Duluth Wins Big In Growler Magazine’s Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal Reader’s Choice Awards
The Duluth Beer Scene is Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal
By Dave Grandmaison
We’re proud of the local craft beer scene and we knew that the local North Shore breweries would rise to the top of this year’s Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal contest – the annual reader’s choice awards from our friends at Growler Magazine. There’s no doubt about it. The competition for top honors this year was stiff but we’re excited to spread the word… Duluth is home to some of the best breweries in Minnesota.
That’s a message we’ll never get tired of shouting from the top of Enger Tower to the shores of Brighton Beach.
So without further ado… let’s take a look at this year’s winners.
(What’s your opinion? Let us know in the comments below)
Best Craft Beer Bar / Restaurant (Greater MN) – Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake
This year Growler readers named Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake as the Best Craft Beer Bar in Greater Minnesota, and we couldn’t agree more. As if the amazing patio overlooking Lake Superior wasn’t enough, Sir Ben’s is an English-style pub with great food, an impressive list of craft beer, and a long tradition of musical revelry. This is a must-visit destination in Duluth.
Beer Branding – Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Best Brewery – Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Best Lager – Bent Paddle Venture Pils
Do you see a trend here? From the minute they opened their taproom doors it was obvious that the dynamic team at Bent Paddle Brewing was destined for greatness. By all accounts, they’ve become one of the most well known breweries in Minnesota. Their brand is tightly linked to the great Northwoods and their beer is always top-notch. Make sure to stop into their brewery and sample some of the special brews that you can’t get anywhere else. Great scene, great people, and the best beer.
Best Vodka – Vikre Distillery Lake Superior Vodka
Best Gin – Vikre Distillery Boreal Cedar Gin
Best Whiskey – Vikre Distillery Sugarbush Whiskey Lot 3
We’ve dubbed this amazing win “Vikre’s Spirit Sweep”. There’s no doubt that the Vikre Team has something special going on at their beautiful distillery in Duluth’s Canal Park. Their attention to locally sourced ingredients and high-end craftsmanship has paid off with an amazing growth of brand recognition during their first few years in operation. If you see their Sugarbush Whiskey in your local liquor store you better snatch it up quick.
Best Brewpub – Fitger’s Brewhouse
C’mon… this one’s a no-brainer. Great food… award winning beer since 1995… a cool mix of locals and well-informed visitors… a knowledgable team of bar tenders led by Mr. Brock Allen… and an amazing location in the historic Fitger’s Brewery Complex… Fitger’s Brewhouse is a must-visit brewpub destination for anyone exploring the local craft beer scene. The Brewhouse was at the forefront of the craft beer boom and they’re still known as the best.
Best Liquor Store (Greater MN) – Mount Royal Bottle Shoppe
Mount Royal Bottle Shoppe has been doing its thing since 1939 and for the second year in a row, the Mount Royal Bottle Shoppe has earned distinction as the Best Liquor Store/Beer Store in Minnesota according the Growler Magazine. Have you explored their cavernous beer cave? They’ve got an amazing selection of local and regional craft beer.
Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant – The Duluth Grill
You already know this but The Duluth Grill is an amazing place to eat… and while we agree that it tops the list for vegetarian dining, we also want to point out that it’s just a darn great place to eat… no matter what your preferences. With their on-site gardens and service with a smile, The Duluth Grill is the go-to breakfast joint after a night sampling craft beer in Duluth. Come to think of it, I think I’ll head there for lunch today!
Best Outdoor Live Music Venue – Bayfront Festival Park
Home to many an amazing festival (including Minnesota’s #1 beer festival – All Pints North), Bayfront Festival Park combines open air, spectacular views of Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge, and enough space to really cut loose. Summer is prime time for visiting Bayfront but the (also award winning) Bentleyville makes its home on the festival grounds each winter. Come on up and check it out!
Best Lake – Lake Superior
Hmm. Great category and YES!!! We agree. Lake Superior provides some of the cleanest drinking water in the nation, amazing recreational opportunities and (in the spirit of this article) is the main ingredient for our local breweries. It’s a big part of the reason why we’ve got the number of breweries and award-winning beer that we have. With the help of Growler readers this Great Lake has just become the Best Lake. Cheers!
Best Local Band – Trampled by Turtles
From their humble beginnings in the early 2000’s to their amazing popularity today, Trampled is the home-town favorite that still loves their home town and hasn’t forgotten their roots. Spend enough time in Duluth and you’ll probably find some of the band members playing with other musicians around town. We’ve had a lot of fun at their shows over the years… a lot of fun.