Des Moines Metro beer tiers 2021

dmclone

Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2006
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I also love barntown but they do have a tendency to make a lot of their beers really sweet and this is with all of their styles. I liked their cake batter dive in ok, which is better than most milkshake IPA's that I've had.
 

CyDawg23

Active Member
Nov 13, 2017
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I liked the vanilla version. I tried the Cake Batter version they just released last week. It's good, but maybe a little sweeter than I would usually like. I didn't get to try the strawberry version, but I'm hoping they'll do it again.
I made the mistake of buying 4 cans sight unseen. Pro: they did a great job; tastes just like cake batter. Con: 16 oz of cake batter is a lot of cake batter. It’s a taster beer, not a drinking beer.
 
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JP4CY

Plaque + alternates = down in the ladies room
Dec 19, 2008
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Testifying
I made the mistake of buying 4 cans sight unseen. Pro: they did a great job; tastes just like cake batter. Con: 16 oz of cake batter is a lot of cake batter. It’s a taster beer, not a drinking beer.
Sounds a lot like St Nicks gingerbread beer from Confluence.
 
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dmclone

Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2006
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The way things are going right now, in 2022 this sub forum will be renamed to Seltzers. It's amazing how much they've taken off in the last couple of years. I've even noticed that some of the hy-vee have been taking away shelf space away from real beer to make room for these.
 

NickTheGreat

Well-Known Member
Jan 17, 2012
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Central Iowa
Reclaimed Rails has been good the few times I’ve been there. Did a growler fill of their milkshake IPA over Christmas that I really liked.

Being off the beaten path in bondurant probably hurts them more than anything else

Maybe i'm getting old and crotchety, but having a Milkshake-IPA drops them a tier for me. :jimlad:

Seriously though, I was there a few weeks ago (first time) and everything was okay. Nothing outstanding, but nothing bad. Solid mid-level brewery for me.

Beautiful space, though.

For me Confluence and 515 are tops in the metro.
 

Brentwood

Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2008
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Altoona
My rankings:
  1. Lua Brewing
  2. Barn Town Brewing
  3. Gezellig Brewing Company
  4. Confluence Brewing Company
  5. Brightside Aleworks
  6. Peace Tree Brewing Co.
  7. Exile Brewing Company
  8. Firetrucker Brewery
  9. 515 Brewing Company
  10. Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Co.
  11. Mistress Brewing Company
  12. Reclaimed Rails Brewing Company
  13. Twisted Vine Brewery
  14. 1717 Brewing Company
  15. Flix Brewhouse - Des Moines
  16. Fox Brewing
Big Grove would jump up into my top 5 when they open

Never had either of these:
Fenders Brewing
Kinship Brewing Company
 

laminak

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2010
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Marion
I prefer Confluence and Alluvial to Barntown.

Barntown basically brews two styles: Hazy IPAs and Fruit Sours that are basically alcoholic juice. They do both very well and have killer food, but Confluence and Alluvial are much more well rounded.

We went to Barntown once and my wife, who likes IPAs and fruit sours, liked their beers while I, who doesn’t like those beers, didn’t have much of a selection. Generally when we’re in DM, Confluence satisfies us both. (In the CR area, Big Grove and Lion Bridge are the once which work for us as well.)
 
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GrindingAway

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2006
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My rankings:
  1. Lua Brewing
  2. Barn Town Brewing
  3. Gezellig Brewing Company
  4. Confluence Brewing Company
  5. Brightside Aleworks
  6. Peace Tree Brewing Co.
  7. Exile Brewing Company
  8. Firetrucker Brewery
  9. 515 Brewing Company
  10. Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Co.
  11. Mistress Brewing Company
  12. Reclaimed Rails Brewing Company
  13. Twisted Vine Brewery
  14. 1717 Brewing Company
  15. Flix Brewhouse - Des Moines
  16. Fox Brewing
Big Grove would jump up into my top 5 when they open

Never had either of these:
Fenders Brewing
Kinship Brewing Company

This would be pretty close to mine. I'd probably flip 6&7 and 8&9 but not a big difference.

I do think personally there's a big gap between 3 and 4. I do agree Confluence is probably the most well rounded one on the list, but to me everything falls more in the category of "yeah that's pretty good" vs anything that is just "damn that's outstanding".

I'll also be honest Barn Town is probably #2 on the list more from a nostalgia standpoint. I was a huge fan when they were leading the charge with NEIPAs. Their sours are good, but it's just not a style I get as excited about. Neon is a nice NEIPA that they general still have when I stop in but they used to have better options. The food still kicks ass though.
 
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cycloneworld

Facebook Knows All
Mar 20, 2006
23,261
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Urbandale, IA
This is a solid list, dmclone - well done.

For me, it’s hard to separate overall quality of beers and a single beer that I love. Like 515’s Mexican Spring is one of my all-time favorite beers but they rest are just “good”. Same with PeaceTree’s Cold Brew, but I do think they should be higher than C tier.

Barn Town is probably my favorite because they are always experimenting plus the food is delicious there. But others make better beers overall.
 

jcisuclones

Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2011
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Morgantown, WV
If Barntown didn't have great food, I probably wouldn't go there as much. I used to love their beer, but now it's pretty hit or miss, and have had a few beers that are borderline undrinkable.

Confluence is great, and I used to claim the DSM IPA as one of my favorite IPAs out there, but I feel like they switched up the ingredients and it doesn't taste as good as it used to. Still good though.

I've been to Kinship several times since they've opened, and they've yet to disappoint. Very good beer.
 

scyclonekid

Well-Known Member
Feb 13, 2008
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The other post made me think of how I would rank our current brewers in the metro. This is based solely on beer, not their taproom, and just my opinion. I like IPA's, Stouts/Porters, and Sours in that order.

Tier A
Lua
Barntown

Tier B
Confluence (moved up from C)
Big Grove (B+. Maybe an A)
Alluvial (Out of the metro but..)

Tier C
515
West Hill (only been once but surprisingly decent)
Exile
Peace Tree
Brightside

Tier D
Kinship
Firetrucker (Use to be a C)
1717
Reclaimed Rails (They have one solid beer I like)

Tier F
Mistress
Twisted Vine
Court Avenue
Fox (F-)


Fire Away.....
Confluence is the best in the state.
 
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ClonesFTW

Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2013
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Waukee
Barntown is head and shoulders above the rest, but agree that the Confluence IPA is likely the best overall beer.
 
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ianoconnor

Well-Known Member
Nov 11, 2007
10,982
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Urbandale
I'm pretty much solely an IPA drinker, but I'd put Neon above DSM IPA. Although there's something to be said about being able to find DSM IPA in basically every bar/restaurant in the metro.

515 has some solid IPAs (OJ comes to mind). I think they are a little underrated by many.

Haven't had a chance to visit Lua yet, but have heard great things.
 
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