Anya Mueller was downtown in Rapid City and spoke with the owner of Woodland Republic Brewing and Blending, one of the newest breweries in town.
The brewery opened Halloween 2021, but owner Jesse Ewing says he’s been brewing forever.
“I started homebrewing, like, in 2004. And then right in the middle of COVID, you know, and everybody is on work from home status. It’s like, ‘Okay, I’ll just go down to the garage,’ and I’m glad I had a hobby that I could just be stuck at home for, you know?” Jesse said. “And then my family, my brother and I were great friends with Seth Malott that has Century 21 up front here down and saw how cool the space was like, ‘Okay, let’s start a brewery.'”
Jesse says the dream as a home brewer is to one day start a brewery. On top of that, he says there are so many great breweries in Rapid City.
“I’m good friends with most of the guys that have other breweries in Rapid, so I kind of do funkier and crazier stuff, I guess. So we have a coolship,” Jesse said, indicating to a little room. “We put our wort into that, open the window, let whatever wild and spontaneous yeast come in through the window, inoculate the beer. So instead of pitching a yeast into it like you would a typical beer, we just let whatever wild yeast is in the air. And then we pump it from there into these, all these are wine barrels over here. So the wine barrels are filled with wild spontaneous beer. Typically when you brew, like if I’m brewing into the stainless tanks back there, you can get a beer wrapped up in two or three weeks, depending on what you’re brewing. When you do the spontaneous stuff that usually sits for 12 to 18 months. So it’s a long process because you’re not pitching like a known quantity of yeast into it. It’s just whatever’s floating around in the air.”
It’s a different and long process that sets Woodland Republic Brewing and Blending apart from other breweries.
“Then we do a lot of weird stuff like we’ve got, we do smoothie sour style stuff. So I think I’ve got a passion orange guava smoothie sour on right now. We usually have like a rainbow sherbet one or a blueberry French toast sour, we do. I just did a s’mores stout on the nitro tap over there and we conditioned it on 35 pounds of marshmallow fluff. So it’s fun stuff like that.”
The brewery has a few traditional brews like a ton of hazy IPAs, and then they do what they call their Woodland Standard, which is like a beer flavored beer.
“It’s a lot of big, crazy stouts and fruited sours. We try to come out with like a new beer almost every week or every other week if we can.”
Jesse says they were shooting for an atmosphere at the brewery that is laid back, low key, and a rustic feel.
“That’s part of why I decided this room would work. You know, you got the old rock wall and open beams and all this stuff. It’s like, let’s make it homey and inviting. And hopefully that’s what carries through. And when we get customers in and I feel like it has, we’ve got like a Super Nintendo in the back hooked up to a TV. So it’s just kind of a homey, come hang out here, feel and everybody’s your friend. And I guess that’s partly why Republic’s in the name too, is kind of like a place where all like-minded people could come gather and get together. And so far it works.”
Flights are really popular for Woodland Republic Brewing and Blending just because they have such wild styles.
“Everybody’s like, ‘Oh, I need to try a blackberry coffee infused sour,’ you know? It’s like, oh, are they going to like it? I don’t know. But for four ounces, it works.”
Woodland Republic Brewing and Blending is located on the corner of Fifth Street across from the parking garage, and it’s open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and then Saturday from noon until p.m. There’s usually a food truck on Saturday nights, but once a month they’ll get live music in there either on a Friday or Saturday.
There’s limited parking in the back, with about 20 spaces.
“And then in front of the VFW out here is all – that’s not even metered. So there’s parking out here. But we’re tucked behind Century 21. That’s kind of the easiest way to describe where we’re at, I guess.”