Tag: blacklist

Five Beers to Try at Winterfest


If you are fortunate enough to attend the 15th annual Winterfest on either Friday or Saturday, you are sure to get a taste of some of the best locally made brews. Here are some of the highlights for both nights.


Apricot Vista from August Schell Brewing Company – The latest in the Noble Star collection was aged for a year before Jace dropped 4,800 pounds of apricots in the tank. That tank by the way is from 1936 and will be on display at Star Keller when it opens in May.

Cherry Double Shot Double Black from Bent Paddle Brewing – This Bourbon barrel-aged version of their Black Ale received an infusion of cherries along with double shots of Madagascar Vanilla and Cold-Press. Have we mentioned that the Cold-Press comes from Duluth Coffee Company? Enough said.

Cabernet Barrel-Aged Belgian Dark Strong Ale from Dangerous Man – This is one of my favorite beers that they’ve made over at their Northeast brewery. Stone fruits and sweet caramel are prominent in this complex brew that was aged for almost a year in an oak Cabernet barrel. Let this one warm up a bit in your hand a little while and you’ll be rewarded.

300 from Fulton Brewing – All that really needs to be said about this brew is that it’s one of the best locally made IPAs. Expect blueberry and tropical fruits on top of a clean Pilsner malt base. Somehow the folks at Fulton are making this happen year-round and you won’t hear me complain.

Blackberry Gose from Junkyard Brewing – This Blackberry Sour Ale looks interesting and will be a nice change of pace from all of the really big beers being poured at the festival. Gose is an ancient German style of beer that goes back 1,000 years, and is unique in that it was traditionally brewed with salty water. Junkyard is based up in Moorhead so this also serves as a grand opportunity to get an introduction to their brews without the drive.


Imperial Cocoa Hefe from Blacklist Brewing – Chocolate and bananas will be the theme with this German-style Hefeweizen. Blacklist has always made interesting beers and they will now be able to better showcase them in their new space located in downtown Duluth.

Imperial Raspberry Truffle from Lupulin Brewing – I was able to try this version of their Porter at an event recently and I was impressed. The name of this one sums it up, big time chocolate with loads of raspberries. Who needs dessert?

2016 Fiddle Smasher from NorthGate Brewing – NorthGate is now 3 years old and they celebrated by releasing this Scottish Wee Heavy Ale. This version will be served from a cask and it tips the scale at over 8% ABV.

Saaz Pils from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery – Sometimes there is nothing better than a clean Bohemian style Pilsner, especially when it’s made by someone who loves them as much as Mike Hoops does. Saaz hops are known for their spicy and earthy characteristics and they are what define this style of beer. This is one of my favorite styles of beer hands down.

Gin Botanical Freewheeler from Sociable Cider Werks – This cider looks interesting on many levels. For one, this sat in Wander North Distillery’s botanical basket and also on top of a bed of fresh spruce needles. Nothing says Minnesota like evergreens and apples.


Duluth Beer Week & Bent Paddle Launch

bent paddle brewery

Photo: Bent Paddle Brewing Company

This week, Bent Paddle Brewing Company is releasing their beer to the public for the first time ever. Fifteen breweries from around the state (including several in or near Duluth) are teaming up to bring an all-Minnesota tap lineup to the Rathskeller in Tycoons. And of course, Fitger’s master brewer Dave Hoops is serving up his own contribution to the party. May 13–19 is American Craft Beer Week—and Duluth is rising to the occasion.

“It’s the nation-wide celebration of American craft beer,” Hoops says. “We wanted to really take the opportunitiy to really highlight local craft breweries.”

Ground zero for the week’s activities is the Rathskeller, the speakeasy-style bar in the sub-basement of Tycoons Alehouse (132 E Superior St, Duluth). They’ve turned all 14 of their taps over to Minnesota breweries (and one cidery) to celebrate local beers, and are serving bottles from two further breweries as well. And some of those breweries are from Duluth.

Beer at the Rathskeller. Photo: Maxwell McGruder.

Beer at the Rathskeller. Photo: Maxwell McGruder.

For Bent Paddle’s first-ever release, they’re offering up two flagship brews: the Bent Hop and the Black. The Bent Hop is a smooth, chocolaty, semi-roasted ale somewhere between a porter and a stout, and the Bent Hop is a non-traditional IPA with a big floral/citrus hop flavor. Both will be on tap at the Rathskeller in the starting tonight at 5pm.

Duluth beer fans will also want to try Blacklist, a “nomadic” brewery based out of Duluth and with limited distribution. Their contribution is the Or De Belgique, which honors traditional Belgian processes and boasts tropical fruit flavors and rich aromas. Dubrue is participating too (Brown), along with Knife River’s Borealis Fermentery and the Castle Danger Brewery.

“It’s always been us alone,” Hoops says. “We now have quite a few breweries in Duluth.”

But the brewers aren’t just sending along beer. Several are coming in person to celebrate this Wednesday night from 7–9pm. Brewers who have confirmed that they are coming come from Blacklist, Borealis, Castle Danger, Bent Paddle, Big Wood, and the Brewhouse. They’ll be available to answer questions about their process and otherwise talk good beer.

With new breweries popping up seemingly overnight, Hoops says that it’s a good time for craft beer in Minnesota. He thinks that this week’s celebration shows a deep field both locally and statewide, and that the movement’s only getting started.

“I feel like we’re on the trajectory to get to maybe double where we’re at as far as brewery numbers,” Hoops says. “The sky’s the limit on selling craft beer.”