There is an awesome new business brewing in Des Moines.
It is Iowa Brew Tours, which launched this month. I went on a tour on a Friday evening. In all honesty, I have never been a big fan of micro brewed beers, but that is probably because I really did not know enough about them. I met a friend in Des Moines for a “girl’s getaway”. I found Iowa Brew Tour on the internet quite by accident. It sounded like a fun way to spend an evening and try some beer while being chauffeured around town. James Peterson is the owner and host of this new Des Moines business. The tour was to take approximately four hours. The starting or pick up point was the El Bait Shop. We were staying at a downtown Des Moines hotel along James’s route to the El Bait shop, so he picked us up in front of our hotel. We were pleased the minute we got in the van. It was very luxurious and reminded us of being in a limo!
We went to the El Bait Shop, which has the world’s largest selection of American craft beers on tap. This is where James picked up the rest of the group. Although we knew none of the others that went along on the tour, it did not takes us long to become beer drinking buddies. Our group was made up of six women ranging in age, spanning (in my estimate) over about thirty years. We immediately began to tell brief stories of who we were and where we were from. James told us a little bit about himself. Not only is he an entrepreneur, but also the weekend weatherman for WOI TV! He was very charming and a great host!
Our first stop on the tour was Madhouse Brewery. We were given a choice of a pint of beer or a flight at each stop. We all chose the flight of beer. The Madhouse Brewery was awesome and the beer was very good. I preferred the lighter beers, but it was nice to try several kinds.
While at Madhouse, we happened to run into the owner of the brewery that was to be our next stop, the 515 Brewery .The owner of the 515 explained to us that all of the Des Moines brewers are really supportive of each other. As we were getting a bit hungry, we asked him if he served food at his brewery. Although he told us he did not serve food, we learned that there was a food truck that comes by the 515, that has the most amazing burgers. He also told us that most everything in and on the burger is Iowa produced.
On our ride to 515, we all anticipated trying this burger. We all did just that when we got there, except for our host, who opted for a brat. The burger and the loaded fries we ate were amazing. The beer flight I experienced at 515 was my favorite because my it contained all light colored beer, without the dark brews.
Our last brewery stop was Exile Brewing. And I admit. I have some of their beer in my fridge right now. I was introduced to Exile several years ago at the Iowa Food and Wine show held every November at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. They have really grown since that time, as now their beer is sold in the grocery stores of many cities. We were given an amazing tour and briefly met the chef, as they are a restaurant as well. I will definitely be going back to Exile for meal sometime soon. In all of this, learned that my favorite beer of the Exile Brewery so far is Hannah, which is a Bavarian wheat beer. We ended the tour back where we started, at El Bait Shop. Here, we got to pick out a pint of beer of our choice.
We all laughed and had a great time while we learned what these capitol city Iowa breweries have to offer. I would highly recommend the Iowa Beer Tour to anyone that likes beer and likes to try new things. It is a great opportunity to see what Des Moines craft breweries have to offer! James will definitely be seeing me again. Maybe next time, I'll even have my husband in tow.