Duluth holds a special place in my heart. The first time I visited was when we toured UMD with my older brother on a college visit. I didn’t think much of the campus, the PortLand Malt Shoppe was more my style at the time. Yet, Lake Superior and the Lift Bridge must have made a larger impression on me than I thought because when it came time for me to choose a college to attend, it was an easy decision. My most formative years were spent on that snowy hill and it culminated with beginning to date the woman that would eventually become my wife. It’s no surprise that we visit the North Shore multiple times a year and each time we select a new brewery to visit. Last weekend we stopped at one of the newest, Ursa Minor Brewing.Continue Reading…
I really enjoy writing this article, but these awards get harder and harder every year! That’s mostly because there are so many great breweries in the state and partly due to some self imposed limits. Every award must go to a brewery I’ve visited in the calendar year and I won’t give a brewery the same award two years in a row. I also added a Best Innovation category to reward the breweries that are consistently pushing the envelope! I’ve visited almost 100 breweries in Minnesota and written posts about a healthy amount of them. If I’m missing your favorites I’d love to hear about them. Let’s get to it!
It was just our luck that the weekend we had planned in Duluth would turn out to be cold and rainy. The weather had been warm all week at home and a rain drenched run from our car to the hotel wasn’t quite what we had in mind. Luckily there is one hobby that we share that cares little about the weather. A short drive later we were dodging raindrops on our way into Lake Superior Brewing.
It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect upon the breweries that I visited in the past year and identify some of my favorites. Since this is the second time I’m doing these awards I added some ground rules. I’m only assigning an award to somewhere that I visited in 2017. If you don’t see one of your favorites then let please let me know. Rest assured that with the amount of breweries now in Minnesota there is a great chance I didn’t make it there. In an effort to shake things up, I decided to ensure there were no repeats from last year. Lastly, to recognize the best of the breweries that opened in 2017, there is a new category called Best New Brewery. Let’s get started!
When you backpack for 22 days you find yourself with a lot of time to think. If you’ve got nothing to drink except artificially sweetened water your mind inevitably wanders to beer. After completing our trek we had one last stretch to retrieve our car. With pavement pounding against our weary feet we had one criteria for our final evening: no walking. So we booked a room at the Suites Hotel in Canal Park, inhaled some pizza at the Old Chicago below, and strolled down the hall to our final destination. Hoops Brewing Company beckoned.
Our bellies were full as we walked down Superior street with the early afternoon sun beating down on our heads. We’d just departed our favorite restaurant in Duluth, Va Bene Caffe, and now we were working up a thirst. After deftly avoiding some sidewalk construction our destination was before us. We peered into the open garage door across the exposed rail and got our first glimpse of Blacklist Artisan Ales.
The last stop of our north shore brew tour was in Canal Park at the aptly named Canal Park Brewing Company. All of us had been there before so we knew what to expect. We had planned to take it a little slower, and luckily it was quiet when we arrived.
The second stop of our tour was the Bent Paddle Brewing Co. later that evening. I’d had most of their beers at various tasting events and was really excited to try them direct from the source.
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.