By Drew Kerr
Canal Park Brewing Co.
- Photo Courtesy of Canal Park Brewing Co.
Opening Duluth’s newest brewpub, Canal Park Brewing Co., has taken a bit of doing.
Built on the Lake Superior shore in Duluth’s historic warehouse district, owners went through an 18-month environmental cleanup process that included demolition of the defunct Duluth Spring Company, and replacing 12 feet of soil with clean, fresh dirt.
Complicated by a narrow lot, the entire process took nearly $1 million.
The result – an 8,500-square-foot production-style brewery that affords an unblemished view of the lake, and is due to produce 2,500 barrels annually – seems to have been worth the effort.
Since debuting in early November, brewers have been racing to keep the brewpub’s eight 465-gallon serving tanks full with their roster of beers, including an IPA, Belgian Tripel and a Clean Dirt Pub Draught named in honor of the remediation effort.
“We went through a lot of beer, that’s all I can say,” says Principal Rockie Kavajecz, who began working on the concept five years ago.
It’s not any out-of-the-box beer that is drawing fans, either. While casks and seasonal brews will be on the menu, brewmaster Badger Colish says the primary focus is on producing clean, consistent beer made with the best ingredients available.
“It’s a very bare-bone, minimalistic, let-the-ingredients-speak-for-themselves approach,” says Colish, who began homebrewing in 1992 and spent nearly a decade at Ashland, Wisconsin-based South Shore Brewing. “I don’t think it’s a struggle to set yourself apart, you just are.”
With the century-old Fitger’s Brewpub up the street and more north shore breweries coming soon, Kavajecz and Colish say they’re confident there’s room for all involved, too. Beyond the trhee million tourists who visit every year, the local crowd seems to appreciate well-made beer.
“The town of Duluth is a town that’s made for beer,” Colish says. “It’s the mayor, CEOs, college students, the whole range.”
The Brewer: Badger Colish
The Beers: Stoned Surf IPA, Dawn Treader Tripel, Clean Dirt Pub Draught
Visit: 300 Canal Park Drive, Duluth, MN Seven days, 11 – Close
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