Spearfish Brewing set to open Feb. 2 at corner of Main St. and Jackson Blvd.

January 25, 2018 GMT

SPEARFISH — There will soon be a new spot to try locally-brewed beer in Spearfish: Spearfish Brewing officially opens to the public at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2.

“We’re exited to become part of that (local) brewing community and really share our passion for it with Spearfish,” Jon Marek, general manager, said.

Sodak Brewing Company, LLC, the legal entity doing business as Spearfish Brewing, is owned by Ryan and Whitney Wordeman and Brian and Michela Meredith and was awarded a $100,000 Spearfish Economic Revolving Fund (SERF) loan for the purchase of production equipment in September. The program provides short-term, low-interest loans to manufacturers/service exporters expanding or relocating to Spearfish.

Wordeman, who bought the 14,000-square-foot lot that most recently housed the one-story Spearfish Plaza and parking area in July 2015, is building the approximately 23,000-square-foot commercial building on the southwest corner of Main Street and Jackson Boulevard. The brewery has been in the works for about two years, with space on the ground level built from the ground up with the intention of housing the brewery.

Nathan Venner, a Pierre native with 11 years of experience as a commercial brewmaster and 13 years in the brewing industry in Laramie and Lander, Wyo., came on board as Spearfish Brewing’s brewmaster more than a year ago, and Marek, originally from Sioux Falls, happened to be assisting Venner at the time the conversations began. He jumped at the opportunity to be part of the venture.

American Beer Equipment from Lincoln, Neb., built the stainless steel, 10-barrel, two-vessel brewhouse with the capacity to brew up to 3,600 barrels a year, and the brewing began in the space in November. Venner explained that the process begins with a state-of-the-art carbon and nano water filtration system that allows him to create beers using a water profile specifically “built” to highlight the flavors in each style. He described that certain beers, like light lagers, require very light water profiles, which is not descriptive of the harder water in Spearfish. Venner explained that Spearfish water is great for making darker beers, stouts, etc., but for a good lager, it’s necessary to take out some of the total dissolved solids, and the brewery is equipped with a reverse osmosis system so he can blend the processed water with Spearfish water to get the water profile he’s looking for in each individual style of beer.

Another unique feature of brewery is its horizontal lagering tanks that craft clean and clear amber and light lagers more quickly than in vertical tanks, since lagering uses a top fermenting yeast. Venner said that the brewery plans to have more than a dozen classic American and international styles of beer, as well as other interesting products one doesn’t often find at breweries.

There will be a handful of nonalcoholic options, including sparkling waters made in house, featuring flavors like cucumber lime, as well as locally-made kombucha, a type of fermented tea, with a rotating selection of flavors, beginning with honey lavender. Marek would also like to feature cold brew coffee on tap. Because the space is family-friendly, there will also be a selection of canned sodas available. For non-beer drinkers, wine will also be available.

There will also be the option to order food in the taproom from a “gastro-pub” menu created by chef Kyle Smith from the RedWater Kitchen, to be located in the space adjacent to the brewery.

The taproom has an occupancy of 84, with seats for 72, and when the weather warms, there will also be outdoor seating. The space also has the ability to open a portion of the front to create an open-air feeling inside, and the staff is looking forward to upcoming Downtown Friday Nights.

The taproom features items custom-made by local contractors, including cabinets, tabletops, tap handles, acid-stained copper bar top, and more, and Marek said that atmosphere is a blend of rustic and industrial, creating a modern space.

The hope is to attract a wide group of patrons in downtown Spearfish, and Marek described that when the doors open on Feb. 2, there would be 11 beers on tap, with 12-14 on tap consistently throughout the year. Spearfish Brewing would also have guest beers on tap periodically, as the staff thinks highly of local breweries throughout the Black Hills.

The hope is to have Spearfish Brewing beers available on tap at local bars and restaurants by summer, Marek added.

The brewery also features a pilot system to brew small amounts of creative and experimental beers that will be available only in the taproom, and Marek said the plan is to invite local homebrewers and those who want to learn more about making beer into the brewery space to use the pilot brewhouse as an educational tool.

“Nathan (Venner) thrives on teaching people,” Marek said.

The staff is excited to get involved in city events and festivals throughout the area.

There are currently 11 employees hired, not counting Marek and Venner, with plans to adjust as necessary once the brewery has a better idea of volumes.

There are some private events happening in the space during the week, with a ribbon-cutting scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, and regular business hours begin Friday, Feb. 2. Hours of operation are from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s been pretty much nonstop journey for us for the last six months,” Marek said.

He added that the Brothers Donut Shop, located to the west of the new building on Jackson Boulevard, would be demolished to create additional parking, and he foresees times when special events, including music and food trucks, would take over the space.

“I think that’s going to be a ton of fun,” Marek said.

“Spearfish is such a great community,” he said, adding, “The town, even in winter, supports the local beer and food scene, so I think that’s a great sign for us, just the amount of support the local community’s got for it.”

Spearfish Brewing can be found on Facebook and Instagram, with a website coming soon.

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