It’s a Brewhaha!
Sioux Falls may just be the next major craft beer mecca. Over the last few years, we’ve seen several new breweries open their doors in our great city, and we anticipate even more local brewers to come out of the woodwork soon. The next time you’re craving a rich dark stout or a light saison-style ale, take note and make your plans to visit every brewery and craft beer room in Sioux Falls.
We’ve compiled a list of the most well-known servers and brewers of South Dakota craft beer in town. We went straight to the source to give you the must-trys, insider news, and upcoming events at each location.
The modern yet rustic feel of this inviting taproom makes it easy to stay and chill for a while. With their choice board games and Big Buck Hunter arcade entertainment, you’ll have plenty of activities to enjoy while you take pleasure in sampling every Fernson brew. You can also request a tour of the brewery and take a pint with you while learning about the art form of beer crafting. These guys are experts, as the beer is produced and packaged right on site.
If you’re not sure what to choose, start with their flagship draft beer Lion’s Paw Lager—a German-style malty lager with a beautiful copper color and crisp finish. (Is your mouth watering yet?) If you’re looking to share your new-found love of Fernson with those back home or wish to relive the experience later, you can nab a 6-pack of their Farmhouse Ale—a bright, fresh, and semi-tart beer with only 4.5% ABV, or their IPA—a well-balanced, Mosaic dry-hopped IPA with a nice malty backbone that’s 7.0% ABV. You can also get a 64 oz. growler of your choosing.
If you time your visit just right, you may even get to try beer they’re currently producing using wine barrels. (Yum!)
They have also recently opened a downtown location, Fernson On 8th!
- Staff favorites: Seasonal brews. “If we have a seasonal beer out in the market, we would definitely recommend trying it,” says Riccardo Tarabelsi, the brewery’s VP of sales & marketing. “We are releasing a seasonal beer called Berliner Weisse, a German tart wheat beer, summer of 2016.”
- Flights: Build-your-own flights for $2/pour
- Tours: Almost on-demand brewery tours. Just show up!
- Upcoming events: Watch for the Fernson Fest Summer 2016 announcement on the Fernson Facebook page.
You’ll find WoodGrain right in downtown Sioux Falls, and everyone is welcome—family, fido, and friends. While those under age 21 sip on a house-made soda (it’s delicious), those of age can delight in a WoodGrain signature brew, like the SMaSH—a simple single malt and single hop mix with a citrusy hop aroma and smooth pale ale finish.
If you’re visiting in the summer, their American Wheat is the perfect accompaniment to hot weather, with equal parts pale ale malt and white wheat. On a cold day, lift your spirits with their Milk Stout—a lighter version of a stout that’s like sipping on a creamy, dark, chocolatey bit of heaven. The master brewers, Steve and Jason, love to experiment and serve new brews, so repeat visitors are likely to get a new experience every time.
Beyond the beer, the taproom is a simple, open space with reclaimed barn wood tables and warm lighting. The brewing area is right there, too, so you can see all of the state-of-the-art equipment for yourself. You can also sip on other local brews from their rotating guest tap as well as wine from Strawbale Winery in Renner, SD and With the Wind Winery from Rosholt, SD. Once you find a brew that’s irresistible, get a 64 ounce growler or 29 ounce “grumbler” of it to go!
- Most unique beer: “For something out of the ordinary, our seasonal fall/winter Imperial Brown ale has a delicious balance of malt sweetness, clean finish, and lightly roasted aroma,” says Jason Currie-Olson, owner and brewer at WoodGrain. “Imperial brown ales are not very common, and ours is a special treat for those looking for a ‘bigger’ beer without all the coffee aroma and notes.”
- Flights: 4 samples of choice per flight
- Upcoming events: Watch for First Fridays at WoodGrain and #SundayFunday events announcements, including a special May Day beer collaboration release party on the WoodGrain Facebook page.
Located a mile from the Empire Mall, surrounded by a metropolis of restaurants and stores, you’ll find the gem that’s Hydra Beer Company. Brew-lovers can sit for hours sampling their signature beers as well as seasonal and other local taps, including beer, cider, and mead. They also have homemade sodas and cold-brewed coffee on nitro for when you need hydration or a caffeinated pick-me-up in between beers.
The establishment has an intriguing juxtaposition of an almost a modern medieval look with a welcoming vibe. You’ll find friendly staff, pub-style seating, (including a long Viking banquet table), mythological monster and dragon wall decor, and rotating genres of rock music playing in the background. In addition to free pretzels and popcorn, you can opt to have food from Ruby Tuesday, Carnaval, Big Rig BBQ, or Carino's delivered right to your table. (Um, yum.)
Before you decide on your first pour, consider one of their flagship brews, like the Pale Horse—a German-style pale ale with a toasty light malt finish. Or go for their Immortal, which is a 7-barley English ale, or Brown Ale—no bitterness in the bite of this beer! Only a slight fruitiness. There’s also their Death Breath—a double IPA with the perfect hop and malt balance. Go see (and taste) all of these (and more) for yourself.
Hydra is always concocting new, unique brews, so you’ll have to plan your second visit right after your first! You can also grab a 6-pack of bottles or a 64- or 32-ounce growler for later.
- Must-try beer: “I'm pretty hard pressed to find someone who says they don’t like our Pale Horse or Immortal ales,” says Nick Murphy, owner and brewer at Hydra. “Worth a try for sure.”
- Flights: 4 Hydra beers of your choice per flight.
- Upcoming events: Look for Hydra to announce that date of their first brew festival this summer on the Hydra Facebook page.
It all started here in 2007 with the creation of South Dakota’s first craft beer bar. Walk into Monks House of Ale Repute, the home of Gandy Dancer Brew Works, and you may not only find yourself enamored with the chill atmosphere, gentle background music, and original artwork, but also the overwhelming number of craft ale, cider, and mead options. Their rotating local, regional, and Gandy Dancer home-brewed taps are all on display via an electronic brew menu board. (It really gives each beer its well-deserved spotlight.) If the beer wasn't a good enough reason to drop by, their unique grub, such as their signature pizzas (like One Night In Bangkok), Scotch eggs, and green bean fries will really seal the deal.
The brewery portion of the establishment, Gandy Dancer Brew Works, includes a one-barrel brewing system that produces 64 gallons of goodness twice a week. Also, bet you can’t guess where the name Gandy Dancer came from! “It’s a railroad term, referring to the railroad workers who drove the spikes with alternate strokes in a rhythm of sorts,” says owner Jerry Hauck. “All the beers we produce also have names reflective of a railroad term.” This is fitting, considering it’s located next to the railroad off 8th Street in downtown Sioux Falls.
Gandy Dancer’s signature brews include Buzzards Roost—a nice, easy-drinking cream ale. On the opposite spectrum, there’s Bindlestiff Dark Ale—a dark, smooth, and flavorful beer with plenty of heft at 8.5% alcohol content. Then, for that happy and hoppy medium, try the Possum Belly Pale Ale—a step up from the cream ale with more hops and kick at 7.1% ABV. There’s much more, too, including a hop-filled IPA and whiskey-barrel-aged beers. But you’ll just have to venture to Monks to learn more.
After your tasting session, grab a 32- or 64-ounce growler (glass or stainless steel) or choose from 150 bottles to go.
- Most coveted beer: “My personal favorite beer that we brew at Gandy Dancer is the Bindlestiff Dark Ale, but I drink all of them, depending on my mood, the weather, time of day, and if I'm eating something with the beer,” says owner Jerry Hauck.
- Flights: No flights. But they do offer free one-ounce samples.
- Upcoming events: BEERVANA, Monks and Gandy Dancer’s outdoor beer festival is September 17. Also watch for the First Friday event announcements and more on their events page.
Prairie Berry East Bank is famous for their South Dakota wine, produced in the Black Hills. At their Sioux Falls location, they also serve Miner Brewing Company craft brews. So if you have a friend who doesn’t crave those frothy pours like you do (and we all have that one friend), bring them here. In addition to beer, you can also get their wine on tap and grab a bite to eat, too. Everything on their menu pairs well with a fermented beverage!
While they have their standard taps, which are always in season, they’re always releasing new options. Every brew has traditional European flavor with an added South Dakota influence. Take their Chokecherry Brown Ale, for example—chokecherries are a regional delight, so why not add them to a classic brown ale for a tart, fruity twist with a crisp finish? (We think that’s how they came up with the idea, anyway.) Their specialty tap selections are always top-notch, too, like their sour Kombucha Berliner Weiss, and slightly bitter but flavorful Black IPA.
Sandi Vojta is the establishment’s brewmaster, winemaker, and company co-owner. She’s also possibly the only person in the country to brew beer and make wine. She and her team produce every beer and wine in a local production facility in Hill City, South Dakota. Get a Hydro flask or glass growler to go, or join their Beer Club and get a special growler exclusively for members.
- Favorite brews: According to Prairie Berry’s staff, must-try craft beers include Mango Cream Ale, Irish Red, and Blue IPA.
- Flights: With this many options, Prairie Berry’s beer connoisseurs will help you craft the perfect flight.
- Upcoming events: Craft Beer and Bingo is held on select Saturdays throughout the summer. Show up early (it fills up quick!), grab a Miner brew and Bingo card, and cross your fingers that you’ll win some Prairie Berry prizes.
Get your taste of the craft beer movement.
This is only a small sampling of Sioux Falls’ amazing craft brews. There are also many restaurants around town where you can enjoy a craft pint with a delectable dish.
For your planning purposes, unless noted, you must be 21 years of age or older to enter these fine establishments. Sioux Falls has plenty of hotels with free shuttles and taxis if you need a ride to get around, too.
Enjoy the Brewery Scene
Now that you have a taste for the many craft brews in Sioux Falls, start planning your trip today!