Duluth Beer Worthy of Viking Explorers

Bent Paddle Brewing Company’s Viking Inspired Beer

A few months ago the crew of the Draken Harald Hårfagre – the largest Viking Ship built in modern times and part of the Tall Ships Challenge 2016 – contacted Bent Paddle Brewing Company to find out if the brewery would create a special Viking inspired beer for their arrival at the Tall Ships Festival. Bent Paddle immediately said yes and brewer Bjorn Erickson stepped up to create a beer as an homage to his Norske ancestry.

Bent Paddle Brewing Drakenvit Beer Tall ShipsBjorn named the infusion beer “Drakenvit” – Bent Paddle’s flagship Venture Pils infused with Norwegian aquavit inspired spices including caraway, fennel, cardamom, pink peppercorn, and citrus peel. “I come from a very Norwegian family” said Bjorn “and we act that way too. My brother’s name is actually Leif Erickson! Family gatherings are always filled with cured or pickled fish and aquavit. It was cool for me to be able to translate this part of my heritage into a beer with my job as a brewer for Bent Paddle”.

As you probably already know, the Draken Harald Hårfagre was unable to complete their voyage to Duluth with the rest of the Tall Ships due to an issue involving Great Lakes pilotage fees. You can find out more behind that story HERE.

Obviously, Bjorn and the team at Bent Paddle was bummed about not being able to toast with the crew of the Draken but that didn’t stop them from celebrating Viking culture in honor of the Draken’s voyage and the proud Norwegian culture here in the Northland.

Bent Paddle teamed up with Pier B Resort to celebrate and promote the Leif Erickson Viking Ship Restoration Project with the beer instead. On Friday, August 19th artifacts and historical images and documents from Duluth’s own Leif Erickson Viking ship were transported out of storage where the ship has been undergoing restoration for the last 4 years and put on display at a Viking-inspired party at the resort. The Crunchy Bunch played music, the Tall Ships sailed the harbor, and “Drakenvit” kegs were tapped.

Coolest part… $1 from every pint was donated to the Lief Erickson Restoration Project.

The Leif Erikson Ship was built in Korgen, Norway to replicate the type of ship sailed by the Vikings and Leif Erickson to North America over a thousand years ago. The 42-foot vessel was completed in 1926 and the ship sailed that same year on the same type of route from Norway to North America the Draken Harald Hårfagre just took on in 2016. The Leif Erickson Ship was donated to the City of Duluth soon after the voyage and was placed on display in Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park. There the Leif Erikson Ship steadily deteriorated until the 1980s when a restoration committee was formed and restoration began in 1991. Most of the restoration has been completed on the Leif Erickson Ship and now only fundraising remains for a new secure display building to be built near Leif Erikson Park at Superior Street and 10th Avenue East.

Related: The Origin of Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park.

Leif Erikson Replica Ship

he Leif Erikson in the Duluth Ship Canal, 1927. Photo: Tom Kasper

Bent Paddle Co-Founder Colin Mullen put it best when he said “We brewed this beer to welcome our Norwegian Sailor friends aboard the Draken Harald Hårfagre. Alas they could not join us to quaff a vessel together. We instead honor the Leif Erickson Viking Ship and raise our glasses (or horns) to history and heritage!”

Well said Colin… well said.

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