Polls Posts

Perfect Brewery: Bent Paddle Brewing

PDDPerfectBreweryAwardLogoSince launching in May 2013, Bent Paddle Brewing has quickly become a dominant force in the region. The company seems to have everything right, from perfect beer to perfect packaging to perfect branding and distribution. From a 10,600-square-foot warehouse in Duluth’s Friendly West End, Bent Paddle already produces twice as many barrels of beer as any other local company — making it the most macro of the area’s microbreweries and brewpubs.

Bent Paddle Brewing Co Owners

In the final round of Perfect Duluth Day’s poll, Bent Paddle went head-to-head with Fitger’s Brewhouse, a 19-year-old jauggernaut brewpub that supplies beer to five restaurants and a beer store owned by parent company Just Take Action. While the two companies have quite different operations and histories, both are well-known beyond Duluth for producing an array of outstanding craft brews. The nod to Bent Paddle, which amassed 60 percent of the vote, is perhaps due to its reach. Though the company is still fairly new, it’s beer is available in a majority of bar, restaurant and liquor stores in the Duluth market — and the territory has already begun to expand into the Twin Cities metro area.

Final Ballot for Best Brewery in Duluth

Bent Paddle Brewing PDDPerfectBreweryAwardLogo Fitger's Brewhouse
Our previous poll pitted eleven breweries from the Arrowhead region against each other for the opportunity to advance to the final ballot. Now, the top two go head to head for the chance to be branded as the best.

What is the best brewery in the Duluth area?

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This poll is now closed. The results were:

Bent Paddle Brewing – 60 percent
Fitger’s Brewhouse – 40 percent

Poll: What is the best brewery in the Duluth area?

Duluth is the Beer Capital of Minnesota, at least according to the unofficial claiming of the title by Mayor Don Ness in The Growler magazine in 2013. So, which local brewery has the best blends of barley, hops and yeast? Well, it’s time to decide with a fancy PDD poll.

We often have a nomination process for polls, but in this case it seems appropriate to just throw all the breweries into the running for our first round. We also typically rule out areas farther than 10 miles from Duluth city limits, but since the beer from more outlying areas makes it’s way to taps in Duluth, we broadened the range to include the north and south shores.

So now, without further ado, we ask …

What is the best brewery in the Duluth area?

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This poll is now closed. Bent Paddle Brewing and Fitger’s Brewhouse were the top finishers and will advance to the final ballot.

Perfect Coffee Shop: Beaner’s Central

PDDPerfectCoffeeShopAwardLogoA rash of new coffee joints have opened up in Duluth in recent years, but an old favorite was the clear winner in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the best coffee shop. Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse has been as much known for its live music and friendly vibe over the past 15 years as it has for the Alakef-roasted java blends served there daily. Not to mention the baked goods, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, random experimental breakfasts, beers, wines, art exhibitions, basement recording studio and whatever else the affable and eccentric owner and founder Jason Wussow decides to offer next. It’s no wonder Beaner’s dominated with 50 percent of the vote in the three-way race for Duluth’s coffee-shop crown.

Beaner's Central Concert Coffeehouse Jason Wussow - Beaner's Central Concert Coffeehouse Beaners Exterior 2013

Jefferson People’s House, which opened just three months before our poll, gave a strong second place performance with 28 percent of the vote. The not-quite-two-year-old Duluth Coffee Co. cafe and roasterie also performed well, pulling in 22 percent of the vote.

PDD Awards Index

Best Coffee Shop in the Duluth Area Poll (Final Ballot)

In our elimination round poll we pitted 11 coffee shops against each other. The top three now do battle in this contest to answer the question …

What is the best coffee shop in the Duluth area?

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This poll is now closed. There results were:

Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse – 50.4 percent
Jefferson People’s House – 27.8 percent
Duluth Coffee Co. – 21.8

Best Coffee Shop in the Duluth Area Poll (Elimination Round)

Through our usual highly scientific means, a list of nominees for best Duluth-area coffee shop has been developed. Now it’s time to narrow down the choices with a round of voting.

What is the best coffee shop in the Duluth area?

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This poll is now closed. The top three, advancing to the final ballot are:

Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse
Duluth Coffee Co.
Jefferson People’s House

Nominees for Best Coffee Shop in the Duluth area

It’s been a few months since we’ve done a poll on PDD, but we trust that with all the “Vote Duluth the best outdoor city in the galaxy or whatever” hype that most of you thought a break was for the better. Now it’s time to return to our quest to decide what the best city’s best things are.

Before we launch our poll to name the best coffee shop, we have to establish a list of nominees by asking you to rant in the comments. The ground rules are fairly simple:

  • As usual, the territory we are covering encompasses Duluth and anywhere within 10 miles of Duluth’s border — so coffee shops in Superior, Hermantown, Proctor and the various bordering townships all qualify; Two Harbors and Cloquet are out of bounds.
  • The criteria for what defines a coffee shop or what makes one “the best” is pretty open. Certain bakeries and restaurants kind of double as coffee shops, and that’s fine. Some places have a focus on live music or a kick-ass record collection, others sink a fortune into furniture or double as a place of worship. Feel free to consider those things along with the coffee itself, or don’t. In the end, voters will decide what’s important to the masses.
  • It’s fine to nominate a corporate giant like Starbucks, Caribou or Dunn Bros., but be specific if you do. Pick a particular location; don’t nominate the franchise as a whole.
  • Keep in mind that we are not issuing a challenge here to name every coffee shop that exists in the area. We’re just asking you to tell us which ones you think have a reasonable chance of winning a poll.

That’s about it. Make your thoughts known and we’ll launch the poll on Friday.

Duluth vs. Minneapolis

Vote Duluth

Duluth is nearing the finals, and as of right now (9:25 a.m.), we’re leading against Minneapolis! Vote for us at VoteDuluth.com.

Who won Homegrown 2014?

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Who won Homegrown 2014?

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Bratwurst — 9 percent
The Blasphemists — 7.5 percent
Red Mountain — 6 percent
The Black-eyed Snakes with Charlie Parr — 4.5 percent
Wino, WI — 4.5 percent
Various other bands — 68.5 percent

Bratwurst wins Homegrown for the second time in three years! (Photo by Derek Montgomery for MPR)

Survey: Bike Parking in Duluth’s Multimodal Transit Center

Building on the popularity of its on-bus bike carriers, the DTA wants to gauge local demand for both secure (key fob-access) bike-parking areas and regular bike racks as part of its design for the new multi-modal transit center in downtown Duluth.
Please take a moment to fill out this short survey if you would be interested in using this type of bike storage.

Northern Lights Express Survey

There is a survey listed on the Minnesota Department of Transportation page for the Northern Lights Express(NLX). The Northern Lights Express is a proposed high-speed passenger rail project that would provide rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth. If constructed, NLX will operate on approximately 155 miles of existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail corridor.

The survey closes on March 15. It doesn’t take long to fill out.

Perfect Play or Musical of 2013: Duluth Playhouse Children’s Theatre’s Cats

It was a big year for Duluth theater in 2013, with eight productions receiving a significant number of votes for the honor of best play or musical. In the end, the Duluth Playhouse Children’s Theatre production of Cats emerged as the favorite.

Best Play or Musical of 2013 (Final Ballot)

Of the 18 plays or musicals originally nominated for this poll, three have advanced to the final ballot — Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Cats and The Pillowman. Now it’s time to pick the winner.

What was the best play or musical of 2013?

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This poll is now closed. The results were:

Cats (Duluth Playhouse Children’s Theatre) – 42.3 percent
The Pillowman (Renegade Theater Co.) – 33.3 percent
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Renegade Theater Co.) – 24.4 percent

Poll: Best Play or Musical of 2013

This poll is now closed. The three plays advancing to the final ballot are:

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – Renegade Theater Co.
Cats – Duluth Playhouse Children’s Theatre
The Pillowman – Renegade Theater Co.

The other nominees were:

Almost, Maine – Duluth Playhouse
Burnt Part Boys – Renegade Theater Co.
Collected Stories – Duluth Playhouse at the Underground
Everything You’ve Done That Hurt Me – one-man performance by Jonathan Manchester
Frozen – Duluth Playhouse at the Underground
God of Carnage – Duluth Playhouse
Godspell – Duluth Playhouse
How the Grinch Shut Down Christmas, or, I Saw Rudolph Twerking Santa Claus – Rubber Chicken Theater
Last Summer at Bluefish Cove – UMD Theater
Merry Wives of Windsor – Wise Fool Shakespeare
Metamophoses – Duluth Playhouse
The Princess Bride (live read) – Rubber Chicken Theater
Seussical the Musical – St. Scholastica Theatre
Tuesdays With Morrie – Duluth Playhouse at the Play Ground

Perfect Album of 2013: Ryan Van Slooten’s Victory March

With at least 50 albums released by Duluth-area musicians in 2013 — including Low, Retribution Gospel Choir, Trampled by Turtles and Charlie Parr — Ryan Van Slooten’s third solo work had to be considered a long shot in a poll to choose the best local album of the year.

Well, Van Slooten can begin his Victory March; the upset is complete.