When you think of places to go to enjoy great craft beer, South Dakota is probably not at the top of your list. We get it. It wasn’t really on our list either, but we love visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota, so we were pleasantly surprised to find some really great spots to get a beer.
The Black Hills are probably the most popular part of southwest South Dakota, but to be fair, there are some pretty great craft beer spots in this part of the state that aren’t nestled in the hills. But, it’s hard to not want to spend time in the Black Hills.
They’re a unique feature in the otherwise flat landscape, and they’re home to some pretty great sights (Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer State Park to name a few).
On our last visit to southwest South Dakota, we made a point of hunting down some craft breweries that we hadn’t tried before. We found some amazing spots, and frankly a few spots that are on our list of favorite breweries.
So, if you’re headed to South Dakota and the Black Hills, here are our top 10 breweries in southwest South Dakota.
Our Top 10 Breweries in South Dakota
Let’s start with Spearfish Brewing Company. This small brewery is one of three breweries in the town of Spearfish, making this community a must-visit for anyone looking for a good craft brewery.
Despite being small, Spearfish Brewing Company is quickly making a name for itself in the craft beer industry, winning plenty of medals (and respect) at some of the biggest brewing competitions in the US.
On our visit to Spearfish Brewing Company we checked out some of their award-winning beers. Their most decorated is The Hills Have Ryes, an American brown ale made with rye, and it did not disappoint.
Spearfish Brewing is dedicated to making the best lagers and ales that you’ll taste. They have installed a three-stage reverse osmosis system for treating their brewing water so when you drink their beers, all you taste is the beer, not the flavors from the water.
This is particularly noticeable in their beers like Venner, their light American Lager which was delicious, crisp and fresh.
Other beers to try when visiting Spearfish Brewing Company: Copper Midge Amber Lager, Termes Beer American Wheat Ale and Mindscapes a unique IPA made with hop terpenes.
Crow Peak Brewing Company was the first craft brewery in Spearfish, SD. They’ve set a pretty high standard for other breweries opening up around town. A number of years ago, we actually drove from Custer to Spearfish (that’s an hour drive) just to check out Crow Peak. It was worth the drive then, and it’s even better today.
Crow Peak has three standard beers (Pile-O-Dirt Porter, 11th Hour IPA and Canyon Cream Ale) that you can find in their tap room year round, or at many liquor stores around the state. Their standards are great, but what you really want to experience is their small batch beers.
Their rotating beer list is quite outstanding. On our last visit we enjoyed Blueberry Haze (Belgian IPA w/basil) and the Bockaroo Bonzi (Doppelbock), which were just a couple of the unique beers on the tap list.
Crow Peak is located on the west side of Spearfish in a cool log cabin style building. The rustic space has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Also, check out the Bees Knees Farmers Market that shares a parking lot with Crow Peak, for more great foods from around South Dakota.
Located along Spearfish Creek, in a small but busy strip mall is Sawyer Brewing Company. Sawyer Brewing is the newest of the craft breweries in Spearfish. The family owned brewery is named for an individual that saws lumber, or a sawyer.
The family’s history as loggers and sawyers serves as the background and inspiration for creating high quality craft beers. It is also the only brewery in town that has its own kitchen and full menu of delicious pizza.
Their beer menu is constantly changing, so you’ll want to check out what’s new when you’re in town. Oh and make sure to try a pizza. Our favorite was the prosciutto and arugula.
We headed to Lost Cabin Beer Company in Rapid City on a Friday and it was quite evident that this brewery is very popular with the locals. The line for beer was long, and the community style tables were full. It’s popular for a reason.
The beer here is amazing! It easily competes with some of the best craft beers from around the country. Lost Cabin is committed to highlighting the state’s agricultural sector, so many of their beers feature locally sourced products, which make this brewery even cooler.
You’ll find out soon enough that this brewery has a huge beer menu. We like that. Sure, it means there’s going to be a tough decision, but it also means that there’s something for both of us.
When we visited we had the Hefeweizen and Bruce Banner (American Pale Ale). Both were amazing and we even brought home a 4-pack of the Bruce Banner.
It’s hard to go wrong with beers brewed by scientists. Hay Camp Brewing Company was started in 2014 by graduate students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Hay Camp quickly became a popular brewery in Rapid City, thanks to its location downtown and its ever changing menu of small batch craft beers. The brewery is now located in an old car dealership building.
The space is huge and is home to not just the brewery, but a full event space as well. The brewery regularly hosts bands, indoor leisure activities and other fun activities to make your visit interesting.
Don’t like beer? That’s ok! Hay Camp also has distilled spirits and a coffee bar!
On our last trip to the Black Hills, Sturgis Brewing Company was our first stop. Of course, Sturgis, SD is known for its motorcycle rally, but this small community has a fun history, and craft beer that didn’t disappoint.
Located not far off of I-90, the brewery is a perfect blend of industrial and log cabin. You’ll find that this brewery has a huge patio, plenty of indoor seating, good beers and good food.
The beer you’ll find here was, and in town still is part of the Knuckle Brewing Company. The downtown location of the Knuckle got too small for their needs, so they moved out of downtown, built a new building and renamed themselves Sturgis Brewing Company.
We really enjoyed the beer here, and the patio was a nice spot. Their beer list features beers brewed in house, as well as featured beers from other breweries around the state. If you don’t like beer, they also have wine and a small selection of cocktails.
Sick-N-Twisted Brewery is one of the few in the state to have two taprooms. You’ll find them in their original location in Hill City or stop in for a brew in historic Deadwood. Their Hill City Location is a fun spot with a wall of beer for to-go orders, and 20 house-made beers on tap.
Both tap houses offer pizza and pub foods including pretzels, meat and cheese plates and wings. Wine tasting is also available next door to the brewery in Naked Winery, owned by the same folks. Oh, and if you didn’t check their website before you visited, make sure to ask about the ice cream tasting for your kiddos.
One thing we noticed on our visit to Sick-N-Twisted is just how dog friendly they are. The brewery was full of pups, and even the owner’s dogs made an appearance.
The other half of the Sturgis Brewing Company is The Knuckle Brewing Company and Saloon. This huge location is located on the historic Main Street of Sturgis, and is a hugely popular spot for visitors to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
On tap here, you’ll find their brews along with craft brews from other South Dakota breweries, as well as a full bar.
The saloon is not just a spot to hang out, but it is also filled with memorabilia documenting the history of Sturgis and it’s famous motorcycle rally.
Lead, South Dakota (pronounced LEED) is a small town that is overshadowed by its popular neighbor, Deadwood. However, this tiny community that was once home to the world largest open cut gold mine, is a great place to stop if you want a great beer, and a slower pace.
Despite its small size, the Dakota Shivers beers are amazing. Opened in 2015 the owners have been brewing for over 30 years, and they bring their experience and care to each of their beers.
The beer list is small, but they have three standards that you’ll always find on tap, a pale ale, a wit beer, and an IPA. All of the beers here are small batch brewed using locally sourced ingredients.
Oh, and it’s important to mention that this spot has limited hours (Tuesday-Saturday, 2PM to 8PM) so you’ll have to plan your visit accordingly.
To be honest, if you don’t know this brewery is here, you might not ever find it. Miner Brewing Company is another of our favorites in South Dakota, and it’s a literal hidden gem. Located along highway 16 east of Hill City, Miner Brewing Company and Prairie Berry Winery sit just off the highway, and if you’re going too fast, you’ll miss them.
We love this brewery! Not only do they have amazing beers, but the vibe here is really cool. All of the beers made at Miner Brewing Company are small batch brewed and fermented in small barrel fermenters, so you get a perfect beer experience every time. Miner uses tons of locally sourced ingredients, which is another thing we love about this brewery.
If you visit Miner in the winter, check out their igloos! Even before Covid, Miner was setting up igloos as a way of expanding their seating during the winter. They give you a cozy spot to enjoy a beer like their West River Pale Ale, and enjoy the beauty of a South Dakota winter.
Miner also serves pizza, sandwiches and snacks so you’ll be able to satisfy your munchies as well.
Oh, and if you’ve got the kiddos along, check out Candyland right across the street. It’s a huge candy store that your kids will love!
Final Thoughts: Top Breweries in South Dakota
Southwest South Dakota is one of our favorite places to visit. And though we enjoy the tourist sites like Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer State Park, we also love checking out the less popular spots and enjoying the amazing, growing craft beer scene.
Do keep in mind that if you want a full experience of craft breweries in southwest South Dakota, you’ll need to do some planning, while places like Spearfish and Rapid City have options, you’ll have to do some driving to get to some of the other amazing spots.
However, once you get the lay of the land, you’ll love all that the Black Hills and southwest South Dakota has to offer when it comes to craft beer. A relaxed and down home feel, combined with delicious and innovative beers.
South Dakota has a special place in my heart. It is where my mom grew up, where I spent most of my summers as a kid, and I even started my college career in South Dakota. So it’s an easy place...