You heard it here first: South Dakota has a craft beer scene. Though, if you’re not one of the 853,000 people who call the Mount Rushmore State home, you’d be forgiven for not knowing this fact.
If you consider yourself a craft beer aficionado and a lover of all things beer, but haven’t heard of the malty and hoppy goodness being produced between the Black Hills of the state’s west and the grassy prairies of the state’s east, don’t question your craft beer fandom, it’s not your fault. After all, there’s only one South Dakota brewery that distributes their beer outside of state lines, and a total of two that can their beer for consumption outside of the pub (and the second started canning just last week).
But don’t be fooled, the craft beer scene in South Dakota is growing. And unlike in craft beer pilgrimage-worthy states like Colorado, California, Oregon, Vermont, Montana and Michigan where it’s near impossible to imagine craft beer getting any more popular, South Dakota’s craft beer scene is, comparatively, just catching fire and finding its footing.
So what can you expect from South Dakota beer? For the most part, you’ll find thoughtful and delicious variations of classic crowd pleasers, like brown ales, cream ales, saisons and IPAs with less emphasis on the flamboyant flavors found in more jaded craft beer markets.
Now that you’re 1) aware South Dakota beer exists, and 2) thirsty to try some, here are a few breweries not to miss while traveling in the state.
Crow Peak Brewing
As the largest brewery in the state, and until just a few days ago, the only brewery to can their beer for distribution, Crow Peak Brewing is usually top of mind for South Dakota beer drinkers. And while you can find their rich, dark and flavorful Pile O’ Dirt Porter and their hoppy yet balanced 11th Hour IPA at most bars across the state, and in cans in select locations in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wyoming, the best move is to stop by their tap room in Spearfish (just 10 miles from the South Dakota/Wyoming border) to drink it straight from the source.
Miner Brewing Company
Hill City, SD
Opened in fall of 2013 by brewmaster Sandi Vojta and her husband Matt Keck, a stop at Miner Brewing Company is a must on the drive from Rapid City to Custer State Park, or pre- or post-trip to Mount Rushmore (it’s just 20 minutes away). Pull up a seat at the bar in their bright and rustic taproom, or in their open air beer garden, and order a beer flight. On tap, you’ll find a rotating list of 10-12 beers crafted in the style of traditional European brews, but often with the addition of a distinctly South Dakota twist — like South Dakota-grown currants, chokecherries, pumpkins, crab apples and blue spruce tips from the Black Hills.