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Court Avenue Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Court Avenue Brewing CompanyCourt Avenue Brewing Company
Based on:
12 Beers
138 Hads
Place Score: 88
Reviews: 32
Visits: 46
Avg: 3.91
pDev: n/a
Taps: 10
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

309 Court Ave
Des Moines, Iowa, 50309-2245
United States
phone: (515) 282-2739

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @courtavebrew

Place added by: BeerAdvocate


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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Visits: 46
Reviews by Yetiman420:
Photo of Yetiman420
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

Black IPA
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.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of tapperm
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.49/5  rDev +14.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Always has something new and exciting brewing! The food is great and the beer quality here has stepped it up lately!

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Photo of MickeyTheHead
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

I wouldn't go there for the food, but if you stop by for a beer they have a menu that's decent. Service is decent and they do try to teach the servers the basics of beer. The beer used to be good, not sure if it's changed since they got a new brewmaster. If you go in when it isn't packed it does have a nice atmosphere.

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Photo of gjoker321
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Great food, great atmosphere.

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Photo of bufante
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Liverocks
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of PatrickKlopfenstein
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of styleisking
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Mothergoose03
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

This was stop #2 for my wife and I on a 21-day pub-crawl from Michigan to N. CA and OR. We had already eaten dinner elsewhere, so we came here just to try the beer, thus we sat at the bar. The brewery is set in an old storefront building in what appears to be the restaurant district of downtown Des Moines, and ‘restaurant’ is what this brewery makes me think of more so than thinking ‘brewpub.’

But looks like a restaurant is okay as long as the beers were good, which they were. Each was brewed to style, and recipe enhancements were evident in some. One beer that we tried deserves a special mention, and that one is the 21st Amendment Ale. We didn’t give out an ‘A’ very often in our grading system on our trip, but this was one.

Although we had already eaten dinner we decided to have a snack to go with the beer, so a spent grain pretzel bread and dip plate was ordered. It was very good for something so simple. (I have eaten dinner here many times in the past while traveling on business, and I’ve always had a delicious dining experience.)

This brewery/restaurant does a great job and I’ll keep coming back when I’m in the area.

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Photo of timlyon
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of 22Blue
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Bkoop
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of ParkbrauFan
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Joey-bags1990
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of ALC82
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

Randomly went here for a beer after finding El Bait Shop wait too loud and crowded. Typical gastropub atmosphere with nice big booths. Watched the Pacers-Heat while there and they had a few other channels tuned to various sporting events.

Girlfriend had Chuck's Roundhouse Ale a wine barrel saison and I had the BA IPA. They were both solid offerings and unique which is always a plus. Also shared a plate of nachos which were fantastic. Some of the best I've had. Partly because of these, I had no stomach room left for more than one beer.

Service was good, not great although our waitress actually knew what she was talking about when describing beers. It's evident they train their wait staff to do more than just dispense.

All in all, a pleasant experience and exactly what we were looking for. Would go back here if I find myself in Des Moines again.

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Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
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...

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Photo of msubulldog25
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of bashiba
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of ndolover
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
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. =)

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Photo of AlleywayRover
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Walked in looking for a brewery on a business trip in Des Moines. Court street was alive and vibrant that night. Court Ave Brewing Company was a nice, quiet sanctuary from the chaos outside.

The bar is dimly lit and has a huge collection of membership mugs lining the top of the bar area. There were some really cool paintings of an artists rendition of various beer styles and some of the breweries signs for their own beers of years past (I'm guessing. I didn't see any of those beers on tap.)

I ordered a tasters rack and a pint of whatever beer I liked best (That turned out to be the 21st Amendment.) Ray and Jake were running the bar area and would take a moment whenever they got the chance to ask me how I enjoyed the beers. Ray, at one point, slipped me a taste of their Boers's Best Rye Barley Wine which I really appreciated.

I had a really good time here last night and I will be sure to stop here again.

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Photo of morimech
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place came highly recommended by the locals. Sat in the bar area in the moderately lit establishment. A few TVs tuned to the local basketball games and later to a Premier Football match. Volume level was low and conversations could be held at normal indoor levels. After 7 PM the place really slowed down. The thing that impressed me the most, and with every establishment in Des Moines for that matter, was the exceptional service. Fast, friendly, and knowledgeable. When time permitted, our server came over and chatted with us. I was happy to tip big.

My buddy and I each ordered a beer flight sampling each of their current beers. Highlights were the stout and brown ale. The IPA had a huge tropical fruit thing going on. The hefe was a bit of a disappointment as I thought it was undercarbonated. We both thought their barrel-aged beers were the biggest disappointment. Very raw and boozy. Could of benefited from some blending.

Food was excellant. I ordered the braised pot roast and my buddy ordered the Cabco Sandy. Each of us left satisfied and happy.

The next time I am Des Moines, I will be coming back to this brewpub. Come for the beer, stay for the service and food.

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Court Avenue Brewing Company in Des Moines, IA
88 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.