In the middle of November, Samantha and I joined our friends Megan and Mitch on a brewery tour of the north shore. We began on a Friday night with the goal of getting in as many breweries and taprooms as we were able. The first stop of our trip would be, appropriately, Fitger’s Brewhouse.
During the late 1800s August Fitger joined the Lake Superior Brewing Company and in a few short years that brewery’s name would change to the A. Fitger and Co. Lake Superior Brewery. Definitely showing his impact. More than 100 years later the Fitger’s Brewhouse we know today opened and remains in its original location. The entire story can be read on the excellent history section of their website.
While we were checking in at our hotel, I saw Fitger’s on the television in the lobby. What we didn’t know is that we had chosen to visit during the Christmas City of the North Parade! As a chronic worrier I started to realize that the brewhouse might be busy, it may be impossible to park, and we were short on other options. The others calmed me down and we decided to give it a shot and see how it went. Parking wasn’t bad, the walk was a little chilly, and we were seated immediately. It was a good thing they convinced me to go! The only downside is that we weren’t able to sit in the main area.
This brewpub is definitely more pub than brewery. What I mean by that is that it seemed like much more of a restaurant than a brewery. There are several small rooms where some of the equipment can be seen, a small bar area that has an upper and lower floor, and a couple of other side rooms. Each of us began by ordering a flight of seven 3oz beers and then ordered some food from their full menu.
After getting our flight I realized that I had forgotten my notebook so I wouldn’t be able to take full tasting notes. Before going to bed I jotted some things down from memory so I am still able to provide some overall thoughts on some of the beers.
Their Gale Force Cranberry Ale was extremely flavorful and the fact that it’s a strong ale (7.7% ABV) is masked by that flavor and aroma. I can see this one sneaking up on you! The Starfire Pale Ale was my favorite pale even among the IPAs. Hoppier than a normal pale ale which results in a very balanced beer. It’s no wonder that this is one of their flagships. The Apricot Wheat was the group’s unanimous favorite. It had great apricot aroma and its flavor is fruity, fresh, and clean. Wheat beers are Samantha’s favorite style and she loved this one. My only regret was not getting a growler of it for later. Something to save for the next time.
Fitger’s was a great start to our trip. If you’re planning a visit be sure to request that you sit in the main bar area. We sat in a side room and really didn’t get the full feel of the place. The food was great and their beer selection had something for everyone. They continually rotate seasonal beers and the full list of those beers on their website is impressive. If you’re a local I’m sure you can visit regularly and always try something new. This is a Duluth staple for a reason!