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While a Hamm’s might be passible around a campfire, where’s a good place to find the best selection of local microbrews and imports? The Northland has plenty going on when it comes to decent beer. If you’re in the Northland, don’t miss out trying some of what the area has to offer as far as “adult beverages” go.
The Bent Paddle Brewing Company
1912 W, Michigan St. Duluth.
Taproom hours: Wed & Thurs. 3-10 p.m., Fri. 3-11 p.m., Sat. 1-11 p.m.
Motto: 10% of the world’s freshest water is found in Lake Superior.
Their beer, naturally, is made with local water. This snazzy, little shrouded brewery in the industrial, warehouse section of West Duluth is an upbeat hidden gem barely noticeable to the eye. It is a large-scale production distributed primarily to Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. It features mainstay beers such as their Bent hop, a light pilsner, an offshoot of macro beer yet a better flavor; Kurt Fagan states “It has a nice tang to it;” Venture Pils harmonizes noble hops and premium malts found in North America and Europe. The straw color takes resembles Bohemia and Northern Germany with a floral hop aroma. 14 degree ESB is a pale, golden crystal carafoam house ale strain of malt and yeast.It is extra bitter like classic British ale. Black Bent Paddle Ale is a pale malt with flake and golden oats. It has a chocolate taste and is semi roasted.These four beers can be tasted on a beer flight in 2 ounce samples (similar to shot glasses). It is free in the Taproom in sample size on the days and times listed.
Blacklist Artisan Ales
Blacklist Brewing offers a variety of Belgian style ales. They are constantly changing their selection of beers with special runs and seasonal ales. They don’t have a tap room or bar, but if you go to their website, you can look up where to find their products in the Twin Ports up to around 50 miles out of Duluth. Some locations include Tycoons Alehouse, Red Herring Lounge, Zeitgeist Cafe, Lake Avenue Cafe, Fitger’s Wine Cellars, Last Chance Liquor, Chester Creek Cafe, Lake Aire Bottle Shoppe, Cash Wise Liquor and Mount Royal Bottle Shoppe.
Canal Park Brewing
300 Canal Park Dr. Duluth.
A Duluth Minnesota brewpub featuring craft brew and food with a Northcoast attitude. Canal Park Brewing excels in quality beer and offers amazing grill style food that is a few notches over the typical bar burgers. When the weather is nice, the patio area that sits just a stone’s throw away from the Big Lake, offers a relaxing atmosphere to just kick back and take the area in while still being a quick walk or drive to many things Duluth has to offer. Enjoy the company of locals and travelers at night beside their outside fire pit and listen to the waves lap up against the shore.
Carmody Irish Pub
308 E Superior St. Duluth.
Carmody’s has a fair selection of beers, they also brew their own beer. Carmody’s has a nice European atmosphere. Note the flags when you step in. Both young and old frequent here in the historic part of Duluth amongst cobblestone streets. Their home-brewed Irish Red is delicious but avoid the sour Strawberry Red Ale, its bittersweet taste doesn’t sit right. The Flanders Red ale is oak aged with wild yeasts with vanilla blended. Agnes Irish Red gets the name from Agnes Carmody: malty, sweet and bitter appealing to a wide range of palates. Mash is Pale ale malt and crystal malt , chocolate and roasted barleyAlso available is Famine 4.7 Stout which is a unique taste on Irish stout, roasty and balances without being overbearing. Halcyon Days ESP is an English pale ale with extra special bitters combined with maltiness. There are two different varieties, spicy and floral, lingering on the tongue. People’s Pub Ale is a smooth ale of hops and mash consisting of flaked maize, American wheat, Ashburne and Malt. It is the ground breaker ale created through People’s Brewer Company, the forerunner to Carmody’s.
Castle Danger Brewery
17 7th St, Two Harbors, MN
Sure, there’s plenty of breweries in the Twin Ports but just a short drive out of town up the North Shore, you’ll find Castle Danger Brewery and taproom in Two Harbors. It was founded by Clint and Jamie MacFarlane just a few year ago and has done nothing but progress from there. Flavor and quality is key with their beers. Whether it be their flagship American “Danger” Ale or the Castle Cream Ale, the brewery to the North has made its presence known and is starting to hit local Twin Port’s taps.
Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub
109 W. Superior St. Duluth.
On top of a good selection, Dubh Linn’s has been in microbrew game for a few years now. They offer a great menu as well as have music during the evenings on most weekday nights. On Saturdays, they often have comedy from National touring stand-up comedians. Just looking for a good scotch or familiar import? It’s likely the Dubh Linn has something that will suit your taste.
600 E. Superior St. Duluth.
A full menu and a fine selection of beers brewed on site makes Fitger’s a favorite in the brew pub category. Fitger’s beers can be found at establishments such as Tycoons in downtown Duluth and Burrito Union a little ways up the hill. Like most breweries in Minnesota, Fitger’s offers growlers seven days a week, even on Sundays.
Lake Superior Brewing Co.
2711 W Superior St, Duluth, MN 218-723-4000
Lake Superior Brewing started up before the big “beer boom” in the Twin Ports. Some may remember cracking open a bottle of this beer more than a decade ago. Lake Superior Brewery went the path of becoming a microbrewery over what many breweries are doing, the brewpub. While many breweries are great, this beer has been featured on store shelves, back yard BBQs and fun events longer than any of them.
South Shore Brewery
808 W. Main St.
Ashland, WI 54806
South Shore Brewery has been providing the area with delicious beers for around 20 years. Their beer can be found at area liquor stores such as at Keyport in Superior, but if you happen to be in the Chequamegon Bay area (aka…Bayfield, Washburn, Ashland) stop by the Deep Water Grill located in historic downtown Ashland for a bite and to grab a beer right on the spot where it’s brewed.
Thirsty Pagan Brewing Co.
1623 Broadway St., Superior. 715-394-2500.
The Thirsty Pagan in Superior offers a good selection of ales crafted on site. There are popular mainstays to their beer menu such as the tasty Derailed Ale or the dark full bodied Burntwood Black as well as a variety of seasonal and specialty brews. They have music seven days a week including in their new beer garden on select weekends.
525 S Lake Ave #102, Duluth, MN
Paying homage to Norwegian roots, the newly opened Vikre Distillery has taken drinks in the Twin Ports to a new level. If you couldn’t guess by the name, this is not a brewery. They produce quality gin, whisky and Aquavit of Scandinavian origins. The finest of ingredients are used to make these spirits, but perhaps the most important is Lake Superior water and the spirit it contains.
White Winter Winery
68323 Lea St # A, Iron River, WI 715-372-5656
Some of the area’s finest wine and mead comes from White Winter Winery in Iron River. It is available in many local liquor stores and their “hard” cider remains a constant guest tap at Thirsty Pagan in Superior. This award winning wine is sure to please the palate of any wine lover. The winery is open to visit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
233 West Hwy 61
Grand Marais, MN 55604
Voyageur Brewing Company’s beers can be found down the Northshore all the way to Duluth. They have a solid variety of beers including their Devil’s Kettle IPA, Palisade Porter and Wild Rice Brown Ale. They of course have special seasonal runs. They have a beautiful taproom with a view of Lake Superior where their beers can be enjoyed with appetizers from their kitchen.
Best Places for Selection
While there are a number of breweries in the area, there are a few places in Duluth we would recommend if you’re into good beers but don’t mind they were brewed somewhere else.
7 West Taphouse
7 West Superior St., Duluth
The last time we checked, 7 West Taphouse on Superior St. has 45 taps that are always rotating. They offer reasonably priced burger and other eats. The worst thing about the place might be that that beer you loved one day might be replaced the next time you come in. This is not the ideal place to order a Mich Golden, although they do have a few beers that are more run-of-the-mill.
Sir Benedicts on the Lake
805 East Superior St., Duluth
Sir Benedicts offers a unique menu of sandwiches and other fare that sets itself apart from a normal bar and grill. There is live music most nights of the week and their deck dining is some of the finest in Duluth. As far as their beer selection goes, it is impressive.
327 South Lake Ave., Duluth
Every year we hold a “Best Of The Northland” poll and Old Chicago usually does quite well. This lunch and dinner restaurant in Canal Park offers a full menu and their beer selection should have something for most.