Seth Koch of the Wooden Legs Brewing Company and I traveled to Pierre last Sunday for the “Great Beer & History Session”. The presentation, written by Ken Stewart and presented by Chris Nelson, both of the South Dakota Historical Society, was well attended with around 80 present. We learned that Deadwood had twelve breweries at one time! SIoux Falls, Yankton, Huron, Pierre and Central City also had early breweries. Early popular brands included Gold Nugget, Rosebud, Schooner, Blue Label, Frontier and Golden Pheasant. The early breweries may be gone but South Dakota is seeing a renewal of brewing with Crow Peak in Spearfish. Brewpubs include Firehouse Brewing in Rapid City, Dempsey’s in Watertown and Granite City in Sioux Falls. Brookings has two operations under development. The Wooden Legs Brewing Company is developing a brewpub in downtown Brookings with an tentative opening date of fall 2011. The Heist Brewing Company will be brewing draught beer with a summer or fall 2011 startup estimate.
I was able to meet Josh and Tanya Fritz of the Crow Peak Brewing Company after the formal presentation. They brought samples of their two canned beers – 11th Hour IPA and Pile O’ Dirt Porter. Both beers were very good!
Four home brewers from Pierre brought samples of their beer to try and answered questions from the crowd. They included Jesse Flottmeyer, Kevin Flottmeyer, Andy Vandel and Martyn Beeny.
Sponsors for the event were La Minestra, the Crossing Casino and the South Dakota Heritage Fund. A video of the event can be seen on YouTube The Great Beer & History Session 2011.
Enjoy the thumbnail pictures below of some of the South Dakota beer memorabilia. Click on the pictures for larger images.