A- A+

5 Essential DSM Beers to Try This Summer

2021 Summer Beers

May 26, 2021

After a long winter and a chilly spring, warmer weather and the promise of summer is finally here. The signs are all around us: a full parking lot and busy bike lanes at Gray’s Lake; the hum of construction on Fleur Drive; a bustling (but downsized) Downtown Farmers’ Market. Everywhere you look, there is no doubt about it — life in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is starting to feel a little more like normal. There’s no better way to celebrate than with a fresh local brew!

While the pandemic is not exactly over, as the temperatures go up, Iowans are definitely in the mood to get out and party. Encouraged by rising vaccination rates and emboldened by new guidance from the CDC, more Iowans are emerging from their pandemic isolations by the day.

Whether it’s your first time out in months, or you’ve been an essential front line worker since last March, toast the return to normalcy this summer with these five essential beers brewed right here in Downtown DSM.

Call it Dreaming Hefeweizen | Lua Brewing Company

Without a doubt, Lua Brewing is the brewery to see and be seen. From industrial furnishings and mural adorned walls inside, to sweeping views outside, Lua has been a welcome addition to the downtown beer scene.

While head brewer Zack Dunbar is a savant in brewing the latest trendy brews like pastry stouts and triple dry-hopped hazy IPAs, he is also a master of the classic German styles like pilsners, altbiers and hefeweizens. For Call it Dreaming, he adds a modern twist by resting the beer on house toasted coconut before packaging, giving the final product a distinctive tropical flair. Pina Colada beers, anyone?

Extinction Event New England IPA | Confluence Brewing Company

New England, or Hazy, IPAs continue to be the darlings of craft beer. These flavorful brews accentuate the aromatic power of hops while keeping the bitterness at bay, thanks to full-bodied malt sweetness. Don’t let the murky appearance fool you, these brews are as refreshing as a cool glass of orange juice on a summer Saturday morning.

While each brewery across DSM has their own rendition of a Hazy IPA, Confluence takes it up a notch with their Extinction Event series. Using the same base recipe, the brewers at CBC use different hop varieties for each batch, resulting in a unique flavor combination with each new edition. Unfortunately, these crowd favorites tend to sell quickly, so follow Confluence Brewing Co. on social media to make sure you catch the next release.

Ollie Fruited Sour | Court Avenue Brewing Company

One of the newest additions to Downtown DSM over the past year has been Lauridsen Skate Park, which just opened to the public on May 7, 2021. Totaling 88,000 square feet of skateable terrain (the largest in the country) and new home to the annual Dew Tour, Lauridsen Skate Park has already made an immediate impact on the downtown scene.

After you finish throwing tricks for the day, skate over Court Avenue Brewing Company (the closest brewery to the skate park) for a glass of their Ollie Fruited Berliner Weisse. Brewed with lactose and then rested on blueberry, lemons and granola, this fruited sour is the perfect thirst-quencher after any summer skate session. In addition, $1.00 of every pint and growler of Ollie sold will be donated to Skate DSM to help fund clinics, events and activities at the new skate park.

Zoltan Session IPA | Exile Brewing Company

If you’re on the hunt for an easy drinking, flavorful beer that screams summer, look no further than Zoltan Session IPA from Exile Brewing Company. This brew packs a huge tropical punch thanks to loads or Citra, Mosaic and Mandarina hops. And despite being packed with flavor, Zoltan is not overly bitter, and it’s light enough to enjoy multiple rounds without feeling too full. It is the quintessential patio beer, especially after a long bike ride through downtown.

Craft Hard Seltzer | Peace Tree Brewing Company (Des Moines Branch)

Not in the mood for a beer? Then you’re in luck at Peace Tree Brewing. After low-calorie, lightly sweetened flavored malt beverages like White Claw and Truly took over the world in 2019, many craft breweries across the country quickly followed suit.

In addition to brewing dozens of delicious beers (like the massively popular Blonde Fatale), Peace Tree became one of the earliest adopters to brew up a craft hard seltzer in the region. Choose between Berry and Cucumber Lime for a crisp and refreshing alternative to beer. They even create in-house seltzer cocktails over ice for an extra satisfying twist on this new favorite. Cool off with one today!

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.

Tom Hardinge

Tom Hardinge a Des Moines apologist and occasional blogger with a passion for all things craft beer. He is a professional engineer by trade that also digs home brewing, traveling, biking, and hanging out with his awesome wife and four amazing daughters.