Sprouting out of the rural countryside, just a short drive north of Ames, is a new brewery with a fresh take on beer: Alluvial Brewing Company.
Located next to Prairie Moon Winery, Alluvial is a scenic, serene spot perfect for enjoying a few rounds of locally brewed beer.
Endless acres of farmland surround the architecturally appealing building, which looks almost like a church at first glance. But new patrons should have no doubt — the only thing found inside is a cultured and vibrant atmosphere teamed with tasty new beers.
I knew I was in for a rambunctious Saturday afternoon when the first person I encountered walking in smiled at me and said, "I'm really drunk, man," before bursting into laughter. Yes, this will be quite the experience.
The scene inside the bar doesn't quite reflect the inebriated state of my new buddy outside. Turns out there was a wine tour going on during this particular Saturday afternoon and many of the wine-os spilled over from the tour to give the new brewery a try.
Art provided by local talent plasters the walls and the bartenders are all friendly — describing the new beer with enthusiasm to anyone who asks.
The mixture of curious wine addicts and general beer enthusiasts checking out the new spot made for a loose environment — it wasn't the kind of drunken excursion you'd find down on Welch, but everyone was cool and generally enjoying the beer.
Alluvial offers a variety of dark and light craft beers — all of which are named after Ames' historic lore, according to owner Elliot Thompson.
First on my radar was the "Onondago Wheat," a lighter wheat beer in comparison to staple wheat beers such as a Blue Moon or Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat. The lightness of the pour plays in favor of this beer, which was named after Ames' original main street. It's crisp and not too filling — the type of beer you'd want if you were in for a long day of drinking at the brewery.
Alluvial offers up two American pale ales — "Simmetry Smash" and "The Franklin." A note for the homebrewers and general beer nerds: "Smash" in Simmerty Smash stands for "single malt and single hop." I tried both ales for comparison and while the Simmetry Smash is the beer for someone who likes a more dry, bitter taste, The Franklin is the superior of the two.
The Franklin, which stands out as most memorable among the four I tried, is a pale ale that comes across fruitier and with more vibrant flavors than its IPA brothers. It's not light the way the Onondago Wheat was, but certainly bites less than the Simmetry Smash. It's the perfect middle ground, and Thompson said he plans to make it one of his flagship beers moving forward.
I gave in and tried the "Ox-Eye Oatmeal Stout" last. Served with the option of a nitro slow-pour, like Guinness, I opened my taste buds to the dark, robust brew — despite never being a fan of oatmeal concoctions in the past. While it didn't create an epiphany toward oatmeal beers, I can certainly understand its popularity with fans of slow-pour brews.
Food is also part of the Alluvial equation. Thompson said the Macubana food truck will be making appearances at the brewery to satisfy everyone's tipsy mac 'n' cheese needs.
Don't sleep on taking a trip into the countryside for Alluvial Brewing Company — the beers are good and the atmosphere is everything you'd want out of a local brewery. Everyone is beyond friendly and at roughly $11 for a flight of beer, you could come in and enjoy a little bit of everything the new brewery has to offer.
Alluvial Brewing Company
Find it: 3715 West 190th St., Ames
Hours: 4-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 12-10 p.m. Saturday, 12-10 p.m. Sunday