Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taprooms and their craft beers (2024)

The craft brewery industry in the Des Moines area just keeps growing. Now 20 breweries call the region home.

In 1996, Court Avenue Brewing Co. opened its doors and remains the oldest in the metro area. Confluence and Exile celebrated a decade in business in 2022, and others such as 515 Brewing and Brightside Aleworks have stuck around.

The region’s not done with breweries quite yet. The newest trend brings Toppling Goliath from Decorah to Des Moines in 2025. Other established breweries such as SingleSpeed from Cedar Falls, Big Grove from Solon and Backpocket from Coralville opened taprooms in the Des Moines metro as well.

Here's a guide to the Des Moines-area producers making their mark on the local beer scene, pulling pints and filling growlers for those ready to move past domestic liter lagers. Bonus: We included the bike trails nearest them.

1st Down Brewing Co.

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (1)

Former Iowa State University long snapper Sam Ankeropened this nanobrewery and taproom in the historic downtown district in Winterset in 2021.

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Find it:1st Down Brewing Co., 106 E. Court Ave., Winterset; 515-462-2980

More:Former Iowa State football player opens 1st Down Brewing Company in Winterset

515 Brewing Co.

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (2)

Friends Dave Ropte, Ryan Rost, Brandon Criger and Bailey Forrest opened 515 Brewing Co. in March 2013 and by June 2015already expanded to add seven new barrels. Try the Mexican Spring Wheat Beer, Li'l Tart Sour, or DSM Pils Pilsner.

Find it:515 Brewing Co., 7700 University Ave., Suite C, Clive; 515-661-4615

Nearby trail:Clive Greenbelt Trail

More:Iowa brewery brings home gold medal from world’s largest beer competition

Backpocket Pin & Pixel

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Backpocket Pin & Pixel, an 8,000-square-foot taproom in the Johnston Town Center, features beer brewed from its original Coralville location, a restaurant, a retro arcade with 40-plus games and a six-lane duckpin bowling alley. Try one of the core beers such as Gold Coin Helles Gold Lager, Slingshot Dunkel Dark Lager, Raygun IPA, or Bubba Hazy IPA.

Find it:Backpocket Pin & Pixel, 6205 Merle Hay Road, Johnston; 515-666-1281

Nearby trail: Trestle Trail


BackRoad Brewery

Marine Corps veteran and retired Des Moines police officer Eric Moorman opened BackRoad Brewery in 2017. The Carlisle-based nanobrewery serves a rotation of blonde ales, stouts, IPAs and seasonal brews from its location inside Johnny & Mike’s Pizza.

Find it:BackRoad Brewery, Johnny & Mike’s Pizza, 130 S. FirstSt., Carlisle; 515-210-2096

Nearby trail: Summerset Trail Head

More:Beer brewed in Carlisle offered at a bar near you

Barn Town Brewing

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (4)

Des Moines native Pete Faber opened his Barn Town Brewery in West Des Moines in 2017. The University of Iowa grad stocked his brewpub with a 1955 Ford F-100 above the bar, recycled wood and tin from Iowa barns on the walls, handmade wood carvings of the American and Iowa flags and a mural of Iowa made from beer cans on the south wall. Neon Hazy, Iowa Gold, Groovy Ruby Grapefruit IPA, and Classic Amber are always on the menu.

Find it:Barn Town Brewing, 9500 University Ave #1110, West Des Moines; 515-978-6767

Nearby trails: Clive Greenbelt Trail and Heart of the Warrior Trail

More:See Des Moines area's newest brewpub — Barn Town Brewing

Big Grove Brewery

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The 12,000-square-foot taproom in Sherman Hill houses a 15-barrel brewery that pumps out a menu of new beers not found at Big Grove’s original home in Solon or taproom in Iowa City. It also features a full-service restaurantwithhealthy dishes from executive chef Benjamin Smart. A 12,000-square-foot patio adjoining the taproom offersviews of the downtown Des Moines skyline. Its Easy Eddy, a hazy IPA with hints of pineapple and mango, as well as Arms Race, the brewery’s classic pale ale with a hoppy punch, are two of its most popular beers.

Find it:Big Grove Brewery & Taproom, 555 17th St., Des Moines

Nearby trail: MLK Jr. Trail

More:How late can you buy beer in Iowa? All your Iowa liquor law questions answered

Big Rack Brew Haus

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (6)

Aaron Oviatt opened this brewery in Winterset using equipment from Twisted Vine Brewery, where he learned how to brew beers. Look for beers such as Snakebite IPA, Killer-Watt Citrus Wheat, and Hillbilly Lager.

Find it:Big Rack Brew Haus, 2475 Hiatt Apple Trail Road, Winterset; 515-468-0012

More:Big Rack Brew Haus in Madison County inspired by West Coast hunting and fishing trips

Brightside Aleworks

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (7)

Andrew and Molly Frana opened Brightside Aleworks in Altoona in 2017 after Wing Nutts Brewery closed. While the couple were part of Wing Nutts, they wanted something with more of their personality in it. The menu notes which beers contain lactose or are vegan.

Find it:Brightside Aleworks, 480 Center Place, Altoona; 515-967-9989

Nearby trail: Gay Lea Wilson Trail

More:Brightside Aleworks to open in Altoona

Confluence Brewing Co.

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (8)

John Martin always had a dream to brew his own beer, and in 2012, he opened Confluence on Thomas Beck Road while the brewery industry was still in its infancy in Iowa. He teamed up with Greg Schultz to open the brewery, now one of the leaders in the Iowa beer scene with 36 beers on tap and four-packs for sale. Some of the brewery’s most famous include Milk Man Stout and Farmer John’s Multi-Grain Ale.

Find it:Confluence Brewing Co.,1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines; 515-285-9005

Nearby trails:Meredith Trail and Kruidenier Trail

More:How Confluence Brewing created one of Iowa’s favorite beers

Court Avenue Brewing Co.

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (9)

The granddaddy of Des Moines breweries got started back in 1996 after a 1993 flood left the building that originally housed a saddlery when it opened in 1881 vacant. CABCo, as it’s affectionately called, celebrates Iowa’s beer history with labels and décor touting defunct breweries of the past. Find 11 beers on tap, including Honest Lawyer IPA, Don't Call Neil Pale Ale and BA Chocolatariat Imperial Stout.

Find it:Court Avenue Brewing Co.,309 Court Ave., Des Moines; 515-282-BREW

Nearby trails:MLK Jr. Trail and Meredith Trail

More:Happy 20th! Court Avenue Brewing Co. led district revival

Exile Brewing Co.

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (10)

Exile owner R.J. Tursi helped put the Des Moines beer scene on the map when he opened his brewery in the historic F.W. Fitch Building in 2012. A decade later and fans can find gold lager Ruthie, dark lager Gigi and Bavarian-style wheat Hannah in the brewpub on tap or in stores across the Midwest.

Find it:Exile Brewing Co.,1514 Walnut St., Des Moines; 515-883-2337

Nearby trails:Meredith Trail and MLK Jr. Trail

More:Exile Brewing aims to sell craft beer in stores

Fenders Brewing

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (11)

Fenders co-owners Steve Crann and Jason Madison founded the brewery in 2016 in Polk City, opening the taproom doors in December 2017 next to Papa's Pizzeria. Find beers on tap, such as Big Creek Blonde, Morning Ride Oatmeal Stout and 8:13 Pale Ale.

Find it:Fenders Brewing, 212 Van Dorn St., Polk City; 515-984-0011

Nearby trail: Neil Smith Trail

More:Meet the small-town Iowa brewers behind this year’s Beer Brackets winning ale

Firetrucker Brewery

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (12)

Firetrucker opened in 2014 with co-owners Neil Zaugg, Scott Kaven and brewmaster Dan Heiderscheit, who died in 2020. The brewery occupiesa former Ankeny firehouse at the head of the High Trestle Trail. Try the Brigade Ale, Burnout Brown Ale, or Tropical Burn mango double IPA.

Find it:Firetrucker Brewery, 716 S.W. ThirdSt., Ankeny; 515-964-1284

Nearby trail:High Trestle Trail

More:Men turn passion for beer brewing into Ankeny business

Flix Brewhouse

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (13)

A brewpub, movie theater and restaurant come together at Flix Brewhouse, which opened at Merle Hay Mall in 2014. The brewpub calls itself the first first-run movie theater and brewery combo in the world. Order a 10-Day Scottish Ale, Luna Rosa Wit, Nebulas Hazy IPA or Lucha Libre Mexican Lager while watching a blockbuster.

Find it: Flix Brewhouse, Merle Hay Mall, 3800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines; 515-612-9200

More:Flix Brewhouse to open Dec. 17

Lua Brewing

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (14)

Scott and Whitney Selix opened Lua Brewery in Sherman Hill with friend Zack Dunbar in 2019 with food from chef James Arbaugh, who worked at Michelin-starred Plumed Horse in Saratoga, California. Lua brews a long list of beers including Tulpa West Coast Pilsner, Cosmic Giggle Hazy Pale Ale, Loud as Hope hefeweizen and Frail, an English dark mild.

Find it:Lua Brewing,1525 High St., Des Moines; 515-630-5311

Nearby trail: MLK Jr. Trail

More:First look: Lua Brewing Company brings traditional German beers to Des Moines

Reclaimed Rails

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (15)

Dave Coy, the brewmaster at Reclaimed Rails, headed up Raccoon River Brewing Co. until it shuttered in 2014. JC Obrecht, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Boka teamed up with Coy to open this Bondurant brewery in 2016. Flagship beers include Blood Orange Wheat, LED Soundsystem Vol. 4 IPA, and Rook's Breakfast Porter. Fun fact: the deck is made from wood from the former log ride at Adventureland.

Find it:Reclaimed Rails Brewing Co.,101 Main St. S.E., Bondurant; 515-777-1443

Nearby trails:Chichaqua Valley Trail andGay Lea Wilson Trail

More:Ride the rails to Bondurant's new Reclaimed Rails

SingleSpeed Brewing

The SingleSpeed taproom in Des Moines includes a restaurant with a patio at the front, a bar area accessed by following a painted path through the restaurant, and a second larger patio with covered picnic tables, Adirondack chairs surrounding fire pits and games such as giant versions of Jenga and Connect 4 in the back, all with a view of Principal Park and downtown Des Moines. Tip the Cow milk stout, a New England-style IPA Whirled-Wide Haze and top-seller Gable, a Munich Helles named for legendary University of Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable, a Waterloo native, are on tap at the taproom.

Find it:SingleSpeed Brewing, 303 Scott Ave., Des Moines; 515-214-1879

Nearby trails:John Pat Dorrian Trail, Meredith Trail, and Des Moines River Trail.

More:SingleSpeed Brewery opens in Des Moines with two patios, fire pits and a beer just for DM

Twisted Vine Brewery

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (17)

Twisted Vine moved into new space in the Market District south of the East Village. While the original West Des Moines location that opened in 2016 closed in 2022, the new location in the Market District of Des Moines pours favorites such as Twisted Blonde, Old Crusty's Scottish Ale, and Capital View Kölsch in the new location.

Find it: Twisted Vine Brewery, 112 S.E. Fourth St., Des Moines

Nearby trails: John Pat Dorrian Trail and SE Connector Trail

More:Twisted Vine Brewery to begin pouring craft beer in the Des Moines' Market District this summer

Uptown Garage Brewing Co.

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (18)

Ankeny’s Uptown Garage Brewing opened in 2019 with an auto-themed brewery in a former Ford showroom and garage. Quirky touches include a 53-foot-long bar and tables made out of semi-truck flooring. Customers can sup Juicy Wagon IPA and Hop Nellie Pale Ale, along with about 30 other Iowa beers on tap.

Find it:Uptown Garage Brewing Co., 305 S.W. Walnut St., Ankeny; 515-630-6153

Nearby trail: High Trestle Trail

More:Uptown Garage Brewing Co. bringing auto-themed brewery to Ankeny's Uptown district

West Hill Brewing Co.

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taproomsand their craft beers (19)

Indianola natives Doug and Heather Gaumer opened West Hill in 2019 and named it for a hill on their property. Inside, the couple decorated the space with a windmill from an uncle’s farm on Highway 65/69 and an old tandem bike the couple rides. Customers can order Gravel Travel Cream Ale, Field of Creams #13 IPA, and Coffee Star Trails Oatmeal Stout.

Find it:West Hill Brewing Co., 219 W. Salem Ave., Indianola; 515-962-5884

Nearby trails: McVay Trail and Summerset Trail

More:West Hill Brewing Company in Indianola the latest to join Iowa's craft beer scene

Susan Stapleton is the entertainment editor and dining reporter at The Des Moines Register. Follow her onFacebook,Twitter, orInstagram, or drop her a line

Your guide to 20 Des Moines metro breweries, taprooms and their craft beers (2024)


How many beers are on tap at Iowa Tap Room? ›

One Amazing Place. A beer hall-style setting in downtown Des Moines with 99 taps featuring all Iowa craft brews and a variety of American food favorites.

What is the most sold beer in 2024? ›

Modelo still reigns after dethroning Bud Light

Modelo Especial remains the best-selling beer in the U.S. and its sales are up 12% so far in 2024, compared to a year ago, according to Bump Williams Consulting.

What is the difference between tap beer and craft beer? ›

What Is the Difference Between Draft Beer and Craft Beer? While draft beer refers to serving beer directly from a keg, craft beer is a term that describes beer produced by small, independent breweries. While some craft beers are available on draft, others may be bottled or canned.

What happened at modern times brewery? ›

The space had all of the hallmarks of a successful indoor-outdoor operation, but a second pandemic wave, mandated indoor dining restrictions, and credible allegations of toxic workplace environment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct at Modern Times resulting in the resignation of founder and CEO Jacob McKean ...

What is the most popular beer in Iowa? ›

Download Table Data
StateMost Popular Beer
KansasCoors Light
44 more rows

Do you tip at a taproom? ›

A one-dollar tip for beer and wine is arguably still considered acceptable because of the amount of effort involved in serving these drinks. Pouring a beer from the tap may be a 30-second task (and if the beer is in a can or bottle, it's even easier).

What is the oldest beer still being brewed? ›

Since 1040 beer has been brewed on the Weihenstephan Hill in Freising. We are in fact the world's oldest brewery, but we are also one of the most innovative. Behind the historic walls of our brewery lies modern brewing equipment and technology.

What day sells the most beer? ›

According to InfoSource, the top beer holidays are:
  • Fourth of July: Fireworks aren't the only things that are hot during July. ...
  • Memorial Day: While it may still be spring in some parts of the country, by the end of May summer has set in for most of the South.

What is the number one selling beer in the world? ›

Snow: Another Chinese beer, Snow is the best-selling beer in the world by volume. It's a light and refreshing lager that has a loyal following in its home country. Bud Light: The lighter version of Budweiser, Bud Light is also incredibly popular and is the best-selling beer in the United States.

Why is craft beer so good? ›

An Exploration of Flavors

Unlike mass-produced beers that often prioritize uniformity over taste, craft brewers revel in experimentation. From crisp IPAs bursting with citrusy hops to rich stouts infused with notes of chocolate and coffee, craft breweries offer a tantalizing array of flavors to suit every palate.

Why is domestic beer so cheap? ›

Domestic beers are mass-produced and often utilize cheaper ingredients. They have a standard beer taste that most people have grown accustomed to.

Why is craft beer more expensive? ›

A corollary of this is that the less of something you produce the more it will cost. Demand and supply economics. Simply put, the average craft brewery tends to produce beer in very small batches which drives the price up. To a large extent, the high prices are a result of necessity rather than choice.

What is the oldest craft beer brewery in the US? ›

D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. is a family owned and operated brewery located in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1829, the brewery is currently operated by the 5th generation of the Yuengling family. Yuengling is officially recognized as America's Oldest Brewery.

What is America's first craft brewery? ›

Anchor was established in San Francisco in 1896 and was the country's first craft brewery.

What brewery makes old style? ›

Old Style has been brewed in Milwaukee for the last two decades since being acquired by Pabst.

How many beers should a bar have on tap? ›

20-25 is enough, but also need to consider the circulation of the beer on the taps. There is no point with many taps if there is long time between new introductions on the taps.

Who has the most beers on tap in world? ›

With a staggering 366 taps, the Raleigh Beer Garden holds the world record for the most on-tap beer varieties. You'll want to book your Raleigh accommodations nearby to take in the enormity of this place. The first floor of the massive space is dedicated entirely to North Carolina beers—144 of them, to be exact.

Why is beer on tap more expensive? ›

Draft beer has more overhead costs than bottled beer, from equipment and maintenance to spillage and spoilage, it requires more upkeep which means it costs more.

What beers should you have on tap? ›

Best Beers to Have on Tap
  • Ballast Point Brewing Company Sculpin: This iconic IPA from California is a fan favorite for a reason. ...
  • Alpine Beer Co. ...
  • Bell's Two Hearted Ale: This IPA is all heart. ...
  • Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing: For those craving a hazy IPA experience, Hazy Little Thing is a game-changer.


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