And so begins round two of the craft beer phase in Ames.
The first was Olde Main Brewery and Restaurant, known for beers such as Dinkey Wheat, Clone and Long Face.
Now, there's a new brewer in town: Torrent.
Torrent Brewing Company consists of two home brewers — Renny Long and Andy McCormick. It's one of those great stories — when you pursue a dream or job you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life.
Renny and Andy started brewing beer over their stove top. Now they have an old warehouse that fits 157 people, along with room for 8-10 fermenters, a cold room and plenty of storage for a barrel aging program. They'll even be able to host events.
Before they opened, they ran a Kickstarter project to help alleviate some of the costs. Their goal was to reach $20,000 and they ended up getting backed by 167 people for a total of $24,059.
This is an exciting time for Ames and you can tell that the community was ready for a new beer scene. Feb. 19th was their first official opening and it was packed. Every table was full and people were lined up against the wall with their beers. I even visited the second night and it was just as busy, but I managed to grab a table.
I thought Torrent captured a great tap room atmosphere. Tap rooms in Minneapolis, where I visit frequently, and Torrent's tap room are full of friendship, fun and quality beer. That's what the craft beer industry is all about.
The best part of tap rooms is that, most of the time, they leave the food to other vendors, making beer their number one focus. Torrent uses Jack's Beef Delight & BBQ from Nevada. They were serving ribs ($2 per bone), nachos ($4.25) and sliders ($3.25 for two pork sliders). I'll let you know that I was the guy that ordered rib ends. They were delicious but very difficult to eat while standing up in a crowded room with a beer glass in your hand. I think I'll stick to the sliders next time, which were great. Pulled pork with Hawaiian rolls is a welcome combo.
Bonus: You can also bring in your own food or have it delivered to the brewery.
Flights were the most popular beer ordered on the opening night. No, it wasn't flights to leave Ames, it was flights to stay longer and pinpoint favorite beers. Flights start at $5. You get four samples out of their six beer selection. You can order pints for $4 to $5. On opening night, I tried their Milk Stout, which was much needed on a frigid day. For just getting into stouts it was really enjoyable, and not too heavy — sweet and smooth. Torrent's Milk Stout comes in at ABV 7.8% and IBU 24. Other beers they brew are Blonde Ale (ABV 5.8%), Brown (ABV 4.5%), IPA (ABV 7.6%), American Brown (ABV 8.9%) and a Double IPA (ABV 9.3%).
What's cool about their beers: hops. They grow their own hops on a small scale farm in Madrid called Arrowhead Hops. Along with their own brews, they have two guest taps featuring Confluence and Twisted Vine breweries.
You can tell Ames has been thirsty for awhile. It doesn't matter if your glass is half full or half empty. Everyone in Ames is enjoying Torrent Brewing Co.
Torrent Brewing Company
Find it: 504 Burnett Avenue, Ames
Hours: 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Monday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday
Contact: torrentbrewingco. com