Everywhere you look these days you can see evidence that the small brewery/craft beer scene has exploded in recent years. Statistics show that in the US, 3 breweries are opening per day and the market is still far from saturation point. What does that mean? It means a hell of a lot of beer is produced by people who love beer and the result of this is great diversity in flavors and styles.
One such brewery heading the scene in South Dakota is Crow Peak, based in Spearfish. On sipping their Canyon Cream Ale a few days previously we decided to make a trip through the Black Hills to Spearfish to see what the brewery was all about. We arrived at 11:05am which is kind of early for beverages but we were pleasantly surprised when we saw that the door was open. Expecting to be the first ones to arrive, we walked through the double doors to be greeted by people already sipping a special brew and filling up growlers! The room was one vast space with a huge ceiling accompanied by a bar stretching the length of one wall.
On perusing the colorful chalkboard menu and being told by other punters that we should try the Tart Cherry Porter (which sounded excellent) I decided to go for a Black Hills Cruisin' Session IPA. You can't beat a good IPA at 11am! The idea of having a bevvy at such a tender hour was not as appealing to Haley so she decided to have half a Canyon Cream Ale that we had been drinking from cans a few days earlier!
The gal behind the bar, a relaxed 'nothing fazes me' mid-westerner poured our pints and we got into a chat about travel. She had been to most states in the US and her choice of transport was a motorbike. We told her our travel plans and she recommended that we travel to Stanley in Idaho because it's located amongst the beautiful Sawtooth mountains and it has a good brewery!
On enquiring about the building we found out that this neighborhood brewery had moved premises from across the street to deal with expansion a few years ago and it seemed to be thriving. One can even go across the street to buy some BBQ and then bring it into the brewery to eat it with a pint!
The IPA was excellent and only mildly hoppy which is good, especially so early on in the day. I also got the opportunity to try the '11th Hour IPA' which is their signature drink and it was really good stuff. Maybe we should move to South Dakota simply because the craft beers are great. Excellent brewery, excellent drinks and friendly people!
Beer-o-meter rating: 9/10