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3 Things You’ve Got Wrong About the Iowa Craft Brew Festival

Iowa Craft Brew Festival

May 29, 2023

The Iowa craft brewing industry is still relatively young in the state of Iowa. Even though our oldest member has been operating since the 1980s, the industry has doubled in size since 2014, as the enthusiasm for high-quality beverages and community gathering spaces has grown. The Iowa Brewers Guild exists to bring this industry together, but also to bring people together. Our motto is even “Drink Beer. Make Friends.” And what better way to do that than with a summer festival?

We are all about growing our community and inviting new friends to discover the delicious things happening in Iowa craft brewing. This is the 13th year of the Iowa Craft Brew Festival and each year it gets a little bigger and (dare we say it!?) a little more fun. Still skeptical? I’m going to challenge three misconceptions you might have about an Iowa beer festival:

It's All IPA's

Did you know there are more than 100 styles of beer? In the 2023 World Beer Cup®, there were 111 beer categories! (Iowa breweries came home with FOUR gold medals, by the way.) From Czech pilsners to cream ales, the range in styles and flavors means there is something for everyone’s palate from strong to subtle to sour and everything in between.

There is also a reason it’s called the Iowa Craft Brew Festival: it includes MORE than beer. More than 70 craft breweries and beverage companies will be set up to sample their brews, not just beer but also craft cider, kombucha, mead, hop water, seltzer and more. A drink and vendor list will even be available digitally so you can plan out your day.

Iowa Craft Brew Festival Logo

It’s Full of Intimidating Beer Experts

Okay, so there ARE some beer experts at this event: many of the brewers themselves come and pour their beer. They are passionate chemists and scientists, and they can describe the amazing brews you’ll get to try! (Pillowy! Juicy! Floral! Citrus!) This is a great chance to try a lot of styles and figure out what YOU really enjoy. That’s why we hand you a little glass on the way in.

And if you are a beer expert and you’re joining us, we cannot wait! Some breweries bring special beers for hopheads scouting out the newest flavors and killer brews. Come find your new favorite. A style you’ve yet to taste. Or a brewery you haven’t been able to visit.

Brewed in Iowa

It’s Like That Beer Festival Meme

Every few months someone sends me that meme with the guy begging his friends to come to the beer festival in a hot parking lot with no food. I usually reply “We would NEVER!” The Iowa Craft Brew Festival is on the gorgeous, green grounds of Des Moines Waterworks Park. You’ll be surrounded by local favorite food trucks and listening to live music as you stroll and sip. Heck, you can even bring a lawn chair! Take a selfie with your crew and soak in the start of summer.

We hope you’ll come support this great industry and find out all Iowa craft brewing has to offer on Saturday, June 3. Each ticket to the 13th annual ICBF includes entry to the festival grounds, unlimited samples, live music and a variety of food trucks. Tickets are available up until the day of the festival: VIP Tickets $65 SOLD OUT; General Admission, $50; Designated Driver, $10. Tickets and a list of participating breweries are available now. All ticket holders must be 21 plus years of age.

The Iowa Brewers exists to unite craft brewing professionals, promote Iowa beer, and advocate for the industry’s growth. More than 100 members operate in communities across Iowa. For additional information on the Iowa Brewers Guild visit iowabeer.org.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.

When dining out — or in — in Greater Des Moines (DSM), locally-owned restaurants, craft breweries, local wineries, coffee shops and more have this foodie scene covered. Find out more about the region’s most popular restaurants and new additions here.

Noreen Otto

Noreen Otto is the Executive Director of the Iowa Brewers Guild, the trade association representing the 100+ craft breweries in the state. She loves sipping beer outdoors, even in the winter!