A new meeting space in the East Village2/1/2017
Before there was a Peace Tree Brewing Company, there was a large sycamore tree. The tree’s grand appearance made it a recognizable mark on the landscape, and thus it became a natural meeting place. Legend has it that tribes of Native Americans would meet at the tree to barter and negotiate deals. Later on, European settlers would meet at the tree with Native Americans to trade various goods and strike agreements with one another. Fur traders met there as well. It was known as the “Peace Tree.”
When the dam was built forming Lake Red Rock in the late 1960s, a reservoir covered the Peace Tree, but the stubborn sycamore is still standing, sometimes visible when the water level is low.
Taylor Evans is the manager at the new East Village brewery. He’s been with the company since it began out of what was a former car dealership in Knoxville, Iowa. He says the establishment was named in hopes of mimicking the tree and becoming a meeting place for people to enjoy conversations and form new friendships.
Peace Tree has only been open a few weeks, and renovations aren’t completely finished at the brewery, but Evans says he’s seen many people come in two or three times, which means it is already building a core group of regulars and is living up to its name.
“For a while, we are going to make a lot of styles of beer,” he says. He adds that, in the beginning, that might mean a lot of sours. Head brewmaster Joe Kesteloot is looking forward to the added brewing capabilities and options the move to Des Moines will allow.
The Des Moines Branch has a contemporary but industrial feel.
‘”(The building) is a Quonset hut,” Evans says. “It’s probably 1940s era.”
A Quonset hut is a lightweight structure fabricated from corrugated, galvanized steel with a high arching ceiling.
The drinking establishment offers a few snack items for food as well as menus from other restaurants in the area. Instead of placing an emphasis on food, though, Peace Tree is focused on its 25 draft lines, making beer, and gaining more customers who now have a peace tree to meet at.
Peace Tree Brewing Co.
317 E. Court Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 2-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. ♦