We’ll admit, we’re a little late on this one — we had the opportunity to go on GetKnit’s first ever North Shore Brewery Tour way back in April — but better late than never, right?
Let’s get right down to it, the North Shore Brewery Tour is awesome for a few reasons. First, if we went back in time just five years, there is the unthinkability of an all-day brewery tour ever happening in Duluth. Therefore, we tip our hats to GetKnit for introducing Metro-area residents to the surge of craft breweries in Duluth (and the surrounding area). We’ve been following and reporting on Duluth’s craft beer scene as the Growler magazine for a while now (find a copy of Issue #5) and we love to see Duluth get the recognition it deserves.
Let us clarify what we mean when we say GetKnit puts on an “all-day brewery tour.” Our tour began at 8:30 in the morning. That’s 8:30 A.M. on Saturday, when beer — albiet delicious craft beer — is probably one of the last things your brain is focused on (we should add that professional brewers are a likely exception to this). Because of the early start time, the GetKnit crew provided everyone with coffee and muffins and facilitated the maximum amount of socialization possible during those wee hours with their genuinely enthusiastic, outgoing personalities.
That brings us to the second reason GetKnit’s tour is awesome: the GetKnit crew themselves. Not enough can be said for having the patience to deal with 40 buzzed/tipsy/drunk adults while herding them into and out of microbrewery after microbrewery and onto a charter bus for trips to and from Duluth. By the time our bus pulled into the Park & Ride terminal in Roseville, where we began our journey, the clock read 10:15 P.M. We’d like to give a big shout out to Matt and the rest of the GetKnit crew!
And finally, the third reason the North Shore Brewery Tour is awesome is the amount of entertainment you get for the $109 ticket. If you do the math, the Tour lasts nearly 14 hours (8:30 A.M. until 10:15 P.M.). That’s FOURTEEN HOURS of entertainment for $109. Now you might say that the four hours spent travelling on a bus to and from Duluth isn’t exactly grade-A entertainment. And true, those first two hours driving to Duluth wouldn’t beat a Prince concert, but we’d argue that the ride back is going to be a highlight of the North Shore Brewery Tour for every group to come.
Anecdotally, the two growlers of craft beer we purchased in Duluth were opened and finished on the way back to the Cities. We doubt anyone else left their growlers of Duluth-brewed beer unopened, judging by how friendly everyone had become during the ride back and over the course of the day in general. And if memory serves us correctly, some of the other participants (you can’t blame us this time) repurposed the bus’s P.A. system as a makeshift karaoke machine. We apologize to GetKnit in advance for making it be known, but the bus ride karaoke was fantastic.
Our GetKnit Gurus will help you get a jump start on the day with a sunrise breakfast of pastries and our first “brew” of the day – coffee. A deluxe motor-coach will then whisk us away to the North Shore. Upon arriving in Duluth, we will make our first stop at Bent Paddle Brewing Company – a brand new, state of the art brewery, where we will get a taste of the day to come with signature beer tastings and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour.
From there, we’ll travel to Canal Park Brewing Company, where we will fill up with several more tastings and a hearty beer-inspired lunch. Options will include a Brewskie (WI-made bratwarst), classic cheddar cheese burger with fixings, chicken and cheese sandwich, Pub Wing Dings, or a plantain burger.
After re-fueling, Lake Superior Brewing Company will welcome us with another round of tastings to be complemented by a brief lesson on the history of brewing in the North Shore region.
Next, our crew will make our way to Castle Danger Brewery, a one-of-a-kind brewery who makes their mark on the local brewery scene by serving up “dangerously” good ales.
From there, we’ll continue on to Carmody Irish Pub, located in the historic Port-Town District of downtown Duluth to taste some of their superb dark stouts and seasonal brews.
Before making the journey home, we’ll stop by Tycoons Alehouse and Eatery to savor our last few tastes of the day along with a delectable dinner. Options including hand-trimmed pork loin, artichoke-stuffed chicken florentine, stuffed poblano peppers, and classic fish ‘n’ chips are sure to satisfy even the largest appetite.
Between the thirst quenching beer tastings from the six North Shore breweries and the mouth-watering meals at some of Duluth’s finest eateries, you will have countless opportunities to purchase pints, growlers, and souvenirs to help remind you of this day that left you feeling good and “hoppy.”