Ryan's and Brandon's wives will tell you that it was a fabulous plan that went horribly wrong. Our wives wanted to spend more time together and plotted to have us, Ryan and Brandon, become friends — the common denominator, brewing beer. Little did they realize that bringing us together and then adding Bailey and Dave to the mix would snowball our little home-brewing hobby into an actual brewing business.
Starting with a three-barrel system, 515 opened its doors for the first time in March of 2013. From the very beginning, the community embraced us whole-heartedly. It soon became apparent we couldn't brew beer fast enough. In June of 2015, 515 expanded by adding a brand new seven-barrel system along with additional fermenters and brite tanks.
In October 2016, 515 Brewing Company won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival® (GABF®) awards in the Fruit Wheat Beer category for their agave lime wheat beer, Mexican Spring. (Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and recognizes the most outstanding beers produced in the United States.)
What started as a dream turned into a business way more successful than we ever imagined. We're on our beer adventure and so glad you chose to come along with us!
Ryan Rost Owner/Founder
Manson, Iowa bred, Ryan Rost, earned his degree in computer information systems and business management from Wartburg College and a Master’s degree in Information Assurance from Iowa State. After school, he moved out East to live and work in Maryland where he had a job at one of the infamous three-letter government agencies. Though he enjoyed his time out there, when an opportunity presented itself, he moved back to Iowa (there just wasn’t enough corn in Maryland).
Ryan has been brewing beer since 2004 and fell in love from the start. Though he likes all beer, his favorite styles are IPAs, Belgians and Sours. He is a big proponent of the “buy local” philosophy and enjoys all Des Moines has to offer in that regard. Ryan is married to Cinnamon, one of 515's brand creators.
Dave Ropte Owner/Founder
Dave was born and raised in Warsaw, IN and moved to Iowa shortly after he graduated high school. Dave joined the Iowa Air National Guard and has been a member ever since. He has been activated for several deployments, including in support of Operation Noble Eagle, and flood relief efforts in Central and Eastern Iowa. He currently supervises a small team supporting operations in a military capacity part time, while being employed full time as a Communications Supervisor with the Iowa Air National Guard.
Dave has been brewing beer at home since 2006, although he has enjoyed craft beer for much longer. He enjoys “anything good”, but tends towards beers with strong flavors and aromas. Dave is a staunch localvore, and always is looking to consume and create unique local foods, flavors and experiences. Dave is married to Elicia and has two beautiful children, Ben and Catherine.
Brandon Criger Owner/Founder
Brandon was born in Des Moines and graduated from Norwalk High School in 1997. He served three years active duty in the US Army and two years in the Iowa National Guard. After receiving his Business Management degree from Drake University, he joined Wells Fargo as a data analyst and has been there for nine years. It was one of his coworkers that introduced him to craft beer.
In 2009, Brandon began his first adventure into brewing and was hooked. He enjoys all craft beer, but Belgians and Sours are his preference. Brandon and his Minneapolis-raised wife, Ariane, love Des Moines and everything it has to offer. The city continues to get better and 515 beer will definitely add to it. Ariane is one of 515's brand creators.
Bailey Forrest Owner/Founder
Midwestern-born Bailey, moved to Solon, Iowa in time for third grade. While attending Truman State University in Kirksville, MO, Bailey was introduced to the legendary “gateway” beer, Fat Tire. This led to a desire to expand his beer vocabulary and see what other flavors and styles were available. Aside from a couple of experiments with a Mr. Beer kit in the early 2000’s, the desire to make beer hadn’t surfaced. It wasn't until he met Brandon, who introduced him to all-grain brewing, that he fell in love.
Having lost his sense of smell at the age of 6, Bailey prefers darker beers with significant amounts of flavor; although after a trip to the famous Russian River Brewing Company in California, sour styles are now his definite favorite.
Having lived in small towns and solid communities most of his life and being part of a farming family, Bailey also enjoys and promotes the “buy local” philosophy and is eager to add 515 Brewing Company beers to the Des Moines area.
Barb Becker Brewer
Raised in the north woods of Michigan, Barb moved to Chicago to attend DePaul University. While in school, she was introduced to good beer by a friend from the UK and quickly became an aficionado. After college, Barb worked in the restaurant industry, eventually managing a restaurant in the suburbs of Chicago. The time in restaurants inspired a love of fresh, local, bold flavors.
In 2005, a boyfriend introduced her to homebrewing and Barb was hooked. She’s been brewing ever since.
In 2012, Barb moved to Des Moines, and fell in love with the city. What started as a part time job at Rock Bottom Brewery turned into becoming the assistant brewer. She joined the 515 team as the assistant brewer in 2014 and was promoted to full-time head brewer in July 2015.
Barb fears no beer, enjoying many different styles. When not at the brewery, she has many different hobbies, including backpacking, fishing, crocheting, painting, sports, playing the piano, reading, and video games. She lives in Des Moines with her two evil cats.
Matt Johnson Taproom Manager
Matt grew up in Norwalk and graduated from Norwalk High School. He attended the University of Northern Iowa, receiving degrees in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism. To pay the bills, he worked for a variety of movie theaters.
Finishing his degrees, Matt worked for both Channel 5 and 13 in Des Moines as a news producer. After several years, he became disgruntled with the state of journalism and decided to switch careers and opened the world's first coffee and comic book shop in Des Moines, Cup o' Kryptonite. While he enjoyed working for himself, the demands of the business took it's toll.
Matt arrived to his new home, 515 Brewing Co., in a cage as a political refuge in fall of 2014. He was upgraded to indentured servant and paid in beer as Taproom Manager in fall of 2015. (Ok...it may not have gone exactly like that.)
When not corralling staff and slinging beers at 515, Matt likes to read, listen to heavy metal, watch pro-wrestling, drink heavily and cuddle his kittens (not necessarily in that order).