On Your Way to the BWCA

     Be sure to plan a stop in Duluth, Minnesota the next time you’re on your way to the Boundary Waters. You could stop on your way home from the BWCA too and you may even want to spend a night.

Published September 30, 2012, 05:15 PM

Duluth is the destination for beer tourism

You could say Lake Superior Brewing, which opened in 1994, is the granddaddy of modern local microbrews and led the way for destination Duluth beer tourism.

By: Terry Mattson, For the Budgeteer News

When Fitger’s Brewing Company closed in 1972, it had brewed beer since 1881, making it Duluth’s oldest continually operating industry. No beer was brewed commercially in Duluth after that until 1994.

That’s when Lake Superior Brewery started up. You could say Lake Superior Brewing is the granddaddy of modern local microbrews and led the way for destination Duluth beer tourism.

Around the turn of the last century, Duluth was an industrial mecca, boasting more millionaires per capita than anywhere in the country. The port was shipping more tonnage than New York City. Iron ore, lumber and grain passing through the Twin Ports fueled the nation. After World War II, Duluth experienced a serious economic decline. In the 1980s a reinvention was beginning. By the mid-90s, Duluth was on its way to becoming the most popular tourism destination for Minnesotans. And if you look back on the past 10 years, the proliferation and success of local microbreweries is amazing.

Fitger’s Inn and Fitger’s Brewhouse are great examples of Duluth’s renaissance. The passion, skills and investments being made by our legion of local malt artists is worthy of praise and attention. Here’s a quick list of today’s other highlights.

Carmody Irish Pub (www.carmodyirishpub.com): Featuring six exclusive beers that are brewed on-site, with live music six nights a week.

Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub (www.dubhlinn- pub.com): Serving up classic pub fare and a “boutique brewing” process that brews smaller batches by hand. Live comedy Saturday nights.

Dubrue Brewery (www.dubrue.com): Producing two unique microbrews, Dubrue Pub Ale and Dubrue India Black Ale, which are found in 10 Duluth watering holes.

Fitger’s Brewhouse (www.brewhouse.net): This year alone it will produce more than 100 styles and 2,500 barrels of handcrafted beer. Award-winning beers can also be purchased in growlers to take home.

Lake Superior Brewing Company (www.lakesuperiorbrewing.com): Featuring four beers found year-round, with more seasonal brews found throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Tycoon’s Zenith Alehouse & Eatery (www.duluthtycoons.com): Located in the historic city hall building, it also includes the dining and the basement Rathskeller pub, with

Fitger’s Brewhouse beers on tap.

Canal Park Brewing Company (www.canalparkbrewery.com): Opening in mid-October, Duluth’s newest microbrewery will feature north coast-style craft brew and tasty seasonal bites.

Thirsty Pagan Brewing (www.thirstypaganbrewing.com) — Offering nine different brews just across the bridge in Superior, along with handmade pizza and other fare.

What’s more, there’s a high concentration of establishments within easy walking distance of Duluth’s major visitor corridors, making them perfect for residents and beer tourism alike. These microbreweries of Duluth are generating a lot of excitement, and we couldn’t be happier. And don’t miss the last Vista Fleet sightseeing “Brews Cruise” of the 2012 season this Thursday evening, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. You’ll enjoy seasonal brews and a four-course dinner. Reservations required and limited to 36 guests. For more information call 218-722-6218.

Also, for a quick taste of favorite ways people treat themselves in Duluth, including a brewery tour, go to www.visitduluth. com/duluthisopenforyou/today.html#.

Terry Mattson is the president and CEO of Visit Duluth, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, and is responsible for leading the official destination marketing efforts. Contact Mattson by telephone at 722-4011 or by e-mail at tmattson@visitduluth.com.