This ain't your daddy's beer vacation! A generation ago the term meant going to Florida over spring break, baking in the sun, and maintaining hydration by guzzling uniform, mass-produced beers. A Black Hills beer vacation means sampling an incredible variety of locally brewed craft beers. Black Hills waters seem especially suited to dark beers, including porters. But there are plenty of exceptions, too. An immensely popular local beer is an India Pale Ale from Spearfish: Eleventh Hour IPA. It's made at the Crow Peak brewery, which features a friendly tap room (it's hard to find an unfriendly craft beer tap room anywhere, but this one is especially friendly). From Spearfish travel north to downtown Rapid City and see where craft brewing in these parts got its start, at the Firehouse. The colorful building was originally the city's fire station. There are other breweries and tap rooms in downtown Rapid City, too, and new ones are sprouting up in other Black Hills towns. No Black Hills beer vacation is complete without a stop at Hill City's excellent Miner Brewing Co. If a member of your traveling party prefers wine, Miner Brewing is right next door to the famous Prairie Berry Winery. Designate a driver, please!
Paul writes about the Black Hills for in-flight airline publications, academic magazines, South Dakota Magazine, public TV, newspapers and websites. He is the author of five books, all Black Hills themed. He lives in the Black Hills. He's obviously no Renaissance Man with varied interests, but if the Black Hills are your thing, he's your guy.