Taste the other side of nightlife with local wines and brews


Mikayla Alt

The Prairie Moon Winery offers its customers around 12 different types of wines.

The Campustown area has a lot of nightlife to offer students. Between the various bars, clubs and late-night food stops, there are a lot of rambunctious vibes nearby. Should anyone be looking for something more quiet and refined, they may want to check out Ames’ own beer distillery and winery.

The Prairie Moon Winery and Alluvial Brewing Company are 11 minutes from central campus. Off the beaten path, customers find their way to these sister companies every day.

On the edge of Ames sits a small plot of land with two buildings and a large vineyard. The vineyard is harvested annually to provide grapes for the winery; the other building makes its own beer in-house.

Alluvial Brewing Company can be seen from the main road, with its patio lit up with lights to attract attention. It has been open since 2015 and is celebrating its eighth anniversary on March 25 with live music, food trucks and special beers.

The Prairie Moon Winery has a comfortable seating area and Wi-Fi for students who want to study or hang out inside. (Mikayla Alt)

“It’s unique, the culture that we built out here,” said Elliot Thompson, the owner of Alluvial Brewing Company. “It’s just something different, you know? For students, it’s just a totally different experience out here.”

Thompson said they make all of their beers on tap, and there are 16 types they keep available for customers.

The brewery keeps a large stock of IPAs during the winter season, which are their best sellers. Alluvial also has fruit beer, sours and lagers on hand.

The beers have unique names such as Danny Phantasm NEIPA, Morannon Schwarzbier and El Buey Loco Milk Stout.

“I was willing to try pretty much any of them [the beers on tap], because I do like IPAs, but I picked the Danny Phantasm because it had a funny name,” said Ethan Swan, a junior studying finance.

Swan was visiting the Alluvial Brewing Company with his friends on a Friday night after hearing about the place from a friend.

Alluvial Brewing Company also brews non-alcoholic beverages for the designated driver, like kombucha root beer, ginger beer and ciders.

The sister company, Prairie Moon Winery, is only a short walk away from Alluvial. Customers are even allowed to take beers from Alluvial Brewing Company and bring them to Prairie Moon Winery and vice versa during the night.

The sister companies encourage patrons to visit both the distillery and the winery during their visit and are not surprised when they have to track their dishes back down.

The Alluvial Brewing Company offers music shows at least once a week for its customers to enjoy. (Mikayla Alt)

“I’ll probably bring a couple [of empty glasses] over at the end of my shift,” said Graham Nicholson, a bartender at the Prairie Moon Winery.

Prairie Moon Winery uses five to six different types of grapes in the large vineyard behind the building to create around 12 different wines for patrons. Their most popular wine is a sweet red wine named Honeymoon, which sells for $14 per bottle.

Prairie Moon Winery also offers rosé wines, white wines, sangrias and specialty wines.

Both the winery and the brewery offer ample amounts of space for personal or public events. The winery hosts events ranging from weddings and graduation parties to fundraisers and business events.

The winery has a comfortable seating area for students who want to meet or study at the winery. They also offer Wi-Fi for students and have a board game room for groups to enjoy.

During the summer, the Prairie Moon Winery hosts live music outside on their patio and offers wood-fired pizza every Sunday.

Alluvial Brewing Company also offers music shows at least once a week and hosts other shows on a weekly basis. In the past, they have had an arm wrestling tournament and a poetry night. In the future, they are hosting a puzzle competition.

Alluvial Brewing Company is located at 3715 W. 190th St., and the Prairie Moon Winery is located at 3801 W. 190th St.