The Mill: Ursa Minor Brewing to open in Duluth’s Lincoln Park ‘craft district’

From left to right, Ben Hugus, Co-Founder and COO, Andrew Scrignoli, General Manager, and Mark Hugus, Co-Founder and Head of Brewing Operations // Photo courtesy Mark Hugus

From left to right: Ben Hugus, co-founder and COO, Andrew Scrignoli, general manager, and Mark Hugus, co-founder and head of brewing operations of Ursa Minor Brewing in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood // Photo courtesy of Mark Hugus

Duluth will be getting a new brewery this summer in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Ursa Minor Brewing just began the build-out of their taproom and five-barrel brewery at 2415 West Superior Street, and stated that they “hope we will be ready to start sending pints across the bar by mid-summer.”

The trio behind the effort, Ben Hugus, Mark Hugus, and Andrew Scrignoli, aim to brew what they call “comfort beer,” or beer that complements an overall welcoming atmosphere in the taproom. In the brewery’s press release, the founders stated, “We are building a brewery that is all about people.  It will be an experience. We want people to come to our taproom and feel at home and welcomed. Our small batch, handcrafted beer will only serve as the medium to new connections.” What that means for specific styles of beer remains to be seen.

In addition to brewing up a wide selection of comfort beer, Ursa Minor will also be cooking up some “Napolitano style pizzas” in their very own wood-fired oven.

On the inspiration behind the name, the brothers Hugus and Scrignoli were inspired by the North Star, which is found in the Ursa Minor constellation. “Throughout history, people across the world have used the North Star as a guiding light, or an anchor point, in the night sky to navigate their way across our wondrous and mysterious world. Craft beer is our guiding light and has brought us into the amazing craft beer community.”


Scottish craft brewer Brewdog has been hit with some major criticism after releasing their Pink IPA, a female-focused beer that attempts to bring awareness to the issues of gender pay inequality and sexist marketing. Though it appears the brewery was trying for clever irony, many are miffed that they went ahead and did exactly the thing they were criticizing. As one Twitter user pointed out, “If you have to explain the joke then it’s probably not a very good joke.” The beer will be sold in bars at a discount for “those who identify as women,” to bring attention to the 18.1 percent average gender pay gap between men and women in the U.K.

The American Craft Spirits Association released the results of their Fifth Annual Judging of Craft Spirits, with a few notable nods to Minnesota distillers in the mix. Tattersall came away with a Best In Class award in the Specialty Spirits category for their Bitter Orange Liqueur, as well as three silver medals in Specialty Spirits and five bronze medals in Specialty Spirits and Gin. The other Minnesota distilleries to get accolades were J. Carver, scoring a silver and two bronzes, and RockFilter, coming away with two bronzes.

Broken Clock Brewing has taken over an old 5,000-square-foot warehouse space adjacent to their production facility in Northeast to build a taproom. Their current brewery space was the former home of NorthGate Brewing and 56 Brewing, both of whom moved to new locations in order to build a taproom. Aside from HVAC installation and structural changes, the construction will largely be completed by members of the brewing cooperative itself. The opening date is tentatively set in time for Art-A-Whirl, May 18–20.

While it’s becoming more common for brewers to embrace natural variance in their hops, many large-scale hops growers are guilty of compromising high-quality hops with cheaper varieties, which negatively impacts the flavor. To combat this, scientists are turning to nuclear physics, borrowing fraud-detection methods commonly used for foods like honey and olive oil. By measuring differences in isotope levels, they could effectively weed out fraudulent hop strains.

The 40th annual Homebrew Con (formally known as the National Homebrewers Conference) will be held in Portland, Oregon this year. The three-day event, hosted by the American Homebrewers Association, will be held from June 28– 30. The conference will culminate in the National Homebrew Competition, the world’s largest homebrew competition, which crowns the most outstanding beer, mead, and cider made by amateur brewers from around the world.  


Photo via Funky Grits Facebook

Photo via The Funky Grits’ Facebook

Funky Grits is bringing soul food, soul music, and of course, grits, to South Minneapolis. Owner Jared Brewington, who previously worked as a business consultant before turning his sights to his beloved childhood neighborhood as an entrepreneur, has partnered with Jordan Carlson, the Sample Room’s former sous chef, with an opening date set for April 1. Aside from the soul food they’ll be dishing out, the restaurant will also be environmentally friendly, running entirely on solar and wind energy.

Grand Avenue is getting a new southern Italian-inspired restaurant this summer, led by former Brooklynite Rikki Giambruno. Hyacinth will feature the bright, simple, vegetable-focused cuisine of southern Italy and the Mediterranean, with a large bulk of the produce carefully hand-selected from local markets and farmers. Look for that spot on the corner of Grand and Avon, in the old Golden Fig space.

Longfellow is getting a new pasta joint with the Bungalow Club, which will take the place of Craftsman on East Lake Street, closed last fall. Chef Andrew Kraft is working with brother-in-law Jeremiah Dittmann and former Grand Cafe owner Sam Rosen to provide a menu featuring a half-dozen house-made pastas. On the drink side, the focus will be on classic cocktails, as well as a 40 to 50 bottle wine list and eight tap beers. Look for that opening in beginning to mid-April.

Loring Park’s Market B Barbecue is moving to a new location in Northeast Minneapolis after 72 years in various spots around downtown. The cause for the move across the river is a redevelopment project that’s expected to take out several businesses on the block. They’re expecting to open later this year, but an address has yet to be announced.

On March 30, Surly Brewing will be opening the doors to their new-and-improved upstairs restaurant, properly named Surly Pizza Upstairs. Executive chef Ben Peine is leading the way with New Haven–inspired apizzas. More info on menus and grand opening events will be released in coming weeks.

After closing its doors on January 9, Roseville roast beef institution Maverick’s is making a comeback. Longtime fan Tim Hughes approached Maverick’s co-founder Bret Hazlett about reopening the restaurant, which Hazlett opened in 1999 with his brother Bart. After undergoing a light renovation, the restaurant will reopen April 9 with the same menu and prices.

Soul Bowl co-founders Gerard and Brittney Klass are hosting their fourth soul food pop-up in five months this Saturday at Sunnyside Cafe from 5pm–9pm. In addition, the couple is launching a Kickstarter campaign that day to “raise funds to renovate Sunnyside Cafe to create a modern atmosphere that will complete the dining experience,” according to a press release. The campaign will run until their next pop-up event in April, which will be held primarily to thank its backers and supporters of the project.

Vegan cafe and bar Reverie, which closed its doors on the corner of Nicollet and Franklin last summer, will be reborn this May as a food truck. While they’re still in search of a new brick-and-mortar location, the truck “will be at all your favorite events, farmers markets and breweries all summer long,” according to their statement.


Surly Brewing Company Festival Field // Photo via Surly Brewing Company Facebook

Surly Brewing Company Festival Field // Photo via Surly Brewing Company’s Facebook

The Surly Festival Field has released its summer lineup of concerts. The only show previously announced was Sylvan Esso on July 20, and shows added to the roster are Spoon and Grizzly Bear with special guest Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith on June 30, and Courtney Barnett with special guests Julien Baker and Big Thief on July 21.

Justin Vernon and Sean Carey of Bon Iver are hosting an exclusive overnight musical experience at Vernon’s downtown Eau Claire Oxbow Hotel, to be called Lock Inn. Guests will be treated to a fully curated evening of Vernon and Carey’s “musical, culinary, and cultural sensibilities from beginning to end.” Each ticket includes live performances by Vernon, Carey, and other TBA acts, a six-course dinner, “Vinyl Vinyasa” yoga, and more. The Lock Inn will be held from April 10–11 and May 9–10.

Vertical Endeavors is opening it’s fourth gym in the Twin Cities metro area on Saturday, March 17. Twin Cities Bouldering will have 18,000+ square feet of climbing surfaces. The space is replete with a dedicated crack wall with a variety of crack widths, a rotatable Treadwall, yoga studio, a complete Pro Shop, expanded training and fitness areas, expanded locker and shower areas, a community area with a fireplace, a large exterior patio with in-floor heating, a skylight the length of our building, and a beautiful rounded hardwood ceiling. And it will be the first location to serve beer and eventually wine on-site.

The Mill is The Growler’s regular digest of all things new and notable in the world of food, drink, and culture. Stop back weekly for restaurant news, brewery rumors, and more. Have some news you want to share? Got some gossip to dish? Drop us a line at [email protected]