Olde Main Brewing Co. & Restaurant (Ames, IA)

Looking for some delectable craft beers during your trip to Ames, IA? Pop into the Olde Main Brewing Co. & Restaurant.

Located on Main Street in historic Downtown Ames, this craft brewery & brewpub is a superb place to grab a pint of local Iowa craft beer paired with inspired pub food, just 35 minutes from Des Moines.

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Olde Main Brewing Co. & Restaurant first opened its doors on October 4th, 2004, the culmination of the dreams of brewmaster Jeff “Puff” Irvin and bar owner Scott “Griff” Griffen. With its original 15-barrel brewing system, the pair started producing Olde Main’s first signature brews.

By 2008, Olde Main Brewing Co.’s craft brews started to appear in retail stores and bars around Iowa. Since then, it’s become one of Iowa’s most-loved craft breweries and an essential stop for travelers passing through Ames, IA.

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The Ames, IA, craft brewer took this up a notch in 2016 when Brewmaster Cory O’Neel, a 26-year veteran in the brewing industry, joined the Olde Main team. The eight original tap lines doubled to 16, giving Cory and his team plenty of new options for revolutionizing the brewery’s line of beers.

What to drink

With over half a dozen flagship beers and a dozen or so seasonal and experimental brews, there’s something for every type of beer drinker at Olde Main Brewing Co.

Flagship beers

  • Dinkey Wheat: A Belgian wit beer displaying hints of coriander and orange peel. It’s a particularly refreshing option on a hot summer day.
  • Off KILTer: A traditional Scottish ale with notes of nuts and caramel hidden inside a deep brown brew
  • Clone: A classic American pale ale with plenty of hoppiness evened out with toasted malt flavors.
  • Gryphonbrau: An easy-drinking, classic German lager with a uniquely American spin featuring all barley and Saaz hops.
  • About Time IPA: The brewer’s first IPA is brewed in Midwest style, offering a maltier body and less hoppiness than West Coast or East Coast IPAs. 
  • New Mill DIPA: This Double Indian pale ale offers hoppy flavors without the usual bitterness. Although smooth, this full-flavored brew sits at a potent 9% ABV.
  • Sodbuster: A complex and creamy stout featuring classic “roasty” chocolate and caramel malt notes.

Other beers

  • Champ Le Main: A Belgian-style saison offering a citrusy flavor with notes of cloves and black pepper.
  • Oktoberfest: The perfect Marzen-style German lager to ring in the fall season, featuring malty flavors with some sweetness.
  • 1838 Cream Ale: A refreshing brew celebrating Iowa’s joining of the Union in 1838. As it’s brewed with flaked corn, it offers maltier flavors than most cream ales.
  • Tangrisnir Bock: A dark German Bock-style lager with notes of caramel and chocolate. Despite its dark color, this larger is surprisingly easy to drink and “clean.”
  • Heartbreaker Cherry Wheat: This refreshing wheat ale is a favorite, thanks to its crisp cherry aroma and mild fruity flavors.
  • Zitrone Kolsch: With its citrusy twist, this beer is a delightful take on the popular Kolsch style, hailing from the German city of Cologne. 
  • Out on the Roof Rye: Inspired by a prohibition-era term for intoxication, this rye ale gets its strength from its aging in Cedar Ridge Bourbon Oak barrels. If you’re a fan of the Old Fashioned, this potent oaky brew is a must-try.
  • Turn Around Brown: Taking inspiration from English ale, this American brown ale offers nutty and malted caramel flavors topped with some notable hoppiness.
  • Station 1: Drawing upon the smokiness of a German Rauchenbier, this smoked porter delivers a rich, strong flavor with a creamy finish. 
  • Biere D’Champagne: For a taste out of the ordinary, take a sip of this beer/chardonnay hybrid. The beer is fermented with champagne yeast to give it a dry, bubbly finish with beer-like malty and fruity flavors.
  • Pride of Plymouth ESB: Although labeled as “extra special bitter,” this craft beer is surprisingly mild and rich, with a hoppy finish.
  • Reindeer Fuel: If you’re visiting Iowa around Christmas, try to snag a sip of this rich, creamy, sweet, and chocolaty dark brew.

If you’re not into beer, Olde Main also offers a handful of craft cocktails. Choose between light, summery drinks like vodka pear sparklers and cucumber gin fizz or more potent mixes like the Olde Main Bloody Mary or Honey Apple Bourbon.

What to eat

Need a little food to soak up your craft beer-tasting experience? Olde Main Brewing Co. & Restaurant offers a variety of appetizers and mains to satisfy every craving.

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Start off with pub-inspired favorites like Mac N Cheese Lollipops, smoked cheddar spinach dip, wings, or fried pickle slices. For something a tad lighter, opt, instead, for one of the soups or salads, including Caesar salad, baby spinach salad with poached pears and blue cheese, or the soup du jour.

To truly fill the belly, gobble down juicy burgers like their signature Olde Main Burger, the Glazed Burger, or the spicy & sweet Hawaiian Burger.

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If you’d prefer something a little more “refined,” opt for entrees like an Angus filet with a cabernet demi-glace, a 10oz New York strip streak, a Coulette steak marinated in Scottish Ale, or the Surf & Turf.

Essential info

  • Address: 316 Main Street Ames, Iowa 50010
  • Tel: (515) 232-0553

Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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