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At Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors, taps are ready to flow

Clint and Jamie MacFarlane have announced the grand opening of Castle Danger Brewery’s new taproom in downtown Two Harbors. After a few test runs earlier in the summer, the taproom officially opens Aug. 15. (LaReesa Sandretsky /

After fending off eager customers for months while ironing out the details of their new taproom, Castle Danger Brewery is finally ready for its grand opening.

Jamie and Clint MacFarlane have announced that they officially will open the taproom in downtown Two Harbors on Aug. 15.

“Everything has been good and really positive,” Clint said last week in the big, open bar area of the new building.

The MacFarlanes started the brewery in 2011 as a small side business at their resort near Gooseberry Falls State Park. They soon found out that the three-barrel system in an outbuilding didn’t have the production capacity to feed the appetite for Clint’s brews.

Last November, just two years after the business began, they broke ground on the property at 17 Seventh St. in Two Harbors. And it was some hard, frozen ground to break.

They had planned on opening the 10,000-square-foot taproom and brewery in June, but trying to construct a building during one of Minnesota’s harshest winters proved to be a bit of a setback.

But they weren’t sacrificing quality for speed — the MacFarlanes are the type of people who want a project done right, not just quickly. That included hiring contractors that were as local as possible — most of the crews were from Two Harbors. It also meant scouring websites and making contacts to get materials and equipment made in the United States.

“We just really wanted to focus on that,” Clint said.

In fact, a tour of the taproom and brewery is also a walk through the domestic manufacturing industry. The tables and the bar in the taproom are made from reclaimed wood from Duluth Timber — much of it from old brewery casks. The siding was made by Louisiana-Pacific, just a couple of miles from the new brewery. The brewing equipment all was made in Vancouver, Wash., and the large piece of maple wood that hangs as a centerpiece behind the bar was cut from a tree in Oregon.

The MacFarlanes also hope to create a somewhat symbiotic relationship between the brewery and surrounding restaurants. They won’t serve food in the taproom and aren’t planning on adding that service. However, Jamie said, they encourage beer lovers to pick up a sandwich or a pizza at The Pub or Louise’s Cafe down the street and bring it to the taproom. Patrons can even get pizza delivered from nearby Do North Pizza.

“After ‘When are you opening?’ that’s the second most common question we get asked — ‘Are you going to serve food?’ ” Jamie said.

The answer is, and always will be, no, she added, but the number of restaurants in the vicinity means that shouldn’t be a problem.

This is just the beginning for the new brewery. They already have hired four full-time employees and probably will add more in coming years. By this fall, they will have their canning line up and running and will be able to offer six-packs of beer in addition to the popular growler jugs. They will start offering regular tours on weekends after the grand opening, and the cost of admission is two nonperishable food items or a $3 donation to the local food shelf.

At the two-day grand opening on Aug. 15-16, they will have six of their beers on tap — the Red Hop Rising IPA, Wimpy (a light lager), Double Crossing (a double IPA), 17-7 (a pale ale), Danger Ale (their flagship beer) and the Castle Cream Ale. There also will be music, food trucks, games and growlers to go available.

The MacFarlanes already have held a few test runs, opening their doors on three weekends throughout the summer. The response has been greater than expected, Jamie said.

“It’s very surprising,” she said.

If you go What: Castle Danger Brewery taproom grand opening

Where: 17 Seventh St., Two Harbors

When: Friday, Aug. 15, 3-11 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 16, noon-11 p.m.

For more information:

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
(218) 834-2141