Written by Shirin Ahmadpour

I just turned 21, and to the surprise of many, I really did not drink before this milestone birthday. I celebrated with the typical nightlife clubbing and sipping on mixed drinks ordeal, but sooner or later I knew I’d wander into a brewery. On a road trip to Mount Rushmore with my dad, an avid beer connoisseur, I figured we should check out my first brewery together.

aib4

Asking the locals and doing some online research I found that two breweries dominated the social scenes of Rapid City, SD: Firehouse Brewing Co. and Independent Ale House. Located in Downtown Rapid City, where lights dangle throughout the restaurants, shopping filled streets and bronze statues of presidents that greet walkers on every corner, I picked Firehouse Brewing Co., after all, that meant we’d get to spend time in Rapid City’s first firehouse that was built in 1915.

Interested by the fact that they have hand crafted so many of their own drinks, I ordered a flight of their house beers: 9 for $12.

aib

As a straight A student, I found it ironic that my favorite beer happened to be called Teacher’s Pet. I couldn’t help it; it was sweet, light and tasted like apples. It was a baby beer drinker’s delight.

My dad enjoyed the darkest beer in the house. So special, it’s not even on the menu: King Bee Honey Porter. He also enjoyed the Semper Fi Amber, so suiting for my military dad.

aib8

When you order their flight you receive six menu items and three special off menu drinks:

Rubia Cremosa – This Mexican influenced beer is a combination of corn and rice.

Firehouse Red (Irish Red) – Ooooh caramel crispness.

Wilderness Wheat – They say that one sip of this and you’ll feel like you’re at Oktoberfest. I guess now I’ll just have to hop on over to Germany and find out for myself one of these days.

Blue Eyed Girl – This was my second favorite. It smelled amazing and had a splash of lemon in it. A drink I could handle.

Teacher’s Pet – Two thumbs up from me!

Semper Fi Amber – Not my cup of tea. This strong amber ale is dedicated to all those who have served our country.

King Bee Honey Porter – Dark and strong; safe to say my dad handled that one.

Sluice Box Ale – This gingery off menu drink was the happy medium of the entire flight.

McGullycuddy Ale – I described this one as light but giving you a kick in the throat. I wasn’t prepared for it’s sharpness but it wasn’t bad. Looks can be deceiving.

aib5

I enjoyed my flight with the best boneless barbeque chicken wings I’ve ever had. The service was great; lots of youthful and smiling employees. Overall, my first experience at a brewery was definitely unique. From the location itself, to my first time trying beer, I finally got to learn what the “Keep Calm and Get Hoppy” meme means. We walked out with our complimentary firemen hats and called it a night.

aib2.