We’ve brewed up a list of the best breweries and taprooms in Greater Des Moines, as voted by locals. From lagers and ales to patios and pooches, our beer scene raises the bar, so hop to it!  

Lua Brewing
Since opening in 2019, Lua almost immediately became everyone’s favorite brewery, from beer nerds to your father-in-law who goes to a craft brewery and asks if they have Busch Light (yes, they do). That’s because everything at Lua hits the sweet spot – from the charming interior where twinkly lights and murals set the tone, to their ambitious and delicious beer list, highlighted by their photogenic, heady pilsners, impossibly juicy IPAs, and already legendary push pop sours. Their food menu is just as innovative, with vegan and dairy free options. We’ll fancy a guess that it’s the only brewery in America where you can get a smush burger, house harvested caviar, and kid’s avocado toast all at the same time. 

Flagship Beers: Sun for Miles (Hazy IPA), Loud as Hope (Hefeweizen), Gil’s Pils (Pilsner)
Seasonal Standouts: Push Pop Sour Series, Tulpa (Pilsner with Mosiac and Citra), Climbing Kites (Cannabis-Infused Sparkling Water)
Food: Full menu, vegan options
Patio: Dog friendly

515 Brewing Company
Tucked away in an unassuming strip mall in Clive along the popular Greenbelt Trail, 515 Brewing forgoes the pomp and circumstance and focuses on one thing: damn good beer. You won’t find better single hop pale ales just about anywhere. (Related: Single hop pale ales are criminally underrated.) The best example of this might be their Passe American Pale Ale, which is anything but, being named one of the top three beers in Iowa by Thrillist. Pairs well with board games and a Cheese Shop cheese box.

Flagship beers: OJ IPA, Passe (Pale Ale), Mexican Spring (Wheat)
Seasonal Standouts: Big OJ (Imperial IPA), Hopititis (Imperial IPA), Castaway Porter
Food: Snack options (Ice cream sandwiches, cheese boxes), bring your own food
Patio: Dog friendly 

 

Confluence Brewing Company
One of Iowa’s largest and oldest breweries, Confluence is the jack of all trades among metro breweries, churning out beers in nearly every style, and doing them all reliably well. From radlers and milk stouts to barleywines and bitters, they boast 36 beers on tap, which practically screams “beer flight.” With their expanded patio (seating 350+), accessible from the Great Western Bike Trail, it’s become a cyclist’s (and beer lover’s) haven in the summertime. You’ll find us there all four seasons, particularly on New Release Fridays, when something interesting is always on tap.   

Flagship beers: Des Moines IPA, Farmer John’s (Blonde Ale), Milk Man Milk Stout
Seasonal Standouts: Long Ride (Pale Ale), Batch Series Hazy IPAs, 50’s Dad (Stout)
Food: Food trucks in spring/summer, also can bring your own food
Patio: Dog friendly 

Firetrucker Brewery
Located right off the hugely popular High Trestle Trail in Ankney’s Uptown District, Firetrucker has been quenching thirst out of a refurbished firehouse since 2014. Their slogan is “beer is art,” which is evident from their labels and posters to the time they put into honing their craft. So, pull up a fire red Adirondack chair on their patio and enjoy one of their lit IPAs, like Tropical Burn Mango.   

Flagship beers: Burnout Brown (Brown Ale), Brigade Ale (Golden Ale), Tropical Burn Mango (DIPA)
Seasonal Standouts: Acova Black Walnut Ale (Brown Ale), Cloud City (Hazy IPA), Grizzly Stout
Food: Food trucks, bring your own food, or order at the bar from nearby restaurants
Patio: Dog friendly 

 

Big Grove Brewery
“Go big or go home” seemed be the slogan of the Solon-born, Iowa City-raised Big Grove Brewery when they opened their Des Moines taproom in the old Crescent Chevrolet dealership in Sherman Hill neighborhood in 2022. We’d say mission accomplished. The largest brewery/restaurant in the state seats 850 people, with a 12,000-square-foot patio that offers panoramic views of the downtown skyline and boasts amenities like firepits and a dog-friendly artificial turf area with cornhole boards. We haven’t even gotten to the beer (or food) yet, where you’ll find both the accessible and the experimental (with lots of Des Moines-only brewed beers). Ease your way into things with an Easy Eddy and then get progressively crazier from there.  

Flagship beers: Easy Eddy (Hazy IPA), Arms Race (Pale Ale), Citrus Surfer (Citrus Wheat) 
Seasonal Standouts: Color TV (Double Dry-Hopped IPA), Wade Wisely (Coffee Oatmeal Stout), Richard the Whale (Russian Imperial Stout)
Food: Full menu
Patio: Dog friendly 

Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing Company
Before craft breweries were a thing, Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing staked its claim as the city’s first microbrewery in 1996, and it’s been the heart of the Historic Court Avenue District ever since, the one constant amid nearly 30 years change. The brewpub’s décor celebrates that history, along with antiques that highlight bygone Iowa breweries. Their dependable food menu has made it a staple of the downtown lunch crowd, serving up timeless classics like meatloaf, club sandwiches, and Steak de Burgo. Come here for the unfussy beers, leave with a membership to their famous Mug Club, where you get your own ceramic mug to drink from each time you come back.   

Flagship beers: Pointer Brown Ale, Siesta (Lager), Honest Lawyer (West Coast IPA)
Seasonal Standouts: Outdoor Pursuits (Hazy IPA), Cosmic Bear (Imperial Stout), Cubbie Blue (Fruit Beer)
Food: Full menu
Patio: Yes

Fenders Brewing
Polk City’s town square is a charming slice of Americana, and smack dab in the center is Fender’s Brewing. Its nearby proximity to the Neal Smith Trail, Tournament Club golf course, Saylorville Lake, and Jester Park make it a welcome respite for outdoor enthusiasts and cyclists, who feel right at home with the bikes hanging from the ceiling and adorned to the wall. The tap list is thoughtfully curated, abiding by the principal of “do few things, but do them well.” Fans of their 8:13 Pale Ale and Breakfasty Brown Brown Ale would argue few do it better.  

Flagship beers: 8:13 (Pale Ale), Morning Ride (Stout), Breakfasty Brown (Brown Ale)
Seasonal Standouts: The Further Trip Series (Sour), Tropical Trike (Hazy), Ramble on Roads (Imperial Stout)
Food: Bring your own food  
Patio: Dog friendly (brand new with a spiffy mural!) 

 

Peace Tree Brewing Co.
The first 100% woman-owned brewery in Iowa originated in Knoxville, making its name with Gold Medal winning beers like Blonde Fatale (Belgian Blonde) and Get a Little Hazy (Hazy IPA). Their taproom in the hopelessly hip East Village neighborhood rocks an industrial chic feel, with Cedar Ridge Distillery barrels and bronze lamps setting the mood, while the grassy, dog-friendly patio has backyard BBQ vibes. Their barley and hops are why they made this list, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout out to their craft root beer, which is legit the best root beer you’ll ever have. Grab a sixer of root beer and some Blue Bunny vanilla ice cream for home and let the magic happen.  

Flagship beers: Blonde Fatale (Belgian Blonde), Red Rambler (American Red), East Village IPA  
Seasonal Standouts: Templeton Rye stouts, Blonde Fatale (Rye Barrel Aged), Sour Wood Series
Food: Snacks (meat, cheeses, popcorn), bring your own food
Patio: Dog friendly

Brightside Aleworks
This family-owned hidden gem in Altoona has around a dozen beers of varying styles on rotation at any given time, all of them assuredly great. Their Cran-Orange Wheat is one of the few constants, and one of the best wheat beers we’ve had. It’s cozy and comfortable, with excellent customer service to pair with their excellent beers, and a patio that backs up to a walking trail and a pond with a fountain.   

Flagship beers: Cran-Orange (Wheat), Enlighten-Mint (Stout), Redside Irish Red Ale
Seasonal Standouts: It’s a Wonderful Pie (Pastry Sour), Hef-150 (Hefeweizen), Hazy Diamond Bling Sauce (Imperial IPA) 
Food: Food trucks, bring your own food
Patio: Dog friendly 

 

Exile Brewing
The unofficial beer of about every Des Moines-area festival and event you’ve been at since 2012, Exile is home to easy drinking, insanely crushable beers like Ruthie, Iowa’s No. 1 lager. Expect a big space, big patio, and big flavors, both with their beers and their food menu, which is thoughtfully curated to pair with your new favorite brew. And no trip is complete without the mandatory selfie in front of their iconic Cheers from Des Moines mural. Pro tip: Their happy hour, with $4.50 beers Tuesday – Friday from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. and all day on Sunday is one of the best deals in town.   

Flagship beers: Ruthie (Lager), Zoltan (Session IPA), Tico Time (Tropical Wheat)
Seasonal Standouts: Jesus on a Forklift (Imperial Stout), G.G. (Dark Lager), Lemon Trail (Lemon Ale)
Food: Full menu, vegan and gluten free options
Patio: Dog friendly 

Twisted Vine Brewery
What originally started as a passion project for a trio of homebrewers in St. Charles (preceding a move to West Des Moines), Twisted Vine now occupies a 7,500-square-foot-space in the East Village, with a patio that’s perfect for viewing the Friday night fireworks at Principal Park. With popular brews like Black Knight IPA (Black IPA) and Whadda Juicebag (Hazy IPA), Twisted Vine is smack dab in the middle of Peace Tree and the newly opened SingleSpeed, which spells only one thing: brewery bar crawl. Make sure to check out their craft cocktail menu, which uses locally distilled spirits to make drinks like an Old Fashioned and Whiskey Sour.  

Flagship beers: Westown IPA, Black Knight IPA, Whadda Juicebag (Hazy IPA)
Seasonal Standouts: Twisted Angel (Lemon Drop Hopped IPA), 5 Amigos (Lager), Black Walnut White Stout
Food: Snacks, bring your own food
Patio: Dog friendly 

 

Barn Town Brewing
If sours are your jam, you’re sure to think Barn Town in West Des Moines is sweet. With so-crazy-it-works flavors like the life-altering Peanut Butter & Mixed Berry Jelly Sour and Strawberry Lemon Angel Food Cake, along with nostalgic flavor bombs like Hawaiiowan Punch and Ecto Coolest, Barn Town doesn’t shy away from taking big swings. That goes for their food menu too, where sandwiches like the Crab Rangoon Chicken Sandwich, Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese, and House Pastrami (voted one of Des Best Sandwiches), help validate our hypothesis that it’s one of the best restaurants in town as well.  Not to mention their private outdoor igloos have to be the coolest way to stay warm during those pesky Midwest winters.  

Flagship beers: Neon (Hazy IPA), Iowa Gold (Golden Ale), The Real Slim Shandy (Lemon Ale)
Seasonal Standouts: Hawaiiowan Punch (Sour), Peanut Butter and Mixed Jelly (Sour), Big Frooty Series (Smoothie Sours)
Food: Full menu
Patio: Dog friendly  

Reclaimed Rails Brewing Company
Idea: After spending a day at Adventureland, riding the new Draken Falls log flume, head five miles north to Bondurant and grab a cold one at Reclaimed Rails, where the deck is made from wood from the old log ride at Adventureland. They even have a beer named after it, called Lager Ride. You can’t buy that kind of synergy, but you can buy a 4-pack of beer to go. While in Bondurant you can grab one of Des Best Tenderloins at Brick Street Market and a slice of pie at one of Des Best Hidden Gems, Home Slice Pies. 

Flagship beers: Blood Orange Wheat, Hipster Juice (Hazy IPA), Lager Ride
Seasonal Standouts: Farmers Market Saison, Iowa Island Life (Pastry Sour), Twisted Silo (Belgian Ale)
Food: Bring your own food
Patio: Dog friendly 

 

Backpocket Pin & Pixel
Coming to Johnston by way of Coralville, Backpocket Brewery’s 8,000-square-foot taproom features 40-plus old school arcade games (there’s your pixel) and a six-lane duckpin bowling alley (there’s your pin). Duckpin bowling, for those who don’t know, uses shorter lanes, fatter pins, and smaller balls about the size of a softball. Perfect for kids, and perfect for adults who don’t want to set down their beer. And you won’t want to set down tasty brews like the Dragon Fire IPA or Murderhorn Belgian Strong Golden Ale. Game on.   

Flagship beers: Slingshot (Dunkel), Gold Coin (Helles), Murderhorn (Belgian Golden Ale)
Seasonal Standouts: Hawktoberfest (Marzen), Raygun Series Beers (Sours), Tipsy in Tijuana (Mexican Style Lager)
Food: Full menu
Patio: Dog friendly 

SingleSpeed Brewery
The new kid on the block recently opened to much fanfare, thanks in large part to a lofty reputation that preceded its arrival. The Waterloo-based brewery built its reputation on cool vibes, a sustainability ethos (to wit, their new roof has cells for solar power to offset the electricity use), and a notable portfolio of beer styles that all impress. And their new taproom was built to impress as well – you’ll find a restaurant, two patios, and firepits, all nestled along the east bank of the Des Moines River, a stone’s throw away from Principal Park. They brought their most iconic beers with them, like Tip the Cow (Milk Stout) and Gable (Munich Helles), along with some fun Des Moines-only surprises. We’ll say it. We’ve got the need for speed.     

Flagship beers: Tip the Cow (Milk Stout), Tricycle (Cream Ale), Gable (Helles)
Seasonal Standouts: The Shift Into Sour Series, The Nimble Series (IPA), Coconut Migration (Double IPA) 
Food: Full menu
Patio: Dog friendly

Flix Brewhouse
The only brewery on the list where you can watch Barbie (and Oppenheimer) on the big screen while sipping on big beers like the Nebulas hazy IPA or Luna Rosa Wit. Flix is the only first run cinema in the world to have a fully operating brewery incorporated. Make no doubt, this is no gimmick, the beers here are all blockbusters. The food earns rave reviews as well…seriously, try the cheeseburger. Two thumbs up.

Flagship beers: Luna Rosa (Wit), Nebulas (Hazy IPA), Lucha Libre (Mexican Lager)
Food: Full menu
Patio: It’s a movie theater, so no

 

West Hill Brewing Company 

There’s something buzzy brewing down south. Located along the downtown square in Indianola, West Hill has quietly been churning out some of the tastiest beers in the state since 2019. The taproom screams “rustic reused” while the beers scream, “Thank you, may I have another?”. Pair a trip with Annett Nature Center or Lake Ahquabi and dinner at Pete’s Pizza, and you’ll have a perfectly balanced day. In a town known for its hot air balloons, this is the perfect place to grab a flight.    

Flagship beers: Field of Creams (Hazy IPA), Vogeldame (Wheat), One Trip Around the Sun (IPA)
Seasonal Standouts: Galaxy Dust Clouds (Hazy IPA), Pumpkin Cutter (Porter), Baja Nights (Dark Lager)  Food: Food trucks, bring your own food
Patio: Dog friendly