I had long heard we were finally getting a brewery right here in my city of residence, Ankeny. Firetrucker Brewery opened in the uptown part of town back on July 4th and they’ve made quite a splash. My first experience with their beers was tasting their Steam Engine at my workplace, El Bait Shop. It is a crisp, refreshing lager that just has enough hop flavor to get your attention. While not having tried most of them myself, their beers appeared to be selling well and were accepted by the bait shop clientele.
I did some research on the company before visiting their taproom. They brew inside of an old fire station in Ankeny. It’s in an older, residential part of town. There definitely appears to be a very talented graphic artist on their staff as their website and logo designs are unique and visually appealing. This does not come as a surprise as the brewery is heavily influenced by art, and believes that beer is art itself.
As I entered, I was greeted by a very aesthetically pleasing taproom and lounge area. There are traditional restaurant style tables, sofas, and high top tables for whatever kind of social experience you’re going for. Upon walking up to the bar, you’ll notice a cool backdrop of barrels and other brewing equipment that gives off the impression that you’re right in the middle of the brewing process, a staple of any good taproom. You can also take growlers (32 & 64oz) home with you if you want to enjoy their fine ales away from their locale
Onto the beers, as is the tradition whenever I visit a brewery for the first time, a purchase of a flight was in order. They had 6 of their own beers on tap (including a 4% ABV ginger beer). $6 lets you try any four. I decided to go with the 2alarm (imperial red), burnout brown, pumper truck porter, and the steam engine (California common). It was a tie between the 2 alarm (4/5) and the burnout brown (4/5) for my favorites. I did not realize the 2 alarm was imperial until after a staff member informed me of this. I highly recommend giving this a try, it’s a very satisfying red. I imagine the burnout brown will be my go-to whenever visiting this brewery. There’s a toffee flavor to it and it’s an extremely sessionable American brown ale at a mere 5%. Despite its low ABV, there still enough body and malt to the taste as well.
The steam engine is a respectable effort for a California Common (3.5/5). I’m not overly crazy about this style of beer but I think it’s cool that they tried something that no other local brewery has tried yet. This is just my opinion on it, I’ve noticed it’s become very popular around town so it’s definitely worth giving a try. The pumper truck porter was a satisfying drink (3.5/5). My only knock on it was that I didn’t pick up anything else besides a thick, roasty flavor. I would get this beer again, however.
They do offer an IPA, uptown, which is an easy drinking, sessionable ipa.
The staff was very helpful. I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of the brewers but all of the workers present were plenty knowledgeable on the beers themselves. They allow you to bring food in and also have different food ordering options depending on what day of the week it is. If you look at the events section on their website, you’ll notice there’s a variety of functions going down at this brewery, including live music sets.
Firetrucker is a very welcome addition to Central Iowa and Iowa Brewers alike. I’m highly impressed with how well put-together their entire operation is. They’ve set the bar high for themselves and have an excellent vision. They have already made a big mark on the beer scene here in Des Moines and I look forward to seeing what else they can accomplish.