Now Open (or Damn Close) heads west to Bank Brewing, near the South Dakota border.
By Brian Kaufenberg
Photos courtesy Bank Brewing
In the small town of Hendricks, MN, on the South Dakota border, Bank Brewing recently opened a new craft brewery in a historic creamery in disrepair. The name Bank Brewing may be familiar to our readers, as the company has produced the ‘Beer for Wildlife’ series since 2009—a program in which they donate a portion of the proceeds to Pheasants Forever’s “Build a Wildlife Area” campaign.
Jason Markkula had the idea to start the company over a few pints with his hunting buddies in another historic building that he had renovated into a hunting lodge in 2008—the original Bank of Hendricks, which lends its name to the brewery. Markkula, an avid homebrewer, developed the recipes for the ‘Beer for Wildlife’ series and began contracting the brews at Cold Spring Brewing and Brau Brothers Brewing.
Markkula’s thirst for craft beer led him to take Bank Brewing to the next level and open a brewery where he could brew the kinds of beer he wanted to drink, but couldn’t find in his neck of the woods. The search for a head brewer led him to an accountant and avid homebrewer from Brookings, South Dakota, Richard Drawdy, who has since taken on the brewing operations at Bank.
The team’s focus is to bring quality craft beer to Southwest Minnesota and foster a new community of beer drinkers, who are thirsty to learn more. According to Drawdy, Hendricks residents are interested in local products and businesses, but don’t know a lot about the new craft beer movement. “I guess we’ve got to build it before people will come, right?” quipped Drawdy, adding, “The town has been clamoring to see [the brewery].”
The creamery building where the brewery is located was out of use for over 30 years and in a state of severe disrepair. “You would look up and you could see the sky,” Drawdy described of the creamery’s condition. Markkula’s experience as a regional sales director for a power tool company came in handy as he spearheaded much of the restoration. “That guy’s Mr. Fix-It,” said Drawdy of Markkula. “He can backwards engineer anything.”
The creamery currently houses a 15 bbl brewhouse and four 15 bbl fermenters with room for around six more tanks. The flagship brews include a sessionable Berliner Weisse and a single-hop IPA. They will be sold by the pint and in 750ml bottles at the brewery’s taproom located in the former Bank Hunting Lodge just down the street from the new brewery.
Brewer: Richard Drawdy (Head Brewer), Jason Markkula (Brewer)
Beer: Sour Bomb Berliner Weisse, Wanted Session IPA, rotating selection
Visit: Brewery: 218 S Main St., Hendricks
Taproom: 200 S Main St., Hendricks
Hours: Fri & Sat 2–10pm