Court Avenue Brewing Company

Court Avenue Brewing CompanyCourt Avenue Brewing Company

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

309 Court Ave
Des Moines, Iowa, 50309-2245
United States

(515) 282-2739 | map


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.)

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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 51
Photo of smc0198
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The bar, tap room and eatery are co-mingled together on the first floor of an historic building a couple of blocks east from the ornate old Polk County Courthouse and close to metered on-street parking and parking ramps that service this revived 3-4 city block of entertainment and eating venues. Stopped in just to sample the flight of nine current offerings of 4 ounce ales and beers., but the qualities of the interior decor and brews convinced our party of four to stay for a early Saturday evening dinner. The variety of brews was so diverse and equivalent in quality that each of our party had a different libation with their meal. However all of us had the sliced prime rib with roasted pepper au jus sandwich and diversified with different side item. All four of us were willing to schedule a return visit.

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Photo of MickeyTheHead
3.15/5  rDev -19%
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 Mothergoose03
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
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 ALC82
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
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 +1%
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 +12.9%
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 +2.8%
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 -4.9%
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 +10%
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 +13.9%
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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Photo of MarcatGSB
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.41/5  rDev +13.4%
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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Photo of palmdalethriller
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My brother and I stopped by in the middle of a road trip from Boston to Sacramento. Although it is located in the court district of Des Moines, it was a very sleepy late Monday afternoon.

The bartender was very friendly and knowledgeable and pointed me toward a double ESB that I really enjoyed. We also had the Naked Red on cask, the Blackhawk Stout, Honest Lawyer IPA, and the 21st ammendment pale ale. All were good, but the double ESB was the star.

The food was very, very good. We shared an appetizer (half off for happy hour) of crab-stuffed Boursin mushrooms that were perfect, and a tasty artichoke heart pizza that featured deliciously fresh cheese on top.

The artwork on the walls was a nice touch as well, with several paintings to match some of their beers. Combined with the comfortably low lighting and the brewhouse located behind a glass wall in the bar, court ave brewing had a real nice atmosphere.

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Photo of jt31914
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Everything about this brewery was great, except the service. Our waiter was stiff as can be and made several mistakes on orders (nothing serious, but still enough to be annoying). He seemed like he hated his job and thus was a hindrance to the meal. Other than that the brewery was great. Nice beer selection, all of the beers were at least decent and several were very good. The food was great (I got fish and chips) and the menu was big enough to be satisfying without being overwhelming. It wasn't very bar-like in terms of atmosphere, but it was still a fun place to be.

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Photo of DarrinRasberry
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A: Very much a bar/restaurant. Bar itself felt a little cramped, if not somewhat neglected, compared to the spacious dining area.

Q: Ordered a sampler of all of their beers, and I enjoyed every one of them immensely. Nice, clean, and inviting place will definitely have me coming back in for another sampler and subsequent BA reviews!

S: Very good service. They ran out of stout on the sampler and gave me their breakfast stout in its place, for instance; all the mechanics of serving were there, as well. Prompt and courteous.

F: Pretty good stuff. I had some hot wings with blue cheese crumbles - pretty standard sauce, but the crumbles added a whole new dimension to my favorite food. Loved munching down the soup here, as well.

V: Was a bit more than expected for the wings and sampler, but not too terribly high.

Great place! Hope to meet some fellow Iowan BA's here soon.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

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Photo of slander
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of Ragingbull
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I have stopped into CABCO a few times when travelling through Des Moines but finally had an opportunity to slow down and take in the whole Des Moines experience this past weekend. We were in town for the Hy-Vee Triathlon and of course we had to have some local beer. Court Avenue was actually better than I remebered it. Our server was excellent. The facility was bigger than I remembered. There is an interesting history and they employ it in the marketing of their beer. I was very excited to see "spent grain pretzels" on the menu and we ordered a couple of orders for our party. All of the beers were good, but I was partial to the California Common with the Honest Lawyer IPA achieving some honorable mention. The food was very good. I had a steak salad that was just average, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the evening. Family friendly, good atmosphere and friendly service. I have to say that I think very highly of the brewpubs in Des Moines compared to the rest of the country. They are definitely in the top 1/4 as far as overall experience is concerned.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Nice big old building in downtown Des Moines.

Was in town visiting my gf's family (boy now that's something to write about). An excellent brewpub. I mean, it's not Oregon, so my standards are set unnaturally high, but it was damn good.

Got a sampler with a good 10 beers on it, all of which had their merits. I really enjoyed their IPA, a bourbon porter, and a red.

Food is great quality and portions. Unique entrees are a bit lacking, but you can't go wrong with a steak, pasta, appetizers (happy hour).

From what i've also heard from local friends, they have the best selection and quality in Des Moines.

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Photo of Deuane
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
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 (I’m 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 can’t 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 Zimmerman’s 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 didn’t 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 didn’t have it. I’d 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 McDonald’s” – I should say so! The orange ginger vinaigrette was fabulous with the mandarin oranges and wontons; he topped it all off with the bartender’s 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.

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Photo of hoffman
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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 1940’s, 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.

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Court Avenue Brewing Company in Des Moines, IA
3.61 out of 5 based on 147 ratings.
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