Over the past few years, I’ve noticed there are a surprising number of places to enjoy a craft beer in Des Moines (and even more across Iowa). In fact, the East Village’s Iowa Taproom showcases 120 taps from more than 20 Iowa breweries.
In honor of Des Moines Beer Week, I decided to compile some of my favorite local spots into an ultimate guide to Des Moines breweries.
515 Brewing Company
Opened in March of 2013, 515 Brewing is a charming little microbrewery located just across the city line in Clive. With ample seating and lots of local choices on tap, 515 is a great place to get together with some friends or stop for a stout if you’re biking the Clive Greenbelt Trail. While the brewery doesn’t serve food, they allow you to bring in your own to enjoy while you get your craft brew fix.
Pint Preference: Wired Heifer
Address: 7700 University Avenue in Clive, Iowa
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 3 – 9 pm / Tuesday: Closed / Friday & Saturday: 12 – 11 pm / Sunday: 12 – 7 pm
Barn Town Brewing
If you’re looking for a brewery with some ambiance, look no further than Barn Town Brewing. While this new brewery is located in an inconspicuous West Des Moines strip mall, the family style seating and a cozy country atmosphere will make you forget where you are entirely.
Barn Town Brewing a wide variety of craft beers alongside some truly delicious locally sourced food. We snacked on the Bavarian pretzels and quickly devoured a Brewer’s Burger that dripped with a perfectly runny egg. Plus, I’m a sucker for anywhere with such expansive craft macaroni and cheese offerings.
Pint Preference: Contrary Reaction or Wagon Wheel Wit
Address: 9500 University Avenue, #1110 in West Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Sunday & Monday: 11 am – 9 pm / Tuesday & Wednesday: 11 am – 10 pm / Thursday: 11 am – 11 pm / Friday & Saturday: 11 am – Midnight
Confluence Brewing Company
If we’re playing local favorites, Confluence Brewing Company is absolutely one of mine. Located behind Gray’s Lake, just off the bike trail, Confluence’s tap room is a cyclist-friendly locale complete with ample bike racks, patio space, board games, and dangerously delicious seasoned pretzels. On some nights they’ll also have a food truck that parks in the brewery lot so you can grab some more substantial food while you imbibe.
Side note: I also love that Confluence collaborates with a variety of local artists to design their bottle labels. Check out their website for mini profiles of each artist and their work!
Pint Preference: Thomas Beck Black IPA
Address: 1235 Thomas Beck Road in Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Monday: Closed / Tuesday & Wednesday: 4 – 10 pm / Thursday: Noon – 10 pm / Friday & Saturday: Noon – 11 pm / Sunday: Noon – 7 pm
Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company
A Court Avenue mainstay, Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company is located in the heart of downtown’s restaurant and nightlife district. Along with a variety of homemade brews, Court Avenue Brewing Co. also makes their own ginger and root beer that you can take home by the growler. If you’re snacking at the bar, opt for the Spent Grain pretzels made with the signature Two Rivers Light.
Pint Preference: The brewery’s handcrafted Wertzberger’s Ginger Beer in a classic Moscow Mule
Address: 309 Court Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 11 am – Midnight / Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 2 am
Exile Brewing Company
If I have family in town, Exile Brewing Company is typically high on our list of places to visit. Not only does Exile have some truly delicious beers (and equally delightful hand drawn labels), but they also serve some of my favorite dishes in the city. Once home to the Fitch Soap Company, the restaurant side of Exile Brewing is intimate and inviting. When it comes to ordering, my personal favorites are Exile’s American fries, the gnocchi, or the grilled chicken sandwich.
Want to know more? Tours of the brewery are offered every Saturday from 3:15 to 4 p.m. and cost $5 per person.
Pint Preference: Ruthie or the Beatnik Sour
Address: 1514 Walnut Street in Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Monday: Closed / Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm / Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 11 pm
Inspired by its location alongside the High Trestle Trail, Firetrucker Brewery is a haven for hops-loving cyclists. With ample outdoor seating and bikes woven into the decor, this brewery is the perfect place to spend some time after an afternoon on the trails. Did I mention Firetrucker was also recently named one of the “Best Up and Coming Breweries in the Midwest” by Thrillist?
Pint Preference: 2 Alarm Red or Grizzly Stout
Address: 716 SW 3rd Street in Ankeny, Iowa
Hours: Monday: Closed / Tuesday – Thursday: 4 – 10 pm / Friday & Saturday: 12 – 11 pm / Sunday: 12 – 8 pm
Located just across the tracks from historic Valley Junction, Fox Brewing has a small taproom that is not to be missed. Decorated in symbols of the brewery’s namesake (seriously, you never knew there were so many adorable fox accessories and decor items), the brewery is a wonderful place to grab a drink with a friend or bring along your colleagues for a night on the town.
Bonus: If you’re a Walking Dead fan, join the brewery after-hours when a new episode airs to watch it on the big screen.
Pint Preference: The Quick Brown Fox – Oatmeal Brown
Address: 103 S. 11th Street in West Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Monday & Tuesday: Closed / Wednesday & Thursday: 4 – 10 pm / Friday: 4 – 11 pm / Saturday: 12 – 11 pm / Sunday: 12 – 7 pm
Madhouse Brewing Company
In 2013, Madhouse Brewing Company moved from their location in Newton, Iowa, to Des Moines and opened their taproom in the summer of 2014. The brewery has an interesting history; in fact, you might not know that founder Mason Groben helped his parents start Jasper Winery. Gather some friends for an evening on the sunny Madhouse patio and enjoy a hot pretzel alongside your Honey Pilsner.
Pint Preference: Sumatra Coffee Stout (bonus: it’s brewed using Sumatra coffee beans from one of my favorite local coffee shops)
Address: 501 Scott Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Thursday & Friday: 4 – 10 pm / Saturday: Noon – 8 pm
New American Brewing Co.
The suburbs are getting cooler thanks to Ankeny’s newest craft brewery, New American Brewing Co.. With flagship beers like the Independence Pale Ale and Freedom IPA, this craft brewery is perfect for summer holiday sipping. Want to show your drinking buddies how smart you are? New American Brewing hosts trivia on Tuesday nights.
Address: 1631 SW Main Street, Suite 105 in Ankeny, Iowa
Hours: Monday: Closed / Tuesday – Thursday: 4 – 10 pm / Friday: 4 – 11 pm / Saturday: Noon – 11 pm / Sunday: Noon – 5 pm
Peace Tree Brewing Co. – Des Moines Branch
Knoxville, Iowa-based Peace Tree Brewing Co. is easily one of my favorite Iowa breweries. So in 2016 when they announced they’d be opening a Des Moines branch I was delighted. The new taproom, located in a renovated Quonset hut in the East Village, is a wonderful addition to the city’s beer scene. Along with favorites like Blonde Fatale and Red Rambler, Peace Tree has started experimenting with a wonderful variety of sour beers.
Bonus points: The Peace Tree Des Moines branch offers monthly Saturday morning yoga classes (with a pint afterward, of course), and special promotions like Girl Scout cookie and beer pairings.
Pint Preference: Red Rambler or Orange Gose
Address: 317 E. Court Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 2 – 10 pm / Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 11 pm / Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm
Reclaimed Rails Brewing Company
Opened earlier this year, Reclaimed Rails Brewing Company is located in a former legion hall in Bondurant, Iowa. Opened by the former brewmaster of Raccoon River Brewing Company, the brewery has three to four staple beers with a rotating cast of seasonals for visitors to enjoy.
The brewery got its name because trails created by reclaimed railways (the Chichaqua Valley Trail between Bondurant and Ankeny and the Gay Lea Wilson Trail from Altoona) cross almost directly in front of the brewery. Are you sensing a theme when it comes to bikes and brews?
Pint Preference: High Trestle Hefe or Peach Saison
Address: 101 Main Street NE in Bondurant, Iowa
Hours: Monday: Closed / Tuesday – Thursday: 4 – 10 pm / Friday: 4 – 11 pm / Saturday: Noon – 11 pm / Sunday: 1 – 8 pm
Twisted Vine Brewery
Founded in St. Charles, Iowa, Twisted Vine Brewery recently expanded to a bigger location in West Des Moines. Twisted Vine is ready to host beer enthusiasts in its new 3,500-square-foot indoor and outdoor space.
Address: 3320 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines, Iowa
Hours: Monday & Tuesday: Closed / Wednesday & Thursday: 4 – 9 pm / Friday: 4 – 11 pm / Saturday: Noon – 11 pm / Sunday: Noon – 6 pm
What are your favorite Des Moines breweries?
This post was originally published June 17, 2016 and has been updated to reflect new content.