“We believe in curating a beer list, which is what Jerry Hauck has done from the beginning,” said new owner of Monks Ale House Justin Henrichsen. “He was pouring beers that he was passionate about, that he enjoyed drinking.”
In 2007, gallery owner Jerry Hauck transformed his space to appease his love of Belgian beer, opening the first craft beer bar in South Dakota, Monks Ale House in downtown Sioux Falls.
“He was kind of a pioneer at the time,” said Henrichsen. “Even where it’s located, he was one of the early ones down [near] 8th & Railroad.”
Henrichsen teetered back and forth over a business plan for possibly opening his own bar for about five years.
Eventually, his wife Jeane was fed up. She told him simply, “Do it. Don’t do it. Just shut up about it. Something’s changing.”
So, Henrichsen followed Hauck’s lead in 2011 and opened Independent Ale House (Indy) in Rapid City. And earlier this year, Henrichsen jumped at the chance to own Monks, too.
“I spent about half an hour making the decision to buy Monks, and that included calling my wife at work and getting permission,” said Henrichsen.
“YOU CAN GEEK OUT ABOUT BEER ALL YOU WANT, BUT WHEN SOMEBODY ASKS ME ABOUT MY FAVORITE BEER, I USUALLY SAY, ‘THE ONE IN MY HAND.’”
Now that he owns Monks, he’s working on a few renovations including the bar top, bathrooms, and a kitchen.
To offer the widest variety possible, the bar draft system has been expanded to accommodate 50 lines, a change from the previous 39. The draft beer list is constantly changing and rotating as some brews are small, limited batches. The current lists can be viewed online.
“Beer transcends a lot of things and gets a lot of people talking that wouldn’t normally have a conversation.”
The menu at Monks is also making way for a food program similar to that at Indy, introducing a variety of handmade pizzas and salads. Along with the food, Monks will also offer a more extensive wine list.
History of the “House”
The building houses the Craftsmen Creek Gallery, a studio and workshop.
Jerry Hauck decides that Sioux Falls needs to experience “better beer.” As website says, “the concept of a craft beer bar was just too hard to resist.”
The annual Beervana celenration begins.
Brrvana follows suit.
Though they have been canceled due to the pandemic, Beervana and Brrvana aren’t going anywhere. The new ownership sin’t changing that, and the events are hoping to return in 2021.
Ownership shifts from Jerry Hauck to Justin Henrichsen.
“Wine is a big deal to a lot of people, and I take beer seriously like people take wine seriously,” Henrichsen explained with a laugh. “We’re beer geeks, and they’re cork dorks.”
While he’s working to improve the space, he says he is also trying to maintain the history of the bar.
“There’s a nod that needs to be paid to the people that came before us for what they did,” explained Henrichsen. “We have the same dedication to keeping it a craft beer bar. You’re not going to find Coors Light or Bud Light on tap.”