Guest Review: SLIM reviews Raccon River Brewery; Des Moines, IA

Restaurant Review by sLIM: Raccoon River Brewing Company, Downtown Des Moines, IA
A restaurant/brewpub I talked about going to ever since I had moved out to the Des Moines area was Raccoon River. It’s just never seemed to work out that we made it down there to check out their offerings. It’s slightly off the beaten path. Most of the damage in downtown DM gets done in the Court Avenue District around 3rd and 4th street. Raccoon River is on 10th which is a bit of a walk from there. But sLIM decided enough was enough and piled in to his VW and set course for the fairly young (est. 1997) but buzz-worthy brewpub known as the Raccoon River Brewing Company.
I was not disappointed. A dimly lit and elegant setting greeted me upon entering.  It reminded me a little of Court Ave Brewing Co but the main dining area was more open and had a bar area immediately where you walk in and right up the stairs. The expansive 2nd floor area is what caught my attention and sold me over. This is a place that values serving good food and brews but also provides a cool hangout where you and your buddies can lounge even if you’re not necessarily out for a nice meal. Upstairs, they provide several high quality billiards tables and seating which is perfect if you’re looking for a more chill environment.  Sometimes at nice places like this, I feel pressured to order a ton of things and spend a lot. Not the case here.
Onto the brews: the first I tried was their Chocolate Porter. The name escapes me, but maybe that’s because it wasn’t anything special to begin with. Not a bad brew, still very drinkable, but I didn’t get any aroma or hint of chocolate. Perhaps it was just a bad batch, I would consider trying it again but it was a little disappointing.  The next I tried was their Bandit IPA. The bartender informed me this was their most popular along with their Homestead Red, which I did not get around to trying. Bandit more than made up for the Porter. Very hoppy and contained a high ABV that gave it a little extra kick. Solid IPA, overall.  Ole’ Slim could have kicked back and slammed these all night but he didn’t want to wake up all sluggish and shitty come the next morning.
Finally the food, I didn’t bring my full appetite but I had to at least try an appetizer.  They had some unique but affordable dishes that you can check out on their website (, but I settled on the Bean and Corn Fritters. At fist look, they just appeared to be glorified hush puppies. If I want hush puppies, I won’t come to RRBC, I’ll just zip down the road to the Long John Silver’s on Douglas thank you very much! But I was pleasantly surprised, the fritters were money! Very tasty and they came with a jalapeno dipping sauce which complemented them nicely.
Raccoon River is a winner in my book. I was only there for a little over an hour but enjoyed myself quite a bit and I’ll be back. They cater to just about anything you’re looking for in a night out. The location allows for a more sophisticated crowd that wasn’t debating between there and Buffalo Wild Wings for their evening eating options. I didn’t used to say this, but now I’m convinced that a trip to downtown DM is not complete without a stop to RRBC…Cheers!

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