The answer to that question is pretty simple. Woodgrain.

But I decided to list in order (from best to worst) breweries in Sioux Falls. Surprisingly some of the most popular breweries are the lowest on my list. And I will tell you why. As someone who has been drinking micro-brews for over 20 years I think I have gotten a pretty good palate. While I wouldn’t call myself a beer nerd, I do know what I like.

  1. Woodgrain Brewing. It’s pretty simple why Woodgrain is surperior, Quality and Consistency. They have rarely made a bad beer and they have always had a lot of complexity and diversity in their lineup.
  2. Homestead. While they are NOT in Sioux Falls, they are in the immediate area. What makes Homestead great is the freshness of the beer due to the fact they grow their own Hops. The Brewery is located on the Hops farm property and has been in the family for decades.
  3. Gandy Dancer. Located in Monks, Gandy is one of the first breweries in Sioux Falls (new generation after the closure of Sioux Falls Brewery) Gandy’s beers are unique. While I don’t like everything they make, I do like the extensive creativity in the beers.
  4. Hydra. I think Hydra got off to a rough start. I said once that their original IPA tasted like sawdust. But I they have gotten pretty good at making stouts and fruit beers.
  5. Miner. While Miner was shipping their beers in from the West side of the state they now will be brewing at their new location in Sioux Falls. I suspect with all the local talent in brewing Miner will climb the ladder.
  6. Fernson. While Fernson may be the biggest brewery in Sioux Falls and the most popular and widely distributed, I mostly attribute that to clever marketing and a lot of it. While their beer has gotten ‘better’ (I can actually drink a couple of Lion’s Paws) they lack the quality and consistency of their competitors.
  7. Remedy. Don’t get me wrong, Remedy has some good beers but a lot them fall flat on their face with delivering what you are expecting. I know they have the right equipment to brew, a fantastic space and the talent. I suspect Remedy will come out of it’s growing pains and start delivering more quality beers soon.
  8. Honorable Mention; Take 16 in Luverne, Minnesota. They make some fantastic beers and are only a few short miles from Sioux Falls.

There are also 2 new breweries opening within the year in Sioux Falls and maybe even a 3rd one (that one is a surprise!)

So besides breweries in town, where are some other places to get your ‘micro brew’ fix on?

  1. Monks House of Ale Repute. Hands down best selection in Sioux Falls.
  2. Bonus Round Bar. Bar manager Allen does a great job of having diversity in his taps, bottles and cans. You can even get a silo of PBR.
  3. Taphouse 41. While their service is incredibly horrible, their beer selection is really good.

I’m sure I will get a lot of heck for this post, but I really don’t care. The one thing to remember about drinking microbrews is it is about what you like. For instance, I don’t like sours. Even though I rated these Sioux Falls breweries I recommend you try all of them. Support your local businesses!

This morning on Belfrage’s show he was saying comparing the liquor license for Prairie Berry to the one for West Mall wasn’t the same. First off, it was a beer license, NOT liquor, so let’s get that straight, and secondly he is right one level. Prairie Berry is a bar/restaurant essentially (I do believe you can bring minors in the place since they serve food) while West Mall is a movie theater. But there are some similarities. Both, I would assume would ID anyone who was going to purchase alcohol, that’s the law. Also, since both allow minors into their establishments, than they would have to monitor them.

I agree with the council that it wasn’t a big deal to allow Prairie Berry a beer/wine license, that’s not the argument here. The big deal is NOT allowing one at the movie theater, and I would argue one of the most ignorant decisions this council has ever made as an entire voting body.

Why? Well lets start comparing ‘apples to apples’. Besides the fact that movie theaters throughout the country and world have allowed alcohol for decades, there is the other comparison. The Washington Pavilion, Orpheum Theatre and Events Center all allow alcohol in a ‘dark’ hall just like a theater. I would also note that it would be a lot harder for an usher to monitor someone underage drinking at an EC concert than it would be in a small movie theater. A simple solution would be to put a wristband on drinkers at the movie theatre that are reflective and serve the beer or wine ONLY in clear plastic cups. This would make it easier to identify drinkers from non drinkers in the theater.

It seems the city council has a double standard by allowing alcohol at city owned facilities that have minors present but NOT allowing a private business owner to do the same. I would encourage him to revisit the idea and remind them of this double standard.