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!)

WHAT'S HOPPENING: Board Game Sunday

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. 

"I've just bought this awesome board game and no where to play it.  I like beer too."
Well, I've got the solution to your problem.

Board Game Sunday is the second Sunday of every month.
We are partnering with Mayhem Comics and offering a special deal too.  Bring in a receipt dated during the week before and get half off your first beer.  It doesn't have to be a game purchase either. Go pick up a comic book or trade paperback and come sink into one of our comfy chairs in the lounge.  Beer and comic books go well together.

Board Game Sunday is something near and dear to a couple members of our staff's hearts.  (Yes, there are nerds on staff here at 515 Brewing.)
IF you have a large group coming, let us know and we'll reserve a table for you.  Those library tables work well for the really big games.

Monday, June 26, 2017

WHAT'S HOPPENING: Book Signings!

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. 

Here at 515, we are pretty lucky to know some very talented people. Two of those people, our very own beertender, Micah, and 515 superfan and super artist, Carter Allen, will be having a joint book signing on Monday July 17th 5-7pm for their respective books that have just been released. There you'll have the opportunity to chat with Micah and Carter, as well as buy their books and have your copy signed.

You're probably asking, "What kind of books? What are they about? What are the deets? WHAT." Well, lucky for you, we talked to Micah and Carter beforehand to get those deets.

First up, Micah for her book Behind in the Count:

Summary of Behind in the Count: 
Derek Beaman had it all - a career in baseball, a marriage to his high school sweetheart, and a newborn daughter. Then, he suffered an injury that sent him into a downward spiral, and he lost it all. After a break and recovery, he's getting a second chance at his Major League aspirations with the Portland Pioneers. His future as a pitcher is bright, but he's still contending with the demons of his past.

Zella Hansen is pursuing her lifelong dream of a career in baseball management. Her role in the Pioneers' front office introduces her to Derek. Zella soon realizes her feelings are more than just an admiration of his talent, but Derek's history may be enough to end the game early.

Get to know Micah Chaplin:

When did you start writing novels?
Micah: I wrote my first novel in 2002 and published it two years later. Behind In The Count is my fifth self-published work and the second in this baseball romance series about the Portland Pioneers.

What got you going in the direction of baseball books?
M: After I fell in love with the sport of baseball, I decided to merge it with my romance writing hobby. I was influenced by the books of Kate Angell. While I obviously liked the love stories in her books, I also enjoyed the dynamics of her fictional team, the Richmond Rogues.

What is your writing inspiration?
M: I'm not sure I have a particular writing inspiration. However, Brandon Finnegan (currently pitching for the Cincinnati Reds) was the visual inspiration for the lead character in Behind in the Count.

Anything exciting coming up in your future?
M: Nothing exciting anytime in the near future, but I am getting married next summer.

Behind in the Count is available in paperback as well as on Kindle, which can both be found here: She will also have copies available for purchase at the July 17th book signing.


Next up, Carter Allen's new comic book: Ectyron Against Lagaxtu

Summary of Ectyron Against Lagaxtu
When the ancient evil of LAGAXTU emerges from the depths of the Earth, it is up to the tag team of the radioactive rooster ECTYRON and ATOM.I.K.E., the cybernetic giant, to take it down!

Get to know Carter Allen:

When did you start getting into comics and why?
Carter: I started getting into comics when I was a kid. I think the biggest reason I first got into them was the bright, colorful pictures. As time marched on, I got hooked on the storylines and the characters.

What is your drive to draw?
C: I try to draw every day. It's been something I've been doing for a long time and hope to keep doing in the future. It gives me a creative outlet, a chance to express myself visually.

What do you enjoy most in comics?
C: I'd say the first thing I enjoy in comics is the visual art, but the characters and story need to be equally engaging to make me love them.

What is your favorite comic book?
C: My favorite comic book is a three way tie between Walt Simpson's Thor, Marvel's Godzilla comic and the 1970s-1980s Star Wars books.

Ectyron Against Lagaxtu will be available for purchase July 17th at the book signing. Additionally, you can join Carter the 3rd Wednesday of every month for Drink and Draw 6-9pm in the 515 taproom. 


Written by:
Whitney Knightly
Assistant Taproom Manager
Whitney has been trained by MI6 in England and is a renowned super spy and international woman of mystery.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

THE BEER FACTS: Nasty Woman Strong Ale

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

Des Moines Beer Week! So exciting with so many events! So many new brews to share!

Collaborations abound this week, and we have one to put on tap a few of our staff helped contribute to. Five of the 515 staff - Whitney, Barb, Micah, Aleigh and myself are all part of an organization called the Pink Boots Society. It sounds like a super, secret society, but I promise you it isn’t. PBS, for short, is an organization with chapters all over the world bringing women together to “assist, inspire, and encourage women beer professionals through education.” The local chapter, which started this past January, has women come together from all parts of Iowa and from all different areas of the craft beer industry to learn from each other. We have brewers, beertenders, managers, owners, hop farmers, and even staff educators who work for brewpubs as part of our chapter.

Some of the Pink Boots crew on brew day! Employees from 515, Peace Tree, El Bait Shop, New American, Firetrucker, C and S Brew Supply, Lion Bridge, and Front Street were in attendance.
Our first project to tackle was to get involved in the annual Big Boots Brew Day that happened on International Women’s Day in March. Megan McKay, owner of Peace Tree Brewing and member of PBS as well, was extraordinarily kind enough to host her brand new brewing facilities in the Des Moines location to brew our beer, with the help of her head brewer Joe Kesteloot. We are pretty proud to note that our beer was only the second batch to be brewed there!

We all decided to go with a variation of a historic ale style, so Molly Frana, Barbara Lynn Becker, and Sheri Houdesheldt all researched recipes and ingredients, coming up with a hybrid of a strong and old ale style. In attempting to make the beer a bit different, we went with using adjuncts of yarrow, a historically more typical herb used for bittering, as well as adding molasses to the end of the boil for some sweetness. To temper these strong ingredients we took advantage of the Templeton Rye barrels that Peace Tree has readily available, and barrel-aged the brew for a solid 3 months. The outcome is a malt forward brew, with notes of caramel and toffee, and an undercurrent of oak, vanilla, and whiskey. The herbal bitterness of the yarrow is just
Watching and learning about the mash-in process. 
enough to balance the brew and reign in the sweetness of the molasses that also comes through smoothing out this 9% ABV beer. It’s a delicious sipper of a beer that is certainly unique and a must try!

With such a strong beer, it needed a strong name, so it was dubbed thee “Unite: Nasty Woman Strong Ale.”  A portion of the proceeds of the beer sold will go to PBS’s scholarship fund, and another portion will stay local to help a women’s charity. You'll be able to find this beer at different breweries and brewpubs across the metro soon, but 515 Brewing will be tapping it as part of our Des Moines Beer Week festivities on Wednesday, June 21st. We hope to see you there!



Written by:
Monica Ortiz Shinn
Monica lives in Des Moines, IA as part-time domestic goddess,  part-time super hero kicking ass and pummeling everyday sexism where she sees it. Her super powers include parallel parking, regenerative palate, and turning a crappy situation into a not-so-crappy situation. Her sidekick is a cat named the Melodramatic Melody, who’s super powers include sleeping for 20 hours a day and Jedi powers that have something to with big eyes and overwhelming cuteness, just like a manga character (you will do what she says, put the tuna down and no one gets hurt). You can also follow Monica on Twitter @BeerMeMon for beer and cat related nonsense.

What's Hoppening: Des Moines Craft Beer Week 2017

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

Here is a list of 515 Brewing's events for Des Moines Craft Beer Week:

Azacca K.I.S.S. Tapping 
- Friday, July 16th at Noon
Azacca is our SMaSH release for the Craft Beer Week.  Barb decided to Keep It Simple (get it?) and created an amazing pale with some really good and interesting flavors.  You aren't going to taste anything like this, this week.
Single Malt - Castle Malting Belgian Pale
Single Hop - Azacca.
Did you know?  This hop is named after the Haitian god of agriculture.

Iowa Craft Beer Festival 
- Saturday, July 17th
If you are going to the fest downtown, come find us.

Nasty Women Strong Ale Tapping 
- Wednesday, July 21st at 3:00
Several of our staff worked on the creation of this beer and we'll be tapping it Wednesday.
Want to read more about this look on this blog. Monica has a whole write up about it.

Tap takeover at Hello Marjorie with Alluvial Brewing 
- Wednesday, July 21st
Marjorie reached out to us and Alluvial and the answer was "of course!" Come on down and hang, might be able to win prizes. Oh, there will be good beer too.
If you haven't been down to Marjorie yet, you should try it.It's very nice.
(They are located on Grand in the old Register and Tribune building)

Big OJ Tapping 
- Thursday, July 22nd at 5:15
This is the much anticipated Imperial American Pale Wheat.  Oh, My Stars and Garters, this is a good beer. We will sell the first 40 pours for only $1.00 starting at 4:15 and tap it at 5:15.

Azacca K.I.S.S. w/ Lychee & Thyme Firkin 
- Thursday, July 22nd at 3:00
From the depths of the brew house comes another of Barb's Frankenstonian creations.  We'll have this little baby on tap when we open.  Come have a pour while you wait for Big OJ to tap.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WHAT'S HOPPENING: Charity Trivia at 515

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

Almost a year ago we started an "every once in awhile" event;  a way to try and give more back to the community while making for a fun night.  It was a laid back trivia night where WE created the questions, the format and the prizes. 
May 8th - "What number did Jackie Robinson wear in the Major Leagues?"
Answer: 42, also the answer to "what is the Douglas Adam's meaning of life?"
We have a blast doing this, not only because you guys (seem) to be having fun, but also because each trivia night we partner with a different DSM charity. At the last event, we donated over 25% of sales that night to The Project, a member of Primary Health Care, one of the largest HIV/AIDS service and prevention agencies in the state of Iowa. 
Wink Martindale he is not, but that's a sweet jacket!

What you may or may not know is Matt, our resident idiot MC, and I research all the trivia questions, with help from the rest of our trusty and brainy staff. Our trivia nights early on were largely curated by Micah (one of our lovely beertenders) and June will feature categories and questions researched by Joe (maybe our most "lovely" beertender.)  Go team!

Trivia nights are the second Monday of every month, which makes our next event…. June 12th!
We are partnering with Clive Community Services, a local food bank and clothes closet. They are in need of laundry detergent in June, which means if you bring in a jug of laundry soap, you get 1/2 off a beer! 
Teams may be comprised of 1-4 people. Prizes include: free growlers to the winning team and free pints to the second and third place finishers.  

BONUS! If you follow us on Snapchat, there’s a good chance we’ll give you a free trivia answer the day of the event... Our username is fiveonefivebrew. 

Charities on deck: 
July: Furry Friends Refuge
August: Central Iowa Shelter and Services
September: Back to School Book Drive for Indian Hills Junior High 

Lastly, we are always open to suggestions on how to make the evening better! For example, if questions are too easy or too hard, or if you think Matt sucks… only kidding, because if you say that he will make me host trivia night and I can guarantee it’ll be less fun. Plus, the jacket doesn’t fit me.  Nonetheless, we are open to your input.


Written by: 
Whitney Knightly
Assistant Taproom Manager
Whitney has been trained by MI6 in England and is a renowned super spy and international woman of mystery.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

THE BEER FACTS: ESB or Extra Special Bitter

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

515 Brewing's Spiders from Clive is an Extra Special Bitter in the classification of English Pales...that's right, they are Ying to the Yang of American Pales. Weird, huh? We'll be discussing the specific differences a little later, but American Pales are derived from this sessionalable English classic. ESBs are also sometimes known as "Bitters" in the general term when poured from draft or cask, while "pale ale" is usually reserved for bottled versions of the beer. I know, confusing, right?

What is in an ESB?
The ESB is the strongest in a the ladder of styles- with Ordinary Bitter and Best Bitter being the other two- in terms of ABV, alcohol by volume, and IBU, international bitterness units, strength. Despite the use of the word "bitter" though, this is often deceiving when compared to most American beer varieties. IBUs typically range between 30-50, and the English hops used tend to be much more mild in their bitterness with flavors often characterized as herbal, earthy, woodsy, or even floral- I often think they actually have an English tea-like quality. ESBs can be fairly balanced in terms of malt and hop, with the malt notes of toast, biscuit, and caramel or toffee sweetness due to a dash of crystal malt added into the recipe. Fruity esters from English varieties of yeast aren't uncommon either, although sometimes you get a much cleaner and drier finish. The color, or SRM, of this style can range wildly from Pale to Copper, due to crystal and specialty malts, but most don't reach above 18 and tend to be an Amber shade.

While American Pales have evolved to be hoppy, citrusy, piney, resinous, and give you a punch of bitterness, the English Bitters have remained rather subdued in character in comparison. Like many other English beer styles, they've remained low in ABV as well, keeping them drinkable and sessionable (any beer 5.1% ABV and under) with a range of usually 4.6-6.2% just as American Pales have. Malt is not only darker in color, but also takes more prominence in a light, but often complex flavor compared to the true pale orange and golden hues of American pales. Carbonation is usually minimal as well, a traditional that has come from UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

While Diacetyl is usually an off flavor in most beer styles, it is actually acceptable in low quantities in Bitters, and sometimes even desired by the brewers. Buttery or butterscotch flavors often accompany the malt sweetness. It's also acceptable without diacetyl.

Did you know?
Spiders from Clive artwork by Carter Allen
"ESB" itself is a guarded trademark in the UK by British brewery Fuller, Smith & Turner. But it is used widely worldwide outside the UK to denote the style otherwise. Technically, the style is recognized by the BJCP and Cicerone as "Strong Bitter."

Other Examples of a "Strong Bitter"
Interested in trying some other authentic examples from across the pond? Head to your local grocery store or specialty bottle shop, or better yet, Royal Mile and see if you can find these classics: Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale, Bass Pale Ale, Morland Speckled Hen, Timothy Taylor's Boltmaker, Fuller's ESB, Fuller's London Pride ...or until it runs out, our very own Spiders from Clive.


Written by: 
Monica Shinn
515 Beertender
Monica is working on her Cicerone certification (and will tell you all about it soon). 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

515 with blogging capabilities!

Welcome to the second iteration of our blog, 515's Blood Sweat & Beers.

Wait...515 already had a blog? Yep, we did. Let's fire up the DeLorean and head back to 2011, when 515 was just a dream of four homebrewers. Brandon, Bailey, Dave and Ryan started Four Guys and a Keg blog to highlight the headaches and joys of starting a brewery. By the time June 2012 came around, the craziness of getting the brewery off the ground took center stage and the blog became a distant memory. (Our old posts are still there if you care to read them.)

With 515 now in its fourth year, it is time to polish off the blog. And luckily, we have the help of 515's talented taproom and brewing staff excited to share their knowledge. In upcoming posts you'll learn about general brewing and beer (The Beer Facts), the story behind specific 515 beer (Near and Beer to my Heart) and news and upcoming events (What's Hoppening).

Pour yourself a beer, pull up a chair and enjoy the read.



Written by:
Cinnamon Rost
Marketing/Design Director || 515 Fan Support || Girl Friday