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.
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.”