Saturday, June 01, 2013

Go North Beer Fan

The Twin Cities isn’t the only place in Minnesota that’s witnessed a craft beer boom of late. Good article at on how the growth of craft breweries on the North Shore is causing beer lovers to plan the Duluth beer-cations:

At Thirsty Pagan Brewing in Superior, Wis., head brewer Allyson Rolph said the brewpub already attracts its share of out-of-towners. “We’re starting to see a lot more of the beer tourism, people coming up here from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, Chicago,” she said over a pint at Bent Paddle Brewing Co. — Duluth’s newest brewery and taproom.

From the boutique, Belgian-leaning Blacklist Brewing and Borealis Fermentery (in Knife River, Minn.) to Irish bars/brewpubs Carmody and Dubh Linn, North Coast beer is diversifying. Even aesthetically, the shiny new Canal Park offers a contrasting feel to Thirsty Pagan’s small-town charm.

Just north of Two Harbors, Minn., Clint and Jamie MacFarlane of Castle Danger Brewery have perhaps the state’s most serene brewery. The couple’s toolshed of a brewhouse sits on a scenic 40-acre lakefront plot where they also run a 12-cabin resort. The resort has been in Jamie’s family since the 1930s and next year they plan to add a larger brewery/taproom in downtown Two Harbors.

But beer communities aren’t built in a day. Lake Superior Brewing Co. and Fitger’s have been pushing craft beer in Duluth since the mid-’90s. “I basically cut my teeth on those two breweries’ beers,” said Bryon Tonnis of Bent Paddle, which opened two weeks ago with a pair of enjoyable year-round ales.

“We owe them a big debt of gratitude,” said Bent Paddle co-founder Colin Mullen.

As do all craft beer fans who can now include beer among the many reasons for heading up to the North Shore this summer.