The Twin Ports are the Napa Valley of the Northland for Beer
It seems like each week a new brewery is opening up in the
Northland, making the area like the
On Sunday night at Thirsty Pagan Brewery the chalkboard sign near the door said to seat yourself in the bar area. At 8pm there was a great trio of musicians playing that the bartender referred to as Joe’s Band. There was an accordion, bass guitar, and electric acoustic guitar giving an excellent backdrop to the evening. The board behind the bar said that at 9pm the open mic would begin and people began trickling in with their gear at 8:30pm.
It isn’t often that on Sunday night you have live music, deep dish pizza, and unique beer, but the inviting atmosphere of TPB makes it all feels natural. After Joe’s Band had finished their set the lead singer walked to each table and talked with the handful of patrons in the bar area. To call it welcoming would be much too modest of a description.
There is a charm to Thirsty Pagan that reflects the identity of what a
When I first went to the Pagan about 7 years ago, or Twin Ports Brewery as it was called then, it was a small bar with hard rock bands playing under the giant moon-girl mural. Today it is family friendly and completely remodeled, but as I said before, it is redone by taking what is there and building on top of things. That is quite different from Tycoons, which looks old on the outside, but like a new bar on the inside.
The walls at TPB are covered with classic Fitgers Beer signs
and there are more of them at TPB than at the Brewhouse in
The beer at TPB has its own unique taste. My favorite is the
North Coast Amber and its caramel bitter goodness. My wife loves the Derailed
Ale, but it is a bit too bitter for me. They have stronger beers and various
short term specials, and the artwork for Burntwood and North Coast Amber was done by Rick
Allen. His engraving skills and style are amazing. On Earth Day Allen usually
has a meet and greet at
What catches my eye at TPB and many other places around the area is the artwork on the walls. Take for example the amazingly large tree painting by Jeredt Runions hanging above the stage at TPB and the large Miller logo painted on the wall. There are sports team photos, newspaper articles, and a great old-fashioned picture of a constipated child hanging on the women’s bathroom door.
Across the bridge in
On that same Sunday night in
The Agnes Irish Red that I tried was excellent, but the trivia being offered on Sunday was difficult. The winners were awarded a dirty duck ball, used sunglasses, and a headband.
The other beers at Carmody are Fammine 47 Stout, Scanlon
IPA, and Tippler’s Golden for the newbies. Brewer Mike Miley works a two and a
half barrel brewing facility downstairs to supply the beer and their scotch
comes straight from the
It is always funny to watch someone who isn’t from this area walk into the bars that brew their own beers and order a Grain Belt Premium. When they ask about the micro-brews there are a few patrons who will try the Northland ales and a few others that are not brave enough.
Which got me thinking about how we are the
Dubh Linn’s in
The Brewhouse in Fitger’s has been around the longest and is
the largest restaurant brewer in
Across the hall at the very posh Red Star you can also order a handful of the Brewhouse’s beers, but you can get order the harder stuff too. While this article is about beer I cannot help but mention the Duluth Russian that Red Star has and their cherry soaked Woodford Reserve whiskey. The Russian has a slight hazelnut taste that whips the traditional white Russian and the Woodford Cherry goes down almost too smoothly. The Red Star also has a happy hour now with a few martini specials, but the cherry whiskey and Duluth Russian are not on there… yet…
There also is a new brewery opening in
While Northern California amazes the world with its wines,