EXPLORE: Central Iowa Drinkeries

By Cyote Williams

Wineries, breweries and distilleries make up this list of what we like to call “drinkeries.” Get the best wines, beers and spirits specially made in the heart of Iowa.

2400 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines
It’s not often there’s an elite vineyard right in a capital city’s backyard. Jasper Winery hosts events throughout the summer, including a summer concert series, fully equipped with food trucks, live music, and indoor and outdoor bars that serve up wines and plenty of other tasteful drinks. Known for its wine, naturally, Jasper Winery will also surprise you with its select choices of ciders produced there.

1681 220th St., Leighton
An hour’s jaunt outside Des Moines, Tassel Ridge Winery is a bit off the beaten path but well worth the drive. It features an excellent selection of wines, with everything from dessert to dry wines. If you pop over early enough, you can try out the bistro lunch that has a great range of sandwiches. One quick look at the wine awards section on their website indicates that you can’t go wrong at Tassel Ridge.

1514 Walnut St., Des Moines
It’s hard to believe that Exile opened its doors just a few short years ago in 2012. Its locally crafted beers, like the famous “Ruthie,” have become staples on the taps of many Des Moines and central Iowa bars. If you’re an Iowa Hawkeye fan, its “Swarm” goes directly to the UI’s NIL collective. Not looking for a drink? The food inside is just as good.

317 E. Court Ave., Des Moines
Rooted in Knoxville, Peace Tree’s Des Moines location has been open just on the outskirts of downtown since 2009, and it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Its trivia nights are well rounded and well hosted; enjoy them while you enjoy award-winning concoctions like the refreshing Blonde Fatale. For those looking for something non-alcoholic, and a little sweeter, the brewery also makes a darn good root beer.

7700 University Ave., Suite C, Clive
With 16 different specially crafted brews, 515 Brewing Company has something for the light, dark, stout and beyond beer drinker. Looking for something fruity? Try the I’m a Beerbie Girl. Want something with a little more kick? Ask for a Tactical Turtleneck. No matter what, a stop in the taproom is certain to live up to the hype.

4349 Cumming Ave., Cumming
Fresh off another great year at the CITYVIEW Best Of Des Moines awards where it won awards ranging from Best Local Distillery to being the maker of the Best Whiskey and several more, Iowa Distilling Company proves the votes and awards are well founded. Its Prairie Fire is worth the try whether you’re interested in drinking it straight or tossing it in a cocktail. For you ISU fans, the Iowa State 1858 Vodka sees a portion of the profits go toward the University’s We Will NIL Collective.

111 S. 11th St. Suite 100, West Des Moines
This unique drinking destination is an 1890s railcar barn and iron foundry remade into the drinking and food emporium you’ll find today. Featuring a railcar aesthetic on the inside, The Foundry features barrel-aged vodkas, Manhattans, gin and great cocktails. Take a tour to see the magic that puts that tasty drink in your hand.

1102 244th St., Jefferson
This award-winning orchard does have options for family fun, especially in the fall when it’s time for pumpkin patches; however, Deal’s Orchard shines when it comes to its hard ciders, made from apples (obviously), blackberries, peaches, watermelons, cherries and pears. There’s plenty of fruit-flavored drinks to go around.

15101 Fairfax St., Indianola
Just outside of Des Moines, the Summerset Winery, with its trivia nights, yoga-themed events, craft shows and the delightful Sangria-Palooza in June, does more than just provide attendees with great wine. The winery offers fancy options to impress the wine aficionado friends in your life, as well as reasonably priced flavorful choices to go with any occasion.

3021 St. Charles Road, St. Charles
If you’re looking to escape the bright lights of Des Moines, a quick drive provides you the chance to try the Madison County Winery’s fun and flavorful wood-fired pizza Fridays. If you’re not exactly sure what you want, take a quick look at the website, which shows you where the wines fall on the dry to sweetness scale.

2475 Hiatt Apple Trail, Winterset
Big Rack Brew Haus has plenty of creatively named beers crafted in-house. A Chocolate Roasted Honey Badger Brown for the true IPA connoisseurs, an Abbey Normal Blonde if you’re looking for something light and easy to sip on, or a Snakebite IPA that is aptly named. The Brew Haus hosts several events during the summer like Bloody Mary Sundays, gameday watch parties, and a Ractoberfest.

2207 170th Trail, Winterset
Found in the rolling hills of Madison County, this winery gets its name from the famous covered bridges of the area. You can find photos online of the early days of this winery, from the burning of the fields to planting the grapes that have been producing award-winning wines since 2004. The winery hosts stand-up comedy, live music and food trucks often, and even has stained glass demonstrations if you’re looking to get crafty.