During my formative years, field trips entailed excursions to museums, visits the local zoo, and classroom camps (Outdoor School, what?!).
Here on DM Foodster, the “Field Trip” series will be a semi-regularly occurring post reviewing my latest haunts to some of Des Moines’ finest craft beer institutions. Expect real reviews from the average everyman (me!), with every new post laying down the particulars of my time spent at each establishment.
So far, we’ve visited:
So let’s kick things off right with one of the metro’s newer locales: Firetrucker Brewery!
(Photo courtesy of Juice Magazine; Click photo for link.)
716 SW 3rd Street
The brewery, tap room, and beer garden (which we were sadly unable to enjoy due to the colder than average spring temperatures) are all housed in and around a building that was once home to the city fire station. Massive stainless steel fermenters, boil kettles, and mash tuns of the 20-bbl brewing system are in full view behind floor-to-ceiling glass panels. Overall, a very slick set up.
Firetrucker’s beverage line up is surprisingly extensive.
Definitely a respectable batch of beer to start the evening! Of the four, the smooth dark chocolatey notes of the Grizzly stout piqued my interest most.
With me for the evening was the Foodster, who was enjoying the flagship Steam Engine Red and his brother, who settled on a Cat in a Tree Ginger Beer. Which, if you’re asking, was way too sweet for any of our taste buds.
My second trip up to the bar ended with a Tropical Burn, Firetrucker’s take on the popular Double IPA style.
This mango/citrus blast of hoppy freshness was the crowd favorite and had me dreaming of warmer days to come!
Beer is Art
Nowadays, most small breweries like to compare their craft to art, and rightfully so. However, the art/beer connection goes so much deeper than superficial slogans with Firetrucker. It was, after all, the art that drew me here in the first place.
The night of my visit, at least a dozen works from area artist/celeb Van Holmgren were on display, along with Van himself in attendance for a meet & greet.
Firetrucker even made a limited edition logo to commemorate the occasion…how cool is this?
The best part was that this wasn’t a one-off, special event, break from the day-to-day operations. While I don’t know how often they switch up their logo, Firetrucker regularly showcases works from local artists in their tap room, and their beer style line-up cards dazzle with brilliant customized designs.
(Find these and more on their Facebook page!)
Even their digital flyers wouldn’t feel at all out of place next to vintage rock concert posters of old…and I mean that in the best way possible.
Solid line up of beers? Check.
Greatly needed addition to the craft beer scene in the second largest suburb of Des Moines? Most definitely.
The only downside (for me personally) is that Ankeny might as well be Omaha. With date nights few and far between, I usually can’t justify the 25 minute car-ride up to the north ‘burbs just for a brew. However, for those of you that do find yourself in the more immediate vicinity, don’t pass up the chance to drink local and support Firetrucker Brewery!