowa.  He was heavily influenced by my grandmothers who both cooked professionally.  After about 8 years in the kitchen he attended Le Cordon Bleu, came back to Iowa starting a catering and pop up company.  Currently, Dan is the Chef at Singlespeed Brewing.  Dan is also an avid triathlete.

WG was raised in Waterloo, and has a heavy interest in cocktails and Italian cuisine. He has managed several bar programs and currently works at Singlespeed Brewing as a do everything man. WG a conservationist by trade.

Make sure to check out these amazing chefs during the Traeger Most Excellent Grilling Contest: Chopped Edition on Saturday, August 27 from Noon – 2 p.m. at Riverwalk Parks!