Sunday, July 5, 2009

Why the 2 1/2 hour drive to Duluth is worth it

For some, 2 ½ hours in the car is nothing. For others, who already live in a beer rich area, taking precious time (precious drinking time) to drive elsewhere might seem an unlikely choice.

For the past couple of years we’ve used our one weekend per year pass to Duluth to attend the Gitchee Gumee beer fest (and yes, that is technically in Superior). This year we decided to skip what has become more of a college fest than it was in the past and instead use our pass over the July 4th holiday weekend.

To keep your attention and provide a handy dandy list of not-to-miss places should you find yourself there, off we go.
Fitger’s: They never fail to deliver tasty beer and on this trip we got hoppy with 20/20 IPA and Trampled by Hops.

Sir Benedict’s Tavern: They don’t make their own but offer such delights as Surly, Bell’s and Lake Superior with a great patio offering a lake view. Oh, and yummer sammiches.

Northern Waters Smokehaus: No beer but smoked meats and fish, sammiches and a great selection of cheeses and olives.

Hell’s Kitchen: You can get beer, but food is the star, especially a breakfast of Mahnomin Porridge.

Seven Bridges Road: You’ll have to bring your own refreshments to this park but once you find a place to take a load off maybe you, too, will be lucky enough to have picked up provisions at the Smokehaus and have great friends who have brought along such things as Eel River Raven’s Eye, Rare Vos, a couple of Belgians and the weasel poo beer, Mikkeller.
Should time permit, Superior is just a short cab ride away. Check out the Anchor Bar for a brew and a burger. The really hungry will appreciate their Gallybuster, a 1 lb triple decker burger for $5.50. For the brewpub minded, Thirsty Pagan serves up a number of brews along with ‘za, the steak and blue cheese being a winning choice.

To complete the trip round up, two awards:
The award for “Skip it unless you enjoy indifferent-bordering-on-rude service with so-so food” goes to At Sara’s Table.
And the award for “Well, if you’re there and got time to kill, why not?” goes to the Lester River train ride. It's a fairly relaxing way to spend a couple of non-drinking hours, assuming you're lucky enough to get on a car that is rug rat free.

If your weekend was half as fun as ours, chalk that up to the good.


  1. Thanks to you and the McG's for the Fitgers growlers and the amusing e-mails/texts.

  2. We've made the Mahnomin Porridge at home and it was great. I'm sure it is even BETTER at Hell's Kitchen.

  3. Would "The really hungry will appreciate their Gallybuster" be referring to you Kris?

  4. Why, yes, I could be in the "really hungry" group, as possibly could other folks. 1 lb isn't as much as you might think.

  5. Thanks for the tips, I'll have to check some of these places out. I have always wanted to try the Hells Kitchen up there. The porridge is awesome down here, I assume it's the same. Have always loved Fitgers. Sir Benedicts is a cool place, but I hate the self serve concept.

  6. I rarely make it to Duluth, but I need to check out Fitgers one of these days.

  7. but 'at sara's table chester creek cafe' has delicious pancakes and bacon. and patio.