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Fox Brewing Co. sets itself apart


Des Moines has become a hotspot for the ever-growing micro-brewing community. To find success late in the game, a brewery must claim its spot in the growing list in a unique way. Fox Brewing Co. grabs the attention of guests and customers with the promise of good brews, good times and a one-of-a-kind barrel-aging process.

Fox Brewing Co., a microbrewery and taproom, opened in West Des Moines in September.

Fox Brewing Co., a microbrewery and taproom, opened in West Des Moines in September.

The taproom, owned by Brian Fox, opened on Sept. 12, but brewing has been a passion in Fox’s life for much longer.

“I got started brewing when I was about 19 years old. I was brewing in my parents’ basement — unbeknownst to them sometimes,” said Fox.

Starting from the ground up, Fox began working for Court Avenue Brewing Company doing mostly custodial jobs, but he worked his way up the ladder, learning more and more about the beer-making process.

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The taproom at Fox Brewing is a great place to try a beer or two (priced at $5 a glass) and to relax with friends, coworkers or even biking partners. The brewery, located a couple blocks from a West Des Moines bike trail, has seen many customers right off the trail, along with guests who come for trivia, “Walking Dead” watch parties or sports viewing events. Customers have many different lounging options, from big couches, bar seating and an upstairs overlook of the brewery itself.Fox’s most popular beer, Foxy Blonde, is a Belgian blonde ale and a “very approachable beer,” said Fox. “I did a lot of test batches and experimental brews trying to find the recipe for this one, and people are drinking the heck out of it.”

The second-most popular? That would be Fox Trots, a chocolate milk stout, combining a good stout, a lot of lactose and a lot of chocolate.

Other brews currently available include core beers, seasonal offerings and barrel-aged beers. The core beers, which will always be brewed and served at Fox Brewery, are a traditional Irish Red Ale called Foxtail, which features caramel and sweet toffee flavors, and the Foxy Blonde, a Belgian Blonde Ale described as “bready” and medium-dry.

Seasonal offerings — often based on local ingredients — such as his Pumpkin Ale that was made with pumpkins from the Valley Junction farmers market, depend on the season and availability of ingredients. For Fox, the main idea is just to start with a good beer.

“Most of it is just coming together, much like a chef makes a recipe,” Fox said about his brewing process. Customers can always expect a rotating brew selection.

“Barrel-aging is outside of what is generally done,” said Fox. Fox plans to try many different things in the future, such as aging beer in wine or liquor barrels, to set Fox Brewing Co. apart from other microbreweries in the metro. And so far, it’s working. CV

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