When Dave Morgan moved his SingleSpeed Brewing operation into the old Hostess building in downtown Waterloo, one of his main goals was to be a good neighbor.
Morgan not only wanted to bring new synergy to the area, but amp up the already great synergy that had been building within downtown Waterloo. Morgan reached out to see what he could do at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex as well as Young Arena and to the other businesses around him.
And he certainly wasn’t going to forget about Kyle Klingman and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, which he can see from his SingleSpeed tap room.
It was that train of thought when Morgan -- a self-described Dan Gable fanatic who won the 1993 Class 2A 135-pound state championship while helping New Hampton win the state team title -- came up with what he considers to be one of his greatest ideas.
Every year, Morgan attends the Craft Brewers Conference to get inspired and educated. He was in Philadelphia in 2016 when the idea struck him: Why doesn't SingleSpeed make a beer honoring Waterloo’s Dan Gable?
“Usually during these conferences, I have at least one good idea,” Morgan said. “It happens because you get out of the day-to-day routine and start thinking outside of the box a little bit.
“I’m always thinking, 'How can we help downtown Waterloo and how can we help the museum?' Those things were all clicking inside my head when I’m at the conference and then sitting on an airplane to come home.”
Using the notes section on his smart phone, Morgan began to rapidly type — Gable, 1972, Munich, Lager.
That was the day "Gable" -- SingleSpeed’s Munich Helles Lager -- was born, with a nod to the Waterloo native’s 1972 Olympic Gold medal performance in Munich, Germany.
Released last summer and then again this past spring for the collegiate wrestling season, Gable quickly became SingleSpeed’s top-selling beer inside the Waterloo tap room when it was available, according to Morgan. And with each draft sold, $1 of that sale was donated to the Gable Museum.
The big-time donation comes at a time when the museum, which has been located at 303 Jefferson Street since 2006, has begun a $1.4 million renovation of the facility.
“We feel so fortunate of our partnership with Dave Morgan and SingleSpeed,” said Klingman, the museum’s executive director. “It was just a great idea on Dave’s part, and then he asked me if Dan would be interested in doing it.”
Gable responded instantly to both Klingman and Morgan.
“He had two stipulations ... ‘It has to be good, and it has to be gold,’” Morgan laughed.
The original plan was for Gable to be a seasonal release coming out every year around the collegiate wrestling season.
Once again, Morgan smiles, Gable had a suggestion.
“He called me up during the summer looking for beer for the Wrestling World Cup,” Morgan recalls. “I had to tell him, ‘Dan, Gable is just a seasonal and it comes out only during the wrestling season.’
“Dan comes back at me, and says, ‘Dave, wrestling season never ends.’ That finished the concept of Gable being a seasonal.”
Starting Tuesday in the Waterloo tap room, Gable will become one of Single Speed’s five core beers that will be on tap year-round, meaning more $1 donations will be flowing toward the Gable Museum.
Additionally, on Tuesday, Gable will be on the shelves at Hy-Vee grocery stores across the state of Iowa in the form of six-packs, with a percentage of those sales also going to the Wrestling Museum.
And on Thursday at the Waterfront Drive Hy-Vee in Iowa City from 4 to 5 p.m., Gable -- with Morgan at his side -- will be signing the black-and-gold Gable cans.
The black and gold cans pay homage to Gable, with this inscription on the label:
Gable. One word can say so much. In our city, few words, if any, resonate with the force Gable does. In commemoration of his Olympic triumph (Munich—1972) we’ve crafted a beer much more approachable than any adversaries found Dan to be on the mat. Clean, crisp and Gold. We can’t think of a more fitting tribute.
“Throw the business side of this completely out: I’m excited about being next to Dan and his fans,” Morgan said of the Hy-Vee signing session. “It will be a fun moment for me, a unique moment for me being a big fan of Gable and having wrestling being a big part of my life.
“It’s exciting for my family. My sister is coming down from Wisconsin to be there.”