Duluth’s Bent Paddle Brewing has announced a partnership with Dean Distributing of Green Bay. The relationship will expand the availability of Bent Paddle’s beer into the Wisconsin counties of Ashland, Iron, Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Langlade and Price.
Distribution to those areas will begin this week with events marking the expansion. On Wednesday, April 12, representatives from Bent Paddle will be offering samplings in Rhinelander at Trig’s Cellar from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by a tap event at Bucketheads Sports Bar & Grill from 6 to 8 p.m.
There will be more samples in Hurley on Thursday, April 13, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Town and Country Liquor and at the Ashland Super One Liquor from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 14.
The United States now boasts over 5,000 craft breweries as the thirst for quality beer continues. The Twin Ports are clearly part of the trend. Duluth and Superior are home to eight breweries, with two more planning to launch in 2017. Several others dot the north and south shores of Lake Superior. The great news for beer aficionados: there’s no shortage of local beer and opportunities to taste the latest batches. The next three major swillfests are highlighted here.
Bent Hop is a golden India pale ale brewed in Duluth’s friendly West End by Bent Paddle Brewing, a 30-barrel production brewery and taproom that uses water from Lake Superior. Bent Hop has a big citrus bitterness with a medium malt support. The alcohol by volume is 6.2 percent. Compare that to the domestics with an average ABV of 4.2%, and you have yourself a craft beer that’ll bend you over during hoppy hour.
For the purposes of this price check, we compared prices of Bent Hop on tap rather than in a can.
Here lies the sixth feature for the Price Check series where we compare prices of products — from bars and restaurants in this case — in Duluth and Superior. The prices below reflect the rate the establishment charges with tax included. For the most part, bars factor the tax into a flat, rounded off price. Many restaurants, however, don’t mind picking up pocket change. Duluth establishments charge 13.125 percent tax on alcoholic beverages; Superior establishments charge 5.5 percent tax. Since the taxes are extra complicated on this Price Check, we break them down at the end of the list.
As 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bent Paddle Brewing adds another seasonal beer to its rotation this week. Hop Forest Double India Pale Ale, weighing it at 8.9 percent alcohol-by-volume, will be on tap at Bent Paddle on Wednesday, available in 750-milliliter bottles on Friday and later find its way into liquor stores in 4-pack cans.
The text on the can reads: “Standing in a hop field brings forth a sense of solitude and wonder one can find in a forest. Hop Forest Double IPA provides full hop coverage with a tremendous load of tropical citrus and piney hop aromatics. Malt sweetness intertwines with the American hop varieties to create a balanced shade of flavor that invites one to sit down and enjoy the view.”
Bent Paddle Brewing announced Wednesday its Barrel-Aged Double Shot Double Black Ale will be released in 750-milliliter bottles “in a couple weeks.” The beer is a stronger version of the brewery’s Cold Press Black Ale, “aged in bourbon oak for nearly 15 months … with a ‘double shot’ of cold-press coffee and whole-bean Madagascar vanilla.”
Loll Designs and Bent Paddle Brewing Company is teaming up to release Lollygagger Pale Ale in the coming weeks. It states on the can that 5 percent of sales will be donated to Cyclists of the Gitchee Gumee Shores, a group with the mission to improve cycling opportunities in the Twin Ports. The contribution will be split between Loll and Bent Paddle. The new can design was a collaboration between Bent Paddle owners and Loll graphic designers. Cheers to drinking beer for a great cause. The beer should hit liquor stores by mid July.
Since 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.
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.
This year 268 medals were awarded in 90 categories covering 145 different beer styles. A group of 222 beer experts from 10 countries evaluated the 5,507 commercial entries from 1,309 breweries.
Fitger’s Brewhouse is a past medal winner, taking home a bronze in the American-Style Sour Ale category in 2012 for its Fitger’s Framboise and another bronze in the French- and Belgian-Style Saison category in 2004 for its Farm House Reserve.