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So many to chose from...but there can be only one.


Alright you beer loving rascals!! The local beer scene boasts many good brews, but which is the best and why?


quality over quantity, definitely.

i have a 250 mile drinking radius...meaning what I drink has to come from within that circle. the only exception to that being Bell's...Expedition Stout rocks my clock. I love Imperials, and will drink them pretty much any time of year.

the best within that radius is:

Surly Bender. Period. I have a couple of kids and getting out and about is few and far between and generally not for very long. More bang for my buck, if you catch my drift. right powerful stuff. It's got great body without being overly hoppy and a rich mouthfeel. Everything I look for in a dark beer.

Local-er still, I'm an El Nino devotee. 7 percent puts me in a happy place in short order. Dave's probably one of the finest brewmasters around...hands down.

If you don't like your mouth on fire (and other parts later) stay away from the Wildfire at the Brewhouse.Stay. Away. Trust me.

el niƱo easily wins for me, but I'm kind of a hoppy person. IPA's should have a strong palate-cleansing taste, and that one works.

Some Lake Superior beers aren't too bad. But generally, I'm disappointed in the beer selection available in the twin ports.

Non-local... Wisconsin beers leave much to be desired, with the exception of Great Dane's scotch ale and american pale. In WI, avoid the Spotted Cow. That's not a joke.

Very non-local... Estes Park Brewery's Renegade. It's so astringent that you can drink it warm on a summer day and get away with it.

In Duluth I am a Brewhouse girl. The best beer is whatever is new on tap.

I think Lake Superior stinks a lot. I've never been a fan.

Locally in the state I'm a huge fan of Town Hall in Minneapolis, they come up with some solid brews. Surly is pretty good, too.

Speaking of local beers though:
Big Lake Brewfest 2008 is two weeks from yesterday! September 20th. Get your tickets now!

Brewhouse: Starfire Pale Ale, El Nino India Pale Ale and ESB because they amazing beers.

Summit Pale Ale is my daily beer the main reason I moved back to Minnesota.

Mel, a tidbit of brewmaster trivia:

Dave Hoop's (of the Brewhouse) older brother (Mike I think) is the head brewer at Town Hall.

I too think the Brewhouse has the best beer in town, I have never had a bad beer there. I like the Thirsty Pagan's brews too, when I'm in Supetown, we always go there, the Anchor is too smoky. I like the Witchtree at the Brewhouse, usually order it. Like Zra and some others, I can't go out drinking too often in the evenings, though unlike California, I can bring my kid into bars with me in Minny and in Wisconsin. I'll have to try El Nino next time I'm at the Brewhouse, since it gives the biggest bang for the buck, and that's important when the clock is running with the babysitter. Tamara, I think I tried the Wildfire at Burrito Union once, it had chilis in it, or was it jalapeno -- my mouth was numb for days afterwards. A taste would have been enough, a pint, not so much. I usually order Summit IPA when I'm down in the cities and want a beer that I know will be good.

Mine is the best because its mine =)

The brewhouse has some solid beers... my favorite beer they've ever put out was the berliner weiss last summer. Since it was only a seasonal release, I still stick with the El Nino. My only problem with the brewhouse is that it gets pricy after a while.

Aside from that, I have not had any luck with the Flat Earth or Surly beers. Flat Earth has been very bland and I never understood the hype with Surly beers.

Summit beers are always good standby beers, especially the IPA.

Speaking of breweries: does anyone happen to have any info on this supposed brewery / brewpub thats opening in the old Clyde Iron building?

Oh, how I love the Starfire and El Nino. I do wish the Hoopster would create a more crisp and light Pilsner, though. Something like Pilsner Urquell. The Park Point Pilsner is a bit darker and heavier than a true pilsner.

South Shore Brewery in Ashland makes some fine brews, as well.

Anything from the Brewhouse with an alchohol content of 9% or higher.

i like the duo of derailed and derailed (ipa and pizza) at tpb. either on its own... good, not great, but together- a force to be reckoned with.

i have to stand up for the wildfire at the brewhouse. i actually look forward to burping it up later. it's so good.

Lake Superior Special Ale

As a Wisconsin girl, born and bred, Leinie's is always a good choice (and falls within zra's 250 mile radius.)

The Sunset Wheat (white beer) is totally yummy, the Summer Shandy equally so, and the Red (Vienna lager) on Tap is excellent, although not nearly as good in bottle form.

My mom swears by the berry (fruit beer) and honey weiss (pale lager), but they're just all right in my book.

Of course, continuing on with the trend of Wisconsin beers, you can't beat Old Style for a cheap brew that tastes, well, like beer. (and used to be the drink du jour on dollar Old Style night in the Norshor's good old days...)

The Viking Brewery in Dallas, Wisconsin has quite the selection - I recommend their Dim Whit, which is a Belgian-style Whit Beer with hints of coriander and ginger.

Truly, it's all in what you're looking for. :)

You folks beat me to all of my favorites, especially since I share the enthusiasm for hoppy beers. However, we need to mention the Burntwood Black from The Thirsty Pagan. It's a fabulous winter beer. In a pinch, Summit's Great Northern Porter is a reliable substitute.

We should start another thread just to discuss what the deal is with Lake Superior. Occasionally the Special Ale on tap is alright, but generally their beer is disappointing.

My vote is for the Lake Superior High Bridge Root Beer which Speedy Wienie occasionally runs on tap for special occasions. It is just a brilliant, rich and creamy root beer. Since I am a non-drinker I can't give you any other offerings, but I am very surprised to hear the harsh comments on Lake Superior Brews. The brewers are so careful, and nice and they are such an important cultural and gastronomical business. Deep down I actually think this criticism has to do more with the ancient Duluth "East - West" culture wars than actual taste. How much better can brewhouse/burrito union brews really be? c'mon? But that's just a hunch, no proof.

And back to the root beer, it's awesome. Try it if you can ...

Roger: I think it's common to find breweries that make "boring" beer. While a brewery with a more solid lineup is rare.

Take Flat Earth, for example. While they are still a young brewery, most of their beers have either been bad, or just very bland. As time goes on, recipes can be tweaked and things can be changed.

Now take Capital Brewery... while they do have their share of "boring" beers, a lot of their lineup is very solid... especially their seasonals. I can't wait for the Autumnal Fire and Blonde Dopplebock releases, while their Munich Dark and Bavarian Lager are great year-round beers.

It's been a while since I've had any of Lake Superiors beer, so I can't necessarily comment on their beers. But there are a million possibilities as to whey their beer is disappointing (low quality ingredients, poor water source (or treatment), bad brewers, bad equipment, mars not aligning with venus at a perfect 24.5 degree angle, yeast, etc etc).

I think another factor are individual taste buds. Some people like it, some don't.

JP -- Where can I get this LS High Bridge Root Beer? My daughter is a root beer afficionado and is always looking to sample new brews. She says The Boathouse has the best root beer in town -- figures -- and Luce is next up on her list. And do you still operate Speedy Wienie? I remember that party you wienied for a group of friends of mine a few years ago, it was *fabulous!*

In my experience, the Lake Superior beers taste a little skunky off the tap. So an additional factor is how clean the lines are and how often they flush themselves. Good brew can taste bad from disused lines.

I disagree about Capital being good, but to each his/her own. Some Wisconsin girls like Berghoff, too. I'll have a pint, but, well, yuck (no offense tamara :).

I'd like to eventually try some of the other ones mentioned. The root beer, too.

Unclean tap lines seem to be another big factor too.

Just after Summit Scandia was taken off the tap at a local pub, they put Summits ESB on tap. I tried a sample and it tasted like white cardamom and bologna (just like how Scandia tastes). I asked if they ever clean their tap lines and they gave me the "how dare you ask that question" look.

Even though they clean their lines, some beers seem to wreck tap lines and should be replaced if another beer goes on that tap.

Duh! Lake Superior Oktoberfest! Almost here!

I homebrew, so whatever is in the keg at the time- Currently, Im wrapping up 5 gal of Belgin Wit. Got both a raspberry and blueberry ale coming up next...

Ive always been a fan of New Glarus. Spotted Cow is a lovely, sweet beer with a taste that many would approve of. Naturally cloudy, with a hint of corn. Fat Squirrel is another GREAT beer they put out. Its a nut brown ale that leaves you wanting more ...my personal favorite is the Raspberry Tart. It is a Wisconsin Framboise style Ale. Lovely raspberry zing, with a slight taste of Hallertau hops and oak. You can pick them all up at the Keyport.

Pabst Blue Ribbon and Grain Belt Premium. Can drink them all day long.

Oh, the Witchtree at the Brewhouse ; ) and their Raspberry Ale in season - yum.

the Nut Brown Ale from Ashland's South Shore Brewery is really good too.

With all the mention of beer, we forgot to mention one of my favorite autumn standbys: cider. Mmmm... does anyone brew a good cider locally?

Last night I was at the Lighthouse restaurant and I had a wonderfully yummy crisp pear cider that tasted just like autumn on a cool day, but alas, it was made in California.

What the heck do they know about crisp autumn days?

I can't wait for the brewhouse to try their hand at some mead. Yep, I'm a viking.

Today I saw that the co-op sells High Bridge Root Beer. It's in the case by the checkouts.

As for me, I'm into the Brewhouse Big Boat Oatmeal Stout.

tamara: White Winter Winery in Iron River does a cider thats good... I don't know if they're selling in Duluth, but Keyport most likely has it. Their mead is also decent too.

Summit IPA is my standard fare.

Bells Two hearted is my favorite.

Surly furious is FANTASTIC, but too expensive.

If anybody happens to be in central wisconsin, my friend Paul Graham brews some of the best beer I've ever had.

Central Waters Brewery outside of Steven's Point.

The local thing aside, best beer I've ever had was the Baldwin & Cooper Best Bitter at the Howe Sound Brewpub in Squamish, BC. (Named after the first two climbers to reach the summit of the Stawamus Chief) Every brew I tried there was just amazing. Pale, stout, IPA, you name it. Beer worth emigrating for. Locally, I go for Surly Furious, Derailed Ale, Witch Tree ESB, South Shore Nut Brown or whatever came out of the fermenter carboy in the basement. I'm feeling a little parched...

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