Does anyone know if the new brewery is open yet?
I spoke with Rocky last Tuesday. He said he hoped to have it open to the public by Thursday, Nov. 29.
Something else from the magical world of newspapers. Look into it.
Duluth News Tribune: Canal Park Brewing Company ready -- almost -- to show off creations
Estimates from the newspaper two weeks ago never change, right?
I just read the DNT article spy1 linked. Just to clarify, Duhb Lihn in not a brewpub. Next time you are over there, ask to take a look at the brewing operation. I'm all for microbeers but not misleading advertising.
Thursday, Nov. 29 at 4:00pm.
Is that Grandma's weekend?
Hope their product is good and by extension they do well. Seems a bit of a small misstep opening an endeavor such as this in Canal Park well outside main tourist season. No time to build up a $tourist$ buffer before the slow grind of winter hits. But.. I guess it is a trial by fire, if they can succeed starting out in Winter they should be ok year round.
Edgeways, I think it's smart for them to start up now, and then build up to speed. Can you imagine opening up in May or June and getting socked with crowds right away?
Claire: they were originally supposed to open around June. Can you imagine opening and having customers right away? At a business? Don't be silly.
Well, if they neglected free tap water in their business plan, they are doomed...
I would assume, and this is just an assumption because I haven't operated a business of that magnitude, the biggest debt load a restaurant/brewery wants to be in is right at opening time, and then you gradually climb out of that, hopefully with as big a grand opening as possible. You want a splash, lots of exposure and to have your staff at peak performance, you pull in the townies and the tourists establish a positive reputation that carries you through the long dark tea-time of winter with some cushion, etc etc.
Opening now... well I wouldn't be shocked if they have to operate at a loss for a few months, perhaps into next spring, which just increases the debt load and stress which may lead to corner cutting which corrodes local support. All wild speculation mind you. I hope they have great beer/food and succeed (any notion if they'll have performance space?), but I think they'll have to weather a handful of rough months.
Gee, Adam, I seem to recall a local business opening up this past summer, getting talked up right here on PDD its first day, and then being so overwhelmed with customers that they could not even hope to keep up. Ever hear of a "soft" opening? Also, as if a business opening in Canal Park at any time of the year is going to sit empty until the summer months. Especially when they basically invited the world to come check it out on Thursday. And knowing how we in Duluth love every new place, it will be a mob scene there, I predict, for the next month. At least.
So, did anyone go yesterday? I know I will for sure give it a shot but was curious what others think of it. How was the beer? Prices? Decor?
I have just one complaint. My beer cost $5.61. They should go ahead and charge $6 just to be less annoying.
Other than that, I enjoyed my beer and the atmosphere was fine. I was too engrossed in conversation about raspberry bushes and record executive David Geffen to take much notice about specific details -- other than the unrounded price of a pint.
I suppose I could add that it was very busy, but there were plenty of employees taking care of things. When I walked in, three young ladies sang hello to me at once, while someone else held the door.
No food? Was beer any good? Your review lacks something...
I did note that I enjoyed my beer. I had a Stoned Surf (India pale ale). I'd give it a solid B grade.
Other beers available on opening night: Wetsuit Malfunction (Belgian witbeir), Clean Dirt (draught ale) and Nut Hatchet (brown ale).
I didn't eat.
The Nut Hatchet Brown Ale was delicious, and I'd definitely recommend it. As far as the atmosphere goes, it was way too bright in there at first, but they eventually turned the lights down a bit. I didn't have any food.
@ TimK: Meat and cheese tray = a spectacular presentation and yummy in your tummy. Beautiful wooden tray covered with locally made or house jam, spicy horseradish, cream cheese, delicious smoked fish, baked walnuts, and more. Do it.
We got the mac and beer cheese and the onion rings. The mac and cheese was pretty tasty, the quality of the onion rings was slightly under your average pub onion rings. Good, but nothing great. I believe the price for the mac and cheese, onion rings and one beer was ~$24.
I went with my boyfriend who loves beer (I don't), and he said the beer was decent, he described it as crisp and clear, but nothing special. He wanted something a little more original tasting, and something a little more exciting for the taste buds. He pointed out his theory that if it's light enough that I can drink it (which I did the nut hatchet brown ale, I forgot to try the other one he had) than probably won't think it's too great. But then again, he's weird.
Overall I give it a B, and the boyfriend is willing to go back when there are more beers available.
We went there last night. It was busy, but we were able to find a table right away in the bar. The service was really good, "Kevin" was attentive, and talked to us about how they're hoping to snare the locals before tourist season starts and the locals stop hanging out as much in Canal Park, when the tourists come to town.
Mr. Claire had Nut Brown Hatchet, which he thought was too sweet, and a beer for those who aren't interested in complex flavors. I tried it, and it was good, but I kind of agreed with him. But it tasted good, and was easy to drink.
My Stoned Surf IPA on the other hand was complex, one one of the better IPAs I've had -- although I love the IPA at Fitger's best. We both liked it a lot, and Mr. Claire doesn't usually like IPAs.
As for ambiance, it was just a little too shiny and new and commercial for me. I felt like I was in a brewpub in San Diego, rather than in Duluth. But then I love Fitger's and the Thirsty Pagan, with their blackboards for specials, and aged-looking and cozy interiors.
The menu looked delicious, but since we'd just eaten at Pak's Green Corner, we didn't order any food. The prices were what I'd expect in Canal Park. Nice variety of choices.
I hope there will be outdoor seating in summer. If there is, that will draw me in, even though I'm one of those people who doesn't dine/drink in Canal Park in summer if I can help it.
Co-worker at day job works there. Says that they have been working hard to get everything together. Apparently the parking lot paving was a big hold-up.
Months ago I heard an interview with Dara Moskowitz-Grumdahl on MPR that I thought was very insightful. It includes something that she calls "Too Soon Reviews." She talks about how new establishments are under enormous pressure when they first open, everybody is a critic and this is the time in their life-cycle that they are probably the busiest that they will ever be. I think opening outside the busy tourist season (even if it's accidental) is a good move strategically. Also, I think that cultivating locals is a good idea, too. The high tourist season is 4 months - the rest of us are here and get hungry or thirsty during those remaining 8 months.
IPA and mussels were both amazing.
I was a little disappointed. My father and I dined there last night with admittedly unreasonable expectations.
First the good.
- the friendly, albeit inexperienced, wait staff
- the sweet potato fries
- the IPA (4 out of 5 stars, not as good as the nino)
- the clean, modern, almost clinical feel to the place
- the over abundance of friendly, albeit inexperienced, wait staff
- the price of the beer
- the portion size (see below about food)
- the price for that portion
- small, melodramatic menu with little variety or creativity
- the atmosphere
- the clean, modern, almost clinical feel to the place
I got the classic burger with bacon. The burger, at about a 1/4 pound well done and dry, tried meagerly to show itself from within the monstrous bun, which was at the time trying its own best to win real estate from the sweet potato. After a few sips of Stoned Surf and some satisfied lip smacking I removed the bun and bacon and dived into the patty (I always eat my burgers this way). Needless to say, it took only 4 bites. Next, after a few more chugs of brew, I tried the thick bacon. Floppy and greasy, the bacon's flavor made up for the uncooked fat hanging off the edge of each piece.
Meanwhile, my father had pounced upon his crab and shrimp melt. Much to his chagrin, it turned out to be just a cold tuna salad on a bun with no tangible solid pieces of meat to suggest otherwise.
While we both attempted to enjoy the experience, we approached the exit with stomachs full of starch, yet feeling very empty to the pits. In this manner, we left the establishment to the tune of smiles and waves from handfuls of hostesses and waiters that apparently had nothing else to do; well, besides standing around looking bemused, that is.
Total bill: $40 before tip.
I'll go back, but it won't be for awhile, and I'll be getting something different.
I stopped there yesterday and grabbed a growler of the Wit. It tasted great, but seemed like it was a little low on carbonation. Then again, it always seems like growlers are low on carbonation. Either way I for sure will be trying other beers there. I can't wait for their Kolsch to be released.
About a half-dozen of us went to Canal Park Brewing last night. We had between us, the Stout, the IPA, and the Kolsch. All were deemed excellent adult beverages. We also ordered food: an app (the pickled herring plate with beets), portobello sandwich, beet salad, fish tacos. The portions were HUGE and the food was all really delicious. Everyone was quite satisfied on that score. The only complaint from my friends was the one I expressed earlier, about the place being so damn shiny new. I think huitz just ordered badly, he/she should try the fish tacos next time.
Also, I think they have responded to Paul's complaint about the beer prices. Our beers were $5.00 each.
I tried the fish tacos last night and they were indeed quite good. The place was packed and many of the beers that were available when it opened were tapped out. I drank the Sinter VMO and the Click Drag Kolsch, which were not as good as the unavailable Stoned Surf India Pale Ale and Nut Hatchet Brown, but hey, there's nothing wrong with having a little variety forced on me.
Went opening night. 4 people, 6 beers, 4 meals, NOT impressed. 2 beers were good (wit, ipa). The nut brown and draught were too watery. Something went wrong somewhere with the brewing process. But most people like watery beer with no flavor...because they don't like the FLAVOR of BEER! Food was bland, small, and overpriced. $100 before tip. Ouch. Why go here when we have Fitgers and The Pagan? I might try another beer this weekend. They've had some time to fix things.
NO MORE IPA? Damn.
I still defend the Nut Hatchet. Overhopped "EXTREME" beers are really popular right now, with all their American over-the-top machine-gunning bravado, but subtle, traditional, low-key session beers will always have a place.
There's plenty of flavor in the Nut Hatchet, and it is most definitely the flavor of beer. There's a difference between subtle and "watery."
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