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Barn Town Brewing

7/4/2018

Suburban brewery is a throwback to rural Iowa

With half of a pickup truck protruding from behind the bar tapper, one might think the beer is coming directly from a leak in the truck. It’s not. But only a few feet away, lagers and ales brew at Barn Town Brewing.

A little piece of small-town Iowa’s history is tucked away in a strip mall located in Waukee — but technically with a West Des Moines address. It’s one of those suburb quirks. Opening up in February 2017, the bar includes 20 tappers with beers brewed onsite. Unlike some breweries, Barn Town also serves local cocktails and wine, a welcome addition for non-beer drinkers. A just-right-sized menu includes standard but fresh fare.

On a recent Monday evening, the place was filled with families, couples and after-work gatherings. The outdoor patio contains picnic-table seating and was overtaken by a car club of more than three dozen Mazda Miata enthusiasts.

Inside, retro Iowa decor including metal seed corn advertising signs fill an authentic barn wood wall. A sizable beer-can montage, created with 1,300 vintage beer cans, is shaped in the outline of Iowa. If you look closely, in the center are the initials BTB.

The brewery features various drink specials and limited bottle releases. Monday night’s deal includes $9.99 for a “55” burger and a pint of beer. Happy hour goes 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 to midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Tuesday nights offer 20 percent off the entire check.

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Kristina McCormick, manager, says menu items strive for local ingredients.

“Everything is made in house. Most every product is local. We buy fresh all the time,” she says.

The handmade soft pretzels with dipping sauces are a popular appetizer, paired with a cold beer. Limited beers brewed are available only onsite and are not bottled. You can bring your growler and fill it up with beers, such as “Sticky Juice,” “Wagon Wheel Wit” or “Get Up Get Down Brown.”

The neighborhood vibe is great for all ages, says General Manager J.B. Berkley.

“Folks can come with the kids or slip over here with friends on the patio,” he says.

J.B. says the he’s known the owner, Pete Faber, since he was 17, when both attended Des Moines schools.

“Just know that when you go to Barn Town Brewing, the money spent doesn’t go to a big corporation or chain,” he says. “All of it stays local, supporting local families.” ♦

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