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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
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
309 Court Ave
phone: (515) 282-2739
Monday - Thursday 11am - Midnight (with food until 10:30 p.m.)
Friday & Saturday 11am - 2am (with food until 11 p.m., late night menu until midnight)
Sunday 4:30pm - 10pm (with food until 9 p.m.)
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 30
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
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: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$
Living in Des Moines my whole life I have become rather familiar with CABCO, and from my many visits I have come to the same conclusion, I can not fathom why I keep coming back.
The building is located in the historic Court Avenue area, full of reclaimed warehouses that now provide some of the best entertainment in the city. CABCO is a great meeting place for many people, however I just haven't been overly impressed with it. The food just tries to do too much. The chefs try to make the food look rather fancy but it doesn't have much in flavor or volume. The beer is rather lackluster. I have not found any of their home brews that stands out and appeals to my taste buds. The only reason I go there at all is because they have awesome martinis, with periodic specials.
If they goo for flavor instead of show, they would get my business more often.
01-12-2010 04:03:52 |
More by DesMoinesMike
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$$
In a search for the other beer spots in down town Des Moines, I ended up here due to the cold snowy weather and not knowing where the hell I was.
A large quasi-grandios interior, you are immediately confronted with the hostess partition. Off to the right is the bar seating area, about 15 stools in a U shape with tons of mugs overhead sits to the North side with tables and Brew/fermentation kettles off to the left. You could see the steam rising off of the kettles in the chilled air aloft.
The beers were decent, the Juniper Rye was very herbal if not a bit lacking, the cask stout was served warm and very mundane but good, the IPA (Honest Lawyer) was the best with a very full profile. The food was decent at best, my artichoke dip was ok, the pita chips were burnt. The rueben was alright but nowhere near the Blackstone Hotel version.
Overall this place was not bad.
01-30-2007 04:30:49 |
More by hoffman
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
I really enjoyed my visit here, I only had time for a quick beer, but the service was very good, I don't recall the beer I had (bad memory, not bad beer) but overall this was a place I would like to re-visit with more time to enjoy a wider selection.
12-12-2013 17:59:45 |
More by ALC82
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
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 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Seemed to be a pretty freindly laid back place, cool old building and nicely laid out.
Overall the wait service was very ordinary, but the manager was very freindly and helpful, even offering a tour while they were brewing.
The beer itself was good, and the food while not being anything real exciting.
Selection was fairly limited, I think they only had 5 or 6bicarbonate taps with mostly ordinary styles.
The prices seemed a bit high in spots, the food prices were fine, but I thought the drink prices were a bit inflated for what we were drinking. I also tend to get a couple pint glasses anywhere I go, and $7.50 for a logo shaker pint glass is easily the most I have ever paid, not even a color logo.
Nice place overall, will probably give another go the next time im in the area.
04-04-2012 19:41:08 |
More by bashiba
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
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: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Court Ave. is clean, pleasant, and classy in ambience. Pleasant dining experience, and the bar area is nice as well. Lots of dark wood, comfortable seating, etc.
The beers are middlebrow to be sure, but relatively well brewed. I've not had a Court Ave. brew that made me sit up and shout to the heavens, but more often than not they make a pleasant drink. The selection is acceptable for a brewpub, with the obligatory light beer, wheat beer, pale, IPA, and dark beer. The seasonal/specialty beers are similarly modest, but drinkable and add a little bit of interest: they brew a witbier, a themed amber once, they had a winter cask ale last time I was there, etc.
I've eaten there a few times, and gone for drinks more than once. The service really is quite slow, although variable. Timing matters, perhaps a little more than it should. I came at a very busy time, with a table of three. It took twenty minutes to order and obtain drinks - our water glasses were refilled before our beers arrived, and we were about 15 feet from the bar. After the rush slowed, our waitress seemed to hover, and the check was presented before we ordered another drink. We just went to another bar for the next round. No hair off my chin...
The food is generally terrific, although for a vegetarian it's a little sparse - not as bad as Average Joe's sports bar or brewpub, but for the quality of the kitchen staff, they could improve the selection. Entrees are reasonably priced, with the high end dinners coming in over 20 and the burgers and sandwiches starting around 8. The only meal I've had that I didn't really love was the fish and chips; inauthentic and middling (I'm not a particularly militant veggie when it comes to fish and chips).
My overall impression of Court is that it's a nice restaurant with a decent brewery. Their niche is not creativity and excitement but popular, steady drinks that come with good meals. I would love if Des Moines could support a more adventurous brewing environment, but I prefer Court to Raccoon River for my brewpub dining.
03-28-2009 16:20:42 |
More by BretSikkink
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 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Yes, Des Moines, really. It seemed like an idea, I'm not saying a good one, just, whatever, we're here. The flight, the drive in, the places seen, the grilled chicken sandwich 'et, and this long damn day doubtfully done still. What's next? The quiet from wherest we came to the now sizably livelier scene down Court Ave this Saturday night in, yes, Des Moines, really...
Oh yes, the old Saddlery Bldg, circa 1881, a big old space on the corner. Staircase to nowhere you can drink just inside the front door dropping you in on the dining areas. Front & center, a dozen tables in a room there with some peeled to expose brick. Through to the far side, roughly 2 dozen tables & booths running from the forward corner all the way back to a tighter narrow space. The room decorated with old Iowa brewery prints from the turn of the century (not this past one, but the one before that). They are awesome.
And through to the other side, another decently sized room holding a long straight bar, wood laminated with a foot space & a lip, seating for about a dozen and a half. Barback is a stainless steel countertop space running the length. The tiered booze on center lined with strung glow rope deals the bottles all lit shimmery, shelved glassware & wines to both sides and a cupboard piece on the end. Slight growlerings, pints, ceramic mugs and other pieces lining the top. Tap list printed on a blackboard piece above center, specials on smaller boards to both sides. An 8 tap tower fronts the wines & glasses displayed, a 3 tap tower on the end, and a live handpump, 1 or 2 there anyway. An ocean of numbered ceramic mug club mugs above the entire stretch of bar space and flatscreens on the end.
Big brick & deep red painted walls here. Some large logo brewery placards of their house beer labels, which are crazy retro spin offs from those of old defunct Iowa breweries. Local artwork paintings depicting a variety of different house beers further on, and framed capitol building & court house prints to the rear. A half dozen or so tables of varying size & shapes in the narrow space alongside the forward glass front brewroom, another 3 tables lying adjacent to the bar down towards the end, and 3 more in a raised area to the rear. Display case of shwag & mugs in the corner.
Sampler of 8 served on a curved rack gets you the 7 house beers and a seasonal. I figured we'd talk about the cask on the heels of that but they offered up that I could substitute it for something on the sampler proper, so I did, saying "Goodnight, Two Rivers Light", 'cause really, did I need that? The Belgian White, hazy, with orange peel & then the coriander behind that; Kaplan Hat Hefeweizen, banana & cloviness, decent, sure; Topping Pale Ale, a decently hopped ordinary bitter, Honest Lawyer IPA, a bit thin but nicely grapefruity, good IPA; Pointer Brown Ale, English brown, slight slight everything, really more aroma than flavor; Blackhawk Stout, roasted coffee & licorice goodness; seasonal Sophie's Mild, roasty, sweet maltiness, a solid English dark mild, undoubtedly the best of show; and the cask Hopbacca. Witzel asked if it tasted like a wookie and well, yes it does, if wookies live in the popcorn bin at the movie theatre, then yes. It was soooo not good. Best beers were the Honest Lawyers IPA, Black Hawk Stout & Sophies Mild. The big board also lists Iowa's own Sutcliff Cider in 750's for sale.
Our second of 2 brewpubs here in town, we think the other place had better beer (no contest), but there were some well made beers here. The place is absolutely hoppin'. We got bar space but it filled in tight around us. I came back from the bathroom and Witzel says this guy was playing with my pens. I gave him the "Yo man, you don't touch my pens, you don't know me" look. I'm sure he grew a-scared. And I can't help but notice that crazy hair guy from the last place seems to have tailed us here. Dude, go away. Otherwise, it's a loud boisterous younger crowd. Or maybe I should say additionally.
12-07-2009 05:28:46 |
More by slander
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Court Avenue Brewing Company in Des Moines, IA
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