Updated: Aug 25
Duluth, Minnesota isn't just a destination for breathtaking summer lake views and holiday light tours in December. With a fast growing food and beverage scene, Duluth has become a destination for beer lovers in Minnesota, and continues to attract visitors from across the midwest, in search of craft beer made with care.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, we've assembled a digital brewery tour to steer you through the north shore, and get you a pint at the best breweries that Duluth and the surrounding areas have to offer.
Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
One of the more well known breweries in Duluth, and increasingly well-known across Minnesota, Bent Paddle Brewing Co. has grown quickly over the past decade, and with their beer being distributed in liquor stores across the state of Minnesota, it's one of the most easy-to-find beers Duluth has to offer.
The origin of this big Duluth brewery's name comes from both a bent canoe paddle Bryon Tonnis (one of the four owners) had used to mix his brewing mash as well as the brewers' shared love of canoeing. (Growler Magazine)
When you visit their tap room, you'll find a bright and sizable space, with flights for tasting, along with their flagship beers, seasonal brews, and limited edition must-try microbrews. With plenty of indoor and outdoor space, you'll have plenty of room to enjoy a pint. And while there's no kitchen inside, Bent Paddle makes it easy to order popular Duluth food options nearby for either pick up to bring into the taproom, or for delivery straight to the taproom itself.
Blacklist Brewing Co.
Located in the heart of downtown Duluth, Blacklist Brewing Co. (formerly known as Blacklist Artisan Ales) is a cozy and hip Duluth brewery. Originally, their tap list was Belgian-inspired, but as the brewery has grown, so has the breadth of their selection.
At Blacklist, you'll be sure to have an experience, since their taproom offers games, trivia, music, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and more. They're also know for their competitive (and casual) axe throwing space, where you can toss axes while you sip a beer!
With plenty of indoor and outdoor space, and the rest of downtown Duluth at your fingertips, Blacklist offers great beer, fun things to do, and a convenient location. Named One of the “Things to do in Duluth” by TravelMag.com, your tour of Duluth's best breweries wouldn’t be the same without a stop at Blacklist.
Canal Park Brewing Company
If you're downtown at Blacklist, mosey on down to Canal Park where you'll find a lakeside staple. Along Duluth’s well-known lakewalk, you'll find Canal Park Brewing Company. This bustling Duluth brewery is also a restaurant, which means you can you can find tasty apps and meals to pair with your perfect pours.
According to their website, “We are committed to putting unique beer styles on tap by using the best local & sustainable hops, grains, malts and other ingredients when available.”
As one of the largest facilities on the list, they're often busy, but getting a spot is almost always possible, since there's plenty of room to share with other locals and tourists. With lots of indoor and outdoor tables, fire pits, and bar seating, there's accommodations for everyone. But if it's your first time, at Canal Park Brewing, we highly recommend sitting outside. The unobstructed patio view is just a stones throw from Lake Superior, and looking out over the lake, the evening sunsets are incredible here.
As part of their microbrew offerings, they often have cask ales available, and we recommend trying one of the beers on cask, if they have any. Pair it with anything on their hearty food menu, and you'll be in for an amazing stop on your brewery tour.
If you’re already in Canal Park, you may as well follow the lakewalk up the shore a few minutes until you stumble into the historic Fitger’s building, where you’ll find quite a few famous Duluth charms. But one of the greatest and most classic businesses in this building is the brewhouse that shares the building's name: Fitger's Brewhouse.
According to their website, “Fitger’s Brewhouse opened in the Fitger’s facility in 1995 after its founders returned from a ski trip inspired by the growing brewing scene of the western U.S. Combining the relaxed ambience of a mountain brewery with an uncompromising dedication to quality...”
We recommend arriving with an empty belly for both good beer and good food, because Fitger's Brewhouse offers plenty of both. since this stop on your brewery tour is also a restaurant. The rustic and cozy interior is also buzzing with conversation from locals and visitors alike, eating bacon cheese curds, wild rice burgers, smoked fish salads, and a whole lot more. We love the Starfire Pale Ale here, a classic of their brewing bunch. When you've finished your meal, walk it off by visiting the local shops inside the Fitger's building, that include food, crafts, gear, and more.
Need a few more steps to walk off your time at Fitger's? Head back down the lakewalk and stroll back into the Canal Park area of Duluth, where you'll find another one of the best breweries Duluth has to offer: Hoops Brewing.
Set up like a beer hall, with long group tables and plenty of games to play with friends and family, you'll get a cozy community vibe from this brewery the moment you step through the door. You’ll also find a menu to the restaurants in the area that deliver right to you and your beer.
Hoops Brewing is named after Dave Hoops. Born and raised in Duluth and a brewmaster of 25 years, he started brewing in San Francisco and spent time at Fitger’s Brewhouse. His dream came true in 2017 when he was able to open up his own Duluth brewery.
With 10+ beers always on tap, plus the ability to take some with you, this casual and cabin-like space has a fun and family-friendly atmosphere, that'll make you want to stay for more than just one pint. Plus, with group event offerings, regular community events, and brewery tours on Saturdays, you can always count on something fun to do when you arrive.
Lake Superior Brewing
Founded in 1994, Lake Superior Brewing was a well-loved brewery in Duluth. When it closed and was sold to new owners, local Duluth residents had high hopes for what it might become again, one day.
What it has indeed become, is a great, reimagined brewery in a great new location: East Duluth, in the Lakeside area. And the high hopes of locals and visitors are looking very achievable. New owners Sarah and Seth Maxim are bringing back some of the original recipes the brewery once offered, as well as awesome new beer creations.
There is a whole slew of additional things that make Lake Superior Brewing a great stop on your brewery tour, beyond just the beer—wood fire pizzas from their oven to settle your food cravings, a full liquor license allowing for drinks beyond beer, an eco-friendly business model, and even a "brewtel" inside—that's right, there's even a hotel attached to the brewery.
A brewery tour through Duluth wouldn't be complete without a stop at one of the newest and best breweries in town: Lake Superior Brewing.
Ursa Minor Brewing
With a lengthy beer list and wood-fired pizzas, your Duluth brewery tour wouldn't be complete without a stop at Ursa Minor Brewing. From Bear Claw to Stargazer, their name shines through each and every brew they pour. According to their website, “We chose the name “Ursa Minor” ... derived from the constellation Ursa Minor, or the Little Dipper, which contains the North Star."
Ursa Minor Brewing is located in West Duluth, in the Lincoln Park area, near Bent Paddle. With a large patio, plenty of outdoor space, and a relaxed atmosphere, you'll find locals and visitors alike mixing for happy hour, or sipping craft brews into the evening light. With scratch pizzas and paninis, their food menu will keep you full, and they even offer dessert if you need something sweet to top off our meal and beverages. And with yoga, trivia, painting, and bingo, you can be sure there's always something fun and entertaining to tap into on your visit.
Wild State Cider
While you're in the Lincoln Park area, you should be sure to hop down the block from Ursa Minor to Wild State Cider. They're so close to each other in fact, it's much easier to walk than drive!
With dry, crisp, and refreshing cider options, any craft beer drinker will find something to love at Wild State Cider. Made without concentrates, added sugar, or preservatives, Wild State has become one of the largest cider producers and distributors in Minnesota off of the craft natural cider they make. Their taproom space is a favorite amongst locals and visitors, with a family friendly vibe, a large patio with a variety of seating options and fire pits, plus small bites to go with your flight of ciders for tasting, or a pint of your favorite. Plus, a rotating schedule of food trucks ensures there's food there many nights of the week.
Craving something sweet to pair with your cider? The Camp Creemee ice cream shop is located inside of Wild State's taproom, allowing you to snack on Vermont-style soft serve throughout your visit, for a treat.
And with an events calendar fit for a veritable venue, you'll never be without a fun thing to do. Local craft markets, music concerts, trivia nights, bingo, drag shows, and lots of other fun events make it a bustling and fun place to be.
Warrior Brewing Company
If you're already in Lincoln Park, why not keep on strolling down the road!? You're just a hop, skip, and a jump away from another West Duluth brewery, Warrior Brewing Company.
A unique an awesome brewery option in the Twin Ports area, Warrior Brewing Company, "specialize[s] in unique and high gravity offerings that aren’t normally found in the local area; barrel aged Imperial Stout, Lactose Double IPA, and Golden Ale brewed with locally sourced wildflower honey." You can check out their beer menu here. They're also veteran-owned and operated, and distribute their beers and liquor stores across northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Just Outside Duluth...
Yes, this is supposed to be a tour of the best breweries in Duluth. But for those beer lovers that are willing to hop the border into Wisconsin or take a short day trip up the shores of Lake Superior, there are a few more breweries that are absolutely worth stepping outside of the city limits for. So for you adventurers ready to take on a few more breweries the north shore has to offer—read on!
Just 30 minutes outside of Duluth, up the north shore of Lake Superior, you'll find a cute and quaint city called Two Harbors. With the success of a few of Castle Danger's flagship brews, they've become one of the better selling breweries in the state, and have dramatically increased their production capacity, in a beautiful (and sizable!) facility.
Their taproom offers an abundance of parking, great views of Lake Superior, lots of delicious flagship, seasonal, and limited beer options, and a food truck schedule that ensures you'll have a great local food option there most days of the week.
We heartily recommend the Castle Cream Ale and their Ode IPA. Or grab a flight from their long list of beers for a beer tasting, and bring it down into the grass area for a game of bags. With lots of space to spread out, great beer to drink, and great views to take in, this brewery tour stop is a must if you truly want to experience the best the north shore has to offer.
For those willing to cross the border into Wisconsin for a visit, you'll find it worth the drive to check out Earth Rider Brewery and The Cedar Lounge, their taproom. Just across the water from Duluth, in the city of Superior, Wisconsin, Earth Rider is making some of the most delicious and creative beers in the north woods.
Their events calendar is choc full of local musicians, DJs, markets, bingo, pizza nights, and food trucks, so you can stay well-fed and entertained while you're sipping. Plus, every one of their bartenders at the Cedar Lounge is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server, which means they've got all the knowledge you need to have a fantastic beer experience. An "exbeerience" if you will. And we will. Oh, we will.
Voyageur Brewing Company
Last up in our list of short jaunts outside of the Duluth city limits in search of the best beer the north shore has to offer, is Voyageurs Brewing. This is the farthest you'll have to go for a beer on this tour, but we simply couldn't exclude them from a list of the best beers in the area. The beer is just that good.
If you're willing to do a beautiful two hour drive up the north shore to the fun, funky, artsy city of Grand Marais, you won't regret what you find. Backpackers, families, tourists, leafers, Canadiens (only about 30 miles from the Canadien border!), mountain bikers, skiers, artists, foodies, and more, all come together to make the city of Grand Marais great.
And doing their part to make the city a great place to live and visit is Voyageur Brewing. Located just inside the city with a beautiful view of the harbor that looks onward to Lake Superior, this brewery and taproom features great beer, great views, great food, in a great space. What's not to love?
Duluth Tap Exchange
If you don't have the time to head all over town to experience all these amazing breweries, we're here to help you cheat, just a little bit (shh... we won't tell anyone if you won't). Meet Duluth Tap Exchange. With 40 self-pour taps, with a wide selection of local craft beers and ciders, you can do a quick and dirty version of a Duluth brewery tour all inside one building.
At the time of this writing, five of the breweries on this list are all represented on their menu, which means you could knock out a few stops in one fell swoop. Of course we always recommend seeing the physical spaces of the breweries on this list, and all they have to offer—but in a pinch, it's a nice way to sample many flavors of Duluth in one spot.
The craft beer and cider scenes in Duluth and the surrounding areas continue to explode, and it's quickly becoming a beer destination for the midwest and beyond.
We hope this list of the best breweries the north shore has to offer gives you plenty to put on your schedule as you shape your very own tour. Be sure to let us know what you loved, and always be sure to bring along a designated driver for safe brewery touring! Happy sipping in Duluth!
Do you prefer wine over beer? Or are you ready to come back to the Duluth area, but try a different style of beverage next time? We've got a Duluth winery tour for you too! Heading on a Duluth brewery tour soon? Tell us where you’re headed!