Something new is brewing a downtown Sioux Falls backroom... literally. Gandy Dancer Brew Works will open to the public August 27.
"There's quite a bit of movement in the craft beer industry right now to do more local stuff. There are lots of nano brews popping up all over the United States. Right now there are 2,500 breweries in the United States. In 1978 there were fewer than 80," Jerry Hauck said.
Hauck is the owner of Monks and has the sign ready to put up for Gandy Dancer. It will be located in the back half of Monks and feature locally created beers. That's where brewmaster Perry Volden comes in.
"It's something entirely new for me and different and I'm really enjoying it," Volden said.
While nano brews are becoming increasingly popular, this downtown Sioux Falls venture is going one more step. The beer created here will also come from the recipe of local brewers. For them, an opportunity like this is a dream come true.
"There's that little notion in every home brewer's mind that someday they want to become a professional brewer or have their own brewery or work in a brewery," Johnny Berkness said.
Johnny Berkness has been a home brewer for about three years now. He's creating one of the first four beers to debut at Gandy Dancer.
"I've always been a craft beer lover. Just through hanging out here at Monks I met a real dear friend of mine who has been brewing for a decade plus. I expressed interest in brewing to him and he said alright, I'll show you how to brew. He showed me how to brew and I've been hooked ever since," Berkness said.
Berkness says when creating a beer, using quality ingredients is one of the most important parts. But he says it also takes a creative mix of chemistry, bioscience and historical knowledge.
"Even going through researching classic styles of beers, what they would have used in those times, what different professional brewers are doing in their beers and making a recipe that is your own," Berkness said.
While the local brewery might be new, the name Gandy Dancer is a throwback to traditional downtown. That name comes from the men who rhythmically pounded the spikes while laying a new track.
The newly created beers will be available for the first time on August 27th. The names for those beers will stick with the railroad theme.
"From what I've tasted so far, this is not carbonated, it hasn't sat in the keg to age a little bit longer, it's very good. I think it will be a big hit, I really do," Volden said.
For now, those with Gandy Dancer have no plans to become a major brewery; rather, they plan to keep their focus on local beers made by local brewers 32 gallons at a time.
"I'm really excited to see what other brewers that are going to come down here what they're going to make," Berkness said.
"To have a hand in the process, it’s like any other craft, is how I would compare it, like a woodworker or even an electrician, someone who does something with their hands and gets to see the final product, it doesn't get any better than that," Berkness said.
Craft beers and those from nano brews are typically more expensive than the tradition beers you buy, however, they also have a high alcohol content. The beers produced at Gandy Dancer will only be available for purchase there.