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LV Recommends: 7 must-visit breweries and taprooms across the state of Iowa


With this selection of home-grown breweries, you’ll be sure to sample the wide variety of brews Iowa has to offer and hopefully find a new favorite or two along the way.

Alluvial Brewing Company

3715 W. 190th St., Ames

Located on an 80-acre farm northwest of Ames, the Alluvial Brewing Company is home to “free range” brewing. Patrons can grab a brew in the taproom and stroll among the farm’s vegetable patches and wetlands. If a peaceful promenade with a pint is not your thing, one can also belly-up to the bar, enjoy the outdoor patio overlooking the farm, or play a game of bags.

Big Grove Brewery

101 W. Main St., Solon

Big Grove Brewery in Solon may be a small brewpub, but it could be Iowa’s most productive brewery in terms of beer styles brewed. In just two years, Big Grove has brewed 34 different beer styles. Along with four core beers and some guest taps, Big Grove’s 14 taps serve a plethora of seasonal and limited edition beers.

Confluence Brewing Company

1235 Thomas Beck Rd., Des Moines

The Confluence Brewing Company may have the only taproom in Iowa where you can grab a pint, enjoy a board game, and then buy local art. With 16 taps—13 of which serve Confluence’s year-round beers, inspired creations and rotating seasonals, the taproom also features a dog-friendly deck, which is accessible from the Gray’s Lake bike trails. Though no food is prepared on-site, patrons can bring their own food, have it delivered to the taproom, or order from the food trucks that visit the taproom during the warm weather months.

Exile Brewing Company

1514 Walnut St., Des moines

Many of Exile’s beers are worth mentioning, but the standouts at this brewery are the Sours.  Infused with just enough funk and fruit, they set themselves apart from the crowd of IPA’s and hopped up beers in the endless sea of craft beer.  Come for weekend breakfast in this openy, airy brewery, order a Cherry sour (it’s fruit, it’s fine!) and relax into your weekend.

Firetrucker Brewery

716 S.W. 3rd St., Ankeny

A converted firehouse is a fitting home for Firetrucker Brewery and provides the perfect end-point for a bike ride on High Trestle Trail. An accommodating taproom and outdoor patio are comfortable spots to sample a variety of brews with clever firehouse related names.  All the house and seasonal beers go down easy, but the standout at Firetrucker is the bright, clean and refreshing Ginger Beer-Cat in a Tree.

Lake Time Brewery

801 Main Ave., Clear Lake

Clear Lake’s Lake Time Brewery takes home brewing to another level. Located in a house built in the 1920s, blocks from the shore of Clear Lake, Lake Time’s taproom is like a homey living room—albeit with 10 tap lines. Featuring a bay window, a couch, comfy chairs and a fireplace, it is an ideal place to chill out and enjoy a brew. On tap are eight year-round beers, a seasonal and a specialty beer. Though the name for Lake Time’s IPA, Propeller, may not change, the recipe is tweaked each time so every batch is unique. Meat and cheese plates are available on-site, but patrons are welcome to bring their own food or have it delivered.

Lion Bridge Brewing Company

59 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids

World-class beers are being brewed in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village by the Lion Bridge Brewing Company. One can order a pint of Workman’s Compensation or The Disaster at Meux, both Great American Beer Festival gold medal winners, and many others from the large selection of 10–12 house beers and 3–5 guest taps served in Lion Bridge’s taproom. Enjoy beer-centric snacks, appetizers, and sandwiches from an expanded menu of small plate items that feature local produce and meat. With a causal atmosphere, Lion Bridge is an ideal place to enjoy a couple pints with friends and watch the art of brewing world-renowned beers through the windows that look into the brewery.

Coming soon: Backpocket Pilot Pub

415 3rd St., Cedar Rapids

The cooler younger brother to Backpocket Brewing Company will open late summer 2016 in downtown Cedar Rapids. With a keen focus on experimental brewing methods and small-batch production, you’re sure to find something interesting on tap and you’ll have more choices when it comes to pairing your pint with food, as this new location will feature a full kitchen. Expect a similar selection of pizzas to the flagship location, alongside the addition of an expanded grill menu. Those devoted to the Coralville location: have no fear; Backpocket lives on with all your favorites and standards on tap.

Sanctuary Pub

415 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City

Find your sanctuary: Sometimes used as a space for jazz and poetry readings, since 1972 Sanctuary Pub has been wrapping its warm embrace around studious loners, first dates and anyone in Iowa City who loved craft beer before it was cool. As the regional brewery scene has blossomed, Sanctuary reliably presents the best of what the state has to offer at any given time, and hasn’t slowed down on the international side either. Alongside Iowa City’s biggest variety of beers, pizza is at the center of Sanctuary’s regularly changing menu of advanced, affordable pub fare.

Breweries Statewide

Iowa’s brewing industry has experienced rapid growth over the past few years as craft beer has taken a stronghold. Here’s a comprehensive list (at time of print) of Iowa breweries. Be sure to check the Iowa Brewers’ Guild web and social media sites for updates, as new breweries pop up all the time.

• 515 Brewing Co., Clive
• Albia Brewing Co., Albia
• Alluvial Brewing Co., Ames
• Another Road Brewing Co., Marion
• Appanoose Rapids Brewing Co., Ottumwa
• Backpocket Brewing Co., Coralville
• Backpocket Pilot Pub, Cedar Rapids
• Big Grove Brewing Co., Solon
• Brick Street Brewing Co., Woodbine
• Broad Street Brewing Co., Reinbeck
• Boone Valley Brewing Co., Boone
• C.I.B. Brewery, Carson
• Confluence Brewing Co., Des Moines
• Contrary Brewing Co., Muscatine
• Court Avenue Brewing Co., Des Moines
• Captain’s Quarters (CQ) Brewing, Adel
• Deb’s Brewtopia, Elkader
• Depot Deli Restaurant, Shenandoah
• Exile Brewing Co., Des Moines
• Firetrucker Brewery, Ankeny
• Flix Brewhouse, Des Moines
• Fox Brewing, West Des Moines
• Franklin Street Brewing Co., Manchester
• Front Street Brewery, Davenport
• Taproom @ Quad Cities Food Hub, Davenport
• Granite City Food & Brewery
• Cedar Rapids / Clive / Davenport
• Great River Brewery, Davenport
• Green Tree Brewing Co., Le Claire
• Guerrilla Brewing Co., Waterloo

• Iowa River Brewing Co., Marshalltown
• Jackson Street Brewing Co., Sioux City
• Jefferson County Ciderworks, Fairfield
• Jubeck New World Brewing, Dubuque
• Kalona Brewing Co., Kalona
• Keg Creek Brewing Co., Glenwood
• Lake Time Brewery, Clear Lake
• Lion Bridge Brewing Co., Cedar Rapids
• Lost Duck Brewing Co., Fort Madison
• Madhouse Brewing Co., Des Moines
• Mason City Brewing Co., Mason City
• Millstream Brewing Co., Amana
• New American Brewing Co., Ankeny
• Okoboji Brewing Co., Spirit Lake
• Olde Main Brewing Co., Ames
• Peace Tree Brewing Co., Knoxville
• Pulpit Rock Brewing Co., Decorah
• ReUnion Brewery & Restaurant, Coralville
• Rock Bottom Brewery, West Des Moines
• Rustic Brew, Hampton
• Single Speed Brewing Co., Cedar Falls
• Sutliff Cider Company, Lisbon
• Third Base Brewery, Cedar Rapids
• Toppling Goliath Brewing Co., Decorah
• Torrent Brewing Co. Ames
• Turner Alley Brewing Co., Cedar Rapids
• Twisted Vine Brewery, St Charles
• Van Houzen Brewing Co., Tiffin
• West O Beer, Milford
• Worth Brewing Co., Northwood


1 thought on “LV Recommends: 7 must-visit breweries and taprooms across the state of Iowa

  1. There are a few notable exceptions to your brewery list from Cedar Rapids. Iowa Brewing Co. is missing, as well as the venue that I own: The Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery. I’m curious how Backpocket’s Pilot Pub made the list even though they’re easily a year out from even opening?

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