Home > 2011 US Caps & BeerVenture, BeerVentures, Brewpubs > Des Moines BeerVenture: Court Avenue Brewing Company

Des Moines BeerVenture: Court Avenue Brewing Company

Kudos to the Mid West Capitols

The first two days of our 2011 State Capitols and BeerVenture Tour led us through the heart of the midwest.  Let me start by giving the midwesterners a big shout out for showing so much pride in their state capitols.  Indianapolis, Indiana; Springfield, Illinois; and Des Moines, Iowa are all great cities to visit – full of culture, history, great dining, shopping galore, and clean, clean, clean.  They also show off their state capitol buildings as centerpieces within their cities – as they should.

I have to say that Des Moines, Iowa probably does it just a hair better than the rest.  This historical state building sits high within the city, like the Parthenon, in full view from the highway, and from the heart of downtown.  Topped with gold, this decadent building unfolds a long stretch of downhill stairs that showcases the city as much as the city showcases its capitol.

State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa

Capitol View of Downtown Des Moines, Iowa

The Beer

After visiting the capitol, we followed those stairs right down to the Court Avenue Brewing Company (CABCO).  Judging from the busy Sunday crowd, Court Avenue Brewing is a hoppin’ place in downtown Des Moines.  A classic red brick bar in a classic red brick building, the atmosphere is casual and relaxed, like you’d expect from a neighborhood pub.  Walls are covered with large posters branding the house beers, and the brewing action is showcased with copper kettles and fermenters along the opposite wall.

As always, we started with a flight featuring eight of Court Avenue’s regular and specialty beers:

  • Two Rivers Light – a full flavored micro lager, easy and refreshing;
  • Belgian White – Belgian farmhouse ale – citrusy, crisp, and spiced with coriander and orange peel;
  • Blackhawk Stout – Dry oatmeal stout with smooth not so dry finish;
  • A smoked wheat – refreshing wheat beer laced with smoked malt flavor;
  • 21st Amendment Ale – A tasty rye APA fermented in local rye whisky barrels – my dad’s favorite, packed a nice boozy punch, but still smooth with pleasant and distinctive rye malt and whiskey notes;
  • Infatuation Belgian Flemish Ale – smooth, fruity, and mild sour;
  • Alt on cask – flavorful with a smooth and creamy mouth feel; and
  • 9.8 ABV Barleywine – fruity, boozy, sweet, and delicious.

CABCO also serves locally brewed root beer and Jamaican ginger beer.  Not a bad one in the bunch, and a quick glance at the ceiling lined with hundreds of ceramic mug club steins tells you they have a large and loyal following.  Easy to understand why – great beer, great food, great atmosphere in a great town.  Simple ingredients for a great brewpub.

If you ever find yourself in Des Moines, Iowa, first visit their gorgeous capitol building, then follow those steps downtown, take a seat on their outdoor patio or belly up to the bar and wet your whistle with a freshly brewed pint at the Court Avenue Brewing Company.  I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy an afternoon or evening in the midwest.

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  1. May 24, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Great photos. That state capitol is beautiful!

    • May 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks! Funny, you often can’t tell the back from the front of the capitol buildings. We took lots of pictures of the back side, thinking it was the front, then got into to the car and started driving toward town when my husband noticed we were passing the front side. Thank goodness. I can’t imagine traveling that distance and missing the whole front side and those gorgeous views!

  2. MrFlippant
    July 23, 2012 at 2:35 am

    If you head this way again, make sure to stop by Raccoon River Brewing Company, just six blocks west of CABCo at the corner of 10th and Mulberry Streets 🙂 Also keep in mind, in the very same neighborhood you can also find over 115 American micro-brewery beers on tap at El Bait Shop, an amazing selection of German bier at Hessen Haus, a rare spread of Belgian abbey ales at the Red Monk, and just across the river you can get a burger with a pair of deep-fried grilled-cheese-sandwiches in place of a bun with an alcoholic milkshake on the side at Zombie Burger!

    • July 23, 2012 at 6:40 am

      Wow. Sounds like we should have done a little more research. Thanks so much for the tips. I do hope we get out there again soon. Such a great town!

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