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Court Avenue Brewing Company
Active Beers: 15
Beer Ratings: 104
Beer Avg: 3.65
Taps: 10 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
309 Court Ave
phone: (515) 282-2739
Monday - Thursday 11am - Midnight (with food until 10:30 p.m.)
Friday & Saturday 11am - 2am (with food until 11 p.m., late night menu until midnight)
Sunday 4:30pm - 10pm (with food until 9 p.m.)
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 29
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I found this place within blocks of leaving the Hessen Haus, and it was destined to be my last stop of the day and by extension, in Des Moines.
The entry was through an elaborate marble and brass vestibule, up a couple of stairs, and past the maitre d station at the top of the steps. To the left was a short brass rail and beyond it was the long, medium-dark wood bar in an elongated U shape. As I sat down at my usual location at the bar, the overhead was swarming with Mug Club mugs, like wasps ready to descend, or better yet, a squadron of planes poised for Nazi Germany or Japan, circa 1943. Before I am vilified for this, I would like to point out the idea that the décor in this establishment hearkens back to the war-era 1940s, when part of the building was the Kaplan Hat Company. They had lots of B&W photos of trolleys, local buildings, and most importantly for this rail buff, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe train station and trains. To the left of the bar were the washrooms and the brewhouse was aft of the bar, visible through windows with tables along the left-hand side. Off to the extreme left was the restaurant area, with its own seating and a very upscale look. I would have stood out like a tarantula on a wedding cake in there and a beer to the first person to correctly identify the origin of that quote.
Finally, their beers were great, but the sampler came on a huge, wooden wheel-like affair and by the time that I had finished all of them, I was finished. My notes remind me that I really liked the Kaplan Hat Hefeweizen, which is notable since I usually disdain that style.
12-03-2006 18:02:15 |
More by woodychandler
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Cab Co. as us local Des Moinians call it is a great place to meet friends in a large open atmosphere. The beer selection is adequit and the service is great. On weekends the local music is a definate plus although a little loud. Their seasonal beers during Octoberfest are especially full of body and flavorful. If you are traveling downtown it is a must see on your way over the The Royal Mile. The mug club is a great value and gives the local patrons a chance to collect the mugs on an annual basis. To be one of the first mugs of the year is a definate honor, but you better get in line early to make it into the teens.
11-09-2006 05:20:08 |
More by manchild
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Des Moines seems to be a ghost town on Sunday nights, but this is open, & well worth a visit. Despite the place being almost empty, we were all packed into a pretty small room. Unfortunately, I was between seasonal beers, but was satisfied with the brown & the stout, both workmanlike if not outstanding. Hight point was dessert of bread pudding -- not only the best Ive ever had, but a mountain of a serving. Service was good, but why do Iowans always say "No problem" instead of "Youre welcome?" I plan to stop back on my regular jaunts into the city.
10-20-2006 16:04:22 |
More by DreamFielder
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
A big, almost cavernous place, in a big old historic building. Hugely tall ceilings, various seating areas.
Atmosphere: pretty average. Big, a little impersonal. By the end of lunch, and for horus thereafter, there will be annoying neo-hipsters sitting at the bar drinking non-in-house swill, smoking, talking loudly, and posturing.
I went in for lunch, and asked for non-smoking seating, and unfortunately, got seated in the bar area. At the time, there was nobody smoking, and it didn't even smell like smoke, so I didn't think to question it. When someone started smoking vociferously two tables over, I moved my beer and food to a table farther from the bar, near the enclosed brewery room. My server was fine with this, but I remained irritated with the hostess who sat me there in the first place, since a family-oriented, non-smoking area is available in front, and a lot of porch seating that, even if it's not non-smoking, is at least open-air.
Service has been very, very mixed in half a dozen visits over the years, including two in May. Usually friendly, and relatively helpful, but they are often gone for long periods of time, and seem to only come over to check on you if they see an obviously empty glass (and sometimes not even then.)
Beer: a good sampler was relatively easy to customize, and pints were inexpensive. An excellent (seasonal, I think) Wit. The Honest Lawyer IPA was pretty poor: grassy as hell, overcarbonated, and finished bitter, acidic, and full of straw and grass. Stout was also mediocre: thin and a little sickly sweet (I like sweet stouts; this wasn't a good sweetness), and hinted at plastic or latex paint. But I was quite content to drink several pints of the Wit. Beer selection was average (I think six on tap when I visited?) Per my server, there is a new brewer this year, from Colorado. He has his work cut out for him.
On recent visits, the food was very tasty, and in large portions: I had the spent grain pretzels (as another reviewer notes, they are huge: order with friends to share), a good if slightly bland portobello sandwich, and a tasty spinach salad. Prices are average for a downtown brewpub in an average sized city.
I've been going to Court Avenue for years, and will keep going, but will continue to not expect to be blown away by anything. And I'll probably start splitting my time pretty evenly with Raccoon River.
08-21-2006 04:03:58 |
More by warmstorage
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
I had a very good experience at Court Avenue tonight. Went with three friends to start a night out (headed to El Bait Shop afterwards). The food was good. I got a Sandy shaved prime rib sandwich with roasted red peppers and onions, basically a glorified Philly steak but pretty damn good. Their fries are excellent too. On to the beer. I only tried one because I knew we were going to the Bait Shop afterwards. They had about eight Court Avenue brews available. I got the Honest Lawyer IPA. It was pretty good actually, better than I expected. Sometime in the future I'd like to go back and try more of their brews. My friend got the Pointer Brown Ale and thought it was ok. My complaint is that they were charging $4 for a pint of their in-house brews...I think that's a bit pricey. Overall, I pretty good brewpub in my book, at least by Iowa standards. There are lots of good bars around Court Avenue, so this is an excellent place to start off the night. Recommended.
06-09-2006 04:30:41 |
More by WeisGuy
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Ive visited Court Avenue Brewing Co., three times now with the most recent being in August 2005. I must say; I am a fan of this place. For my money, this is the best brewpub in Iowa. The menu is diverse enough to please about anybody and the beers are very good here. Plus they offer cask beer. Ive enjoyed the Spinzaa and BBQ Chicken pizzas very much. The pretzels here are wonderful. Ive also been happy with the steaks and pasta. The portions are big but not too much so, the prices seem on par for a big, upper-scale brewpub.
My first visit (July 2003):
Was on a Tuesday evening around 5:30 p.m.; I was with a party of 16 and half of them children. The wait staff did a very good with the large party; they handled the kids well. We got seating right away even though we didnt have any reservations. The day before I called them to see if they had a kiddie menu (which they do) and the lady on the phone was tremendously helpful and very nice. Thus my family visited here for dinner after a day at Adventureland.
On to the beer during my visit an IPA was the seasonal and they had a Brown on cask (I did not try it because I did not know they had it until I was leaving). The core line is standard (a light beer, fruit, pale ale, brown, porter, red). The wait staff did a poor job explaining the beers to my non-BA beer drinker a couple of the people hated the beers that were ordered. Also the waiter never asked if I wanted another beer.
While my visit was not as thorough as I would have like, the limited time I spend there was enough to get me to go back.
My second visit was in November 2004. I had better service. The food and beer were both still good.
My third visit (August 2005), I had the Blackhawk Stout on cask and it was awesome! I wish I took notes. There service was prompt and friendly.
As I mention above, I really like Court Ave. I wish they offered a few more house beers and all would be right in the world.
08-08-2005 19:53:42 |
More by bditty187
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
I stopped in to the Court Avenue Brewing Company with a friend while walking back to the car after an Iowa Cubs minor league baseball game.
This brewpub is located in one of the oldest buildings in Des Moines, a brownstone built in the a 1880's. It's located in the heart of the social-scene in Des Moines and was filled with a jovial assortment of patrons. Tables of different sizes were available to accommodate various sized groups, from 2 to 6+. Outdoor seating is available in summer months. The brewing equipment is clearly visible behind large windows and added to the unique character of the brewpub.
When we arrived, there was not enough wait-staff to handle the crowd. But then again, it was just after a ballgame and a swarm of people had just happened upon the place. We were some of the last to leave and, once demand for her time cooled down a bit, we found the waitress to be personable and knowledgeable of the brew activites. We ordered a couple beers each and we split two appetizers. The beers were good and the food was great (wings and breaded onion rings & mushrooms). The beers were of British styles...for example, the pale ale did not have any "c" hops) and the stout, served at room temperature, was pumped from a cask. The appetizers were large portions and we didn't quite finish all the food. Pricing was about right for our experience.
If you can only visit one brewpub in Des Moines, visit Court Avenue Brewing...Raccoon River doesn't hold a candle to this (I stopped by Raccoon River before the game...see my review in BeerFly).
07-07-2004 23:00:54 |
More by mentor
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Located in the Court Avenue entertainment district of downtown Des Moines. Parking is limited to a parking lot across the street ($3) or metered parking on the street. The brewpub is in an older warehouse-type building (fixed up to look very nice), which gives it some authenticity that seems to be lacking in the suburban, chain brewpubs such as Rock Bottom, etc.
The lunch menu seemed a little limited, but everything listed looked good to me. My pizza came quickly, was piping hot and was delicious. The bartender (I ate at the bar) couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. I had my pick of 7 regular beers, 1 seasonal (some type of maibock I think) and a porter on cask. Quite a good selection, all major styles were covered except stout (it's almost May so I guess I can let that slide).
I enjoyed the atmosphere, the food and the beer. What more can one ask for lunch on a weekday afternoon.
04-29-2004 20:23:22 |
More by BuckeyeNation
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
This was my first time to Des Moines, and to be quite honest, my expectations were not all that high. I managed to make my way to this establishment via the skywalk, which takes you from building to building in enclosed walk ways. It is really a great way to go, especially in the winter. Anyway, I never had to even walk outside from my hotel. I arrived and went to the bar. Here they let you buy a small sample for 1.00 per glass, and it was definitely the way to go for me, as I really was not interested in their light beer, and wanted to be sure to try what I did want to try.
The place is pretty cool looking with a nice mix of old warehouse decor and some new looking wall decor. The people were very friendly (as it seems to be just like the midwest in general!).
I tried several of their beers, and found the seasonal stout to be a real winner. For some reason, the hefe was really terrific my first visit, but it seemed a bit thinner on my second and third (yes, I went back two more times as I had to get through all the items I wanted to try on the food menu as well!!). I would still recommend it though. If you try their Topping (or was it Tupping) pale ale, be sure to let it warm up as some really wonderful characteristics come out. It gets really creamy and smooth!! I got to have the porter on hand pump, and the porter regular style as well, the hand pump was the way to go.
Okay, now to the food. The first night I went with the vegetarian burrito (yes, I am one) and it had falafel balls, beans and rice in it, topped with homemade salsa, which was really nice and full of cilantro!! after that, I knew I had to go back. I tried their spent grain pretzels--WARNING, they give you 4 of them, so share!! My coworker came that time. He got the spinach salad with fresh strawberries and said how great it was, which is why I had to go back a third time. I got the collosus salad, a greek salad with falafel balls. It was also big!! The next night I went I got the spinach salad, and who knew spinach could taste like dessert!!! It was awesome!! I then finished off with the bread pudding, which was also very generous and quite tasty as well.
Well, that's about it--go and see for yourself, that this place knows what they are doing. Oh, the owner is from the Philly area (I found out after asking why they had Yeungling six pack holders holding the condiments!!) and the brewer from Australia!!
02-26-2004 18:19:25 |
More by gueuzegeek
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Court Avenue Brewing Company in Des Moines, IA
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