Interview with Ryan from 515 Brewing in Clive, IA

515Ryan from 515 Brewing was able to answer some questions about his up-and-coming brewery located in Clive, IA. They are currently finishing up their taproom and are hoping to be opening very soon, no date set in stone yet but I will try to keep you posted on that. If you take a look at what they are going to be pushing out as far as beer goes, this list looks absolutely amazing, check it out here: Very unique mix of beers that I am definitely excited to try. Here’s the brewery’s mission statement from their website:

Our goal at 515 Brewing Company is to delight your palate by providing exceptional, flavorful and fresh beer. And because we love beer, we’re always trying new recipes. Expect a new combination of beers on tap, every time you walk through our door.

 So stop in, pull up a chair and take your taste buds on a beer adventure.

Onto the interview:


Definitely unique, we want to try new and weird things. Though we love traditional styles such as IPAs, we always want to try and have at least one IPA on tap.

Q: WHAT IS THE BEER THAT YOU ARE MOST EXCITED ABOUT? This probably depends most on who’s answering it, as there’s four of us. But since I’m writing…for me personally it’s the Dart Dodger IPA. It’s brewed with Citra and dry-hopped with Simcoe and creates a pretty awesome beer imo. That’s in our lineup to open, but as time goes on I’m excited to try some barrel ages beers with Brettanomyces and Lacto.

Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? For me, it’s designing a beer start to finish and then being able to share that with people. Having someone else enjoy your beer creation is very rewarding. If they’re big into beer, also really enjoy geeking out and sharing everything that went into that beer. As a small nano, we’re more interesting in making different beers and trying new things than worrying about if it’s exactly like we made it last time. So getting the drinker to understand why that beer is what it is, and why it may be totally unique.

Q: WAS OPENING A BREWERY IN CLIVE/DES MOINES AREA PRETTY EASY? WAS THEIR ANY RESISTANCE? No, it wasn’t easy at all but that really hasn’t been because of local officials. It’s just been a ton of work! We have this crazy idea of keeping our day jobs and running a brewery, so any time we put in is usually after 5. Makes for a pretty long 13-15 hour average work day. One holdup was since we are classified as a Food Service Establishment, city code required a grease trap, which our building didn’t have. We worked a deal out with the building owners, who have been great to work with, and got that taken care of. Even though breweries don’t really produce any grease, it leaves us covered if we want to expand into having food in the future. The city of Clive has been very favorable on the brewery and have really appreciated their support. It helps when some of the local officials are craft beer fans! The licensing with the state was also outstanding. We literally were able to turn our state license in a matter of hours. The federal process was much more drawn out (5 months) but that can be attributed to the explosion of craft breweries around the country right now.

Q: HOW DID YOU GET INTO BREWING? All four of us started as homebrewers. I got into it about eight years ago when a co-worker of mine introduced me to the concept. It totally blew me away that I could make my own beer at home, so I bought a copy of “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” and started out making it on my stove. After a boil-over, the wife was having none of that, so upgraded to brew outdoors and have been “upgrading” ever since.

Q: WILL THERE BE FOOD AT THE BREWERY? No, we didn’t want to get into the business of running a restaurant and want to focus solely on the beer. However, we invite anyone to order in food to eat in the brewery. We’ll also have some snacky items for folks to munch on.

Q: CAN YOU DISCUSS SHORT TERM/LONG TERM GOALS FOR THE BREWERY? Honestly, just cover most of our costs. We totally self-funded the brewery, so we really don’t want to be garnishing our pay checks to pay rent. The business side will drive anything we do beer wise, so the reality there is we have to make enough money to continue making beer. Once that’s satisfied, then it gets back to making a wide variety of really good beer for folks to enjoy. We aren’t here to get rich or grow a giant brewery.
Realistically, we just want to make really good, really unique beer that is fresh and local. If that ends up growing us along the way, great, but it’s all about the beer!

Great news for beer fans in Eastern Iowa and Iowa overall, really looking forward to trying these beers. If you are able to get your hands on some brews before I do, please drop me a line and let me know your thoughts!

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