Today I had the honor of visiting two breweries in Iowa as we traveled through the State to a family gathering. On our way to Des Moines we took a pit stop in Ankeny to visit Firetrucker Brewing. This is a brewery that was built in an old fire station that looked like it was from the 50’s or 60’s. This venue was perfect because of the wonderful high ceilings and the large vehicle bays that could be converted to brewing.
We bellied up to the bar and I ordered a flight, as did one of my traveling companions. As we worked through the beers and chatted up the beertender, she tossed a couple other samples our way of really unique stuff that they had, including a Mango DIPA that was killer. I was pleased with everything I tried, and I couldn’t detect any flaws in any of the beers. Everything was crisp and clean and flavorful. Perhaps the only beer that wasn’t tremendously amazing was their brown ale, but then again, it’s to hot to be in a brown mood right now anyway. Before we left I picked up a special bottle of their limited edition smoked sour porter, a pint glass, and a mini-growler of their Imperial Red. I have a friend who’s not a big red ale fan, but I think even he’ll really like this.
After heading out from Firetrucker we continued onward to downtown Des Moines to get lunch at a brewpub. We originally were going to hit a restaurant I found online, but the beertender at Firetrucker recommended a different brewpub, telling us that their sour beers were amazing. A slight change of plans, but I’ve learned to always chat up the beertenders and take their advice when traveling.
We found ourselves at Exile Brewing company (built in an old soap factory), and I’m so happy we took her recommendation. Their standard beers were adequate, although the gold lager was a little ‘meh’ for me. But when I hit their two seasonal sours it was stupendous. The Gose that I had was at a perfect sourness level but was still completely refreshing. The Berliner Weisse was the second sour on tap, and again it was a beautiful beer with great flavor. The Gose beat it out by a hair for the best beer in the brewery, but the Berliner Weisse was a great beer as well.
Also, the food at Exile was amazing. I had an open faced hamburger on top of the bottom of a pretzel bun, smothered in beer cheese sauce with fries. It was so tasty and satisfying after the long drive. My wife and our traveling companion also had some amazing food including lamb sliders. Our original plan was to his some place completely different on Sunday when we travel back through, but the food and beer may have sealed the deal to return to Exile for brunch on our return trip.
We might get a chance to hit another brewpub tomorrow, but for tonight I’m in a comfortable hotel room and feeling nice and satisfied with my beer tourism experience for the day.