Thanks for the great review sLim!
A brewery that had a moderate amount of buzz surrounding it before opening in Spring of this year was Barn Town Brewing. It’s located in far West Des Moines, in a strip mall with several other new local businesses. Because of this, it’s nothing special from the outside but it does still catch your eye when you drive by.
Upon walking in, I noticed the old timey, country-ish decor and atmosphere that the name suggests they’d have. It’s not my fav per se but it’s well done and I thought the staff rocking flannel shirts was a nice touch. They feature a crowler machine which I’m glad to see more and more breweries switching to. The design on their crowlers is really neat too!
Like a lot of breweries, they started out with just few of their own beers and nothing too noteworthy. Very quickly however, they made the smart decision to offer a bunch of different pale ales & IPA’s (7 out of 17 in their current lineup). Even smarter of them was for most of them to be the hazy variety that are made with popular hops like citra, mosaic, amarillo, etc. This definitely brings in the hopheads and on the Thursday night I was there, the place was full. The quality of the beers justifies this as all 4 beers I tried were fantastic and i’ve heard nothing negative about the beers here from anyone…hop forward brew or otherwise.
Beer menu link – Here are the beers I tried and my thoughts on said beers:
Contrary Reaction (3.75/5) – Berliner Weisse – It’s a fun little sour, good balance of sourness and tartness. They mention an apple note which I got and it was pleasant
Hop Skewer (4.75/5) – Hazy, dry-hopped IPA w/ el dorado & citra hops – Oh yeah, it was hazy alright. This was awesome, I knew little about el dorado hops going into this but I now know that I like them. The best thing about this beer was that it was juicy and not bitter…AND it also wasn’t dank. Sometimes these types of beers have a lingering onion-y note that I can’t stand. They also may have the cat-piss aroma. This beer had neither.
Beggars Night (3.75/5) – Pumpkin and sweet potato ale – I enjoyed this; just on the brink of being too much pumpkin but you should know what you’re getting into when you get this style of beer. Smooth and a lot of flavor for a relatively low ABV.
- Chowdah (4.25/5) – Double dry-hopped DIPA – This was the one I’d heard about and that seems to have gotten some mention on the beer forums. I wouldn’t go as far as to say you need to try this beer but you won’t be disappointed if you do. I normally don’t like DIPA’s but this is one I can enjoy. Normally they taste like an IPA on steroids to me but this one was smooth and malty without being too sweet. There’s plenty of great hop flavor courtesy of the mosaic hop (which is my personal favorite…hop), but again…not overly so and there’s not much lingering bitterness. Give this one a whirl if come across it.
The beers were terrific and these guys have potential to make a bigger name for themselves if they start distributing. The final thing to try out was their food and man, they delivered here as well! Check out their menu here and you’ll find it’s a fun mix of burgers, “sandos”, wings, and craft mac & cheeses. The mac and cheese is very customizable and you better believe I was all over that. The pasta would have been great by itself but I added on some bleu cheese, buffalo sauce, and fried chicken and due to this, I was loving life. It was the best mac & cheese I’ve ever had. I’m just one person but as far as I’m concerned, Barn Town is now the best brewpub in the DSM area. You should go there if you like beer and other things that are good.