24ish Hours in Des Moines

The wanderlust has been striking pretty hard lately. So hard, in fact, that I recently started thinking about spending a Saturday night in either Sioux City or Des Moines - both of which are less than a 2-hour drive from Omaha. It happened, then, on a Friday morning I pulled the trigger and booked a hotel in Des Moines for the next night.

Now, you all know I dove head-first into the Iowa Beer and Wine Passports after having a fun year doing the Nebraska Wine Passport in 2021. It was such a fun thing to do on a partial or complete weekend and a great way to see the state I call home. Since a nice amount of the participants of said passports are located in the Des Moines area, my goal was the go to a few and spend the night, and that's exactly what I did - and I brought my friend Jayne along.

Our goal for the trip was to go to one winery and two breweries on the passports, and our first stop was at Covered Bridges Winery. The winery takes its name from the famous Bridges of Madison County. I thought about visiting a few of those this trip, but realized they would be much prettier to visit in the Spring or the Fall when the foliage is the best. 

Like many wineries, this one is located out in the country amongst a bucolic setting. The inside was nice and spacious, with high ceilings.

And a picture window in which to get a good view of the rolling hills.

The wine was quite delicious, and there are plenty to choose from. Not surprisingly, the variety of grapes in Iowa are the same as the ones in Nebraska.

They also have charcuterie (standard for wineries) but they also had pub mix and deluxe chocolates for purchase. Jayne got two of the latter. Aren't those chocolates just pretty? Since I'm doing keto, I just had a bite of each of the three kinds of chocolate on offer.

After we visited Covered Bridges Winery, we made our way to Des Moines and checked into our hotel.

After a quick break to relax and refresh ourselves, we headed to our next stop, Exile Brewing Company. Exile is a bigger player, at least here in the Midwest, in the brewing world. You can, and I have, purchased their brews here in Omaha.

I got a big glass of their Tico Time, which is a tropical wheat ale, brewed with passion fruit and pink guava. It was both refreshing and delicious.

Exile is also a pub, so there were plenty of food offerings to choose from, so Jayne and I ordered dinner. I got the Black & Bleu burger (no bun, of course) and their fried brussel sprouts. I have to tell you, this was one of the best meals I've eaten out, ever. The burger was amazing and the brussel sprouts, omg, they were sooo incredibly delicious.

Happy and satiated, we headed for our last stop of the day, Fox Brewing Company. A small, innocuous place out in the boonies, this low-key brewery had some tasty brews. 

We shared a flight of all twelve of their offerings on tap. My favorite was their Marzen. Lightly dark and refreshing, I could drink that brew all day. After the flight, I ordered one.

The next morning, nursing mild hangovers, the hotel's big continental breakfast, and a dip in their heated pool set us both right again. After that, we checked out and headed home.

This was a fun getaway for an evening that is close to home. I'm glad I started doing the Iowa Passport program. There are so many to choose from and, like the Nebraska Wine Passport program, it's a fun activity to do on a weekend. If you'd like to participate yourself, here's the link for the Iowa Tourism site. There are other passports you can choose from and ideas to plan a trip that includes things besides booze...although why would you want to skip that?  

Have a great week, friends.



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