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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
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
309 Court Ave
phone: (515) 282-2739
Monday - Thursday 11am - Midnight (with food until 10:30 p.m.)
Friday & Saturday 11am - 2am (with food until 11 p.m., late night menu until midnight)
Sunday 4:30pm - 10pm (with food until 9 p.m.)
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev
| Reviews: 29
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
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
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I found this place within blocks of leaving the Hessen Haus, and it was destined to be my last stop of the day and by extension, in Des Moines.
The entry was through an elaborate marble and brass vestibule, up a couple of stairs, and past the maitre d station at the top of the steps. To the left was a short brass rail and beyond it was the long, medium-dark wood bar in an elongated U shape. As I sat down at my usual location at the bar, the overhead was swarming with Mug Club mugs, like wasps ready to descend, or better yet, a squadron of planes poised for Nazi Germany or Japan, circa 1943. Before I am vilified for this, I would like to point out the idea that the décor in this establishment hearkens back to the war-era 1940s, when part of the building was the Kaplan Hat Company. They had lots of B&W photos of trolleys, local buildings, and most importantly for this rail buff, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe train station and trains. To the left of the bar were the washrooms and the brewhouse was aft of the bar, visible through windows with tables along the left-hand side. Off to the extreme left was the restaurant area, with its own seating and a very upscale look. I would have stood out like a tarantula on a wedding cake in there and a beer to the first person to correctly identify the origin of that quote.
Finally, their beers were great, but the sampler came on a huge, wooden wheel-like affair and by the time that I had finished all of them, I was finished. My notes remind me that I really liked the Kaplan Hat Hefeweizen, which is notable since I usually disdain that style.
12-03-2006 18:02:15 |
More by woodychandler
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I was in town on business and got to spend a Thursday night touring the three brewpubs that have creative license to brew beers on site.
Ranked by quality of beer, they are - Court Avenue, Rock Bottom, and Raccoon River.
Court River was my first stop around 5:00. Taking into account atmosphere, service, selection, and quality, it was an excellent experience for what I expected in a small Midwest town.
West Coast IPA
Dry Oatmeal Stout
Cask Pumpkin ale
Biere de Garde
Red Ale in Bourbon Barrell
Local made Sutliff Cider
Comments on the beers I had...
Hefe - good
APA aged in rye barrel with Cascade and Amarillo hops
West Coast IPA piney and citrusy aroma with a bit of a dirty finish
Black IPA seemed too roasty but I'm still learning about this style. Did not seem like an IPA but more of a porter.
Red was nice and balanced with the bourbon
Cask Pumpkin was subtle, nice, but thin
Stout had great roasty aroma and flavor but too cold
Really nice bar area with exposeed brick, tall ceilings and light from the windows to the sidewalk patio out front.
Bar stools were too low.
Brewer came from Great Divide Brewing and has ambitious beers on the way.
Server was super friendly, knew his beer very well, and even helped out with the brewing a couple of hours a week.
10-22-2010 02:18:04 |
More by Yetiman420
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5 | $$$
Ok, this place really impressed me and considering it where it is it is an absolute must stop for me if passing through town. I thought the Honest Lawyer was outstanding as well as their IPA that was aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels, 21st Amendment. Why I don't hear more about this place is beyond me. The atmosphere was subdued but it was an afternoon when I stopped. I didn't try any food. It was a little pricey and the service was ok, as it appeared the servers didn't know as much as the people making the beer. After some debate, I talked myself into buying one growler instead of two. Maybe next time...
03-15-2013 01:15:30 |
More by MilwaukeeCrusher
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 5 | $$
After our birdwalk at Neal Smith NWR, we were both hungry and thirsty. What better time to visit a brewpub! Once we located an exit to get to downtown Des Moines, it was not hard to locate the Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company.
The brewpub was near the IMAX theater and several bail bondsman storefronts (Im not sure what that says about this town ) The only problem was parking we found a meter, but it was a little pricy. Court Avenue does feature free parking after 5 PM.
The brewpub was in a building which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1881, it is the former Des Moines Saddlery Co. where they made harnesses, saddles and leather works. The downstairs portion has been restored into a busy downtown restaurant. After the great flood of 1993 filled the first floor with 19 feet of water, the brewpub moved in. There was a wait for tables in the more refined dining area, so we ate in the more informal bar area. I cant confirm it, but it may have been a non-smoking facility.
Our beers were fine; our food was terrific! They generally carry 7 continuous craft beers and one seasonal, as well as homemade rootbeer (they list it as Zimmermans Rootbeer 0% ABV). We had:
Honest Lawyer IPA (4.3% ABV) deep copper color with a dry hop aroma; very nice flavor for a low alcohol IPA.
Blackhawk Stout on Cask (4.9% ABV) roasty but lacking full body
and the seasonal Honey Ale (ABV unknown) non-descript copper colored ale
We didnt try: Two Rivers Light, Capital Raspberry Wheat, Kaplan Hat Hefeweisen, Topping Pale Ale, Pointer Brown Ale, Blackhawk Stout on tap.
The Spent Grain Pretzels appetizer looked wonderful (served with caramel, beer cheese and stone ground mustard), but we didnt have it. Id really like to go back again just to try that!
I ate the Asian Chicken Salad with Thai Peanut Sauce (described as way better than McDonalds I should say so! The orange ginger vinaigrette was fabulous with the mandarin oranges and wontons; he topped it all off with the bartenders private stash of Sriracha hot sauce.) Carolyn fell in love with her Vegetarian Burrito which featured a falafel, Spanish rice and black beans in a tomato basil tortilla topped off with sour cream and fire-roasted salsa with a side salad.
05-28-2007 09:03:49 |
More by Deuane
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Visit August 28, 9:15 - 10:00pm
Came close to calling it a night, after a hearty dinner at Exile Brewing and a long day of travel from the West Coast. Really? But my internal clock says it's barely 7:00pm...let's go see Des Moines! I walked about 7 blocks from Hotel Fort Des Moines through a mostly deserted downtown, then turn the corner to the decidedly lively Court Avenue stretch of bars... what a contrast. Court Avenue's entrance sits mid-block, an historic structure that contrasts much of what I've seen so far in this city (many new structures and more parking garages than I've ever seen). Entry is down a central hall that opens to a couple rambling dining rooms, fringed with raucous booths of happy patrons. There's a large glass enclosure around the working brewhouse and a display case filled with autographed mugs - from local sports talent who've moved on to bigger things to Hollywood stars. Cool space - big, old without feeling too dated - I like it.
I grabbed a seat mid-bar, a couple stools down from a fellow beer geek (the copious note-taking and sampler-tasting was a dead giveaway; we nodded a silent 'hello'). The bartop is a sturdy one and its backed by exposed brick and loads of glassware and booze. A small chalkboard announces the draft beers in categories: Core, Premium, Seasonal, Cask and Reserve. The 'Core' five on this night are: Two Rivers Light, Belgian White, Honest Lawyer IPA, Pointer Brown and Blackhawk Stout. 'Premium': 21st Amendment and Infatuation (Belgian 'Flanders'). 'Seasonal' was the Capital City Red, 'Cask' the Soulful Saison (hmmmm, not sure about saison on cask...), and 'Reserve' was the awesomely named 'Dr. Z's Old Tyme Aphrodisical Health Tonic' (supposedly the final beer crafted by a former brewer).
I'd just finished stuffing myself barely an hour earlier, so no food was necessary. But from the beer list, I was able to try the Infatuation, Honest Lawyer, Saison and 'Tonic' (which was a hopless gruit - and a good one). Jessica was my bartender and she was terrific - friendly and generous with samples. The one I ultimately chose was the 21st Amendment, a phenomenal barrel-aged APA (reviewed separately) that blew me away. I enjoyed the chatter at the bar and, behind me, in the booths and appreciated a brief history lesson on local Templeton Rye Whiskey (its barrels are what 21A is aged in). My tab was $7... spendy for a single pour of 'Premium' beer perhaps, but dirt cheap considering the other tasters freely offered. I left a $10 and off I went, but I'd gladly return to CABC if/when I ever repay the city a visit.
09-04-2012 23:11:41 |
More by msubulldog25
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: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Court Avenue has a very cool atmosphere loaded with beer memorbilia. And the service was pretty good. As for the most important aspects....the beer and the food, I really enjoyed Court Avenue. The beers I tried were the Blackhawk Stout, Pointer Brown Ale, Winter Ale, and the Honest Lawyer IPA. These 4 beers were quite good. The IPA is outstanding, very hoppy. The Brown and Stout were very good, too. The food was quite good, too. I had a Bourbon Steak and sampled some other food from other people in my party and it was all good. Deserts and appitizers were excellent as well. Food prices were a little higher than the typical brewpubs, but so was the quality. Beers were $4 a pint ($2.50 during Happy Hour). Overall, I was extremely impressed with Court Avenue Brewing Company.
01-06-2007 15:15:04 |
More by zeff80
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Beautiful brick building located right in downtown Des Moines, I liked the outside of the building. You walk into two huge swinging doors, and are greeted by a friendly, 1910 to 1920 decor restaurant bar.
We head to the bar to get started! I had read on the website that they had a casked "Mole, Mole, Mole". Well, I'm guessing this is a peppered beer. BING! It was a peppered stout, and it was tasty. I usually have to try every cask offering a brewpub has, and this was no let down. It had some great spice, and a good malt body to support it. Also tried the Honest Lawyer IPA, and it was also very good. A more malty IPA, but it had a great balance.
The 21st Amendment was next on the list, and I'd give it a B- or so. I thought the Rye was overpowering. I like rye Whisky (although not Templeton), but this was a little much. Not too much alcohol flavor, just the rye profile.
Also tried the wheat wine, which I thought was fantastic. Have recently read a little about wheat wines, but never had one before, and I was very impressed.
Overall, I will go back, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is in the area.
02-28-2011 15:38:23 |
More by MarcatGSB
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
A large brick building located in downtown Des Moines. I was pleasently surprised by the atmosphere and beers on tap.
The huge deal was the cider on tap. Sutliff cider was a guest tap and I loved it! Voted a top 30 cider in the world on rate beer.
The brewer obviously knows what he/she is doing. They have IPA, stouts, and the usual fair. Along with a few barrel and sour offerings! The beers were all solid. I would reccomend this brewpub to anyone traveling through the area. Take note, that it is a bit more upscale for an average brewpub in Iowa. So be prepared for lawyers. =)
07-14-2011 17:09:37 |
More by ndolover
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Court Avenue Brewing Company in Des Moines, IA
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