Duluth’s beeriest festival, All Pints North, is coming up on Saturday. Organized by the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild, the tasting extravaganza at Bayfront Festival Park will include more than 120 breweries.
All Pints North began in 2012 and has mushroomed each successive year. In 2015, an estimated 3,500 people attended. The beer fest primarily highlights the guild’s roughly 100 members, but some national breweries participate as well.
Tickets are $45 ($10 for designated drivers) and give attendees the chance to drink their weight in 2 oz. samples of craft beer. This year’s entertainment includes music by the 4onthefloor. There will also be food vendors and opportunities for craft beer education.
Dave Hoops, resident beer expert and former master brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse, shared some tips for surviving All Pints North this week in his Duluth News Tribune beer column, “Hoops on Hops.” When asked about the beer list he recommended for sampling in the column, he points out there’s not a hoppy beer among them.
Hoops has a point. Even rabid hopheads and superfans of burly, barrel-aged beers may agree, warm weather calls for thirst-quenching beer styles like hefeweizens, sours, saisons, wits and fruity ales.
Several mainstays of our local beer scene offered thoughts about All Pints North and the beer available there.
Jamie MacFarlane, co-owner, Castle Danger Brewery
“This is by far my favorite festival for many reasons: it’s in our backyard, it’s on the lake (on grass vs. parking lots like most festivals), and all the visiting breweries get treated to our North Shore hospitality. Usually I like to seek out the breweries I don’t get to enjoy very often: Steel Toe and Fair State will be on my radar, as well as specialty offerings from other Minnesota breweries.”
Dave Hoops, director of brewery operations at Bev-Craft
“All Pints makes me excited for the opportunity to showcase our town. I’m proud of the Duluth beer scene and the scenic beauty of the festival. Whenever Steel Toe is offering beer in our market I’m in line. Also high on my list is Wicked Wort. Kyle Sisco is a young brewer who I consider to be pretty gifted.”
“The Minnesota beer scene is so Twin Cities-focused — it’s the one time people come up here. It’s nice to have the focus placed more on Duluth and North Shore beers, and the venue is awesome since it’s right by the lake. I typically go for the cask beers, the specialty releases — but they go quick.”
Ken Thiemann, brewer/owner, Borealis Fermentery
“I always like Olvalde Farm Brewery from Rollingstone, MN. Joe does a great job of brewing in the Belgian cottage tradition. I also think that Fair State has been doing a great job with their beers. Town Hall brewery and Barley John’s are always favorites of mine as well.”
“I’m looking forward to the many new breweries who will be joining us at All Pints. I always enjoy seeing just what the Minnesota beer scene is capable of, but, unfortunately, don’t often have a chance to try many of them since I am based in Grand Marais.”
At festivals like All Pints, you can bet the breweries are bringing out their best brews. Here’s a smattering of some of the beers our local breweries have available at the fest. The full program is now available online.
Bent Paddle Brewing Company
“Purple Grain” Blueberry Venture Pils, “Sunscreen” Lollygager Pale Ale w/ Banana, Mango, & Coconut
Blacklist Artisan Ales
Rhubarb Imperial Wit, Makrut Imperial Wit (brewed with Makrut lime leaves)
Juneberry Love Saison (brewed with Knife River Juneberries), Sonne Tart Wheat (kettle soured wheat ale)
Canal Park Brewing Company
Woodland Strawberry Ale, cask of Nut Hatchet Brown with toasted coconut
Carmody Irish Pub
Apricot Wheat, Raspberry Red (Agnes Irish Red with real raspberries)
Castle Danger Brewing
Red Hop Rising (red ale with Citra, Mosaic & Simcoe hops), Summer Crush (session beer with lemony Sorachi Ace hops)
Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub
Wandering Druid Saison and Finn’s Ale (German Altbier)
Brettanomyces Breakwater White (Belgian Wit), Red Wheat & Blue (wheat ale with raspberries and blueberries)
Gunflint Tavern & Brewpub
Northern Exposure IPA, Jasper Ale (English Brown Ale)
Voyageur Brewing Company
Lucky #4 Grapefruit IPA, Cucumber Bohemian Ale (available starting at 5 p.m.)
In addition to the big festival on Saturday, there are a number of beery pre-parties going on around town tonight — involving beer, food and music.
Bent Paddle Brewing: All Pints Eve Hootenanny
7 West Taphouse: All Pints North Pre Party
Sir Ben’s Tavern on the Lake: All Pints Eve Party on the Lake
Red Herring Lounge: The Current Comes to the Red Herring
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