The North Shore’s craft beer scene has been alive and well since the mid-1990s with the emergence of Lake Superior Brewing and reemergence of Fitger’s Brewhouse. Minnesota’s sprawling North Shore, including Duluth (and to a lesser extent, Superior), is a year-round haven for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and those just seeking an extended break from the Twin Cities. And one of the most substantial draws, especially for couples and groups, is the region’s blossoming craft brewery scene! By now, you’ve heard of the heavy hitters, such as Castle Danger Brewery, Bent Paddle Brewing, and Fitger’s, but the number of breweries near Duluth continues to rise as Minnesotans continuously yearn for neighborhood microbrews. To ensure that you’re next visit to Superior Shores Resort is nothing short of flawless, we’ve compiled this handy, comprehensive Duluth brewery guide.
A Self-Guided Duluth Brewery Tour
Visiting all eight breweries in Duluth in just one weekend is challenging, even with that all-important designated driver. So, hopefully, a couple of the destinations on this extensive Duluth brewery guide stand out among the rest. It’s nearly impossible to be objective when it comes to craft beer as we all have differing tastebuds and flavor palates, but there’s something to love about each and every one of these taprooms! While they’re not ranked, the order in which each Duluth brewery is listed is not accidental. It’s worth noting that we didn’t forget how truly amazing the beer is at Castle Danger and Superior’s Earth Rider Brewery, but their location eliminates them from inclusion.
Location: 600 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN
Best Beers: The Haze, Apricot Wheat, Brewhouse Festbier
Shopping mall? Yes: The Market at Fitger’s
Description: We might catch a little flak for ranking Fitger’s Brewhouse in front of a giant like Bent Paddle Brewing, but there’s just something truly magical about the nostalgia one gains at this historic lakefront tourist magnet! Yes, the wait time for dinner on weekends is unusually long, but that should tell you something. Thankfully, Fitger’s has a dusky, dimly-lit Barrel Room across the corridor from the restaurant, which allows patrons to sip on a variety of ales before (or after) indulging in fish tacos, elk burgers, and those crispy, golden fries.
Bent Paddle Brewing Co
Location: 1832 West Michigan Street, Duluth, MN
Best Beers: Cold Press Black, Pôrdij NE IPA, Roof Rack Lager
Description: Alas, it didn’t take long to get to Bent Paddle Brewing Co. Bent Paddle has won countless awards, earned rave reviews from beer critics, and wowed thousands of customers since they launched in 2013. A lot has changed in the Duluth brewery scene since then, but they’ve stood tall amongst competitors. Bent Paddle’s staples, such as the Bent Hop Golden IPA, Black Ale, and 14° ESB, continue to fly off the shelves! But their most significant improvement in the last two years has been the addition of a sleek, hip taproom, complete with bright colors, rustic furnishings, a lengthy patio, and an oversized fireplace.
Ursa Minor Brewing
Location: 2415 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN
Best Beers: Ditch Monster, Helmet Hair, Pink Lady Slipper
Description: The new kid on the block, gritty Lincoln Park’s Ursa Minor Brewing, is the only brewery in town that truly captures the ambiance of a contemporary taproom. While Ursa Minor’s one-year-old space still has plenty of modernized glamour, there’s an overriding aura of industrial grit that the design team captured. Their cute, effortless emblem features an expressionless bear who just happens to have a hop for a neck! Oh, and the beer rivals all others in the region. No Duluth brewery has had such an immediate impact on the industry. Ursa Minor is here to stay.
Canal Park Brewing Company
Location: 300 Canal Park Drive, Duluth, MN
Best Beers: Nut Hatchet Brown, Click Drag Kolsch, Lake Haze
Description: Most travelers view Canal Park Brewing Company more as a restaurant than a top-tier Duluth brewery. But don’t be fooled by the hungry patrons arriving in droves—Canal Park’s brewing team can craft a mean dark beer! And, yes, the food at this popular lakefront brewpub is quite delicious. During the summertime, the spacious back patio provides unobstructed views of Lake Superior. But, admittedly, we prefer to stop at Canal Park during the winter months when the sea of tourists is far away from this top-reviewed North Shore brewery.
Blacklist Artisan Ales
Location: 120 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN
Best Beers: Dark Stout, Classic Wit, Spruce Imperial IPA
Ax Throwing? Yes
Description: Blacklist Artisan Ales narrowly thwarted Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub to garner the final stop on our self-guided Duluth brewery tour. Because Blacklist thinks way outside of the box when it comes to beer recipes, their ales can be an acquired taste. Many of their Belgian-style ales are infused with rhubarb, peach, or lime, but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting this taproom. The brewery itself feels more like a bar than a taproom, with its surly beertenders, loud music, and local boardgame players. The atmosphere, while unique, truly feels like home—even if you’re visiting from 1,000 miles away!
Lakefront North Shore Lodging
After visiting a couple of these splendid North Shore breweries, retreat to Two Harbors for a delicious dinner at Kamloops Restaurant & Lounge, a dusk beach stroll, and a soak in your private, two-person hot tub. Superior Shores Resort not only has on-site dining, rustic yet modern Jacuzzi suites, and a private agate beach, but we’re minutes away from Canal Park, Split Rock Lighthouse, and Gooseberry Falls! To book one of our elegant North Shore winter cabin rentals, please give us a call today at 800-242-1988 (or check availability online).