It's been about a decade since the Iowa Legislature voted to allow beer to be brewed and sold in Iowa with an "alcohol by volume" (ABV) above six percent. Since that move, the state has experienced a cascade of new breweries opening up in both small towns and big cities. It's put a bit of a 'hop' into Iowa's economic development efforts.
The name of one of the new breweries literally describes the growth of the craft beer industry in Iowa in the past decade: it's been a torrent. Torrent Brewing Company is located in Historic Downtown Ames and launched much like a lot of small businesses do: an entrepreneur took a hobby (in this case home brewing) and turned it into a way to make a living.
Downtown Ames recently lost their other brewery, Olde Main Brewing Company, and so Torrent has been a much needed addition to this otherwise thriving college town. The company occupies an old building on Burnett Avenue that is about two blocks from Main Street and next door to the city's Great Harvest Bread Company franchise.
The building is divided between space for the brewing operations and a large and sprawling tap room.
Between the two sections of the building is the restrooms.
The brewery part of the building is not accessible by the general public, though you can schedule a tour. However, there are certain areas where you can peak around a corner or over a gate and see where the magic happens.
The tap room has ample space and seating. You can belly up to a bar or find yourself a seat on a stool at a high top or a chair at a table.
I also spotted some more comfortable seating in case you want to kick your feet up a bit. There's local art work all of the walls for a nice local touch of character.
There are televisions in the tap room if you've come to watch the game and cheer on the Cyclones.
There's a nice billiards table, Foosball table, and a whole assortment of board games.
I was quite taken by the attractive mission style lamp near the shelf of games.
I wouldn't consider myself any kind of beer snob or even any kind of beer connoisseur. Therefore, I appreciate that they use some of their precious space behind the bar to teach their customers and patrons a little bit about what some of the key terms mean.
They also have a nice chalk board that walks you through, in a very simple terms, how beer is brewed.
They have an impressive roster of beer options on tap and I'm sure those selections change regularly and seasonally. If you couldn't tell by the pictures, my visit happened just before COVID-19 hit when there was still some snow on the ground. I'm sure if you stop during the Summer or Fall months, you'll find some of their year-round staples along with some of their other favorite seasonal offerings.
Torrent has a nice FAQ page on their website that will give you a lot more information about visiting their brewery. From questions about handicap accessibility and parking to answers about party buses, employment opportunities, and whether you can bring food in from the outside are all detailed on the page. It's pretty hard to host large indoor events these days due to the pandemic, but once that is okay to do again, I would think Torrent would be a nice venue for certain types of events.
All in all, if you are in Ames and are looking to find a drink or just need something to help you cool off after lugging your daughter's futon up to the 7th floor of Larch, Torrent would be a quality stop on your list. Obviously, there's no shortage of bars and restaurants in Ames, but Torrent is really the only brewery that is in the heart of the city. Be sure to check them out next time you are in Downtown Ames and in the meantime, spend some time looking through their Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Story County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through this website.