A bevy of craft breweries and brewpubs have found the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin to be fertile ground for growth. Five years ago, area craft breweries produced almost 20,000 barrels of beer. By 2018 that number nearly tripled to roughly 57,000 barrels.
Although Duluth is known for — and by some feared — for its winters, they tend to run together in our memories. Everyone who experienced it recalls the Mega Storm of 1991 and there was a long cold snap a few years ago, but by and large the various storms and other winter climate events are forgotten or the memories get mashed together.
So, in an effort to sort them out I tossed together a brief and somewhat vague list of some winter moments that have been marked on Perfect Duluth Day in the past (with links) or have been loosely referenced on the web as having been more wintery than other winters. (As the comments have come in I’ve added a few more links from Zenith City Online and notes regarding conditions of some years.)
Thanksgiving is arguably the best holiday. It’s an opportunity to be grateful for what you have, eat delicious food and spend time with family (either blood or chosen). There’s no need to buy presents, go to church or decorate the house. The most stressful aspect of the day is the cooking.
The Head of the Lakes Fair is an annual tradition in Superior. The weekend event usually features bands performing on a stage in the center of the Superior Speedway. Often the headliner is a major touring act that is a bit past its prime. Below is a scattered list of bands that have played the festival. Because … nostalgia.
With all the breweries popping up in Duluth and surrounding communities, it’s hard to keep the names straight. In casual conversation, no one really cares if you say “Earth Rider Brewery” or “Earth Rider Brewing,” but if you are one of the last copy editors in town who still has a job, for example, you might consider it important to distinguish which brew-suffix goes with each entity.
The Duluth/Superior radio market is noted for two striking characteristics — an uncommon number of public-interest stations and an uncommon number of Christian stations. The commercial broadcast signals that fill out the rest of dial are mostly owned by two entities — Midwest Communications and Townsquare Media — although there are a few smaller station owners, like Northwoods Radio and Twin Ports Radio.
As far as blogs go, obviously Perfect Duluth Day isn’t the only show in town. And it must be noted the line where a blog crosses over from one person’s musings into becoming an online magazine is a fuzzy one. In spite of the inherent problems associated with labeling anything, below is PDD’s updated list of Duluth-area community blogs — an every-couple-of-year salute/guide to the individuals and small groups who crank out content like it’s 2007 instead of (or in addition to) just Facebooking, Instagramming and whateverelseing.
The number of broadcast television stations in Duluth has reached 14. Keeping track of them started getting confusing in 2016, when reorganizing at KBJR/KDLH led to “CBS 3” broadcasting on channel 6.2. In an effort to prevent the whole thing from turning into an Abbott & Costello routine, Perfect Duluth Day periodically provides an updated list of channels.
There have been two changes since the 2016 KDLH/KBJR shuffling. In early 2017 WDSE-TV dropped its “2nd Chance” programming on channel 8.2 and adopted a new broadcasting stream, PBS Explore, which is focused heavily on programs for children. On Sept. 27, WDIO-TV added subchannel 10.3, broadcasting the Ion television network. An updated list is below.
Duluth and its surrounding communities are not necessarily known for their famous podcasts, but in recent years about a dozen productions have been pushed out to the internet and smartphones with the notion that people across the planet might be interested in Duluth’s take on birds, professional wrestling or whatever.
At the end of 2016 there were seven craft breweries in Duluth and nine more across the region. Another six are in the planning or soon-to-open stages in 2017. In the two years since Perfect Duluth Day conducted its first tally of the region’s beer production the total barrel output has grown from roughly 20,000 to nearly 35,000. That equates to more than one million gallons of craft beer locally brewed in 2016. By other measurements, it’s about 70,000 kegs, more than 8 million pints or more than 11 million 12-ounce bottles and cans.
The largest contributors to the recent growth were Bent Paddle Brewing and Castle Danger Brewing. Bent Paddle doubled its output over the past two years while Castle Danger grew six fold. Meanwhile, Moose Lake Brewing launched operations, Blacklist Artisan Ales opened a taproom and started canning, and South Shore Brewery opened an additional brewery and tasting room in Washburn.
In the year ahead, the brewing landscape is set to shift dramatically with the opening of a half-dozen new operations in the region. Newbies in the immediate Twin Ports area will be Hoops Brewing in Canal Park, Oakhold Farmhouse Brewery in Midway Township and Earth Rider in Superior. The Iron Range, home to only one brewing business in 2016 — the Boathouse in Ely — could soon welcome three more. Rapids Brewing Company and Cantankerous Brewing are in the works for Grand Rapids, while Boomtown Brewery plans to open at the former Zimmy’s Bar and Restaurant location in Hibbing.
Below is a breakdown of the 2016 stats.
Bent Paddle Brewing
30-barrel brewery and taproom, founded in 2013
1912 W. Michigan St., Duluth
Colin & Laura Mullen + Bryon & Karen Tonnis, co-founders; Charles Brodell, head brewer; Brent Rowe, regional sales manager; Pepin Young, taproom manager
2016 production: 15,700 barrels
Castle Danger Brewery
30-barrel brewery and taproom; brewery founded in 2011, taproom opened in 2014
17 Seventh St., Two Harbors
Clint and Jamie MacFarlane, owners; Lon and Mandy Larson, owners
2016 production: 9,200 barrels (est. for 2017: 14,000 bbl)
10-barrel brewery supplying six pubs and a retail store, founded in 1995
600 E. Superior St., Duluth
Rod Raymond, owner; Ted Briggs, master brewer
2016 production: 1,862 barrels