Weather Forecast


Lake Superior Brewing Co. welcoming visitors to new taproom

Alice Friedmeyer Vacek (from far left), Anita Friedmeyer and Dan Vacek, all of St Paul, along with Judy Jordahl of Minneapolis, enjoy Lake Superior Brewing Co. craft beers recently in the brewery’s new taproom set up at one corner of the production area. The group had come to the Duluth area to visit local breweries. It’s the second brewery taproom to open in Duluth. (Clint Austin / / 4
The golden-hued Rusty Nut Radler, a seasonal beer, contrasts with the dark, nitrogen-charged Sir Duluth Oatmeal Stout, shown in sample and pint-size glasses at Lake Superior Brewing Co. A Radler is Bavarian wheat beer mixed with a lemon-lime soda mix. The drink style originated in a German pub catering to cyclists. (Clint Austin / / 4
Alice Friedmeyer Vacek (from left) and Dan Vacek, both of St. Paul, share a laugh with Karen Olesen and John Judd, who are two of the five owners of Lake Superior Brewing Co., the oldest craft brewery in Duluth. The owners are taking turns staffing the taproom until more staff members are hired. (Clint Austin / 3 / 4
Office walls were removed and the office relocated to create a seating area for the Lake Superior Brewing Co.’s new taproom. It had its grand opening a month ago. So far, it’s open on Fridays and Saturdays. (Clint Austin / / 4

Lake Superior Brewing Co. has become the second production brewery in Duluth to open an on-site taproom.

The 20-year-old craft brewery, the city’s oldest, held the grand opening of its taproom a month ago at its site at 2711 W. Superior St.

“It went very well, word’s getting out,” brewmaster Dale Kleinschmidt said.

But not through traditional advertising. The brewery is relying on word-of-mouth and the brewery’s website and Facebook page to spread the news.

The taproom is open 4-9 p.m. Fridays and 3-9 p.m. Saturdays. Opening on Sundays also is likely if the Duluth City Council approves the Sunday openings, made possible by a state liquor law change during this year’s legislative session.

While tours of up to 50 people are ongoing at the brewery during the week, the taproom will provide a bonus experience for those taking weekend tours. A pint of tap beer goes for $4, growler fills are $10. Food isn’t offered on site, because state law doesn’t allow it. But customers can order food from nearby restaurants and have it delivered or bring food with them.

 Lake Superior Brewing Co. brews four beers year-round: Kayak Kolsch, Special Ale, Deep Water Black IPA and Sir Duluth Oatmeal Stout. It also makes several seasonal beers.

The taproom seats 25 but can accommodate more people.

When Minnesota law changed a few years ago, allowing production breweries to open taprooms at their sites, Lake Superior Brewing Co. was the first to get a taproom license in Duluth in 2012. But then Bent Paddle Brewing Co. came along last year and beat them to the punch. Bent Paddle was the first to open a bona fide taproom in the city at its startup brewery, just a few blocks away in Lincoln Park.

For Lake Superior Brewing Co., converting office and warehouse storage space into a taproom with bars, beer taps and seating areas took some time, especially when they were busy producing 2,400 barrels of beer a year.

But now the taproom is open, providing a true brewery ambience, not far from fermenting tanks and stacks of beer cases. The area still is used for temporary storage the rest of the week.

“We clear things out when we open the taproom,” said Kleinschmidt’s wife, Pam.

No hard feelings about Bent Paddle, either, which was first to open.

“We’re glad Bent Paddle is here, but we’re really glad they’re in the neighborhood which has the reputation of being distressed,” Dale Kleinschmidt said.

He shares ownership of Lake Superior Brewing Co. with Don and Jo Ann Hoag, John Judd and Karen Olesen, who are taking turns working the taproom until they hire more people.

A third production craft brewery in Duluth, Blacklist Brewing, doesn’t have a taproom. Another, Dubrue Brewing, apparently has closed.