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Confluence Brewing Company

7/3/2019

Striving to keep things local

The patio at Confluence is popular with bicyclists.

When Confluence Brewing Company opened up in 2012, the staff created a handful of beers inside the brewery in an industrial district close to Gray’s Lake. With potential for expansion, the grassy area in the back offered an untapped gem with the nearby bike trail.

Fast forward seven years, and Confluence is still brewing in the same location. With nearly two dozen beers on tap, monthly limited-released bottles, a canning system and beer distribution to nearly 700 outlets in Iowa, Confluence consistently makes the “top beers in Iowa” list.

A recently expanded patio is a highlight of the brewery, which is just off the Kruidenier and Meredith bike trail. The patio doesn’t overlook a cement parking lot with noisy traffic. Instead, it offers a quiet, inviting oasis with tall trees and greenery. The only disturbance is the faint sound of cyclists unclipping their bike clips and bike shoes and then clacking over the cement on a trek to quench their thirst.

The original upper level patio soon morphed into a large slab of concrete with equal room for bicycle parking as there is for patrons. Owner John Martin says the completed project is ideal.

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“It’s much bigger than we originally thought, but I love it. We worked with the city to have a bike path to our place,” he says.

Confluence owner John Martin displays a case of beer in the brewery.

Deb and Brent Havermann are avid bicyclists and stopped for a mug of the Small Town Brown ale. A destination bike ride from their Clive home offers a 20-mile round-trip ride.

“We really like the patio,” says Deb. “I’m glad they paved the path from the trail. I always worried about popping a tire to get here.”

Confluence strives to keep things local. They participated in Des Moines Beer Week, releasing a Flag Day IPA, celebrating the Des Moines flag.

After California wildfires destroyed Sierra Nevada Brewing, breweries came to their aid. After helping the brewery, John suggested keeping the assistance closer to home and, this spring, created a Local Cause White Ale.

They offered the net proceeds of the beer to benefit the Iowa River Revival, a nonprofit protecting Iowa’s rivers and streams. The brewery teamed with Confluence Landscape Architecture, which offered to match their donation.

“We’ll each be presenting a check for $10,000,” he says.

The future of Confluence is ever-changing, and John plans to continue to expand the brewery.

“We want to be the brewery of Iowa,” he says. “It sounds corny, but we love what we do, and we’re proud to be part of the community.” ♦

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