There are few better ways to celebrate a successful outdoor adventure than a cold, refreshing pint of locally-brewed beer. Thankfully, Rapid City is not shy in adventurous trails or refreshing microbrews.
After spending the entire morning and early afternoon on the Schroeder Road and Storm Mountain trail systems South of Rapid City, I drove back into town, locked my bike on Main Street and set out in search of a pint. I didn’t have to go far before finding the Independent Ale House, an inviting brick building specializing in handcrafted pizzas and tasty brews. After ordering a pie, my mind began to spin as I looked upon the list of 40 rotating taps in front of me, littered with local microbreweries and favorites from around the country. While the variety was initially overwhelming, I soon settled on a local pint, the Crow Peak 11th Hour IPA (brewed in Spearfish, a very hop-forward American IPA with deep malt character).
After the Independent Ale House, my self-guided microbrewery tour continued to Rapid City's Firehouse Brewing Co. less than two blocks away. As the name may suggest, the brewery is built into an old and wonderfully repurposed Fire Station, and is covered in firefighter-themed decor, including two massive murals dedicated to the strength and courage of firefighters everywhere, and a massive fire pit in the courtyard. Inside, I settle into the bar to enjoy a Black IPA (brewed in Rapid City, well rounded and session-able American Black Ale with piney and caramel notes) and great conversation with the Rapid City locals who sit beside me.
My tour concluded another half block away at Murphy’s Pub and Grill, where I enjoyed a Knuckle Ruckle Road IPA (brewed in Sturgis, a bright, complex India Pale Ale with clear notes of lemon and wheat) in the afternoon sun on their patio, chatting with more folks from Rapid City and the surrounding area. It’s a wonderfully easy place to spend the afternoon.
Much like the rest of the country, the micro beer scene in South Dakota is growing, and the locals really seem to have the hang of delicious brews.