Posted by Mel, the Minnesota Beer Activist.
Two weekends from now I will be heading up to Duluth, Minnesota to watch Grandma’s Marathon. I will be sitting (yes, sitting) at mile 11 with a pint glass full of one of the delicious ales from the fine folks at Fitger’s Brewhouse. Ever since I took my first vacation “up north” I can’t seem to stay away.
Lake Superior is definitely one of the greatest natural beauties on the planet. The rocky coast line is great to hike along but in my opinion it is even better for biking. Last month I took Highway 61 which splits off for a few miles onto the “Scenic Highway.” I had the pleasure of carrying a Nalgene growler full of Fitger’s beer all the way from Duluth to the house along the shore where I was vacationing. The beer transport all together was a good 20 miles of biking against a wicked headwind coming off the lake. But it is always worth it when you can enjoy a beer at the end of a ride. Fitger’s is a big proponent of people taking beer with them on hikes, canoe trips, bike rides, etc. In fact they now sell a hemp backpack designed to perfectly fit their new Nalgene Growlers.
I didn’t just get beer to go while I was last up in Duluth. I hung around at the bar a lot sampling over ten varieties of their beer. The front bar has beautiful tap handles made by a local glass artist. Each handle is as unique and colorful as the beer they serve. Once the weekend rolled around I was ready to see how they brewed their beer. A novice but enthusiastic brewer gave me and another couple a tour of their operations. It is very small since they only provide beer for their own bar and restaurant. Nick, the brewer, explained that they love seeking out unordinary ingredients for their beer. They had just brewed up a hot pepper beer that had 8 different kinds of peppers in it, appropriately named Wild Fire.
I have to admit that my love for Fitger’s is a little biased. The brew master is Dave Hoops. He and his brother Mike Hoops have brewed some of the best Peace Coffee beer to be found on tap or in cask anywhere. Mike is the brew master at the Townhall Brewery in Minneapolis. Both brothers have perfected the art of making Peace Coffee porters and Peace Coffee stouts that they offer on a seasonal basis. I have not decided on what selection of Fitger’s beers I will be enjoying at mile 11 but if it is as hot out on race day as last year I am leaning towards the Lighthouse Golden (named after the lighthouse in the picture on Lake Superior). Light and crisp…I can’t wait!