Guiding Brewery Tours
By Jonathan “Tinga” Portinga
I love beer… but in a way that you might not expect.
My love for beer actually sprang from my interest in hobbies, crafts, and construction. As a child I loved to build skateboard ramps and crochet winter hats for family and friends. I always admired finely crafted tangibles and people who have mastered their craft have always inspired me. The masters of craft beer are both artisan and scientist. Lucky for me! Duluth is a great place to learn both the art and the science of brewing because we have such a supportive and collaborative brewing community.
My adventure into the local craft beer scene started when I moved to Duluth in 2007 to go to school and ski. After college I had a degree, and interest in brewing, and some debt. In need of a job, I applied at the Canal Park Brewing Company and landed a job as a dishwasher. After 6 months in the dish pit I saw a light at the end of a tunnel and it lead to the brewery! The brewery brought me on as a tour guide and I was inspired to start my own brewing at home.
I was quickly drawn into the seemingly infinite variations and variables that a brewer manipulates to influence the final product. The numerous ingredients and the layers of almost endless refinement continuously spark the brewer’s interest and imagination. And there is a sense of mystery in the whole process because you rely on a living organism that you can’t see and can’t communicate with to perform the most important part of the process… fermentation!
As a tour guide for Canal Park Brewery and now with The Duluth Experience, I get to share my passion and knowledge for the craft of brewing with all kinds of people with various backgrounds. I love to see their eyes light up as mine did when I first discovered how interesting the brewing process is. And there is so much excitement surrounding the Duluth craft beer scene right now.
From small batches to large commercial enterprises, there is a wealth of diversity in the Duluth brewing community. I would like nothing more than to introduce you to the local scene and get you inspired by the craft I have grown to love.
My love for the outdoors brought me to Duluth. My passion for brewing has allowed me to stay in Duluth.