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Thursday, September 22, 2016

South Dakota

One of the many statues in Sioux Falls, SD

I am currently sitting in a slightly dated hotel room on the edge of Brookings, South Dakota. The South Dakota Festival of Books is the event, and I'm doing my bit to act as a beery interloper on all the high-minded literary salons that will be soon taking place. I was paired with a Pulitzer-prize winning Washington Post author at an event last night in Sioux Falls, but he was snared in the net of chaos that is O'Hare, and didn't make it to town in time for the event, sadly. But it gives you a sense of the kind of show this is going to be.

In any case, slow blogging through the weekend. I'll try to get out and drink beer, but no promises on timely updates. The event last night was hosted by WoodGrain Brewing, and later on I went to Monks, the first (and apparently still pre-eminent) beer bar. Sioux Falls is, as you would expect, not on the bleeding edge of the beer scene, and yet it supports a pub with this taplist:

A third stop, at a burger-and-beer joint, yielded similar results. Impressive beers including ones like La Folie. I had a Fernson IPA (local) that was a bit heavy on the diacetyl and thick and caramelly. Better was the IPA at WoodGrain, though that too was caramelly. Based on the prevalence of Denver-based breweries available here, brewers may be looking to the Rockies for their IPA inspiration. The best beers were a rye saison from WoodGrain and a double IPA from a local (Gandy Dancer?) made with South Dakota-grown Nugget and Centennials. The hops were soft and herbal and reminded me a bit of Oregon-grown varieties (Yakima's are brighter and more sparkly).

Okay, off to scare up some lunch--


  1. A group of my friends who started the Brew of O here in Eugene, and were moving into aspects of pro brewing (Oregon Trail & Claim 52) and the beer scene, left to a friend's farm in nearby Worthing, now called Cradle to Grave Farms. They are growing a bunch of hops and malting barley and squeezing bees. If you were interested in an extra local connection...

  2. Apologies: to be clearer, Worthing is nearby to Sioux Falls.