Des Moines, Iowa
Run by the owners behind el Bait Shop, it’s a celebration of all things Iowa beer.
What it is: Located inside a manufacturing warehouse that dates back to the late 1800s, the Iowa Taproom has been completely refurbished and serves only beer made in the Hawkeye State. As Iowa closes in on 100 operating breweries, this is the place to go to try the latest and greatest from brewers trying to make their mark. Of course, there are familiar standbys from the more established breweries as well as rotating seasonal and special kegs regularly tapped.
Why it’s great: The enormous silo-shaped tap tower in the middle of the bar makes it clear that the beer is first and foremost on the owners’ minds. But the celebration of local extends to the food menu as well. From Iowa pork chops to native cuisine such as ham balls, the Iowa Taproom serves up comfort food for residents and gives a crash course in good eats to travelers. A recent visit found a knowledgeable staff expertly guiding visitors through not only flavors but also the stories behind each of the breweries on tap. That personal touch made for a more intimate and meaningful drinking experience. —John Holl
Hours: 11a.m.–10p.m., Sunday; 11a.m.– midnight, Monday–saturday Address: 215 E. 3rd St., Ste. 100, Des Moines, IA Web: iowataproom.com