Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WHAT'S HOPPENING: Camp Harvestivus is Sept. 11 - 17.

What's Hoppening is a regular series highlighting points of interest and events that have taken place or will be taking place in the 515 Taproom. 

Welcome to Camp Harvestivus!

"Wait a second...Camp Harvestivus? I thought Harvestivus was just your typical Oktoberfest-style entertainment."

While last year's Harvestivus had the air of a traditional German-style harvest festival, this year, we've decided to make it our own. We're still using the name, Harvestivus, and tapping our Oktoberfest beer during the week, but we're adding a scouting angle. We've harkened back to our youth, where days were spent learning new skills, having fun and achieving goals.

Join our merry band of beer scouts for an entire week of Camp Harvestivus fun. You'll have the opportunity to earn Merit Stamps by completing challenges for prizes. The more stamps you earn, the more and better the prizes.

"What kind of challenges are we talking about?"

There are 20 challenges in all; from the creative, to the athletic, to just plain fun. Here is a sample.

Beer it backwards (pay it forward): Buy a beer for a perfect stranger in line behind you or at the bar.

515 Athlete:  Prove you ran or biked to 515. Or do 20 jumping jacks in the taproom.

Owner Brandon Selfie: Find 515 Owner Brandon and take a selfie with him. Post to social and tag 515 Brewing. Must be taken and posted the week of Harvestivus.

To become a beer scout you must get your Participation Stamp first by purchasing your Harvestivus wooden coaster for $1.

Check out the full challenge list and prizes here.

"I see for one of the challenges there is an opportunity to donate to the Iowa Homeless Youth (IHYC) Rooftop Gardens. What is this?"

For one of our merit stamp challenges, we wanted to encourage you to donate to a local cause with a harvest angle. We couldn't be more excited for Iowa Homeless Youth Center's Rooftop Garden project. The program will provide employment opportunities, access to locally grown healthy foods and food and nutrition education to transition-age homeless or low-income youth (ages 16-22). The gardens will include a combination of hydroponic growing systems (inside of a year-round functioning greenhouse), raised beds and vertical growing techniques on top of their downtown Des Moines location. 

In addition to growing food for themselves, the youth apprentices will operate the growing, harvesting, and packaging of the organic herbs, that will be distributed to local grocery stores, markets, and other retailers to sell to consumers. After construction and initial operating expenses, the Rooftop Gardens will be a self-sufficient program.

Even if you don't participate in our merit stamp challenges, we hope you'll consider donating a few bucks to help get this worthwhile project off the ground.

Learn more about the program here

"What if I'm not wild about doing the challenges? (Asking for a friend.)"

No worries. On top of the merit stamp challenges, we have several key events going on throughout the week that you won't want to miss.

9/11 - Trivia with a Charity Twist, 6 p.m. Bring in a new or gently used book, suitable for kids 11-14, and receive half off your first beer.

9/13 - Harvestivus Tapping (with special ceramic steins!), 5:15 p.m.

9/14 - 2017 Anniversary Bottle Release (it’s only 6 mos. late), 5:15 p.m. Limit 2/person. Buy 2 and get free beer coupon. (Stout of the Closet, our imperial stout, aged 6 mo. in Buffalo Trace barrels.)

9/15 - Growler Happy Hour, 2 - 5 p.m., $2 off all growlers

Get full details here.

Join us for Camp Harvestivus week. You won't want to miss the fun. Cheers!

Camp Harvestivus

September 11th - 17th, 2017
During normal business hours
Mo 3 – 9 • We 3 – 9 • Th 3 – 9 • Fr 12 – 11 • Sa 12 – 11 • Su 12 – 7


Written by:
Cinnamon Rost (yes, that is my real name)
Marketing/Design Director || 515 Fan Support || Girl Friday

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WHAT'S HOPPENING: ApocEclipse - Don't be Blinded by Science!

What's Hoppening is a regular series highlighting points of interest and events that have taken place or will be taking place in the 515 Taproom. 

It is a time to celebrate some Science.
There is a near total eclipse of the sun coming to Iowa on August 21st.  In Central Iowa, we will reach 95 to 96% of totality, an amount not seen in 63 years and this is the first total solar eclipse to move from coast to coast in America in 99 years!

We are going to have two events in conjunction with this historic day.

Saturday, August 19th.  
Staff from the Science Center of Iowa will be on hand for presentations about the upcoming Eclipse.
The first will be at 11:30 (we will open at 11:00 a.m.) and the second at 1:30 p.m.
You can NOT safely view an eclipse without special equipment.  The Science Center will have telescopes, special binoculars and glasses to demonstrate proper safe viewing procedures as well as talk about how eclipses have been "viewed" in the past (hint, it was pretty dire, but we assure you everything gonna be okay this time around.  No end of the world dragons are expected in 2017.)  This event will be family friendly and, shock, gasp, educational.

Monday, August 21st.
Need a place to go over lunch and enjoy the darkness?  We will open at 11:30.  We'll have a few things to help safely view the eclipse, but if you are planning on going to an event (The Science Center is setting up at the capitol.) come by afterwords.  If you mention that you "Survived the Eclipse" we will give you half off your first pint!

Here are some links and facts:
The eclipse starts in Iowa at 11:42 a.m. It will hit maximum darkness at 1:08 p.m. and end at 2:33 p.m.

What will it look like?  Here is a nice link with pictures and video.

Want some good reading on eclipses?  Try this article by Dr. Ethan Siegel.


The Beer Facts is a regular blog feature discussing all things beer and brewing.

What is a Gruit anyways?
Not the Guardian of the Galaxy,
the beer silly!

Gruits (pronounced Groo-it, kin-a like the Marvel comic book character) are historic ales dating thousands of years back that use herbs, flowers, and spices as the bittering agents to balance the beer instead of hops.
This could be a single herb or any combination of herbs, in an anything-goes kind of way, depending on what the brewer wants to put in or has access to locally. Below is a list of herbs that have been historically common in Gruits. (Note that yarrow was also recently used in the Pink Boot’s collaboration strong ale that was released!)

·      Yarrow
·      Bog myrtle
·      Heather
·      Marsh or Wild Rosemary
·      Sweet Gale
·      Horehound
·      Ground-ivy (also known as Creeping Charlie)
·      Sage
·      Juniper
·      Ginger
·      Mugwort
·      Aniseed
·      Caraway seed

Really, the list is endless as long as the plant is safe to ingest and not treated with chemicals.

Like a lot of styles, Gruits favorability waned due to a lot of reasons. In the 15-16th centuries, taxes, purity laws, preservation methods, and the rising popularity of hops contributed.

What’s in 515’s Gruit?
Brewing and Partying
like it's 999

515’s Gruit is taking a traditional method of using very locally sourced ingredients.  The 3 herbs include - Prickly Lettuce (which is false milk thistle), Dandelion, and Creeping Charlie (ground-ivy).

While Dandelion is quite known in wine making, the other herbs are a bit more unusual, but fascinating because we all know these as weeds right in our own backyards. Creeping Charlie is actually related to Mint and Prickly Lettuce is part of the Dandelion family.

In addition to these herbs for bittering, the gruit has Castle Malting Belgian Pale for the malt and a saison yeast that will give it additional character and mouthfeel.

It will be called Baby Groot.

"Why are you brewing this?"

Why not?! This style lends it self to endless experimentation and there has been a lot of interest lately in revived historic libations, such as meads and brews found at the bottom of the ocean in shipwrecks. With Gruits being some of the first types of beers to be made, and still very rare to find in breweries and brewpubs today, it’s an interesting history lesson in what our ancestors might have been enjoying.  What might seem unusual by today’s ingredient standards were quite common then, and still can be quite flavorful to the palate.  Come on down to 515 and try what might possibly be your first Gruit!


Written by: Monica Ortiz Shinn
Monica lives in Des Moines, Iowa and aside from craft beer, she enjoys a ludicrous amount of cheese, dreaming of time travel and annoying her taproom manager with New Wave 80's music (That she does!)