Brewing buds bring local beer to Brookings


A new face has appeared in the bars and restaurants of Brookings. Two SDSU students opened their own brewery this summer and on Aug. 15, the first brew from Heist Brewing became available to the public.

Owned by Luke Rensink and Tom Strübel, Heist Brewingmoved into their 611 Second St. South location on July 1, 2011.The first batch was brewed on July 23. The idea came from the mind of Rensink, originally as a project for an entrepreneurship class. During the last winter, Strübel jumped into the mix as a business partner.

“Luke started out with making cheeses in high school. As he moved on and progressed in his skills, he started making beer and discovered that he enjoyed making that even more,” Strübel said.

The idea grew from a class project into a business with five different brews. Rensink has been home brewing since 2008 and developed his recipes from personal trial-and-error. According to the brewery’s website, the name Heist Brewing is in remembrance of the 1930s bank robbery that took place in Brookings. On Oct. 31, 1938 Bennie and Stella Dickson stole over $47,000 in cash and bonds from a bank in Brookings.

Creative names and interesting combinations create an enticing and attractive feel to the company. Pilot Pale Ale offers a light-bodied ale with a “floral and fruity profile.” Tea Off, a light-bodied wheat ale brings an attractive melding of green tea, orange peel and coriander to make it a refreshing and enjoyable drink in the hot summer weather.

“We’re excited that people can try our selection all over Brookings. Our product will be available in Skinners, Cubby’s, Sully’s and George’s,” Strübel said.

Even though its availability to the public has been brief, locals are already enjoying the new additions.

“People have been very receptive to trying a local beer. While we only have the pilot pale ale, people really seem to like it and want to support a local business,” said Ema Althoff, a bartender at Sully’s Irish Pub.

With its emergence, students are excited to try a taste of local flair.

“I’m really excited for this installment. It’s great that these two guys are doing something they’re excited and passionate about. And, I like a good beer. I can’t wait to try this product,” said Alex Wegehaupt, a double major in consumer affairs and German from Sioux Falls.

Strübel says he and Rensink are excited for this next chapter in their lives and look forward to the future of Heist Brewing.

“Thanks to all of the SDSU students, Brookings community and the entire state of South Dakota for their receptiveness and welcoming us into their community,” Strübel said when asked about the success of Heist Brewing.