Don’t you just love those first warm, sunny Sundays of Spring?  Where the temperature pushes 70 degrees and the breeze is just right and its absolutely gorgeous out and you remember why you suffer through Iowa winters?  I do.  And that’s exactly what I got last week, a work-free, homework-free, gorgeous Sunday with nothing planned.  It was just too good not to get the road bikes out and take that first long ride of the season.  So we hopped on the trail and rode 7.2 miles worth of trails from West Des Moines to 515 Brewing.  Breweries on bike trails are the best breweries, and when we arrived we discovered several others agreed with us.  Great minds think alike.


515When we walked in, the place was packed I could tell everyone else was in that same happy, Spring Fever mood.  Seriously the best.  In the name of research, we order a couple flights so we could try all 8 of 515’s current offerings. Entirely unintentional, our whole first paddle was dark.  I know these all look the same, but I swear their flavor profiles were very different!


Black Wheat IPA Thang, Wired Heifer, Stout of the Closet, Castaway Porter

IMG_5969The Castaway Porter was an instant favorite for me.  I live for coconut mochas, so I chocolate coconut-inspired beer is like a dream come true for me.  It was gone in no time.  I’m not even convinced I gave a second thought to any of the others until it was.  If any of my readers who make regular trips from Des Moines to Cedar Falls want a bring a growler to me next time, I won’t be upset (so subtle with my hints).

IMG_5970The Wired Heifer was also pretty impressive, but you have probably gathered by now how I feel about coffee beers, especially when its in the form of a milk stout.  This one is made with coffee from another local favorite, Java Joe’s.  Any how can you not love the name?

Honestly, the whole paddle was great.


Lil Tart, Belgian Paradise, Mediocre, Big OJ


Round 2 brought a little more color.  These beers are almost too pretty to drink.  Almost.

IMG_5977I had read the description of the Belgian Paradise while I was enjoying my first paddle, so I was really excited to try this one.  Mostly because it promised hints of ginger, which I am an absolute sucker for.  It was absolutely delicious.  Exactly the type of beer you could sit and drink all day.



IMG_5971The Lil Tart is a sour ale and definitely an interesting piece.  It had a certain crispness with a clean finish, reminding me of drinking apple juice in a way.  It is another one of those beers that you wouldn’t necessarily even know was a beer at all (see Firetrucker’s Cat in the Tree Ginger).  Very enjoyable.


515 doesn’t offer food, but they do a great job of promoting and encouraging the wares of other local businesses.  They keep a book of menus on hand in case you get hungry.  Cool Basil Thai is just down the street for example, and is in my top 5 favorite Des Moines restaurants.  Guru BBQ food truck generally stops by for lunch on Saturdays, and other special occasions as well.  And if you just need a snack, 515 has a cooler of Thelma’s ice cream sandwiches and cheese trays from The Cheese Shop of Des Moines.

IMG_5998Overall, 515 is great.  We had a *perfect* afternoon there, and I’m sure will have several more as the days grow warmer.  It’s a great stop for bikers.  Despite being a brewery, its family-friendly.  Its an excellent site for hosting events.  The guys do a wonderful job of supporting other local businesses.  And they just make an awesome variety of great beers.  There are so many breweries in the Des Moines area now, but 515 is one of the best!

515 Brewing Company | 7700 University Avenue Clive, IA | 515.661.4615