Barn Town Brewing Company: Des Moines, IA

Barn Town Brewing Company’s name and decor completely fit the Iowa farm stereotype. This doesn’t mean you should write them off as a run-of-the-mill brewery. Barn Town is less than a year old at press time and ready to battle with the goliath competitors in the Iowa beer game. They are already expanding their fermentation vessel capacity and struggling to meet demand. (Note the tap lines coming out of a vintage pickup truck shell.)

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Barn Town predominantly focuses on hazy IPAs. They do not even brew lagers at this point because their demand is so steep. Perhaps their future additions of fermentation vessels will allow them to devote more space to lagers. Lagers typically take about two months to ferment, while ales can be fermented and sold much faster. It just makes business sense. 

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One of their signature recipes is their Fields of Dream IPA. (Of course, the original Field of Dreams Movie Site is in Iowa.) This beer recipe uses 100% Iowa-grown hops, which presents a noticeably different flavor profile compared to Pacific Northwest-grown hops. Both hop growers have different “day jobs” in Iowa. One of the suppliers is a nurse and the other is a financial consultant. This beer is a great way to share the Iowa beer culture with the world. With over 70 breweries in the state, there are between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels produced in Iowa each year, but at its pre-Prohibition peak there were over 170,000. Of course, the current production is only about 1% of the total consumption in the state, so there’s plenty of space for the craft beer industry to take off. 

To deal with these massive demands, Barn Town is going to begin bottling its first product soon. The head brewer constructed a bottle-filling apparatus that uses a tube for beer and CO2 to fill each bottle by hand. I was assured that this is not a patented idea, so this picture can help you figure out your own bottle-filling problems. Their Double Hop Skewer IPA will be bottled in the coming weeks as soon as they can find a break from their tremendous demand. Watch for them carefully because bottles are expected to sell out within a day! Until then, you can buy crowlers at the bar to take home with you.

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Barn Town is located just northwest of downtown, on University Avenue between Jordan Creek Parkway and Grand Prairie Parkway. Even if you’re just driving through Des Moines, their location is only a few minutes from I-80. Like so many other breweries that only opened recently, Barn Town is desperate to grow and find more space to brew. They have a tough time keeping their products on shelves. If you’re interested in a particularly Midwestern flair to your IPAs or just interested in trying unconventional hop mixes, Barn Town is the place for you. Stop by during the summer to use their outdoor patio. 

SUMMARY:

TOUR PRICE: Free 

GUIDED TOURS OFFERED: Very casually. Call ahead or ask your server about seeing the brewery. No formal brewery tour program exists. 

HISTORY: Opened in February 2017

THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS BREWERY: Farms, Barns, and Hazy

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