Anya Mueller was in Rapid City at Cohort Craft Brewing where she met owner and brewer Jason Kingsbury to see what he had brewing.
“So currently we are making our Keller Beer, which is our young helles. It’s one of our top sellers. It’s a lager style beer, and it’s one of my favorite beers on the menu,” Jason said. “We’re currently in the louder/sparge phase, and that’s where we’re taking the sweet liquor and we’re moving it over to the boil kettle. So what I’m doing now is I’m waiting. I’m trying to achieve a certain volume, so I’m trying to suck as much liquid out of there as possible. We’re shooting for 166 gallons, which we’ll achieve, take the hot liquor, which is sugar water essentially made out of grain, put it in the tank and pitch the yeast.”
The yeast takes about three to four days to do its job to give them alcohol and carbon dioxide, and then they let it mature for about five to 10 days. Then it’s set and they get to drink it.
“So this is our malt, right? This is where, this is the primary source of our sugar right here, and this malt comes from Gallatin Valley, Manhattan, Montana. It’s a small family owned craft maltster. So it’s kind of cool.”
For a certain batch of Keller beer, they use a German hop. It has a little floural scent that’s a little spicy and a little citrus.
“These come from Germany, a certain area in Germany. Depends on the brew. Depends on what hop we use. It’s just, today we’re using one of my faves.”
Jason showed Anya a dried cone and why it’s what you want in brewing.
“This is a dried cone, and the good stuff you want. See that yellow residue? That’s the good stuff. That’s where alpha acids are. That’s where our beta acids are. That’s where our flavor and aroma comes from. So what they do is they take this and compact it into that. This is the grain, right? So we mix the grain with water at a certain temperature, and that will give us a certain sugar extraction.
Then they suck all the water out and transfer it over to the boil kettle where it will boil.
After showing Anya how everything is brewed, Jason went on to talk about how he started his business.
“Like most brewers in our area, I started as a home brewer. So I started off on a relatively small system and kind of got the bug and then developed a very sophisticated system down in my basement, basically a mini system of what I have now knowing that brewing is kind of where it was going to go.”
Cohort Craft Brewing is located on the south side of Rapid City, and it’s important to Jason because it’s where he lives.
“This is my community. So when we were deciding where to put the brewery, this was the perfect spot for us. We’re a small brewery and we’re about five barrels or 155 gallons at a batch. We are taproom focus, so we sell as much beer through our taproom as possible. We do beer and mead. Mead as honey wine. It makes us pretty unique and in the area, not many people are doing that product. Ten beers on tap and two meads. So we have 12 draft options most of the time unless we sell out of a beer and then we also do cans to go, 12 ounce cans.”
The brewery is located by the Walmart on 5th Street across from Med 5 Federal Credit Union in Rapid City.
“You know, I just want people to come enjoy themselves. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service. You know, although we strive to produce the best beer we possibly can, we want people to definitely feel immersed in the process and really take that, you know, with the process. Take that beer to the next level.”
Their menu includes:
- Cherry Bomb: Cherry Wheat Ale – A wheat beer with sweet cherry and Tahitian vanilla
- Dark Necessities: Dark Lager – A crisp malty and roasty lager
- Dequench Mode: Radler – Lemonade – Ready for hot summer days. A weissbeir based radler beer made with lemonade and South Dakota honey
- Heart of Gold: IPA – A West Coast IPA dry hopped with Idaho 7
- Honey Bee: Amber Lager – An Amber Lager made with South Dakota honey
- Mead Beer Blend: Braggot – Mix your favorite mead and beer to create a personalized beverage
- Mead Flight
- Motley Crew: Double IPA – Clocking in at 9.1% and double dry hopped with citra, centennial and amarillo.
- Overcast!: Hazy IPA – Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado hoppy goodness
- PYT – Keller: German style Kellerbier
- Sour Dreams (Are Made of This): Sour Beer – A Dreamsicle inspired sour beer – orange ice cream, orange puree, Tang and Tahitian vanilla
- White Wedding: Milkshake IPA – Our milkshake IPA with Bru 1 hops and lactose makes for the most amazing mouth feel and flavor
- Cranberry Hibiscus: Craft Mead – Fruited with cranberries and hibiscus tea
- Sour Lips Are Sealed – Banana and Lime: Sour Mead – Fruited with banana and lime
- Sour Lips Slushee: Slushee – A slushee version of our Sour Lips Are Sealed with banana and lime