The folks at the area’s newest brewery, 515 Brewing Company, aim to add a little more flavor to the local brewing scene.
The four proud owners — Dave Ropte, 34, Ryan Rost, 33, Brandon Criger, 34, and Bailey Forrest, 33 — are close friends, who bonded over a shared enthusiasm for good beer, and it shows in the unique series of cold brews they want to share with locals. Since mid-February, they’ve been advertising their soft opening through word of mouth.
The four friends also have a perfectly-synced plan to keep their brew local, but different.
Hardly a typical brew pub atmosphere, 515’s taproom is one large, open-air space with energy to spare.
Walking in, vibrant greens and accents of silver offset the darker, neutral tones typical of most breweries. It’s almost a quirky twist of lime to energize a kind of joint that’s typically a bit stuffier.
The proud new owners are hard to miss. They laugh up front while tending to new patrons, reveling in the greatness of all things Iowa and cracking quick jokes whenever opportunities arise.
They’re equally quick to offer a tour of their distilling rooms in back, and shot-sized samples of anything on tap.
If you’re looking to drown your sorrows in a darker establishment, this probably isn’t your place.
Around 7 on a Thursday night, the taproom was surprisingly full and buzzing with good conversation. But let’s get to what we really came for: the beer.
Chalked across a blackboard wall are all the brews currently on tap, plus guest beers from other local brewers, like Confluence and Keg Creek. One beer we tried, the not-so-delicately named Numb Nut, offers a liquid kick for those who like their beer strong and spicy.
We also sampled the Lil’ Tart, which lives up to its name. It’s one to make you pucker up at first, but give it a chance and it’ll smooth out. Owner Ryan Rost’s wife, Cinnamon Rost, 32, kindly recommended her favorite, the OJ IPA. No actual orange juice was fermented in the process, but the citra hops featured in this India pale ale give it a floral, fruity taste.
For those not as interested in lighter, fruitier ales, the West Coast IPA is a stronger, hoppier alternative. Its bitterness isn’t for the brewing newbie, though.
The brewery doesn’t serve food, but complimentary pretzels are available. The owners welcome visitors to bring in snacks.
A grand opening is set for March 23, complete with the Tacopocalypse food truck, free T-shirts to the first 50 guests, prize drawings and plenty of suds.
We’re keeping an eye on this new establishment. So long as the four friends keep up the energy they’ve got going, and keep sliding unique new brews our way, we imagine 515 Brewing Company will become a local favorite in no time.
511 Brewing Company
Find it: 7700 University Ave., Clive
Hours: 4-9 p.m. Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
Info: 515-661-4615, 515brewing.com