2016 Duluth-area Beer Festival Primer

Beer-FestAs craft beer continues to explode in popularity in the Twin Ports and beyond, local beer tastings and beer-centered festivals proliferate. Below are some highlights of beery upcoming events in the region. The name of each event links to the PDD Calendar entry for that event; the links in the event descriptions link to the official event webpages.

gcbrewfestSMFebruary 27 – Grand Minnesota Taste-Together
Grand Casino, Hinckley

The sixth annual Grand Minnesota Taste-Together features over 160 different craft beers from local, regional and national breweries. The event culminates with a concert featuring The Voice’s Madi Davis and English folk-punk group Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. Twin Ports Nightlife organizes the festival.

bockfestMarch 10-12 – Bockfest
Fitger’s Courtyard, Duluth

Bockfest is an annual German celebration of spring that has been taking place at the Fitger’s Complex since 1995. This family-friendly, outdoor event runs from Thursday evening through Saturday night and includes fun games and traditions like the black forest torte-eating contest and the big dip into Lake Superior. There will be music, food, a campfire and Split Rock Bock, a seasonal beer made by Lake Superior Brewing.

GGBBrewfest2016LogoApril 16 – Gitchee Gumee Brewfest
Wessman Arena, Superior

Sample over 100 beers from 25 different breweries from the Midwest and beyond at the area’s longest running beer-tasting event, the Gitchee Gumee Brewfest. VIP and regular admission tickets are available. The event is in its 19th year and typically sells out.

denfeldMay 6 – Denfeld Alumni Association Beer and Wine Tasting
Mr. D’s, Duluth

The Denfeld Alumni Association is hosting its fourth annual beer and wine tasting event at Mr. D’s. Tickets include tasting and appetizers. All proceeds go to the Denfeld Hunter Hall of Fame. To buy tickets, contact an alumni association board member.


May 14 – Festiversary
Bent Paddle Brewing, Duluth

Festiversary is an annual birthday party for Bent Paddle Brewing, this year marking three years in business. The celebration takes place outside in the parking lot adjacent to the brewery. Flagship and specialty beers will be on tap. Food trucks, live music and other celebratory activities are included.

APN_LogoJuly 23 – All Pints North Summer Brew Fest
Bayfront Festival Park, Duluth

All Pints North is the ultimate summer brewfest. Put on by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, the fest celebrates beer made by Minnesota breweries and brewpubs, but includes a handful of national breweries too. In 2015, there were more than 90 breweries involved and several thousand people attended. Brewers bring seasonals and otherwise hard to get brews.

bigtapSeptember 17 – Big Tap ChautauquaFest
Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield

Details for the 2016 Big Tap ChautauquaFest have not yet been released. Typically, the event includes beer tasting, music and food. The “Fatty 5k” race involves a run/hike to the top of Mt. Ashwabay, with stops at the tasting stations by favorite local restaurants along the way.

CDlogoAugust 19-20 – Castle Danger Anniversary Weekend
Castle Danger Brewery, Two Harbors

Castle Danger Brewery will celebrate its five-year anniversary this year. Past anniversary parties have included special brews, local food vendors and live music. More details on this year’s event will be available as the date gets closer.

bradtoberfestFirst weekend of October – BradtoberFest
Various Duluth-area breweries and pubs

BradtoberFest connects local music, Duluth-area craft beer, and outdoor culture in a fun-filled fall fest that benefits young local musicians and honors the memory of Duluth musician Brad Rozman. Participants can run or walk the ~5K path that connects Duluth local breweries and pubs. Registration includes craft beer samples at each stop and live local music.

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