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Belly Up

September 20, 2012
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Number 7 Brewing Company is a unique fit in one of Ankeny’s old haunts

Matt and Jessie Sims transformed the old bar Bears into Ankeny’s only brew pub, Number 7 Brewing Company, offering more than 100 beers, unique craft brews and a full food menu.

By Amber Williams

After celebrating craft beers at el Bait Shop’s Jimmy Carter Happy Hour last week, it seemed natural to visit a brew pub next, and there’s a new one in Ankeny that proves to be worth the drive. Last I knew it was a 40-year-old, root-bound bar called Bears in what locals consider “old Ankeny,” hidden from the main drag. But the latest challenges of the economy, and with retirement years approaching, the seasoned owners decided late last year to lift their hats from the rack at the door and leave the business behind.

Meanwhile, economic plights were hitting hard at the corporate level, too, and Matt Sims lost his position after years at the grind for Principal Financial. Losing your job will drive many of us to drink, and it did for Sims, too — but in a more productive way.

“I’ve been brewing my own beer at home for a long time,” he said. “Then I became the assistant brewer at Court Avenue Brewing Co. My wife and I also had this catering business at home (Bonz-n-Brew BBQ), so we were trying to figure out what to do with that. The idea for a brew pub kept coming back up, and it was number seven on the list.”

Hence the name, “Number 7” Brewing Company.

“We could have done a restaurant or a bar by itself, but we felt like Ankeny needed a brew pub,” Sims added.

Indeed, as there is no other established brewery in town. Currently, Number 7 offers in excess of 100 beers — more than any bar in Ankeny, Sims said — and of those, he has two house flavors on tap: Number 7 American Amber is a soft, malty, caramel delight without being too sweet; and KB Kolsch is a light pilsner-style German beer, crisp, clean and succulent.

“It’s a great gateway beer into the craft beer world,” Sims said.

Wildcard Wednesdays and Suds Surprise Thursdays are also great ways to evolve your palate and learn new flavors. On Thursdays, they fill the ice chest with an array of bottled beers. The bartender will blindly pull out a $2 bottle, and “you get what you get.”

“We have more beers coming in the next couple of weeks — a milk stout and an IPA,” Sims said. “Eventually we will have several beers on tap, including our four standards Kolsch, Amber, IPA, Milk Stout, as well as, a seasonal and a reserve ale.”

Number 7 will eventually have a total of seven flavors on tap. Sims and his wife, Jessie, have plans in the works to not only promote their own beers but also to support those of fellow brewers by rotating the winner of a “People’s Choice” competition on the “Wildcard” tapper.

“We just want to try something different, and we want our customers to try something different, too, instead of coming in here and getting the same beer they always get all the time,” Sims said. CV


Number 7 Brewing Company

302 S.W. Maple St.

(515) 964-5240

Hours: Tues. – Thurs. and Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. – Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Happy Hour: Tues. – Fri. and Sun., 3-6 p.m. and 8-close; all day Sunday for football.

Kitchen: Tues. – Thurs. and Sun., open-9 p.m.; Fri. – Sat., open-10 p.m.

Capacity: 135

Specials: Wildcard Wednesdays, Heroes Happy Hour Tuesdays, Suds Surprise Thursdays.

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