All Pints North: Bayfront Hosts Summer Brewfest on Saturday

By Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune

If you’re wondering about the taste of the cherry-aged kolsch Canal Park Brewing Co. is pouring at All Pints North, you’re in good company.

Even head brewer Ryan Woodfill hasn’t yet tried it — and won’t until he gets to the brewfest.

“The first pour will be right when we open,” Woodfill said of the German beer that has been locked in a 10-gallon cask with 5 pounds of cherries. “We’re not going to know what it turns out like until we get there.”

Rest assured, he’s tried this sort of thing before. He knows what he’s doing.

The sixth annual All Pints North features more than 120 breweries — mostly Minnesota-based — and starts at 3 p.m. Saturday at Bayfront Festival Park. Tickets are $45 in advance and include unlimited beer samples, food, beer-related activities and education, live music and more.

The event, which started in 2012 with just 35 breweries, is expected to draw more than 4,000 people.

Canal Park Brewing Co. will also have some of its signature beers, including Nut Hatchet Brown, in addition to the new Woodland Strawberry Ale.

But it’s beers like the cask of mystery kolsch that Woodfill said he looks for when he makes his rounds at the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s event — a one-off beer made just for the occasion.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” he said.

What’s on tap

Lake Superior Brewing Co. also has two new beers in the works, brewed specifically for the event. The longtime local brewery will have a honey hibiscus kolsch and a Mexican corn lager, according to owner-brewer Dale Kleinschmidt.

“It’s just something we haven’t done and feel like doing,” he said of the latter.

Blacklist Artisan Ales brewer-owner Brian Schanzenbach said they aren’t making anything special for the fest —- they’re just bringing what they make. That includes the Hefe Royal, which got its official release last week. Schanzenbach described it as “the definition of a hefeweizen.”

“It’s as pure as it gets,” he said.

The brewery will be pouring Hefe Royal alongside BIPA, a Belgian IPA, Or De Belgique and Verte, both Belgian goldens.

Dave Hoops is a News Tribune columnist and a longtime participant in brewfest circles, but this is his first year with Hoops Brewing, which opened in mid-June.

“We’re just going to show up and greet people and tell them what we’re trying to do,” he said.

The Canal Park-based brewery is currently building its base of beers. For the festival, they will be pouring two IPAs, a raspberry wheat beer and a couple of pale ales, a porter and a honey lilac beer, he said.

Hoops said he’s also planning something that is especially unique to this region — but it’s a surprise.

Woodfill isn’t the only local brewery with an eye toward cherries. Seth Maxim of Dubh Linn Irish Brewpub has been working on a cherry saison beer, according to Mike Maxim.

This year, 20 breweries have contributed to the Superior Series, beers that include a “splash of water” sourced from Lake Superior. The guild sent vials of water to participating breweries to add to the recipes. Among them: Castle Danger’s IPL, Voyageur Brewing Company’s American Point Pale Ale, Forager Brewery’s Superior Weiss, Bald Man Brewing Company’s Strawberry Fields Forever Cream Ale and Talking Waters Brewing Company’s Gitche Gumee Gose.

Tent life

How to get attention as a brewer at a brewfest: “just be new,” said Hoops, a sentiment echoed by other local brewers.

Mike Maxim said he is always looking for more cutting edge beers.

“Stuff you don’t see everywhere,” he said. “Who’s making something new, who’s making something that stands out.”

Short of that: The crew at Dubh Linn bought a green tent, rather than tradition white. And they pass out branded trinkets.

Blacklist hasn’t added a schtick, but Schanzenbach knows what it takes.

“Get a big wavy balloon guy and do cartwheels,” he said. “It’s an arms race every year.”

If you go

•What: All Pints North
•When: 3-7 p.m. Saturday
•Where: Bayfront Festival Park
•Tickets: $45 in advance at
•Entertainment: Viva Knievel and Private Oates