Simpson alumni get brewing


Photo by Miles Leonard

by Miles Leonard, Staff Reporter

Simpson alumni Doug and Heather Gaumer had a grand opening for West Hill Brewery in Indianola on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Doug and Heather both graduated from Indianola High School and attended Simpson College. Heather also worked in Simpson’s financial aid office for six years.

“We are so small,” Doug said. “But that gives us the freedom to come up with some crazier recipes and do things tailored to how we want to brew them.”

Some of the beers’ names are locally inspired such as the Stormin’ Red and the Off the Square pale ale. 

So far, West Hill Brewery has served 14 different brews. They plan to rotate regular flavors and seasonal flavors. They can have up to 10 beers on tap at one time. The regular rotation will be decided with the help of patrons after being open for a few months.

“Get it while it’s here because it might not be on again for months,” Doug said.

West Hill Brewery adds to a number of local businesses in Indianola.

“Local businesses are good for the community,” said Katrina Sieck, a senior at Simpson. “It’s a new place for students to go hang out.”

West Hill Brewery plans on featuring food trucks throughout the year and circulating their homemade beers. They also offer hard cider, pop and tea. In the future, the hope to host live music and game nights.

“I would most definitely visit, especially if I was having a hard week,” said Morgan King, a senior at Simpson.

Both King and Sieck were excited to check out the new business.

The brewery is located just off the Indianola square. They have darts and several board games available for patrons to play. The business is family-friendly. 

The brewery lists nearby restaurants that offer takeout or delivery and invite patrons to bring in meals to enjoy with their drinks. 

Three of the servers at West Hill Brewery are Simpson alumni.

The Gaumer’s often bicycle around Des Moines and visits breweries. This inspired them to open a brewery themselves. 

The name West Hill Brewery came from the name of a hill on the Gaumer’s family farm where they often walk their dog and talk about their day together. This hill is also where they discussed the plans to open their business.

Doug brewed beer at home for the past 14 years and has family who owns a brewery.

West Hill Brewery’s current hours are Fridays from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. These hours may change in the future. 

West Hill Brewery is also open to hosting groups and events.