Duluth Winter Brews

Fitger's BrewhouseBefore modern food storage and transportation you ate and drank what was in season. For example, it used to be unheard of for northern people to have fresh fruit and vegetables during winter. Duluth has a lot of microbrews and many for different seasons. This is time to reap the winter harvest.

But what makes a winter brew a winter brew? It’s not just a slick marketing hook American pubs invented so you have something to sip on after hanging up your coat and hearing someone jam on an electric guitar.

“For centuries, brewers have made seasonal beers for winter that are fuller in body and maltier than standard styles,” said Bob Barnes on food site Gayot.com. “Winter warmers have less water in the mix, delivering more nutrition and higher alcohol content than typical summer quenchers.”

The famously good Lake Superior water is one reason the Duluth-Superior area has such a high concentration of microbreweries. You should have no problem visiting a few or more of them from Beacon Pointe Resort. Some of them have special brews they only serve in winter and some have some year-round brews that are particularly good for the winter. Either way, it usually involves adding the right ingredients to water to make a product that is richer and has more of an effect than usual.

Lake Superior Brewing Company is a production brewery. You can find their product at area stores and restaurants. Their website is currently listing two special brews for winter.

Lake Superior’s Split Rock Bock is “Hearty, chocolate-inflected, with five malts to give it a rich body and an extra hind-leg kick to keep you warm during these late winter months”.

Their other winter special is Old Man Winter Warmer. Lake Superior describes the beer as “Dark Mahogany color. Sweet malty aromas follow through on a vinous, fruity full-bodied palate. A complex and malt accented Barley Wine. Earned the Silver Medal at the World Beer Championship.” This brew is 10.3% ABV.

Fitger’s Beer is brewed at Fitger’s Brewhouse and sold at their company’s four other businesses Redstar Lounge, Burrito Union, Tycoon’s Alehouse, and Endion Station. According to Chris Lieberg of the Brewhouse they do not currently have any brews only sold in the winter. They do have a couple that would really work well for winter.

“We have a Godzilla El Nino that is a 9.9% AVA,” said Chris. “Also, we do have a barley wine that is 11% that would probably be more of a winter beer.”

Bent Paddle Brewing Company has only been in the area a couple of years, but already has quite a following. Their beer can be found at their taproom, area stores, and area restaurants and bars. Harness IPA is their current winter brew.

“It is a nice robust IPA and it has rye in it which makes it more flavorful and robust,” said co-founder Laura Mullen.”It is a 7.2% ABV. So it is a very intense winter IPA.”

There are many more breweries and many more winter brews around the Twin-Ports, but that should get you started. They all use the pristine Lake Superior water, drawn through pipes deep enough to avoid any ice from the surface. The water is transformed from its frigid origins to a product designed to keep you warm.