Beer Trip 2.5 was just something for us to do in February to get away from the hullabaloo that is the Kansas City metro area, but also it was to make a trip to South Dakota to mark that state off of Timmy’s, Andy/Caddy’s, and my list of states where we’ve been to and had a beer from. So the three of us, along with our little Omani friend, Fez, headed up I-29 on our quest for adventure. And what we expected to be mediocre beer.
We left in the morning on a Friday to go get some lunch and Weston Brewing Company beers at O’Malley’s in Weston, MO. It isn’t too far away from where we live, and I think we arrived just as they starting serving lunch. The first thing out of Fez’s mouth at O’Malley’s was, “Are we going to get appetizers?” which was also the first time I think Andy began to lose his patience with Fez, as he responded, “You’re a grown-ass man! Order whatever the hell you want!” After that dilemma, we each ordered a beer and our food, although to this day, I’m not sure what happened after the appetizer drama in terms of whether we ordered one or not. Which is odd because it was such a big issue at the time. As for the beer, well, they only had one at the time, a cream ale that was served on nitro. I like nitrogen served beers sometimes, but this was not a good decision in my opinion (notice how I didn’t say “in my humble opinion” since I am an arrogant jerk who isn’t humble?). We ate our meals, which I think were good, and went about our way. Then the fun really started!
About 20 miles outside of Weston, good old Fez said, “Are we stopping soon? I need to have some choc-o-late!” Oh hell no! Actually, I just laughed out loud (or LOL’d as the kids like to say and type) and said, “We’re not stopping until Omaha unless someone has to piss or we magically run out of gas.” Or something like that, at least. I think there was a little bit of whining about chocolate and whatever we were playing on the radio, but eventually we made it to our next stop, the now defunct Jobber’s Canyon Restaurant and Brewery in downtown Omaha. Once I parked, we got out and went in, where Andy and Tim both seemed rather displeased with our Middle Eastern pal. I, on the other hand, was fine because this was Beer Trip 2.5, and whining by others about minimal shit like chocolate and talk radio/music wasn’t gonna ruin my fun. Jobber’s Canyon was okay. I liked it more than the others, probably because I wasn’t in a bad mood and the owner/brewer came and sat with us and bought us a round of beers. We didn’t stay for too long as we had to head up to Watertown, South Dakota, and that, my pals, isn’t a short trip.
I don’t remember much about the drive to Watertown except South Dakota was chock full of casinos (even at gas stations), and that Sioux City, Iowa smelled like horse poop. And not the good horse poop like what I imagine Secretariat or Affirmed would have dumped, but more like what I imagine the horse poop from some poor horse pulling tourists around in a carriage around Central Park would smell like. Anyhoo, we got to Watertown, and as our luck would have it, the hotel shared a parking lot with Dempsey’s, the very brewpub we came to see!
Dempsey’s was a really cool place, to be honest. Their beers were all drinkable at worst and pretty nice at best, although nothing was blowing us away. They apparently had a casino in their basement, but I really have no idea why I didn’t go there. I think I was expecting to see some dungeon looking room like in “Rounders” where John Malkovich would intimidate me with Oreos and weird accented words in his sentences, so I stayed clear. The food was nice and the service was great, but the place was really loud. Some cover band playing Scorpions and Firehouse songs was playing about 20 yards from us, and while that normally is a treat cherished by all, it was a bit much at 747-like decibels. After our dinner, we went back to the hotel to freshen up before going to the hotel bar. This is where I finally joined Andy and Tim in their annoyance with Fez as he started to get ready for bed. It was around, I believe, 10 PM. On a Friday. In Watertown. South Dakota. On Beer Trip 2.5. I wasn’t having any part of that either, so we berated him until he finally gave in, which took us a lot longer than it should have. The highlight of the hotel bar, besides the usual horrible karaoke that can be expected at every hotel bar, was the fact that when it closed, they said we could by buckets of beer to go. I think this was around 3 AM or so, so naturally we weren’t done yet and ordered a bucket of five Miller Lites for $11, a bargain at any time of the day. We enjoyed our tasty beverages and fell asleep.
We awoke the next morning to see that a nice ice storm hit Watertown, the kind that makes it nearly impossible to get inside of the car to even start it up. With some help of the hotel neighbors, a group of Harley guys who we expected were getting to Sturgis really early for that summer’s celebration, we finally were able to get going. My navigation skills were better than I thought they would be, and we were able to get on our way. The first stop of that day was Granite City Food and Brewery in Sioux Falls, which is not as stinky as its pal Sioux City. Granite City is what it is (I love to say that), a place with drinkable beers shipped in from another place and fermented on site. But as always, GCFB has great food. So if you think about it, it’s a good move for them to put “Food” in their name and before the “Brewery” part. Again, the people of South Dakota provided us with great service, and really, besides being in South Dakota, South Dakota had a lot going for it. (Yes, that was a record for using “South Dakota” in one sentence, breaking the previous record of two from the 1978 South Dakota state slogan “South Dakota is more South Dakota than Greenland”, whatever that meant. Oh man, I just broke it again!) Basically, I liked South Dakota a lot more than I think anyone has ever liked it. Unfortunately, we have to leave, and we stopped at a Hy-Vee in Council Bluffs to get some beer to bring home.
The last stop on the trip was at little known Depot Deli and Lounge in Shenandoah, Iowa. This place was a rather odd little place, as it was a renovated old train station with not a lot of renovation done to it. To me, it looked like nothing was changed in it from the 1930s, including the world’s smallest sink in the men’s room. I am not saying this as a bad thing, just as a matter of opinion. We ordered samplers, and they weren’t the best, to state it kindly. I remember liking the food, but the sampler was odd. They had a sampler with a wheat and a bock, I think, but also an alcoholic root beer that was not too pleasing. But I’m not one to complain about it, because I think it’s awesome that a small town place tries to make their own beer. I wish their beers were as good as Hank is Wiser Brewery in Cheney, Kansas or Mo’s Place in Beaver, Kansas, but they weren’t. So, it wasn’t the ideal last stop for a Beer Trip, but it was the last stop for this one. We got home, said our goodbyes to one another, and Fez was never again seen on a Beer Trip.