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
In recent years I’ve noticed a number of Duluth liquor stores have gone out of business while a number of tattoo parlors have opened. I like to joke that the latter business model depends on the former, but lately I’ve had the perception that at some point in recent history the number of tattoo parlors grew to exceed the number of liquor stores.
An ongoing count, however, suggests otherwise. The lists in this post show 16 liquor stores within Duluth city limits, but only five tattoo parlors. Of course, I tend to keep better tabs on where beer can be procured than on places to have my flesh artistically carved. So help me out. What liquor stores or tattoo parlors are missing from these lists?
If you’re a filmmaker/actor/screenwriter — or working in any capacity in film in the Duluth area — this post should be of interest to you.
Today I launched the Duluth Film Directory: a database of all the people working in film in Duluth. I constantly receive emails from people asking me who is working in the area, and this will be a convenient way to consolidate everyone into one location. Now, when someone is looking for a freelancer, they’ll know exactly where to turn.
If you’re interested in signing up for the directory, please email me your information at duluthfilmcollective @ gmail.com.
Below is an updated look at what’s on the television dial in Duluth after the reorganizing at KBJR/KDLH. Don’t let the big “3” fool you on the new KDLH logo (which doesn’t have the letters KDLH on it, but does have the CBS eye); the CBS affiliate is now on broadcast channel 6.2. If you are watching with a satellite dish or cable, then the KDLH/CBS station is channel 3.
Those who prefer the safe confines of walls and a sturdy roof can check out Kiss or the Beach Boys this summer at Amsoil Arena or David Liebe Hart at the Red Herring Lounge, but ’tis the season for music under canopies or wide open to the elements.
Let’s face it: there’s nothing quite like dining al fresco on a perfect Duluth day. But area patio dining options are limited. Plus, they can be crowded and expensive. Those looking for a quick, reasonably-priced bite while relaxing outside can embrace the local food truck phenomenon. Several mobile eatery options have popped up to fill new niches since last year’s rundown. Find out more about these restaurants on wheels, when they’re around and what they have to offer in our 2016 guide.
The coffee industry has undergone significant changes in the past couple of decades, as an increasing number of specialty roasters enter the market. The Duluth area is now experiencing what some call the “third wave” of coffee. The first wave of coffee was about convenience and mass production (think instant coffee, like Folgers). The second wave of coffee involved the rise of chains like Starbucks, where consumers were introduced to fresher and better quality beans and the experience of drinking in coffee shops.
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.
The craft of writing personal blogs probably hit its stride in Duluth around 2005 and started dying out around 2010. It’s been a long time since the days PDD carried a feed of local blogs, which became unnecessary once subscription news-aggregator applications became available. There is still a strong set of Duluth-area writers and photographers dedicated to kicking out text on a regular basis, however, and we profile them here so you can check them out and add them to your feeds as you wish.
Many years ago I made the blunder of driving a friend out to Eddie’s in the outskirts of Superior on a Monday to discover it was closed. Last week some friends were texting about a meetup at the Spirit Room. The final text read: “Spirit Room is closed. Thirsty Pagan!”
In an effort to prevent other Monday-dining disappointments, and because PDD loves lists, here is a rundown of the eating establishments in the area that are closed on Mondays. If you notice a place is missing from the list, shout it out in the comments.