Cheers to Duluth: A Guide to Breweries, Cideries and Distilleries

A couple drinking beer at Ursa Minor
Ursa Minor Brewing

Whether it’s the fresh northern air, proximity to Lake Superior and it’s crisp, delicious water, or just the fact you’re away from it all – beer (or cider, cocktails and really anything) seems to taste better in Duluth. In reality, it’s most likely because these northern brew masters, cider makers and distillers take their crafts seriously – and have the awards, accolades and avid fans to prove it.

Below is a roundup of Duluth’s breweries, cideries and distilleries, grouped by neighborhood so it’s easier than ever to plan your next tasting. Bonus: most are family-friendly and many have dog-friendly patios, so Fido can join the fun, too. Please enjoy responsibly!

Canal Park:

Hoops Brewing Sign
Hoops Brewing
  • Canal Park Brewery: Is there anything better than drinking a craft beer on a patio, while taking in views of Lake Superior? We think not. From its award-winning Hank & Dabs Pale Ale to its most popular Nut Hatchet Brown Ale, there is something for all beer tastes at CPB. Plus, cocktails, wine and a full menu. Open all year, Canal Park Brewing’s patio offers yard games in the summer and fire pits for crisp, fall nights by the lake.
  • Hoops Brewing: Veteran master brewer Dave Hoops opened the doors of his brewery in the heart of Canal Park in June 2017. All the beers are brewed with the pristine waters of Lake Superior – including classics and some fun selections like no. 489 (Blackberry Peach) and no. 325 (Chili Pepper Ale). There is no kitchen onsite, but you can bring in your own food or have it delivered to Hoops. Check out their list of recommended food options here.
  • Vikre Distillery: Looking for something a little stronger? Check out Vikre (pronounced vee-crä) cocktail room, located at the foot of Duluth’s iconic Aerial Lift Bridge. Using the clean waters of Lake Superior, Vikre distills gin, vodka, aquavit and whiskeys, along with canned cocktails. Drawing on founder Emily’s background in food and recipe development, each cocktail recipe is woven with flavor and culinary creativity. And there are delicious zero proof options, too. Vikre is also passionate stewards of the resources they use – prioritizing the people and the planet.

Downtown:

Glasses from Blacklist Brewing Co
Blacklist Brewing Co
  • Blacklist Brewing Co: This cozy spot on E. Superior Street has a little something for everyone – including award-winning beer, handcrafted seltzers, locally-made snacks and axe throwing – a great place to channel your inner Paul Bunyan.
  • Carmody Irish Pub: Carmody is a smaller brewery compared to its Duluth counterparts, with a three-barrel system onsite, but ask the locals and they’ll tell you nothing beats Carmody’s atmosphere. Located in a former livery stable from the 1880s, Carmody features four house brews and two seasonal brews and plenty of Irish whiskey for a bump to go along with your beer. 
  • Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub: Another small batch brewery, Dubh Linn’s three-barrel system produces brews like Harmon’s Killer Brew (bourbon barrel porter infused with vanilla bean), Raddler (a light bodied ale with a hint of peach at the finish) and Maple Amber (amber ale made with locally sourced maple syrup). Along with its own beers, Dubh Linn features plenty of classic Irish beers on tap and one of the largest selections of whisky in the state.
  • Fitger’s: The granddaddy of the Duluth micro-brews, Fitger’s – the city’s oldest brewery – was started back in 1857. After a few hiatuses, including prohibition (when it manufactured soda pop and candy bars), Fitger’s re-opened in 1995 and has been cranking out award winning brews ever since. Try their beer onsite at the Fitger’s Barrel Room or Brewhouse Grille, where you can pair your beer with a world-famous wild rice burger.

Lincoln Park Craft District:

A flight at Duluth Cider
Duluth Cider
  • Bent Paddle: Founded in 2013, Bent Paddle has quickly become a neighborhood – and a Minnesota and beyond – favorite. Beers are made with 100% Lake Superior water, which mimics the waters of Pilsen, Czech Republic, the birthplace of Pilsner. The destination taproom features indoor and outdoor spaces and a heated pet-friendly patio.
  • Duluth Cider: Named Minnesota’s best cider by the Star Tribune, Duluth Cider offers ciders for every palate, from sweet to dry, fruity to hoppy, and so much more. Founders Jake and Valerie started Duluth Cider after spending time in New England and Europe, where they learned from some of the best cider makers in the world.
  • Ursa Minor: From the hoppy Hazed and Confused, to sour Citrus Blizzard, and the dark “You’re Turning Violet, Violet!” blueberry lactose pastry stout, there is something for all beer lovers at Ursa Minor. Add in hand-crafted seltzers, a delicious N/A beer, and wood fired pizzas plus a patio for all seasons (thanks, firepits!), and it’s a can’t miss on your brewery tour.
  • Wild State Cider: Wild State boasts “naturally good ciders” – made without concentrates, sugars, artificial sweeteners or sorbates. And bring your appetite for their soft pretzels, snacks and soft serve ice cream. For a complete “Duluth-y” experience, check out their onsite curling lanes in the winter.

Lakeside-Lester:

  • COMING SOON! Lake Superior Brewing Co. is set to open in Spring 2022, and will feature a brewery, kitchen, bar and “brewtel” rental properties right next to the brewery. Check back soon for updates!  

Look for these at a local store:

  • Duluth Whiskey: Founded by “regular folks from Duluth who love exceptional handcrafted whiskey,” Duluth Whiskey is turning out blended whiskey, bourbon, malt whiskey and other spirits that are brisk, lively and flavorful while also warm and welcoming – just like Duluth. Creations such as honey whiskey, featuring local honey from East Duluth – along with Cider Whiskey are sure to delight your tastebuds.
  • Warrior Brewing Company: This Duluth brewery is newer to the scene and was founded by two disabled veterans in 2021. Specializing in unique and high gravity options that aren’t as widely available from other local brewers, Warrior Brewing is making great beer and a difference in the community. With monthly nonprofit partnerships that help veterans and first responders, the company is committed to giving back while brewing delicious beer.
Posted on March 15, 2022