Olde Main Brewing Co. & Restaurant

Olde Main Brewing Co. & RestaurantOlde Main Brewing Co. & Restaurant
Olde Main Brewing Co. & RestaurantOlde Main Brewing Co. & Restaurant
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

316 Main St
Ames, Iowa, 50010-6148
United States

// CLOSED //

Notes: Closed 5/19
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Ratings by TylerJ:
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Rated by TylerJ from Iowa

5/5  rDev +40.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Apr 15, 2016
More User Ratings:
Photo of DougPhishHead
Reviewed by DougPhishHead from Iowa

2.8/5  rDev -21.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3.25
The food is okay. I haven’t been there in over a year, but the beer was just plain bad. Wish it would stop trying to be a brewery and just change to be a better restaurant. Maybe a new brew master or owner will help?
Mar 26, 2019
Rated: 3.13 by omahawk from Nebraska

Mar 06, 2019
Rated: 3.75 by Scott17Taylor from Iowa

Oct 21, 2015
Rated: 4.1 by YodersBeerEmporium from Iowa

Aug 12, 2015
Rated: 3.48 by JDoHo from Michigan

May 30, 2015
Photo of shutout31
Reviewed by shutout31

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2 | food: 4
Awesome staff, atmosphere, and pretty good food. Beer quality and variance is a weak spot. For the vast majority of the year, the same six beers are on tap and these are basic beers, nothing exciting. Rarely are there special brews and the occasional seasonal beers are the same as every other year.
May 11, 2015
Rated: 3.75 by cyclonece09 from Wisconsin

Dec 04, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by Doeden23 from Iowa

Nov 13, 2014
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Reviewed by NickTheGreat from Iowa

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
I went to Iowa State and have a bias towards Ames.

I like all of Olde Main's beers. I don't love any of them, but they are all *good*

The restaurant is hit or miss with me. 4 or 5 years ago it was outstanding. In more recent years, it has fallen off. Though I was there last fall sometime and it seemed to have improved.

There's better out there, but definitely worse
Sep 24, 2014
Rated: 3 by jak from North Carolina

Sep 14, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by KAF from Iowa

Jul 08, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by boogs from Iowa

Jun 27, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by timlyon from Arizona

Jun 18, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by smccann from New Hampshire

Apr 10, 2014
Rated: 2.75 by qcbrewer from North Carolina

Nov 28, 2013
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Reviewed by mdwalsh from Iowa

3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
Stopped in on my way through town. The atmosphere is alright, it's pretty early, but the physical space is nice. The quality, not so much. Off flavors and unimpressive beer and the same for the food. The service was good, very friendly and quick, which is more than can be said for many places. The selection, while obviously all in house, covers a wide range of styles from pale (but not IPA) to Imperial Stout, with even a root beer thrown in.

The food was so so, no better or worse than any other bar.
Mar 15, 2011
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Reviewed by Willibomb from South Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
This place started a little rough, but the food menu has come along, and the prices are good.

They have a rotating seasonal selection that is very good, and drink specials make this one of the cheaper bars on the old downtown area.

Most of Ames is very slow to even sell craft beer, let alone make it, so it is very refreshing for a brewery to exist, even if the space is limited in the bar.

I would reccomend the cyclone ale, and the dinky wheat, both are solid for their style, and my all time favorite would be the black lager that they bring out in the fall/winter.

They could really improve if they made the back room another bar, or if they started selling growler fills in addition to their bottled brews.
Dec 29, 2010
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Reviewed by slander from New York

3.1/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Des Moines, it seems like a dream now. A late night on the town = a late departure from the hotel not enough hours later to points north. I'm sure the drive back to Minneapolis will be of the suck. On the way down, we broke up the ride some stopping halfway to visit that one brewpub. The return however will be a different brewpub, this one a few dozen miles out of town, and then a very lengthy straight run (the things we do for brunch). On this new morning, new morning; Ames, Iowa...

Another storefront on a strip of the like on a Main Street in a small town somewhere, and parked. Really, their total space runs a horseshoe around a forward sunken glass front, side and backed brewroom. Entering in, you get your look on it to the equipment there to the left, and a sectioned seating area to the right holding a dozen booths & tables. Past there, it opens up to a large cavernous space. Lotsa big brick with long ago logos from somethings and vintage framed pics of old time Ames. Drop lamps, wood rafters, exposed ducts, baffling from the ceilings concealed above. Cool lamp posts though scattered about and large flatscreens mounted to the rear. Off to the left backed by views of the brewroom, a 7 seat marble inlay topped, "L" shaped bar. A pair of towers of 8 each on the bar back; one to each side of tiered booze on center there. Hanging glassware racks above and flatscreens in the corners. The bar currently has all of its stools tucked behind it, so I would say "closed". A seating pen adjacent to the bar holds a mix of nearly a dozen hightop & low boy tables and booths. On the far wall, another sectioned area with a dozen booths kept out of sight from decent Sunday brunch eating folk. It might have been my well worn Southampton lid but I like it better than most folks anyway so screw 'em, I'll sit there. Having been told that our only option was brunch, we got to the table, touching it as claim of ours, and set out to see what foodings were up.

At the carving station the guy said "I've got ham, roast beast and pork loin", and I said "Yes". That seemed the bulk of things here, the brunch selection seemingly slight until I spotted the hey where did you get that oh there's more in the back room. See, they hide the kind stuff back there, nice. Migrated to the rear room for some lovely bacon, salmon in something, and the king of the brunch; pepper steak with rice, it was the goods.

To the rear, a ½ dozen booths there and some tables being used for buffeting just now. Corner staircases lead you upstairs to additional seating areas; a dozen tables in a strip to the side, a small banquet room with a giant surely difficult to functionally use table, and randomly clustered tables wrapping around the rear and over the side area where we're sitting.

And I didn't initially see it but there is a pub side through a door just off the bar; a smallish room holding a 12 seat angled bar. Like the bar on the restaurant side, this one is marble inlay topped, with a glass barback wall fronting the brew room, the counter there holding tiered booze on center, towers of 8 to both sides, hanging glassware racks above; same as same as. House logoed beer prints lined above, and mounted flatscreens. An adjacent bar counter piece seats 8, with a few booths beyond it. Above it, there's a perch holding a ½ dozen hightops, a championship table shuffleboard game, electronic darts, and a big screen in front of a single cushy chair with a wing eating guy looking pretty comfortable parked there just now.

Ordered the sampler served in a round rack, offering up 6 regulars (Long Face Amber Ale, the brew sampler menu prefaces "A horse walks into a bar, the bartender says, "Why the long face?" I'm thinking it's the butter, next; Off Kilter Scottish Ale, butter, waaay off kilter, next; Clone Ale, an American Pale Ale, this one was a solid beer, pleasant hoppiness; The Dinkey Wheat Ale, butter, next; To Be Named later Stout Ale, bitter coffee chocolate, and guess what else, yes, butter, the brew sampler menu reads "WARNING!!! This ale may induce goose bumps!!" I have read where geese are in protest over their association with it; Gryphonbrau Light Lager, it's a light lager, clean, and good for its style), a seasonal (Bourbon Stout, decent bourbon in that it hides the butter I suspect is behind it), and the Red Monkey Root Beer (a good root beer, kind of hard to fuck up the non fermentables). Beerwise, the Clone Ale APA & Light Lager were the only 2 that were any good, with the Bourbon Stout being borderline drinkable yet suspect. Hell, I'm a garbageman with no nose well into a week's worth of illin' further deadening my senses, but still my nose knows their beer's chock full of diacetyl. Why don't they?

The place is comfortable enough and the music selection was pretty decent, I suppose. The brunch was good but the beer, um, no.
Dec 09, 2009
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Reviewed by arnoldbrew from Iowa

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4
Local brewery/restaurant. As far as beer is concerned it depends on when you go there. I've had some decent beers before but I've had some that weren't very good. Last time I tried a wheat beer and I could barely drink it. The service there is usually pretty good. Wednesdays they have their dollar pint nights and that place is packed with loud college kids to the point of being overcrowded. If you want a quite place to enjoy your beer wednesday is not the day to go. The food is pretty good there and the service is not too bad. Overall I think it is ok.
May 22, 2009
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Reviewed by swizzlenuts from Wisconsin

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
The local microbrewery in Ames is Olde Main, which can be a decent time out, but it's nothing spectacular. The place gets a pretty loud crowd of college kids, which is okay, but it's a bit too loud for me. The food and service of the place are pretty good and decently priced.

The beer is not that great; hence, why I rarely ever go to Olde Main. I think their specialty beers are their best, but they can be very hit or miss. I recommend hitting up the pub on Wednesdays for dollar pint night because you'll be able to taste all their beers and not worry about disliking any of them. Their light lager is not good at all, and some of the beers have some diacatyl flavours. Try their specialty and the stout, and you should be okay.

Just an okay brewpub.
Dec 15, 2008
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Reviewed by ndolover from Minnesota

3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5
I was here on business recently and my co-workers picked it. It doesn't seem like much on the outside as the front on Main street seems quite small. However, upon entering it really opens up. It has the normal wood and brass decor, that extends to an upper loft area. I had a smoked porter and a scotch ale. Both were below average and the smoked porter had off flavors, such as phenolics and band aid. I'm guessing it was a bad batch that they used smoke flavoring to mask the off flavors. The Scotch had little to no malt complexity and little to no peat smoke flavor that I enjoy from a Scotch Ale. They had about 7 beers on tap and the server did not know the term "real ale" or "cask ale." So I assume they didn't have a beer engine.

The food and service were the real star here. I enjoyed my food and everyone else's food looked great and they all said they enjoyed it.

Overall, this seems like a nice place to hang out with co-workers or take someone on a date. However, I would not reccomend the beers...if you are in Ames give it a try. However, I would not go out of my way for this place.
Feb 16, 2008
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Reviewed by slyke from Minnesota

3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5
I stopped in to Olde Main Brewing on 4/14/06 for "dinner" - actually appetizers and desserts. My travel companion and I tried their beer sampler, then ordered our favorites from that.

The beers tend to be on the malty side, nothing with a distinctive hop aroma or flavor. If malty is your "cup of tea" many of the beers will be to your liking. I ended up having "The Dinkey" their wheat beer with the appetizers and their "To Be Named Later" stout with dessert. My companion had their seasonal milk stout and their root beer. All of these selections were very tasty.

The food was pretty good - definitely worth a return trip. We had the egg rolls and the brie entroule for appetizers and then tried the peach crepes and chocolate lovers cake for dessert.

The selection rating did take a bit of hit due to the absence of a hoppy selection, but I'll stop again.
Apr 15, 2006
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Reviewed by mithrascruor from California

4.28/5  rDev +20.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
Located in downtown Ames, Olde Main has become something of a fixture there, though having only been open less than 2 years.

Seating is available at the bar, at downstairs booths, or at upstairs tables. The old brick walls and dark furniture make for a nice atmosphere. My only real problem is the fact that the pub doubles as the smoking area of the restaurant, but usually the smoke isn't too noticeable. The place is always clean and well-maintained. Between the bar and the restaurant is a glassed in area where you can see the tops of the vats and other equipment where the beer is brewed. It feels much more relaxed than other bars; seems like the drink-just-to-get-drunk college crowd tends to avoid the place. There's a few TVs in the place that can be seen from most every table, but they aren't obtrusive.

They've always got 7 beers on tap -- 5 year-round and 2 seasonal. They're usually all good, solid beers. Seasonal beers include a honey brown, a chocolate porter, and a raspberry pilsner. With a selection on tap of everything from pale ale to stout it's sure to please most people. Every Wednesday night the brewer goes around to every table introducing himself, asking people their thoughts on the beer, and taking suggestions for future seasonal beers. A nice plus!

The beer is priced really nice. Happy hour is $2/pint, and Wednesday nights at $1/pint. I believe that the usual price is $2.50. Very affordable. You can also get growlers to go. The food is a bit pricey, but is usually quite good -- an appetizer (try the nachos or wings) can work as a meal.

Service is great too. Sometimes they're a bit under-staffed, but the people working there are always friendly. As a grad student I'd go here often with friends and always have a great time. I definitely miss it!
Mar 26, 2006
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Reviewed by smcdowell from North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4
Went here while visiting some old college buddies a short while ago. I was pretty excited to hear there was a brewpub in town, and had great hopes for state of beer in Ames, IA. Ultimately, it was a pretty good restaraunt, but came up short in the brewpub department.

The atmosphere was good, with lots of dark wood, little nooks and crannies, the historical aspect of the old bike shop, etc. The brewery part of the place was predominantly displayed right inside the front door, which was also nice to see. Service was decent, but not spectacular. The food was quite good, particularly if you're a fan of beef. The ribeyes, prime rib, etc., were all good, judging by the reactions of the group.

Now for the important stuff. There were five beers on tap, a pale, a wheat, an amber, a scottish, and a stout. I sampled the pale, amber, and stout. The only one worth writing home about was the stout. The other two were rather pedestrian. Overall, it's a step in the right direction, but they'll need to step up the selection and quality to really put themselves on the map.
Sep 05, 2005
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Reviewed by beragg from Iowa

3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 2
I went here to obviously try the beer, but when I got here thought I'd have lunch too. My friend and I decided to dine in the bar area. They have a seperate area which is just the restaruant. I did like the atmosphere. There is an upper level with seating and has an open view of the bar below. The banisters are a nice woodwork. The tap handles are homemade and look as if they were made to be chair legs. A very cool look. The walls are brick with old advertisings painted on a long time ago (or painted recently and aged, not sure which). It had a very new clean look to it.

I tried three of their beers, the stout, the wheat, and the scottish ale. Two were great, but the scotch ale, let me down.

The service was good. But since we were the only ones there that is to be expected. I was a little dissappointed that when I asked the waitress if they sold growlers, she seemed oblivious to what that meant, and when I specified she said that they do not. Oh well. Maybe they will start.

They really focus on their own beers. It was all they had on tap. I didn't notice if they had a bottle selection, but the menu had nothing on it about bottles (that I can remember. Please don't quote me).

Their food was a little of a let down. I got the Chicken BLT. The chicken was dry, and the bread was crumbly. The fries were soggy. Hopefully this will get better. they have just opened.

I really did like this place. I take consideration in the fact that they had not yet been open a month, so I'll maybe make another review down the line.
Nov 02, 2004
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Reviewed by BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5
Impressive looking entry compared to other brewpubs that I've seen of the 'store front' type. Red brick facade with two sets of huge wooden doors complete with black iron-work. The left set of doors lead to the smoking side and the right set to the non-smoking side. A pretty good idea actually, this is really two connected restaurant/bars (they share the bathrooms). The smoking side is much smaller and the non-smoking side doesn't serve food at the bar (I had to move to the smoking side after one pint since I like to eat at the bar).

Spacious interior that is quality all the way. Same red brick as the front of the building, plenty of dark wood and the requisite silver brew kettles visible through a glass wall behind the bar. This place has a huge capacity, in fact, there's a spacious second floor as well. The lunch crowd was large, but couldn't hope to fill all available seats. Seating is in booths, small tables and elevated 'bar tables'.

Standard lunch menu of soups, salads, burgers, other sandwichs, etc. I had a BBQ burger with was good, but not outstanding. It was pink in the center (good) and charred on the outside (not so good). I'm glad the bartender talked me into medium instead of medium-well---she clearly knows the grilling habits of the cooks. It's tough to rate food fairly after one visit, but what else can I do? I wasn't impressed by the beer, please see the actual reviews for details.

Given Iowa's 6% ABV law, I'm willing to give local brewpubs a little slack. In the interest of personal integrity though, I have to rate them by the same set of standards that I use on all beer. In addition to the pale ale and the Scottish ale, I almost tried a third pint (stout), but $6 wasted was more than enough for one day. I'll stop here again on future trips to Cyclone Liquors, if for nothing else than to see if I just happened to catch the brewers with a couple of bad batches.
Oct 27, 2004
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Reviewed by bditty187 from Nebraska

3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
This brewpub opened for business on October 2, 2004 and I visited on Oct. 6, 2004… it still smelled like paint when I walked in the door and it sure seemed there was some kinks to work out. Thus I ask for patience with information on this site. Anyway, there are two sets of doors; one (the left) goes to the smoking section. Inside here is a bar and some booths and a few tables. I didn’t want this section so I enter the other set of doors (on the right). Here is the non-smoking bar and restaurant section. This place is very big. If everybody that lives in Ames shows up at once there would still be empty seats!

We arrived at 3:45 pm and were told we were late for lunch and early for dinner (5-10 pm) but we could order appetizers and salads. Fine with us. The menu was well organized. There was a great variety of appetizers plus three seafood dishes, four steaks ($14-$17), burgers and sandwiches, three vegetarian items, deserts, salads, and a kid’s menu. We tired the Asiago Cheese Dip (very good) and the Caramelized Mushrooms (great) plus some dinner salads (tasty too). There was terrific presentation with the food. I really want to see want they do for main meals!

At my visit they only had four beers on-tap (I tried too, good stuff) but there will be more.

The décor was very pleasant. There is lots of dark wood, exposed beams, wood and tile floors, and wood tables/chairs. There is even a wood bridge for the upstairs section (which I didn’t not explore). The brewing equipment is shown behind glass, and it divides the two bars. Around both bars are a few TVs (sound down). The outer interior walls are brick. Dim lighting but beer geek approved. The inner walls are clean with only well placed old pictures of Ames. This place is very lovely. The atmosphere is family friendly but upscale casual (if that makes sense?). Regardless I liked the vibe of the place. I will have to come back.

Service was pretty bad. Our waitress had a million things to do and one table to wait on, us. I’m not going to rip the place because it just opened. Everybody I spoke to was very nice and I think it has good potential.

Olde Main Brewing is easy to find, it is on the western end of Main Street in quaint downtown Ames. Metered parking.

I will return.
Oct 08, 2004
Olde Main Brewing Co. & Restaurant in Ames, IA
Brewery rating: 3.18 out of 5 with 189 ratings