Who Knu Duluth?

I enjoyed the three hour drive from Pictured Rocks across the U.P. through Marquette and into the hills of northern Wisconsin. But first, I dropped into Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette for lunch. Oops, they only have popcorn so they referred me to The Vierling Restaurant & Marquette Harbor Brewery. I had whitefish, which was ok, and a very good blueberry wheat. The beer tender at Ore Dock said they don’t make a blueberry wheat (very popular U.P. here) because Vierling, just down the street, does such a good job. I’ve maybe never given a wheat beer a 4 rating before.

Back at Ore Dock, I had a small Loose Juicy IPA and Reclamation IPA, both good. Then I saddled up again and continued onto Superior & Duluth. A couple beers at Thirsty Pagan Brewing and Earth Rider Brewery, another new favorite for its IPAs and Stouts served in a cool bar, separate from the production facility. I especially liked the Duluth Coffee Pale Ale and North Tower Coffee Stout. The Royal Bohemian Pilsner, which I started with, is a solid German style Pils. Easy Rider/Cedar Lounge is back across the bridge in Superior but probably worth a repeat visit, although there are a few places in Duluth I wanna drop by. Got settled into the city campground just west of town. Campfire and chicken wings, then it rained a good part of the early morning. High dropping from low 60s into the mid 50s. Summer, right? Welp, time to wash a load of musty clothes then get along into town, check out the highlights of Duluth! More later…

Coming to you now from Canal Park Brewing Co (yes, I write some of this stuff on my phone while enjoying a brew): I just finished visiting the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in the historic train depot downtown Duluth. Pretty cool. It’s a 15 minute walk from a couple breweries so that’s where you now find me having a yard bird sandwich and a pint or two. Good brewpub on the lakeshore at the end of the lake with a great patio on a summer day that doesn’t feel like when the gales of November come early!

On down the wave-sprayed lakefront on this 50s day I found the Lake Superior Maritime Museum, an interesting & informative service of the Army Corps of Engineers. Well done—and free!

Naturally, Hoops Brewing caught my eye on the way back to my truck. Lots of styles to choose from here but I settled for 10-ounces of the Keller Pils, the No. 48 IPA and their No. 88 Nitro Stout, each brew a 4-pointer.

No visit to Duluth would be complete without stopping in to Fitgers, an historic inn and the oldest brewery in Duluth. Very cool building! Interesting parking challenge, as I had to reverse my way through the ticket gate when the height of the garage wasn’t enough for me. Yep, I was that guy in traffic! Whatever, Fitgers has a good El Niño IPA.

Then finally, on my way back to camp I ducked outta the persistent drizzle into Bent Paddle Brewing Company for a couple dark ales: the traditional Black and the excellent Cold Press Black. Awesome flavor.

Duluth was an unexpected surprise; I really enjoyed the town and its attractions. Could’ve spent another day here. Thursday morning I finally got to washing the even mustier laundry then headed out to Grand Marais, about 30 minutes this side of our northern border. Spent just one night at the city campground, chilling and watching the Hall of Fame game at Voyageur Brewing. Wish I was staying longer, this is a cool village. But they’re having a huge festival this weekend and all lodging of any kind is spoken for. The lady at the city campground very graciously let me park in their ball field since I messed up on the date (was supposed to be here last night).

On the way up to Thunder Bay in the morning I stopped in quickly at Grand Portage National Monument (don’t come this far just for that, lol!). Followed by a slow, frustrating customs clearance. They wouldn’t allow me to bring a shotgun into the country unless I could prove I was going somewhere to hunt. So after a trailer cavity search they turned me around back to the U.S. to a nearby outpost that would ship the gun for me. The gun and a small knife with a quick release that was apparently quite threatening also is making the early return to Texas (Julie & Brad be on the lookout for a FedEx package in the next few days). And with that, this part of the trip is a wrap. It’ll be all eastern Canada until about the first week of September, now that I’m in-country. That’s the plan, anyway!