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Exile Brewing Co. has found its home


The word “exile” brings about a sense of loneliness, referring to the state of being barred from a particular place, especially a person’s native country. And while that is exactly where Exile Brewing Co. took its name from, the brewery puts a positive spin on it. It is named for the Tursi family’s patriarch, Joseph, who was an exile when he came to America many years ago. Seeing the Statue of Liberty on the horizon, Tursi saw his first sign of opportunity in a new home — and now a green crown just like that of Lady Liberty sits atop the roof of Exile Brewing’s downtown building.

Exile offers a wide range of permanent and seasonal beers on draught and in bottles, as well as a full-service restaurant.

Exile offers a wide range of permanent and seasonal beers on draught and in bottles, as well as a full-service restaurant.

The story is one of hope and rebuilding, of making something special out of nothing. Exile continues on this path today, crafting new beers and paying homage to its European, American and Midwestern roots.

R.J. Tursi and his dad, Bob Tursi (owner of Tursi’s Latin King), opened Exile in the summer of 2012. It is housed in the former Des Moines Brewing Company and offers a spacious restaurant and patio seating in addition to the brewery.

Exile has four beers on its regular menu: Hannah, a Bavarian wheat; Beatnik Sour, a Berliner-style Weisse; Ruthie, a gold lager; and GiGi, a dark lager. The brewery also offers a wide array of rotating seasonals. Currently on the menu are G-Funk, Stunner IPA, Lucille, Lucha Libre, Help on the Way Pale Ale, Iowa Export Transatlantic Pilsener and Doppelganger Hoppy Wheat Ale.

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The brewery/restaurant has been a popular place among both locals and tourists; Exile seems to have never lost any steam even throughout the openings of several other breweries in the area.

Some people thought craft beer was just a fad, but Exile has gone to great lengths to prove that it’s much more than that. It’s an evolving form of art, much like the brightly colored labels wrapped around each Exile bottle. That art, however, comes from resident artist Ramona Muse Lambert, who’s been illustrating, painting and singing at Exile since the summer of 2014. Her artistry has made Exile’s labels as unique and unforgettable as the beer itself.

IMG_8225The beer menu is great, of course, but the restaurant’s menu is nothing to scoff at. Unlike many other breweries that offer only tasting rooms or catered-in appetizers, Exile has full lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus. Treat yourself to a Graziano stuffed sausage or homemade dill pickles to start, then try one of the classic entrees for dinner, such as a 14-ounce rib eye or breaded eggplant. Desserts are available for both lunch and dinner, and brunch is served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays.

Exile offers the whole package: a full-service restaurant, private party space and tasting room, and brewery tours. Tours are available every Saturday from 3:15-4 p.m. and $5 gets you an Exile tulip glass and four beer tickets, each good for one 6-ounce pour of any draft beer. The tour takes guests around the brew house, fermentation room, lager room and packaging facilities. Call 883-2337 to make reservations. CV

Exile Brewing Co.
1514 Walnut St., Des Moines • 883-2337
Mon. closed
Tues. – Thurs. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Fri. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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