Raccoon River Brewing Company
Active Beers: 9
Beer Ratings: 60
Beer Avg: 3.32
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 23 | Show All Ratings:
2.95/5 rDev -19.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 1.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.75 | $$
Atmosphere - this is a well done brewpub (in design). The downstairs has a bar, and tables for dining. Upstairs there is a second bar and a huge row of full sized pool tables.
Quality - Unfortunately, the beer here is well below average and inconsistent. There are times where the carb levels are way off, a lot of beers are coyingly sweet, the IPA is pretty boring when it is carbed. A lot of my friends and I like to go there, but will often order wine or from the bottle selection of Green Flash.
Service - bartenders and servers are always great. The bartenders aren't bashful either. I remember once I ordered a seasonal scotch ale or something of that style, and the bartender said, let me get you a sample, you won't like it. He was right and I than got something else.
Selection - they do brew a decent selection. There's a lighter beer, than a sweeter vanilla cream ale, a red, a stout, and often seasonal selections.
Food - the food is pretty good. I've had a steak there, and a pulled pork sandwich. The pulled pork was really good. I've never been disappointed with the food.
Value - overall, beers are priced reasonably, food is what you'd expect, from sandwiches to pastas etc. The quality of the beers certainly detracts from the perceived value, however.
04-22-2013 14:07:41 | More by Herky21
3.4/5 rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | $$
Stopped here on a Saturday afternoon... beers were standard fare, nothing that pushed the envelope. It was a nice location and the atmosphere/ servers where nice. Not a good sign when I strike up a consersation with someone about microbreweries and they start talking immediately about Boulevard. Worth a stop but there is a better option in town.
03-15-2013 01:22:35 | More by MilwaukeeCrusher
3.41/5 rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.25 | $$
Tuesday August 28, 3:45-4:30pm
Considering I was staying next door at the Hotel Des Moines, there wasn't a closer or easier to find beer locale. I entered through a pair of sturdy wooden doors to find an eerily quiet (few patrons this early on a Tuesday afternoon - just before 4pm), but cheery enough space. The tall ceilings (partially divided into two floors), wood trim and grey/white tile patterns give away the buildings age; a sturdy bar with chipping lacquer looks a bit 'tired'...er, 'loved'.
The stop on this day was strictly for beer; the mid-90s Iowan heat after a long flight from Portland and a brief business meeting made RRBC an easy pick. I sat alone at the bar, tended by a friendly young woman (missed her name) who gladly offered samples (free) of their three IPAs: Bandit, Midnight Bandit and El Bandito Loco. I tasted diacetyl in both the Bandit and Bandito Loco, so I chose the Midnight Bandit (normally don't like 'Black IPA' much, but this was pretty good to me). A few minutes later, my co-worker arrived and asked for tastes of the pilsner, wheat and red (which she chose for being 'smooth').
Overall, there were 9 beers on draft, all pretty standard styles. I noticed a few bottles in an under-counter cooler, all 'macro' lagers for the unadventurous.
I wasn't overly impressed with any of the beers, but appreciated the generosity with tastes and the $7.25 tab for two pints (we tipped well). Not a 'must', but a possible pit stop if I'm ever back in DSM.
A side note: we skipped food, but were told by a couple different people (not affiliated with the brewery) that the quality of food was greatly improved in recent months
09-03-2012 22:43:38 | More by msubulldog25
3.2/5 rDev -12.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5 | $$
Located downtown and for whatever reason a very dark place. I agree with some other reviews. This is a food place first and a beer place second.
The IPA and DIPA were okay..a bit too sweet and catty for my likes...but a typical midwest IPA.
There seemed to be a lot of locals that really liked the place. I was there by myself, and was dissapointed by the 2 small tv's.
However, this is a food place and not a place that highlights their beer. I would reccomend the ramen soup, which was WONDERFUL! If you are in town for a night I would go other places. However, it is certainly worth a try and a freindly place.
07-14-2011 17:16:06 | More by ndolover
3.4/5 rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I was in town on business and got to spend a Thursday night touring the three brewpubs that have creative license to brew beers on site.
Ranked by quality of beer, they are - Court Avenue, Rock Bottom, and Raccoon River.
Raccoon River was my second stop. Urban Spoon gave them and Court an 85% like it for food so I decided to eat at my second stop - Racoon River.
Racoon River is more of a good restaurant that happens to brew beer as opposed to a brewpub that focuses on beer.
The bartender gives samples when people ask questions about the beer.
I had an IPA and he gave me a sample of the double IPA (El Bandit). They also had a light, vanilla cream, red, stout, pils, and pumpkin.
The IPA was mellow and sweet with not much hop aroma. While drinkable, I left half a pint.
The double IPA was a mouthfull of sweetness.
The food was very good. I had an appetizer of the seared ahi tuna and the greek salad. The greek salad was probably the best greek salad I've had in Greece or the USA.
10-22-2010 02:34:25 | More by Yetiman420
1.88/5 rDev -48.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 1.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Went in expecting this to be my favorite brewery on my trip to Iowa, left horribly disappointed! The food was very good, I got a bacon ranch cheeseburger that was huge and tasty, but everything else about the restaurant was terrible. The beer was awful, far, far, far too flat for me to enjoy - even the light beer tasted like syrup almost. Our server knew next to nothing about the beer, I asked what style the el bandito loco was and the women looked at me and said it was simply an "ale". When I pressed further she mumbled something about Imperial IPAs, walked away awkwardly and then came back and told me the beer was an english bitter. I then tasted the beer and realized that it was definitely an IPA. Suffice to say, she didn't receive the best tip. The service was poor, the atmosphere was average, the beer sucked, I won't be returning.
08-17-2010 01:07:20 | More by jt31914
4.7/5 rDev +28.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $
This a great value! The selection was enough to satisfy me with a puzzling choice because I could not try them all!
The service was great! Joe directed me on making what I thought to be superior choices.
The food was outstanding! What I ordered, the chicken wings with sauce on the side, is pretty standard bar room fare. I order them cooked crisp & that is exactly what they delivered.
Things were never bad from the last review submitted, they only got better.
They have a very supportive & friendly clientele. One jovial customer, identified my traveling experience and suggested another establishment 120 miles west of Des Moines in Omaha, Nebraska. He clearly knows his beers & makes the very best recommendations. I may never see him again, but I will always remember. I left a very satisfied customer.
Be aware, as explained to me, Iowa law prevents the brewer from refilling growlers & directly returning it to the customer. The refilled growler must be sent to the distributor where it must remain for 24 hours. Then the distributor must return the growler to the brewer 24 hours later who can then sell it filled back to the customer. Extra handling, transportation & cost! If you are traveling, send your growler ahead & trust they have what you like on hand.
It sounds to me like the distributor wants a percentage of every beer sale & fears growler sales will hurt their profits! It is the three tiered system, brewery, distributor, reseller. The proverbial "middle man" wants his cut of the action!
06-24-2010 19:59:05 | More by RLaurel
4.28/5 rDev +17.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Yes, Desfucking Moines, and it was all Witzel's idea. I wanted to spend the entire time in Minneapolis but you just can't tell him shit when he gets something into his head (Yeah, that's what I need for vacation, hours and hours and hours in the car, right). He totally had that look of crazy to him, too. And had I not commandeered the rental Sunday morning, he would have had us in like Omaha or somewhere. Seriously, he is a bad man...
On the corner, in and then through a gaggle of uniformed soccer kids or something (go away!) Cavernous, split level place with lots of space. Stairs to up wrapped around the glass front brewroom to the left, and the bar to the right corner in; a darkish stained wood half a hex beaten and worn some; with a lip & foot rail, and lined with spotty bar candles. Seating for 9 and towers of 8 a piece on both ends. Barback is a wood unit, uprights with glass shelves of booze & glassware, and a light wood backing with spots illuminated. Alternating growlers & malt filled quart jars lining the top, and wines on their sides and coolered bottled macros below. Hanging sampler paddles on one end and flat screens above in the corners, one more behind me, and I know there are others. Drop cone colored lamps over the bar and tracks too.
Honeycomb tile floorings, and brick & large paneled windows up front. We are mocking the Grace Perm-A-Barrier near wall, meaning that the whole side of the place looks like it's under the construction that it is. Light art work, plants & vintage local auto shop signage riddled about, and a vertical slat wood board mounted displaying tap selections. A huddle of drop mini light sabers at different heights over the reception area, some large ball of yarn lamps up front and track spots, spinny fans & exposed ducts.
A ½ dozen+ mixed booths, tables & hightops forward the bar area and a dozen square tables up front to the left in an open area off the entrance. Straight back through under the over, a ½ dozen tables on the floor to the rear alongside 6 adjacent booths slightly raised, a large seating area to one side holding 18 tables and The River Room banquet space off to the other. Carpeted there, the walls wood slatted, large pillars lining, and a massive mural to the rear.
Upstairs, a 7 seat straight wood bar with angled mirrored piece over tiered booze. Nearly a dozen and a half raised & low square tables across the bridge as it is, and a pair of long bar counter tables, too. Good views out over everything from uppa there. Through to a long narrow lounge area with 5 billiards tables running to the rear.
Sampler gives you 5 house beers (Tallgrass Light, it's all corned up, next; Vanilla Cream Ale, to its credit, you can't smell it from afar and it's not over the top or offensively vanilla's ass, it's really a decent light Summer Ale; Homestead Red, some nice malty sweetness; Bandit IPA, a solid session IPA, Centennial & Cascade; Stonecutter Stout, licorice! It's just liquid good & plenty, I do like), and 3 seasonals (Octoberfest Lager, a good malty sweet Octo; Zustandfest Pils, a crisp clean Bohemian Pils; El Bandito Loco, a double hopped IPA, pleasant enough). The Bandit IPA, Stonecutter Stout, Octoberfest Lager and Zustandfest Pils were the best. Also 20 wines and a dozen decent random bottles micro & import that they're into just now.
Sooo, what's the soup? Cream of chicken & wild rice, yes, a bowl please, and the grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, I'll take the lettuce, tomato, onion & mustard, hold the cheese please, and a salad for the side with spicy Thai. The sandwich was damn good in a "it's hard to screw it up" kind of way. Witzel had the make your own burger which someone else did for him. "Lovely", he said, "cooked medium rare as requested, and juicy".
Long damn day doubtfully done. It was pretty late in the evening when we rolled in, so we caught a light but decent crowd and good tunes. It's chill, yo. Servicewise barside, Emilie was just excellent; she's lovely, we do like her. Fine foodings and they make pretty good beer here, too.
12-04-2009 01:12:32 | More by slander
3.83/5 rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
I stopped here for Saturday lunch while driving from IL to CO. It was a gorgeous day out, so Raccoon River wasn't getting much action. That made for a quiet experience that I really appreciated. It also meant that I had my own personal waitress. She was friendly and quick, but didn't know much about the beers beyond what was on-tap that day.
Like many a downtown brewpub, this one is in an old brick building that was used for something else that's now long gone. In Raccoon's case, a former car dealership. Because of its original purpose, the building has huge windows that let in ample light. That's a nice shift from the darkness present in many older buildings.
Also like many brewpubs, there's a ton of exposed brick and dark wood. The tables, bar and booths are dark wood too. So the windows are all the more welcome.
Enough with the ambiance. Let's talk food and beer. I ordered the asiago cheese dip. It was large and tasty. Other menu items didn't stray far from standard pub fare: burgers, sandwiches, pasta, etc. There were 8 beers on-tap. Six were year-round and two were seasonal. The Saison I drank was quite good. Since I had to drive, I didn't try any of the others.
All in all, Raccoon River is a nice brewpub that I'm glad I visited.
07-20-2009 21:02:40 | More by Rayek
4.05/5 rDev +11%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
I have been into Raccoon River a few times as I have travelled through the area and was able to "take it all in" this past weekend on a mini-vacation with the family while in town for the Hy-Vee Triathlon. I must admit that eating dinner was a very different experience than eating lunch at the pub. During the day everything is bright with natural light and it all seemed a little dark to me the night I was there. It perhaps was simply because I have come to expect the place to bright and clean. They have some pool tables in the upstairs and a large seating area downstairs. There is a bar in the main entry way and another at the top of the stairs. They had a decent number of beers on tap. I had a pint of the saisson and a pint of their "amber waves of grain." The saisson was a little sweet to me, but I have picked up some other saissons as I don't want to review until I have an adequate number of comparisons, although I did take notes. The amber was solid, though not as good as the server would have one believe. I was disappointed to not find the rio arriba porter this time, but can't say whether its a freak occurrence or not as I am just a travelling customer. In any event, I have yet to have a meal at Raccoon River that didn't satisfy. Everything tends to be above average to excellent. Maybe I do a good job selecting meals, but I have been with others and everything seems to be very good. I do prefer the daytime atmosphere to the evening. Service is pretty decent, but was less stellar on my most recent visit compared with past experiences. I can't fault a place for an "off night" however. The quality of the beers was good, but the food definitely stole the show. I am very pleased with the brewpubs in Des Moines and think that they compare well with the brewpubs around the country. Any beer lover would enjoy a stop at this establishment.
07-01-2009 04:59:48 | More by Ragingbull
Raccoon River Brewing Company in Des Moines, IA
85 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.